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Braver/Wiser Archive
Braver/Wiser Archive
Worship
  • Playlists of the Spirit

    “Doe, a deer, a female deer…” Many of us instantly recognize that as the first line of the song “Do, Re, Mi” from “The Sound of Music.” You might even be able to picture Julie Andrews (oops: Maria) telling the Von Trapp children that these notes are the “tools we use to build a...
    By Connie Simon | 5/23/2018
  • 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
  • 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
  • No Longer Claiming "Divorced"

    I used to be very conscious of the fact that I was “a single mom” — so self-conscious, in fact, that I would add that I was “a divorced mother,” as if this extra piece of information somehow made things better; as if people would judge me less if they knew that I did, in fact,...
    By Rayla D. Mattson | 2/14/2018
  • Wanting to Break Free

    I'm often accused of being “too reserved,” and there’s truth at the heart of that. On the spiciness scale, my expressiveness is on the mild end. I’m sure that stems from my disdain for being the center of attention. Still, I'm frequently advised to "loosen up," and offered the...
    By DeReau K. Farrar | 1/16/2018
  • 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
  • An Adequate Christmas

    You ever read those magazine articles about how to "survive Christmas"? As if Christmas were some kind of endurance event? To me, that all seems just a little extreme. Then again, it can come from the other side, too—all those jangling jingle bells, with people wanting to put...
    By Jake Morrill | 11/29/2017
  • 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
  • "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
  • Becoming a "Real" American

    When I took the Intercultural Development Inventory* assessment in 2014, my trainer told me that I had some issues with my own cultural values and practices. It’s called Reversal Orientation, she said. I responded, “Why do you think I came to this country? I hated it there!”...
    By Yuri Yamamoto | 7/5/2017
  • Confessing Communities

    "Uh, where’s the booth?” Having been raised by a Christian-on-the-periphery, New Age mom and a Buddhist-leaning dad, I was a little perplexed at my first confession. I was eight years old, attending a Catholic school. That’s a whole different story, but let’s stay with the...
    By Robin Tanner | 5/3/2017
  • 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
  • Singing Out for Love's Return

    For twelve years, Daisy has been the best dog any person could love. But last week, when she disappeared into the woods? That wasn’t what I was thinking. As I tramped along the wet trail, calling for her, other words came to mind. We’ve rambled together through these woods...
    By Jake Morrill | 3/8/2017
  • Expect Nothing

    I had finally begun to relax—a bit. We were en route to Pennsylvania. My friend, a formal part of our “framily,” was visiting. We decided a visit to a crayon factory was the perfect winter outing for toddlers. The day was clear and crisp with typical bumper-to-bumper traffic for...
    By Robin Tanner | 3/1/2017
  • Love Is the Last Thing to Ration

    When I picked up her call, Kira’s voice was thick with tears. Kira, one of my best friends, is the mother of 4-year old twins, working full-time, and grieving a recent divorce—which means she’s also learning how to be a single parent. "I lost it tonight,” she confessed in a...
    By Erika A. Hewitt | 1/25/2017
  • Universal Shorthand

    I have begun to pray recently. This may sound odd coming from a minister, but as much as I adore leading prayer in front of a congregation, on the state capitol steps, or at a patient’s bedside, I’ve always held a certain amount of shame that prayer isn't central to my spiritual...
    By Marisol Caballero | 10/26/2016

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