Archive | A Deeper Story

In which we’re suffering for Jesus in matching t-shirts


When Help One Now invited me to Haiti as part of a storytellers trip, I wanted to say no.

I wanted to say no because I was afraid of poverty, and I was afraid of my heart breaking. I wanted to say no because it was inconvenient, and I was reluctant to leave my tinies. And I wanted to say no because I’ve had an aversion to the whole blogger trip phenomenon. After all, I spent years avoiding mission trips – quite a notable feat for a woman married to a former missionary to Mexico and a youth pastor. “Oh, I have to work,” excusing myself, which was true, but I also thought Mexico hardly needed one more group of rich North Americans performing mime on their street corners, and the money spent going would be better spent in the hands of on-the-ground community development. Mission trips seemed more like a yearning for travel and adventure cloaked in pious language.

“We’ll spend four days painting rooms in an orphanage, and then we’ll go shopping and hang out on the beach! We’re suffering for Jesus! Let’s get matching t-shirts! It’ll be so rad.”

So when Chris Marlow, the leader of the Help One Now tribe, asked me to join him on a short trip to Haiti with a group of bloggers, my first instinct was a simple no.

The western world, including churches, have a habit of showing up in developing countries with a lot of zeal and good intentions that ultimately end up hurting or crippling complex societies, and then wounding precious people through inadvertent ignorance. I had learned how helping can hurt, and I didn’t want to hurt Haiti economically, or relationally. I wasn’t interested in tidy, simple narratives for the purpose of raising money.

I cringed at the thought of trotting Haitians out as props for fundraising. The phrase “poverty tourism” revolted me. It was easier and safer to do, well, nothing than it was to risk hurting any one or accidentally set foot into colonialism.

Yet I couldn’t seem to say no to going to Haiti.

Read the rest at A Deeper Story.

Continue Reading · A Deeper Story, Haiti · 0

In which I’m practicing

I have practiced cynicism, like a pianist practices scales, over and over.  I have practiced being defensive – about my choices and my mothering, my theology and my politics – until I was on the offense. I performed, with repetition, outrage and resentful anger, the victim of someone else’s god, I was jumping, Pavlovian, to right every wrong and defend every truth, refute every essay, pontificate to every question. I called it critical thinking to hide my bitter and critical heart, and I wondered why I had no real joy.

It didn’t take long for my proficiency in cynicism to become obvious to others. My aptitude didn’t take a lot of work, I’ll be honest, it seemed to come rather naturally to me, maybe I was a prodigy. I practiced poking holes, deflating arguments, identifying the pill in all of the jam. My response to it all was, “yeah, but…” and I set up my piano on the border between Funny and Mean, playing sarcastic scales in the name of wit, you might be surprised by how much snark you can fit into 140 characters. And over and over and over again, I practiced and practiced, but no one liked to hear me play.

Give me just a moment here, follow me outside. I’m done with this grand piano, with this glossy stage, with the concert proficiency at Being Right, I’m ready to be Beloved instead. Here, now, let’s head for the Canadian wilderness together, I’ve got just the spot in mind, and wouldn’t you know it, out here, in the sunshine, there’s a battered old thrift store piano, just for me.

Read the rest over at A Deeper Story….

P.S. Did you notice that A Deeper Story has redesigned and expanded? There are two new channels: A Deeper Family and A Deeper Church. I love them.

Continue Reading · A Deeper Story, abundant life, community, faith, Guest Post, journey, music · 4

In which my heart just sits down

Six people are dead in Wisconsin, dead because they were at the Sikh temple early that day, and motives are still unclear, but oh, my heart, may we, as the people of Jesus, be mourning, too.

I read this article after the Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin. The reporter quoted a victim’s family member at the scene of the horror, he said that when he heard the news, “it was like the heart just sat down.

This shooting, coming so soon on the heels of another American shooting in Colorado, and the one before that and the one before that, and what is there to say but I’m so so so sorry. God. God.

I first became acquainted with the Sikh faith when I was 16…..

Read the rest of this essay at A Deeper Story.


Continue Reading · A Deeper Story, faith, Guest Post, local · 0