The first, "Blessings all around," is part of a cover story package for the Christian Century's spring wedding issue. (I told my editor this was very Marie Claire of them.) I loved this experience, and was really grateful to have an opportunity to write about it.
It was the kind of voice mail that gives a pastor pause. Allison didn’t quite sound like she was in crisis, but as she requested a call back I could tell that something was bothering her. After a day of phone tag she caught me at home. By that time my concern and curiosity had escalated, so I set down my onion and chopping knife to take the call.
There was no crisis, but there was a conundrum. Close friends of Allison were getting married. They had asked her husband to be the best man in the wedding, and—in a far more surprising invitation—they asked Allison to officiate at the ceremony. She was honored, flattered, and profoundly uncomfortable. She’d accepted the invitation on the spot, assuming that there must be some sort of process in place for a person who is neither a judge nor a clergyperson to obtain credentials to perform weddings.
There is such a process: a person can become either a judge or a clergy person.
And the second piece, "Inconclusive," went live yesterday at the church channel for a Deeper Story.
I was fifteen and I knew more about doubt than faith. I had been trying and failing to be a Christian for years. I answered every altar call I could, but invariably settled back into a state of defeated skepticism.
The strangest thing of all was that I hadn’t felt the most spiritual when I was striving for God, when I was desperately trying to feel whatever my Christian friends felt when they prayed, when I was closing my eyes to fit in while we sang our praise choruses.
I felt most spiritual–or at the very least, the most honest, and I’ve come to suspect these might be the same thing–when I tearfully confessed to my church camp counselor that I was fairly sure I didn’t believe in God.
Thanks for reading!