Madonnas in the Alley

One of the most enchanting aspects of our wander around Central Europe was the profusion of religious art. In allies, tucked under windowsills, nooks on the most mundane of buildings.

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Just outside of Loreto, Prague

I love the reverence for Mary, and for maternal divine images. One of my favorite reliefs was of Saint Francis cradling a Christ child in a small Bavarian village.

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My absolute favorite was in the graveyard attached to Nonnberg Abbey, the famous nunnery of Maria von Trapp (both in real life and the film).

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Juxtaposed to the remnants of communism in the Czech Republic, it seemed a small miracle these relics of medieval and Renaissance art remained. I thought it had to be at least part for history, for culture, for their simple beauty.

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But i’ve also always fancied Mary, and her enduring maternal-God image, resilient. Like these little nooks, she hangs around, sometimes unseen and unappreciated, sometimes caked with the grime of a century of disuse.

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But she is still present, still holding her child.



Committing + Confirmation: On Finding a Church Home

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We’ve committed. Hell, we had our first confirmation class this morning. After years of waffling, of hurling insults of elitism and masculine language, of denying the abiding current of the liturgy – a current that sustains and challenges – Jonathan … Continue reading

God as a Child

Me + Becca at our First Communion.

We moved eight times before my seventh birthday. Chapel Hill was the pin on the map my mother pressed into concrete, telling my father Switzerland and Singapore were perfectly commute-able for him, but her children had friends, and so did … Continue reading

Postcard from Prague

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In October, Jonathan and i did what we love to do most of all: took off for a new place to meet each other all over again. My brother Thom was studying in Prague for the semester and it was … Continue reading

Viscera Interview

Halloween 2009, when Rebecca and i went as the sun and the moon!

Halloween 2009, when Rebecca and i went as the sun and the moon!

I first met Rebecca Ripperton when i was told she was my twin.

Not really my biological twin, of course, but my twin for the course of the community production of Twelfth Night we’d been cast in as sophomores in high school, she as Sebastian and i as Viola. Later, she would be my own Beatrice when i directed Much Ado About Nothing. Our friendship blossomed from that shared love of theatre and Shakespeare.

Now, Rebecca has launched a wonderfully creative new project: Viscera Stories, a journalistic venture meant to provide insight into people’s innermost selves. As she describes it,

“We, as human beings, are too varied and seemingly-complex to merit anything less ambiguous and powerful. It seems as though it is in our very nature is to be obsessed with stories, and to understand and define ourselves through the telling of tales; it is a way to uncover our innermost selves, our viscera, to the world.”

Ever a lover of a good story, when she asked me to be one of the subjects interviewed i was more than honored and delighted. Her questions were sometimes painful to answer, not because she was intrusive but because they were such thoughtful questions that really sought the heart of my own story.

Below is a snippet from my interview, and you can read the whole piece here. Rebecca is doing some truly earnest, poignant work on Viscera and i cannot wait to see how it grows!

Viscera: In you journey toward faith, what have been some of the hardest pills for you to swallow about God, Christianity, or human existence?
LMD: That everybody hurts.I wish I could say what has bothered me most has been the rampant sexism, racism, and homophobia in the church – which, obviously, bothers me on the molecular level – but I think the more I walk with people who I’m tempted to first write off as hypocrites the more I learn that God loves them, too. And being a feminist pastor means I dance that line of holding people accountable and care for their whole, imperfect selves.

My husband taught me this the most, really; I was ranting against the misogyny of an old white guy in our church, and it was Jonathan who said “Yeah, but when he’s dying of cancer in a hospital, someone has to go and pray with him as he readies himself to meet God. Even racist Christians need pastors to do their funerals.” And I was like, “shit, that’s what radical love looks like.” Leading a Jesus life seems to me to be the pursuit of the impossible.

Be sure to check out the whole interview here and look into the rest of Rebecca’s amazing work!


How to Have a Feminist Christian Wedding

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To the first: if you self-identify as that beautifully paradoxical and frustratingly poignant mix of feminist and Christian, AND now you’re planning a wedding, bless you.  And please know that, contrary to the title, this post is not a one-size-for-all guide. … Continue reading

Mother Wisdom: A Sermon for Epiphany

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Texts: Matthew 2:1 – 12 & Book of Wisdom 10: 15-21 Our texts this morning are drawn from two sources: one I imagine is familiar to you all: the Gospel of Matthew. The other, however, is a little less known – … Continue reading

God is not my Father

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For Mother’s Day this year, a group of Christian theologians and musicians created an alternative liturgy honoring the motherly aspects of God. The central piece of this motherly worship was an apophatic meditation – an ancient form of prayer meant to … Continue reading

Bitterness, Balls-Busting, and Seminary.

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“To what extent are we all afraid of angering people?” She was talking about the fear to broach the race question in church. Fears that when white pastors tell their old white parishioners (who give a collection-tin full of money) that … Continue reading

Honeymoonin’

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It’s been a little quiet on the blog recently because … We got married! On an unseasonably cool day in North-Carolina-August, in the midst of the most torrential downpour, we finally, finally got married. Encompassed by the love of all our … Continue reading