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In which I present you with wise women over 50

I’m honoured to welcome Diana Trautwein here. (Or as I like to call her, Pastor D). She’s a retired pastor, a wife for 46 years, a mother of 3, Nana to 8 beautiful grandchildren, with tremendous wisdom to offer. She did the stay-at-home-mom thing for 20 years and experienced a mid-life call to ministry, she went to seminary and then served as a pastor for more than 17 years. 

I know many women in my season of life that long for older women to come alongside them. Many of us yearn for the wisdom that older women have to offer. That’s partly why I’m so thrilled about this collection of bloggers as an addendum to the 50 Church & Faith Lady-Bloggers List. But that is not the only reason: the voices of these women are valuable to the entire church! I honour each of them, I’m thrilled to shine my small light here onto their work. Many are new names to me and as I’ve been clicking through their blogs, I’ve been already been so blessed. What richness! What depth! And now, I’ll stop talking and let Diana introduce you to them…


Up front, a disclaimer: I’m not a big fan of lists, for lots of reasons. However, since we’ve been blitzed with lists of late, I am grateful that Sarah took the time, interest and energy to compile one consisting of articulate women who contribute something of value to the internet conversation about faith-based issues and experiences. A BIG shout-out to Sarah for doing this good, good work.

As I read through her amazing collection of 50, I rejoiced at the variety and texture! And I happily realized that I know many of the names I found there.

However, I noticed that there were very few representing my particular demographic – older than 50, older than 60, some of us even older than – gasp! – 70. And here is what I love about Sarah: when I sent her a note, gently suggesting there was a slight hole in the fabric, she agreed with me. And she invited me to put together a list of bloggers who fit the category of 50 or Over.

This little compendium of 21 + five honorary-not-quite-50-yet members is what I’ve come up with in the last 24 hours. I offer deep thanks to my group of about a dozen Facebook friends who helped me put these names together. Some of those friends are in this age category; several of them are not. All of them were so grateful for Sarah’s invitation to think intentionally about this issue because they think it’s important.

In this collection, you will find poets, photographers, married women, widows, divorcees. You will find a priest, several published authors, schoolteachers, pastors’ wives, businesswomen, a hospice worker, some stay-at-home moms, a cancer survivor, a claims adjuster, a spiritual director, a former nurse, a couple of short-term missionaries, and a whole lot of heart.

All are women who have walked through suffering and loss, joy and laughter, gratefully experiencing and celebrating life, in all its wacky, messy, gorgeous reality.

Each one of them loves Jesus and longs to live more fully into her faith.

They write about writing, about mothering and grandmothering, about wrestling with the hard stuff, about living with chronic illness or aging parents or struggling children.

They have a lot to teach and each one of them has a great gift of encouragement, something they share liberally, both at their home sites and in the comment sections all over the cyber waves.

Here they are, in alphabetical order:

Honorary members of this particular club:

Thanks so much, Sarah, for inviting me to do this. It has encouraged my own heart to re-discover these wise and honest voices and I am happy to share them with your readers.

And I KNOW there are others out there – so if you know one or two, why not leave their addresses in the comments?

Diana and her 90 year old mama

Recently retired after 17 years of pastoral ministry, Diana wants to learn how to finish well. She’s been married to Dick for 46 years, stayed home for over 20 years to mother three of her favorite people on earth, is richly blessed to have each of their spouses in her life, and has been Nana for 21 years now (six boys in a row followed by two girls, ages ranging from 2-21).  She is also a little bit crazy, going back to seminary at age 44 while managing a small floral business from home. She loves wrestling with God through scripture and life, and usually, she manages to wait for the blessing. She is in training to become a spiritual director and thoroughly enjoying the wonderful world of cyberspace, now that she has a little more room on her plate.

Continue Reading · blogging, church, faith, Top Lady Bloggers, women, writing · 114

In which I criticise my list, offer my spiritual guidance to bloggers, and other matters

My daily kitchen bouquet

I had such fun putting together that list of 50 Church & Faith Lady-Bloggers during hockey playoffs on Sunday night (sidenote: Go Bruins!). And I’m overwhelmed by how well it was received. Thank you so much for your comments, for covering Twitter and Facebook with a message around women’s voices in the Church, for encouraging each one of those writers in the comments, for reading. I hardly know what to say – and, for me, to be at a loss for words….

