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Braver/Wiser Archive
Braver/Wiser Archive
Worship
  • Building a Common Life

    Last fall, our weekly small-town newspaper had two stories I loved. One was a thank you note from the Animal Control Officer to several residents for rescuing a herd of five ponies and one goat. Apparently the goat figured out how to unlock the barn gate and liberated everyone...
    By Elea Kemler | 5/16/2018
  • The Story of My Birth

    When my eldest child was three, they* had almost no control over their emotions, and those emotions were fueled by anything from hunger to noise to too much fun. One day near the end of a holiday break spent in Michigan with family, they started sobbing over getting the wrong...
    By Mandie McGlynn | 5/9/2018
  • The Strength That Defines Us

    My son was five when he announced that he would no longer cut his hair. He hated going through the whole process. He also liked his hair and was done. I agreed; I, too, was done fighting with him about haircuts. As time went on, I marveled at the beauty of his hair and the way...
    By Rayla D. Mattson | 4/18/2018
  • Kindling the Spirit

    I love watching people. While eating at a local restaurant, though, I saw a parent criticize their child’s artwork because they drew a car in the sky and cars don’t fly. The child was crushed. At the table on the other side of me, two friends were ordering lunch. One, who was...
    By Connie Simon | 3/21/2018
  • Strangers at the Door

    Ding-dong. When my friend Beth answered her door one day, she found a pair of earnest Mormon missionaries: young men wishing to chat with her about their religion. Beth being Beth, she invited her visitors in, listened to what they had to say, and in response shared her “good...
    By Erika A. Hewitt | 3/7/2018
  • Good Enough

    I call myself a recovering perfectionist. People usually laugh when I say that, not realizing how serious I am. Perfectionism has robbed me of joy and kept me from being present in my life. I remember a chamber ensemble concert in high school, for example, when we played a...
    By Lindasusan Ulrich | 1/31/2018
  • Telling a New Story

    I thought about my first tattoo for a long time, but when a pregnancy test unexpectedly came back positive, my ink research took a new direction. I didn’t cancel my trip to the tattoo parlor; birthing this baby at this moment would harm everyone involved, and I knew that I would...
    By Mandie McGlynn | 1/20/2018
  • Mrs. Cash's Oranges

    I grew up in a three-bedroom, cinderblock ranch style house with a two-car garage and a mess of tiger lilies and saw palmettos in the front yard. There was a lake at the end of the street — one of the few in Central Florida left unspoiled, because its proximity to the railroad...
    By Teresa Honey Youngblood | 1/10/2018
  • Stopping to Help

    Why is it that some people stop to help and others just keep going? In my adult life, I’ve happened upon a number of memorable car accidents. In one, a mother was unconscious while her small child was screaming in the back of the car. My friend and I raced to pull the child...
    By Rayla D. Mattson | 1/3/2018
  • The Dynamics of Silence

    Silence is dynamic: it does things. When silence becomes a living character in our personal narratives, it’s often an accomplice to power. When I was a new seminary graduate still short of the red-tape requirements for ministry, one of my mentors, who was married,...
    By Erika A. Hewitt | 11/15/2017
  • Holding Space for Truth to Bloom

    Content Warning: This reflection refers to the loss of an infant. There is a moment—a moment when all eyes turn to you: the minister, the lawyer, the teacher, the surgeon. It will happen thousands of times in a career. Years in, I surely can’t count how many. But no one...
    By Lisa Bovee-Kemper | 10/25/2017
  • Pulled by a Fragile Thread

    5:00 a.m. A child is stirring… and up. Now I am, too. We call out to one another in the dark hallway. Call and response, we find one another. She crawls into our bed babbling about a turtle, then requests Cheerios. My phone buzzes with alerts. I pick it...
    By Robin Tanner | 10/4/2017
  • Love's Pronoun Is Plural

    My son, Caleb, and I went to Starbucks on a recent Saturday morning. We often do this as a prelude to the weekly grocery shopping. It sweetens the deal, which is important, as he is about to be 14 and on the autism spectrum. Both of these factors contribute to his resistance to...
    By Elea Kemler | 7/19/2017
  • Somebody Like That

    “Did that man just strap a gun to his belt?” My 10-year-old squinted, looking across the parking lot of the grocery co-op. I had seen it, too: a middle-aged white man had stepped out of his pick-up truck, taken out a black holster, and strapped it on, pulling his shirt down over...
    By Teresa Honey Youngblood | 11/30/2016

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