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Braver/Wiser Archive
Braver/Wiser Archive
Worship
  • Blue Sky Returning

    Before I moved to Michigan, friends warned me about the long months of overcast skies. I’d lived in climates where winter came with snow and freezing temperatures, but also included plenty of sunshine and that sharp cobalt reserved for particularly cold days. Here, though, the...
    By Lindasusan Ulrich | 4/25/2018
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Infighting Is Easier

    Standing roadside, stranded, watching thousands of dollars rise in the smoke coming from under the hood, it’s easier to fight about who forgot to put oil in the car than to hold one another’s shaking hands in the shape-shifting uncertainty of whether the three white boys we’re...
    By Teresa Honey Youngblood | 4/12/2017
  • The Celebration in Front of Us

    Have you felt it? The hush that falls over a crowd after a wonderful performance, just before the applause bursts forth? The feeling of transcendence as thousands of voices rise together, filling a stadium with a favorite song? A rhythm that seems to sink bone-deep into people’s...
    By Sean Parker Dennison | 12/14/2016

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