Sharp About Your Prayers

the challenges, absurdities, and joys of an urban faith

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Entries Tagged as 'Faith and the City'

Skeletons in the Closet

October 28th, 2016 · Comments Off on Skeletons in the Closet · Faith and the City

This week I finished Hillbilly Elegy, a gripping memoir by J.D. Vance. Vance tells the story of growing up in Ohio and Eastern Kentucky, in America’s Rust Belt. The book provides an unflinching description of a poor Appalachian family of Scots-Irish descent who faces disappearing coal and steel jobs, the scourge of highly addictive drugs, and […]

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Come Home

September 8th, 2016 · Comments Off on Come Home · Faith and the City

Our God, our Help in ages past, Our Hope for years to come, Be Thou our Guard while troubles last And our eternal Home! — Isaac Watts Dear Friends in Christ, Where is home? Is “home” where you were born? Or is “home” is where you pick up your mail? Is it where your parents live? […]

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Sacred Backstory

September 2nd, 2016 · Comments Off on Sacred Backstory · Faith and the City

An actor prepping for a new role opens her script to search for backstory. A solid backstory brings a character to life. It chronicles triumphs and struggles. It focuses on moments when a person’s virtues and flaws come into focus. You don’t know someone until you know his or her backstory. Not really. So, what […]

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Summer Books 2016

May 27th, 2016 · 2 Comments · Faith and the City

In his memoire, Confessions, St. Augustine famously describes his life’s lowest point. One afternoon, while taking inventory of his misery, Augustine is overcome. He has a public meltdown. Crouching under a tree, sobbing uncontrollably, he pours out his heart. Eventually, he blames heaven for his predicament. “How long, O God,” asks Augustine, “will you be angry?” […]

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What I Learned from Momma…

May 5th, 2016 · 2 Comments · Faith and the City

Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices, Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices; Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way, With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today. –Martin Rinkart, 1636 This Sunday is Mothers Day. So, I am curious: […]

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Short, but Sweet

April 14th, 2016 · Comments Off on Short, but Sweet · Faith and the City

As a seminary intern leading a youth group at Seaside Presbyterian Church in Milford, Connecticut, I gave a dozen teenagers a simple assignment. “For next week, memorize your favorite Bible verse. Come prepared to recite it and to tell us why it is meaningful to you.” Immediately, Patrick, a precocious fourteen year old responded, “Dibs on […]

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Dear Mr. Trump

March 24th, 2016 · 1 Comment · Faith and the City

Dear Mr. Trump, In light of the attacks this week in Brussels, I join you, other political candidates and all Americans in expressing heartache and solidarity with the people of Belgium. At the same time, I cringe when I hear you call for “more waterboarding.” Mr. Trump, you claim to be a Christian. You claim […]

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Give it to Me, Chapter and Verse

March 11th, 2016 · Comments Off on Give it to Me, Chapter and Verse · Faith and the City

I have a question for you.                                                                . It’s the same question voters are putting to Presidential candidates at town hall meetings. It is a […]

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@Table w/ the Confirmands

February 25th, 2016 · Comments Off on @Table w/ the Confirmands · Faith and the City

It is a common icebreaker: “Name the person, living or dead, with whom you would most like to share a meal?” An Australian food company recently posed this question to a group of adults. Predictably, their answers listed celebrities: Marylin Monroe, Justin Bieber, Jimi Hendrix, and Nelson Mandela. After filming the adults, the director dismissed them. […]

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Hold on to the Good

February 18th, 2016 · Comments Off on Hold on to the Good · Faith and the City

Do you savor? Do you take time — pause-and-reflect time — to delight in the moments of grace and joy that flit through your life? This morning I read something that troubled me. Psychologist Dan O’Grady claims that our negative experiences and critical thoughts have remarkable staying power. They stick to us like Velcro. They […]

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