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Braver/Wiser Archive
Braver/Wiser Archive
Worship
  • Hope Is Currency

    There's nothing simple about the holidays. Joy can feel empty when it is compulsory. The promise of liberation is hard fought and well earned.
    By Alex Haider-Winnett | 12/12/2018
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  • Radical Expectations

    Advent is about expectation—radical expectations that undo the status quo—and anticipation: a skillful search for the places where liberation rises from the ashes.
    By Robin Tanner | 12/5/2018
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  • To Break Our Hearts Open

    What, exactly, are we doing when we invite love into our lives? Surely we know that it's much tidier without it, when things stay at a distance.
    By Amanda Poppei | 11/28/2018
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  • A Cause for Thanksgiving?

    Something new could come out of this moment of discomfort; something like healing. This is our opportunity to reimagine what Thanksgiving could be — and who we could be.
    By Daniel Gregoire | 11/21/2018
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  • The Kindness of Others

    A white woman pulled over and ran over to me with a shopping bag. She noticed that I never have on a coat and I often stand in the rain. She didn’t know if the things would fit, but the receipt was in the bag. She smiled and drove away. As I looked down at the bag, I had very...
    By Rayla D. Mattson | 11/14/2018
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  • Love Does Not Disappear

    In the eighteen years I’ve served as minister of my small-town congregation, I have led 96 memorial services, most for people I have loved. The longer I stay, the deeper I love and the more I grieve.
    By Elea Kemler | 10/31/2018
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  • Out of the Spiritual Fog

    God is not a distant force, far away. God is in the beating of our hearts and the backbeat of a funky baseline. God is in a four-on-the-floor drum fill, and in the achy joints and sore muscles the day after.
    By Alex Haider-Winnett | 10/24/2018
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  • Worthy of Love

    What had to die was my shame: my belief that I was not worthy of such love. I discovered a greater love within myself as a creation of God, worthy of these gifts.
    By Rebekah Savage | 10/17/2018
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  • Blessed Are the Magic-Makers

    We could see the main path to the swimming hole ahead, but we had to pick our way through sand spurs to get there. Behind us were rattlesnakes. What did the youth do? They started playing.
    By Teresa Honey Youngblood | 10/10/2018
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  • The Compliment

    I trusted the woman at the pharmacy to be capable of hearing hard truth. Bless her wounded heart with its internalized misogyny. She just wants women to love and support each other. Thank you. Me too.
    By Misha Sanders | 9/26/2018
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  • Amen-Peanut Butter-Eyeballs

    Our family prays at mealtime to practice gratitude in our lives. I love that my children are taking it as their own, finding their own meaning.
    By Christian Schmidt | 9/19/2018
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  • Angry Birds

    Who are the angry birds in my life? Do I avoid opportunities in fear of risks? What are the sticks I carry in my heart so as not to be hurt again?
    By Yuri Yamamoto | 9/12/2018
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  • The Beauty Spilling Out

    It's an impulse of the human self to be known fully, and that’s almost never possible unless we risk the conversations that help us see past our initial impressions.
    By Amanda Poppei | 9/5/2018
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  • Fear Can't Last Forever

    This is a story of in-the-middle for those wondering how their story ends.
    By Robin Tanner | 8/29/2018
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  • Bruh

    Black people are so accustomed to being ignored and invisible that a simple acknowledgement—a simple I see you —from a peer goes a long way.
    By DeReau K. Farrar | 8/22/2018
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  • Petrichor

    May we find unexpected ways to remember where we came from and imagine where we may go next. May we find touchstones of our pasts, and may they become a foundation for the future.
    By Alex Haider-Winnett | 8/15/2018
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  • Someone Loved by Someone Else

    If a friend were in my situation, I would have seen their failings as human. So why hold someone to an unforgiving standard just because that someone is me ?
    By Kat Liu | 8/8/2018
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  • Red Bubble Letters

    It is my only memory of a lesson from Kindergarten Sunday School class. Maybe it’s the only one that counts.
    By Misha Sanders | 8/1/2018
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  • Home, Again

    People move places for jobs, relations, opportunities, escape, hindering our ability to put down new roots. And yet, we carry a constancy: the still, quiet voice within.
    By Teresa Honey Youngblood | 6/6/2018
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  • Be a Blessing

    I’d gotten in the habit of keeping my head down and hardly noticing where I was or who was around me. On this day, I decided to greet the world differently.
    By S.J. Butler | 5/30/2018
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  • Playlists of the Spirit

    Music is my solace and my comfort, the one thing that’s always with me. I feel its vibration deep in my soul; it’s my spiritual practice. Music tells the story of my life.
    By Connie Simon | 5/23/2018
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  • Building a Common Life

    I choose to believe in community. I choose to believe in the difficult, slow work of building a common life.
    By Elea Kemler | 5/16/2018
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  • The Story of My Birth

    Tell me the story of my birth, and help me understand how you were changed the day I entered the world. Help me know love, deep in my bones.
    By Mandie McGlynn | 5/9/2018
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  • Blue Sky Returning

    However imperfectly I may be living this life of mine, there’s no one better at it, and there’s no one else who can do it for me.
    By Lindasusan Ulrich | 4/25/2018
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  • The Strength That Defines Us

    My heart broke the day my son stood in the bathroom crying. He handed me a pair of scissors and told me to just cut it . I told him how beautiful his hair was and how sad I would be to see him cut it.
    By Rayla D. Mattson | 4/18/2018
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  • Putting the Pieces Together

