The Other Journal

God Is Coming

In Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus, we find the story of Gabriel’s visit to Mary (Luke 1:26–38). It is an unusual story, to say the very least. Very few of us have experienced a visit from an angel, and we may have trouble imagining what Mary’s experience was like. We tend to live without expecting that God comes…

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The Other Journal

Laughing Our Way into the Kingdom

Tomorrow, after one of the longest years of any of our lives, we will (thankfully) celebrate Christmas. I, for one, am more than ready for it. One of my favorite Christmas choral pieces for the season is “O Magnum Mysterium” by the American composer Morten Lauridsen. I return to it several times a year around this time, for it speaks…

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The Other Journal

Pandemic and the Contemplative Mother

“It is like someone who finds themselves on a mountain ridge,” writes the bishop. “Imagine a shear, steep crag, of reddish appearance below, extending into eternity; on top there is this ridge which looks down over a projecting rim into a bottomless chasm. Now imagine what a person would probably experience if he puts his foot on the edge of…

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The Other Journal

Out of the Mouths of Children: On Restoring Praise

Thus says the Lord: Behold, I will restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob and have compassion on his dwellings; the city shall be rebuilt on its mound, and the palace shall stand where it used to be. Out of them shall come songs of thanksgiving, and the voices of those who celebrate. I will multiply them, and they…

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The Other Journal

Hope and Peace and a Dragon

A few days before the beginning of Advent last year, I found myself in a lonely hospital waiting room, desperately pacing. Moments earlier a small army had sprung into action, wheeling my wife down the hall, around the corner, and through an imposing set of doors. I followed as best I could as I fumbled with the disposable jumpsuit I…

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The Other Journal

Family Stories: Growing in Our Narrative

Every two years, my family would drive through the blazing air of the Mojave Desert to visit cousins in Phoenix and gaze at the deep gap of the Grand Canyon. We took my father’s old Ford Ranger. Since that tiny beast of a truck could only fit my parents in the two bucket seats of the air-conditioned cab interior, my…

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The Other Journal

A Vulnerable Trust: Why the Church Shouldn’t Invest in Its Children

He called a child, whom he put among them,and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” —Matthew 18:2–3 NRSV Somewhere in our history as modern Westerners, we conjured up the sentimental notion that children are our future, and we began to emphasize the moral act of investing…

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The Other Journal

Finding Stillness

By the time my husband and I arrived at Paradise to ski with the children, a lenticular cloud had formed over the top of Mount Rainier. These clouds are recognizable from afar as the UFO-shaped formations that often sit atop mountain ranges, an indication of dangerously turbulent air. Pilots take care to avoid them.  From almost directly below, a vantage…

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The Other Journal

Every Word They Say Chagrins Us

If speaking for someone else seems to be a mysterious process, that may be because speaking to someone does not seem mysterious enough. —Stanley Cavell, Must We Mean What We Say? When my partner and I traveled to Berlin a few summers past, one of the places I was eager to visit was the Bonhoeffer house. The first leg of…

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The Other Journal

Wounds and the Wounded

Orlo stood in the narrow kitchen of the ancient house trailer, his Bible splayed open on the counter before him. “It’s right here in the Scriptures,” he said to Ray, who was cleaning his shotgun and watching Judge Judy. The single-wide they occupied sat on the nob of a wooded hill, an old Buick parked in its gravel driveway. A…

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The Other Journal

Corpus Christi

The body of Jesus was usually a wafer, but every so often it was a soft, warm loaf. I never knew who made the call behind the scenes, though I do remember being enlisted to knead dough one Saturday in the home of a Sunday school classmate. I knew that transubstantiation—the belief that the bread and wine becomes the body…

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The Other Journal

The Law of the Gospel: A Review of Philip Cary’s The Meaning of Protestant Theology in a Time of Protests

Philip Cary, The Meaning of Protestant Theology: Luther, Augustine, and the Gospel that Gives Us Christ (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2019). How you read a book has everything to do with where and when you read it. So it is difficult to imagine what I would have written about Philip Cary’s The Meaning of Protestant Theology if I had…

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The Other Journal

Heart to Heart

Luke says Mary kept every- thing—angels roaring in the night, shepherds crawling through dung and hay, camels, comets—all these things, gospels and gospels, stored in the four chambers of her heart. I wonder if Einstein’s mother had room enough in her ventricles for quanta and atoms, light’s slow passage through the eye of the universe. Or Darwin’s mother enough space…

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The Other Journal

Strawberry Picking

for Sally You took me strawberry pickingonce, drove out to a farmwhere we paid to squat in greenbeds laced with tongues of red.I could feel my ears and necktighten under the punishingsun as we filled Morning Gloryice cream buckets with ourharvest, each berry looking to melike some vital body part,an organ or muscle necessaryfor life. You sat on your haunches,fingers…

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