My heart wasn’t to rank or exclude, but to bring attention to just a handful of women whose voices are speaking to us all.  And that’s not all….there were a few criticisms I had with myself over the list.

For example, I didn’t like that only a handful of women there were over 50, and so a friend of mine who falls into that category will be posting her Top Faith and Church Lady-Bloggers Over 50 here later this week. And I also feel that there was a gap in one or two more areas so I’ll be keeping an eye out to fix that later this week or next.

I’d like to highlight more women out of the USA, more women on the fringes of creative and new expressions of Church and faith, more women that are not married with children, more women that are visible minorities. So stay tuned, and if any of those areas are speaking to you, or if there is another area you’d like to see highlighted, drop me an email and we’ll see what we can figure out. I”m not into being a list-factory, but I do think it’s important somehow.

I wrote a short post for Lisa Colon Delay’s blog series on Spiritual Guidance for Bloggers. I admit that I struggled with writing it – I suck at advice and I’m very “hey, whatever works, man” in my sensitivities (you know me….).  But the series has been fantastic (particularly loved Ray’s contribution) and here is mine:


Dear Blogger: 

There are so many ways to be a better blogger, to increase your traffic, to maximize your SEO, to make money. 

I practice almost none of them. 

After nearly 8 years of writing my life out online, I’ve made almost every mistake one can make. I’ve learned the hard way to write angry, but publish when I’ve calmed down. I’ve received my fair share of angry criticism and lavish praise. I’ve been convinced that I’m God’s gift to the blogosphere and, usually within a few moments, pretty sure that my blog is an abomination upon the earth. And I discovered that what is good for the Google analytics isn’t always good for my soul. 

In which Sarah Bessey writes a letter to bloggers

And then ChurchLeaders.com picked up and featured my contribution to Adam Walker Cleveland’s (Re)Imagining Christianity series. No provocative title this time, thank heavens, but I loved that piece and I’m glad to see it still out in the world.

Somehow, when I find myself in someone else’s stories, I find God there, too. It’s hard to fight with someone about their own experience so sometimes, even if it jumps my fence, I have to slow my quick judgement, slow my I’m-right-and-you’re-wrong, to give space to the truth that God works and moves in mysterious and unique ways. Even if I disagree with the premise behind it, I can look a soul in the eyes and say, I heard you, I hear you, I honour God at work in you. 

I love when faith communities make space for the stories of the people of God. I hope we always make space for the testimony. Not the sanitized three-steps-to-success stories, no, the real ones. Not the properly vetted, people as mascots for evangelicalism. The unpolished, unedited people of God should be heard, we should be listening, we should be speaking, preaching the Gospel of our lives back and forth, not to one-up each other, but to encourage, to testify to the goodness of our God. 

He’s saved me.
He’s healed me.
He’s loved me.
Oh, I can testify to this: God is love and love is God and grace covers us all. 

Has Your Church Lost the Power of Testimony?

And in a trifecta of coolness (or a trifecta of “I’m sick of myself by now”), the vast blogging network, BlogHer, picked up and featured my contribution to the Mother Letters project as a snippet on their front page yesterday. (The full article is here.)


There is no perfect mother.
If there is one thing that has tripped me up most as a mum, especially in the early years of this, it’s the belief that somewhere, out there, was The Perfect Mother. Sometimes she was my own mother. Sometimes she was someone online. Sometimes she was someone at church or at the playground. I’d see one brief moment of her life, or hear her speak, or see her kids, and think, I bet she never resents wiping bums or feels bored, I bet she never feels so tired that even her eyebrows are aching, I bet she loves every single minute of this mothering thing and I bet her kids listen to classical music and never bicker. I bet she’s a better mother than me.
That just isn’t true, The Perfect Mother only exists in the land of unicorns.
Of unicorns and perfect mothers

It worked out nicely because the ebook celebrating both the mess and the glory of motherhood releases TODAY and I’m glad it’s getting more attention. I love that book and want to give it to every mother I know.

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In which I present 50 Church and Faith Lady-Bloggers

Church Relevance has updated their influential Top 200 Church Blogs. The list was notable for two reasons: mainly Calvinist and mainly male. (Kent Shaffer has responded to the criticism regarding women here, but his ranking is not alone in the distinction of being primarily male-focused.)

