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Braver/Wiser Archive
Braver/Wiser Archive
Worship
  • 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
  • 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
  • Tender Places

    Many years ago, I spent a week visiting a musician friend of mine in Brooklyn. Alex and I had started a recording project together before he and his family moved away from San Francisco, so I took vacation time and flew cross-country to wrap things up. While his wife went to her...
    By Lindasusan Ulrich | 12/6/2017
  • I Ride Bus

    My three-year-old is almost completely nonverbal. Every day when she gets off the bus, I ask her the same question: I ask her how her day was, and every day I get the same answer: ”Momma, I ride bus.” I ask her what she had for lunch and who she played with. I ask her if she...
    By Rayla D. Mattson | 11/22/2017
  • "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
  • Delicious Ambiguity

    How is it that I, a minister and known skeptic, am able to a) not run around screaming that the sky is falling and, b) do my job at all? This question perplexes those belonging to religious traditions that offer comfort in the form of certainty. For some, answers to life’s...
    By Marisol Caballero | 5/17/2017
  • All Our Relations

    Everyone needs comadres and compadres. What are those? Well, Latinx* people have way more relatives than many other families. Most people attribute this to the fact that many Latinx* are Catholic and therefore frown on contraception, but this is only a partial truth. The rest of...
    By Marisol Caballero | 12/28/2016
  • An Unlikely Teacher of Love

    He was, I am told, just a dog. But who was it that, fresh from the litter, climbed onto my chest, licked my face, and rubbed his pink baby nose against my cheek? Who chewed the edges of my only antique desk? Who hiked to the top of Multnomah Falls, snug and safe in my...
    By Maureen Killoran | 10/12/2016

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