It’s never easy leaving a place where you feel welcomed and cared for, nor is it easy to leave a city like Austin (what with the incredible urban green space and all those delicious breakfast tacos). So, it may seem like a surprising move to many to hear that I’m leaving not just UCC or Austin, but the country completely. I’d like to share a bit more about the lead-up that went on behind the scenes so that everyone can not only see how I fell into this PhD program, but also......
If you have ventured into the University Christian sanctuary over the past few months, you may have recognized that a few pews have lost a bit of weight. Specifically, four of our pews were cut by 36 inches each to ensure that any person who used a wheelchair could fully participate in the service. In the past, a person using a wheelchair had a few options. For starters, if they used the chair but could shift into a different seat, they could navigate out of their chair and around the side of......
Advent is a time of reflection. A time to meditate on the darkness of our lives and world, and to anticipate the coming of light in the form of Christ. Notice, that doesn’t say spiritual reflection. Advent certainly is a time for us to think critically about our spiritual selves, the innermost thoughts and emotions that we hold, and our faith practices. It is a time for us to be mindful of the ways in which we have lived into our brokenness, rather than the hope of our future wholeness. But one crucial......
According to the Mass Shooting Tracker, which locates news stories on any shooting event that involves 4 or more people, America has seen 388 mass shootings so far in 2017. Three hundred eighty-eight mass shootings since January – even if there wasn’t another shooting the rest of the year, we’d still average more than 1 a day. Of course, some of these shootings stand out far above others on a national level. An event like Las Vegas where 59 people were killed will stand out above even the four people injured in......
In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, plenty of us in Austin had family and friends that needed our help. Houston, Corpus Christi, Victoria, Port Arthur, Port Aransas, Beaumont, Rockport – these are places we know and love, and it was easy to justify spending our days in an emergency shelter for evacuees and planning day trips to help with clean-up. The need was real, and we felt it. Hurricanes Maria and Irma, however, didn’t hit Texas. But even though the areas they hit are much further away, and even though far less of......
What happens when we forget? What happens when we refuse to acknowledge pain and struggle and heartache and loss? What happens when we lose track of those who weep, when we turn away from those who cry out, when we forsake those who display their wounds in public? One year ago today, a group home for adults with significant disabilities was attacked by a lone terrorist. Before breaking in and murdering 19 residents, Satoshi Uematsu (a former caretaker in the facility) wrote a manifesto condemning the service and care of those with......
It’s true, I’m just not on Shakira’s level, I suppose. What I mean by this is that I’ve had some gnarly hip pain on several of my training runs, dating back before Christmas. It’s been really disheartening to cut runs short, cut back on my weekly mileage, and to watch my times slowly creep back up. I think I’ve managed to move past it with a regimen of stretching, strength-building, yoga, and rest, but hip pain belies an unfortunate truth when it comes to running a marathon – I’ve never done this......
Election years are hard on churches. And it isn’t just that congregations end up divided on important issues. We are 501(c)3 organizations, which means that we have certain perks afforded to us by the government, ostensibly because we offer to the community services which increase their value and quality of life. Essentially, the government recognizes that some things are better done by smaller organizations, and that those same organizations should get certain treatment in order to help them survive in a capitalistic society. Of course, being a 501(c)3 also comes with a......
If you have looked outside recently, you will have noticed that hoards of young people are walking aimlessly throughout the parks, streets, and even maybe your lawn, all over the city. This is a country-wide epidemic, in fact, stretching far beyond Austin and into even the furthest reaches of America’s beautiful lands. Though it may look like the zombie apocalypse has hit us, the reality is far more intriguing. Pokemon Go, a very simple app, has taken the 30-and-younger crowd by storm. Parent company Nintendo has gained 20 BILLION in revenue, and......
Mighty LORD, we cry out to You with our fear and confusion. With our anger and our rage, our sporadic bursts of tears, with our numb silence, and in the hugs that we cling to as if letting go were to be letting go our only sense of gravity. We cry, God, and we sit in our confusion and get frustrated that we do not understand. We fear that there may not be anything we can understand. We cannot control our world, or the people we love. And when they hurt, God,......