Christian women are blogging through their faith and church experiences, writing about theology and ecclesiology and family with great passion for their faith and spirituality, and wielding tremendous influence online, yet we are rarely counted in these types of lists. In terms of influence alone, women bloggers in the Church consistenly pull stats on Google Analytics that would blow most of the Top 200 Church Blogs list out of the water.

There are always the same reasons or excuses offered for our exclusion from the power rankings. Perhaps it’s because the lists are self-nominated and women rarely nominate themselves. Or it’s because some of us weave our theology through our personal experience. And men don’t feel comfortable reading a blog written by a woman but the opposite does not hold true; after all, men write for men and women while women write for women.  Or it’s that we don’t meet the criteria, our writing does not specifically edify the church, or it is not considered useful for the boys doing the real ministry. Or perhaps it’s simply representative of the state of the Church or the blogosphere or the world.

These excuses do not change this truth: The Church would benefit tremendously by listening to the diverse voices of women, particularly as it relates to ministry and church and theology.

So instead of simply criticising and getting my knickers in a tangle, I would like to direct a bit of attention to just a handful of Lady Bloggers that love Jesus, make beautiful art, challenge the Church, wrestle with theology and generally influence the Church far and wide – with or without a power ranking badge on their website.

But here: I’ll make a banner for it, so it’s All Official now:


These are women bloggers in the Church whose voices should be heard.

These women are edifying the Bride of Christ.
They are useful for ministry life and for family life.
They are women after God’s own heart.
They are missional, they are pastoral, they are academics and scholars.
They have something to teach us all – women and men.
They are passionate about social justice and mercy.
Some are wives and mothers, others are not.
They are warriors and they are peacemakers.
They are smart, brave, bold, and deeply theological.
Their voices are equal in the Church.

Plus I just plain like them. And no, I’m not on the list. *kicks rocks*

  1. A Holy Experience
  2. Rachel Held Evans
  3. Kathy Escobar
  4. Jamie the Very Worst MIssionary
  5. A Deeper Story
  6. (in)courage
  7. Mama::Monk
  8. SortaCrunchy 
  9. Margaret Feinberg
  10. Vicky Beeching
  11. Jen Hatmaker
  12. Sarah Markley
  13. Nadia Bolz-Weber
  14. Pam Hogeweide
  15. SheLoves Magazine
  16. The CBE Scroll
  17. Jenni Catron
  18. Hermeneutics (Christianity Today’s blog for women)
  19. Good Women Project
  20. Living Proof Ministries Blog
  21. RevGalBlogPals
  22. Rage Against the Minivan
  23. Elizabeth Esther
  24. One Hand Clapping
  25. A Beautiful Mess
  26. Imperfect Prose
  27. Cathleen Falsani
  28. Tamara Out Loud
  29. Steph (in)Dialogue
  30. Laura Ziesel
  31. Nish Happens
  32. Halfway to Normal
  33. Joy in this Journey
  34. SheWorships
  35. So Much Shouting, So Much Laughter
  36. Grit and Glory
  37. Kisses From Katie
  38. Amber at The Runamuck
  39. The Gypsy Mama
  40. Faith Barista
  41. Love Notes to Yahweh
  42. Annie Downs
  43. Chatting at the Sky
  44. Heart to Heart with Holley
  45. Godspace
  46. Mihee Kim Kort
  47. Enuma Okoro
  48. Karen Spears Zacharias
  49. Carolyn Weber
  50. Diana Butler Bass

(Of course, the argument could be made against lists or rankings of any kind within the Church. The whole “first shall be last, last shall be first” thing doesn’t jive well with power rankings, does it? But that’s another post…)


I tried to include mainly women that speak specifically to faith (as opposed to women that I know are Christians but whose blogs are primarily related to lifestyle or frugal living or natural choices or technology or politics etc.). It’s not based on traffic nor is it an official ranking. It is not exhaustive (I could have easily made this list 200 Church and Faith Lady Bloggers). It’s entirely subjective. My use of the phrase Lady-Bloggers is entirely tongue in cheek. 


Please also check out a special edition: Faith & Church Lady Bloggers Over 50.



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Continue Reading · blogging, church, faith, Top Lady Bloggers, women · 126