    In real life, we can only place the pieces, one by one, and see what kind of picture we create. Sometimes we turn out to have chosen the wrong piece. Sometimes the picture is wildly unexpected.
    By Amanda Poppei | 4/4/2018
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  • Kindling the Spirit

    What if we encouraged and celebrated each other for who we are? What if, instead of criticizing, we challenged with love, affirming the good we see in one another?
    By Connie Simon | 3/21/2018
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  • Opportunities to Say Yes

    Last year for Lent, I decided to say yes to any request. I made it all the way to Easter without having to honor my decision.
    By Nathan Ryan | 3/14/2018
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  • Strangers at the Door

    To offer hospitality, we first have to identify ourselves — sometimes in inconvenient or uncomfortable ways — as helpers; as willing to offer kindness or connection to someone we might disagree with.
    By Erika A. Hewitt | 3/7/2018
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  • Faithful

    Being faithful doesn’t mean endless work. It also means attention to the movement of spirit that can appear as an hour of sleep, the truth of a toddler, or a donut in the middle of the day.
    By Robin Tanner | 2/28/2018
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  • Another, Truer Song

    I wanted so much to believe that God was watching over this boy, that God was tender and protective and fiercely on the side of life and that this boy would not slip away.
    By Elea Kemler | 2/21/2018
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  • No Longer Claiming "Divorced"

    I spent time feeling embarrassed—that somehow I had failed—because I had filed for divorce. It’s been over nine years now, and I wake up every single day happy with my decision.
    By Rayla D. Mattson | 2/14/2018
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  • Good Enough

    Spirit of Compassion, remind us that our task as humans is not perfection, but faithfulness.
    By Lindasusan Ulrich | 1/31/2018
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  • Telling a New Story

    I’m not the same person who stood in that tattoo parlor eleven years ago. Still, I don’t for a minute regret being permanently marked with this snapshot in time, of my wounds and my hope.
    By Mandie McGlynn | 1/20/2018
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  • Wanting to Break Free

    I wanted so badly to break free and let loose—but I just couldn't. I was stuck in my own false ideas of the congregation's expectations of me. Luckily, there’s still time.
    By DeReau K. Farrar | 1/16/2018
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  • Mrs. Cash's Oranges

    Liking somebody, even loving somebody, is not enough to protect them from shade that you cannot even see, much less understand.
    By Teresa Honey Youngblood | 1/10/2018
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  • Stopping to Help

    My oldest child was confused: why would no one stop and help us? Even though people weren’t stopping to help us, my son said, he wanted to be more like me and stop to help someone anyway.
    By Rayla D. Mattson | 1/3/2018
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  • The Possibility of Redemption

    We have narratives that guide the way we experience and know one another—but the Rev. Dr. William Barber often reminds me that “you must always believe the redemption of your enemy is possible.”
    By Robin Tanner | 12/26/2017
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  • Messy, Wildly Imperfect Love

    Every year, I tell the congregation not to worry about mistakes because there aren’t any; there is only us, telling an old story about love getting born into this aching world.
    By Elea Kemler | 12/20/2017
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  • Wired for Connection

    It’s been said that it’s easier to untangle a string of lights if you plug them in; it’s no different for people. Humans, just like strings of lights, are wired for connection.
    By Erin Powers | 12/13/2017
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  • An Adequate Christmas

    An adequate Christmas would have you calm and open, taking it in, accepting whatever is. Slow it all down like you might be, in some way, attuned to the pace of the Eternal. If you need, you can fake it at first.
    By Jake Morrill | 11/29/2017
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  • 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
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  • The Dynamics of Silence

    "How complicated it is to break silence: to open all of the secrets in all of our broken hearts. But silence does break; truth seeks the light. We're unraveling silence because we have determined that our power with one another is greater than the power someone once had over us."
    By Erika A. Hewitt | 11/15/2017
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  • Holding Space for Truth to Bloom

    Someone whispered to me, “Can you pray?” All eyes turned to me. I had no earthly clue what to say. It was a profound gut-level panic. It was the moment I learned to speak the truth as best I understand it, and to hold space for it to bloom.
    By Lisa Bovee-Kemper | 10/25/2017
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  • Making Space for Our Doubts

    “If I ask you a question, do you promise to tell me the truth?" For future reference, if a child asks you this question at Christmas time, EVADE.
    By Becky Brooks | 10/18/2017
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  • Pulled by a Fragile Thread

    We, the willing, follow the threads to one another; past rightness and quips and tweets. We will find one another and persist past sunrise.
    By Robin Tanner | 10/4/2017
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  • Between Wonder and Fear

    Life is full of seesaws: it offers us moments of extreme wonder and moments of fear. Sometimes you have to live through the fear for the wonder to arrive.
    By Elizabeth Harding | 9/27/2017
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  • Multicultural Joy

    Each of us at the wedding had unique stories about their life, but most knew how it felt to be an Asian American in this country. That was enough for me.
    By Yuri Yamamoto | 9/20/2017
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  • "Change" Is a Word on Wheels

    How many times do I need to make mistakes at the expense of other people, or people’s groups, before I’m ready to admit that I’m not any better at this than the bigoted and willfully ignorant? If I am to “be change,” I must commit to humility and refuse to settle for my own...
    By DeReau K. Farrar | 9/12/2017
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  • Love Showed Up

    Remembering is the art of holding a memory and sharing it; it’s drawing upon that memory so it can help us to grow into people who live lives of meaning and service. As a practice, remembering connects us deeply to each other and to the love that sustains us.
    By Elizabeth Harding | 8/23/2017
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