So good writers read. But not all books are inked and bound. The book of life—whose chapters contain hope, expectation, love, delight, disappointment, loss, growth (in other words, people)—provides, too, the words from which we create. Endless asking, telling, listening, debating, learning, regretting, cursing, pontificating, apologizing, lamenting, lying, confessing give birth to the words we carry into our solitary writing rooms.This interview of Tyler Wigg-Stevenson by Jamie Smith about evangelical activism, the pursuit of justice as shalom, and a full-orbed understanding of how the gospel makes sense in our small, daily lives:
The hope for the book is that if we accept that "The world is not ours to save," then we fall back on the sense that there's a necessity of living a comprehensive kingdom orientation that can't simply be evacuated into or exhausted by a good work in this direction. Rather, it is a congregation living a life of peace with God, which spills out into its pursuit of peace among the peoples, and facilitating peace in community.The Gifts of Small Magazines in The Curator:
While avoiding this myopic concentration on experimentation, The Curatorhopes to embrace how little magazines tend to treat their writers. Little magazines aren’t just an experimental playground removed from the larger culture, but can operate as a writerly gym, a place to train a writer’s artistic and critical muscles.
This is more than putting bread into Ziploc bags. It is a gathering of fragments–the scattered and broken leftovers that will not be wasted. Because in God’s economy, nothing will be wasted, not even what is broken. All that is shattered will be gathered up, multiplied in meaning, resonance, and truth, until we are home.I Stopped Searching for a Missing Sister at SheLoves Magazine
Perhaps my only-ness is a gift, giving me a wide berth to really see other women. Perhaps it’s made my eyes hungry to help another woman belong. Perhaps it’s made me notice that we’re all searching for the missing sister.The Ache of All the Lives We Do Not Live here at aahales.com
This could be a piece about the glory of the small, but it is not. ... But please know: [the waiting] is a faithful spot to be in — to not console yourself with truth that you do not yet feel, however true it may be. This waiting is an open space, with palms supple and fingertips drawn out into the light. It is a humble space — you waiting to see if God will show up, will redeem, and most of all, if he will make himself intimately known.// Don't forget to sign up to get my newsletter straight to your Inbox for more great reads and the latest on my book projects and writing around the web! *Post contains affiliate links.
Am I hitting the mark? A full belly today, but what about tomorrow? In the face of crushing poverty, does my offering of hot broth and a smile make any difference? [...] I have been asking the wrong question. It’s not whether I’m making a difference, but how am I joining into the difference being made? The kingdom of heaven is like a king who gave a wedding feast to his son. The invitations to the great banquet have been sent to all. I am not the one throwing this party, nor is it my job to elbow my way to a place of honor at the table. Today my job is to serve soup to hungry kids. Often, this is the same job I have at home, thousands of miles away.Alia Joy writes about holy rebellion and red lipstick over at SheLoves Magazine. Alia and I trade tired 5am Voxer messages. It's good to have a writer friend in your corner, especially one is vulnerably willing to expose sin:
I’ve felt it my whole life. It’s the playground where they would pull their eyes into a grotesque slant and chant, “ching chong China girl” at me. It’s the makeup counter telling me what is not beautiful about me. It’s a thousand other times when I’d slink away unseen or uninvited. When a stereotype would suffice for the whole of me. But this time I’m not silent. I am not a girl anymore. This time I’ve got fire on my lips, blazing red. This holy rebellion says, I will be seen. I’m learning to harness my voice even when it strangles in my throat because these things need saying.Make sure you read the fabulous synchroblog on faith in the dark at Addie Zierman's blog for the release of her second memoir, Night Driving. In this roundup she compiles quotes from all the entries! (Plus her book is on sale right now for less than $9 on Amazon!)
Night Driving is my story of faith and darkness. I have told it as honestly as I know how, and I believe it’s an important story, “Not,” as Frederick Buechner once wrote, “because it is mine, God knows, but because if I tell it anything like right, the chances are you will recognize that it in many ways it is also yours.”I'm still loving this piece by Alissa Wilkinson at Books & Culture on Why Criticism Matters.
We've produced all these in spades; I've probably written all three varieties myself. But what evangelicals have lacked on a broad scale is a vibrant culture of criticism. We know how to criticize, even critique, but true critical engagement with entertainment and the arts has been restricted to small pockets that take hits on all sides. We don't know what criticism is, or what it's supposed to do. We don't read it, support it, or produce it, and in many cases, we actively disparage it as harmful to our mandate to be creators.
I can think all the big things but then there's things like making the bed and folding the laundry that's, um, been in bins for a week. If you're "domestically challenged" like me, this piece by Sarah Mae at Ann Voskamp's blog helped me exhale.
If you struggle with keeping and maintaining a home, I want you to know today that you are loved regardless of your cleaning ability or lack thereof. God knows exactly who you are; He made you. He knows every weakness, every strength, and He loves you the same.This piece on little children by Scott Sauls was so good, regardless if you have or don't have children of your own:
By their honest example, children invite us to live authentically. They invite us to cry out and ask for comfort. They remind us that there is safety in being our real selves; that we need not be posers and actors hiding behind a mask. We are safe because we live every moment of our lives in the presence and beneath the gaze of a Parent – of a Good, Good Father – whose love, approval and favor can be assumed at all times.Tell me what you're reading these days? //
Let’s talk about sex.
In most rooms, especially those filled with Christians, I don’t feel like I’m allowed to do this. I’m not supposed to know enough to contribute to the conversation, and if I do, it’s not something that is held in the same regard as the words spoken by those safely ensconced in marriages.
Whatever you have to say on the subject, you can sit with me. Maybe you’re sexually experienced and you regret it (or you don’t). Maybe you’ve never been kissed, never held hands with someone you thought was pretty cool. Maybe the entire question of choice was taken from you by force and the thought of sex fills you with dread. Whatever story your body and mind tell about sex, this is a safe place.