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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
  • Opportunities to Say Yes

    For forty days, I refused to say no. Last year for Lent, I decided to say yes to any request. I had only two rules: the request must do no harm, and to keep the practice authentic, I couldn’t tell anyone about it until it was over. When I came up with this Forty Days of...
    By Nathan Ryan | 3/14/2018
  • 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
  • Faithful

    We were in the car when Kirk, my three-year-old son, said, “We don’t need guns in school. I know what to do—you have to hide and be quiet. That’s what Ms. Laurie says.” I thought I misheard him. One. Two. Three: I waited to figure out what to say next. At the parent-...
    By Robin Tanner | 2/28/2018
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Multicultural Joy

    My second daughter got married in April. I had never been in such a place filled with Asian Americans. My husband and I are from Japan, and the groom’s parents are from Taiwan. Most family members and their partners looked East Asian, and so did most of the couple’s friends....
    By Yuri Yamamoto | 9/20/2017
  • "Change" Is a Word on Wheels

    Every Sunday morning, the church choir and I spend time in reflection and silence before we begin the first worship service. I often offer my thoughts on the day's theme or the state of the world, providing context to the message we bring. On a recent Sunday, I said to the...
    By DeReau K. Farrar | 9/12/2017
  • Meeting the Monstrous Beast

    There they are, by the hundreds, by the thousands, wading in chest-high water, holding backpacks and babies and plastic bags aloft. Rescues in bass boats and small drenched dogs and soaked teenagers piggy-backing grandmothers down what is usually a street, the current strong...
    By Teresa Honey Youngblood | 8/30/2017
  • 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
  • Good Intentions and Incomplete Efforts

    I’ve been doing a lot of guest preaching lately and it’s always a little awkward. I often don’t know how the congregation is used to doing things. Recently I’ve tripped on my robe, forgotten to extinguish the chalice, called someone by the wrong name, and gave the wrong musician...
    By Sean Parker Dennison | 3/29/2017
  • Tiny Deaths

    We sat on the back steps watching transfixed as hundreds of rust-red spiders, big as thumbs, dropped on strands of silk out of the pecan tree in the backyard. It was exquisite, a great exodus of faith and instinct, leaping from one life and floating down to the next. But then...
    By Teresa Honey Youngblood | 1/18/2017

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