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Hair Dos … and don’ts

Hair Dos … and don’ts 1442 2560 Nicole
I have a love-hate relationship with my hair. I love having hair on my head. Yet I’m never satisfied with it. It’s very fine (versus coarse), but I’ve always had a lot of it. Now that I’m losing quite a bit of it … I’m desperately trying to keep it… and even, perhaps, coax a little back. Too much or too little, there is a fair amount of work required to shape and tease and persuade it into a configuration that accentuates my face, and present a visage of natural ease and confidence.  read more
Prince of Peace and Our So-called Rights

The Prince of Peace and Our So-called Rights

The Prince of Peace and Our So-called Rights 2560 1707 Nicole
We just happen to be taking three days’ vacation in Glenwood Springs right now, but our two adult kids are home. The parking lot behind Lakewood’s Hyatt House is the Target pick-up location wherein we can be found far more frequently than I care to admit. It is a weighty thought experiment: that instead of delaying our Target pickup order until today, my daughter went Monday afternoon as she intended, and the shooter decided to turn his gun southward rather than northwesterly. Of course, this did not happen. I thank God that it didn’t. Yet, this kind of musing always forces me to meditate on what it is, exactly, that I believe about God’s direct providence. God wasn’t any less present at the Sol Tribe or Lucky 13 Tattoo Parlors than any other location along the shooter’s route, including the Target pickup lot. And that is precisely it, isn’t it—that God is present whenever and wherever we gather breath. And it is here that by pondering the what-ifs we gather also a sense of being present in the drama, present to the reality, entering the reality of the dead and their loved-ones. And participation in that space-time, in the spirit-to-Spirit-to-spirit communion of prayer then becomes actionable: Intercession. Powerful. Provident. Perennial.  It is also in this eternal space that all that divides us, the politicized or guilt-producing or straight up selfish, hateful attitudes have the potential to be suspended…. read more

Walk With Him: a Lament

Walk With Him: a Lament 2550 1700 Nicole
When I have to ask my kid whether he is afraid when he goes to school or out in neighborhood, just because he’s Asian… I lament. When I have conversation after conversation with my son in 3rd grade and 6th grade and every day in small-town-northern-Illinois, and today, about what it feels like to be called names, slurs typically ascribed to other ethnic Asian groups because, to the uninformed or monochromatic-social-experience ‘all Asians look alike’… I lament. When I preach about how Jesus came to show us how much God loves us *all* and that we are made to follow in the same way calling out injustices, examples of when humankind choose hate toward a group of humans based on how they look or speak or love—*over* love… and someone in the congregation sneers… as my teenaged son, faithful, sits in the front row… my heart breaks in a billion pieces… and I lament. read more
love your babies

Love your babies; love someone else’s too

Love your babies; love someone else’s too 2158 2172 Nicole
May we love our neighbor’s babies as our own – and continue creating, imagining, challenging, working toward a more perfect union where all are free to fully grow as the image and likeness of God. Pursue love, right-making: the fight is a good one. read more

Frogs Legs

Frogs Legs 2560 2560 Nicole

Despot, cold pot; join the lot: birth-got.   Blind assent – Office bent; mass lament no lieges repent.   Meek inherit, broken bear it – fools declare it, absent merit.   Slowly simmer, substance dimmer, blisters glimmer – Grenouille dinner! Nicole Oliver Snyder

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Mother-Christ, Ebon

Mother-Christ, Ebon 1080 1080 Nicole
A woman writes an article for Christianity Today. About Jesus. She uses imagery that suggests Jesus is a woman, and black. She receives hate mail and death threats. Death threats! Because she writes an article in Christianity Today suggesting Jesus might be anything other than a white man. God. Is not. And never will be. A white man. read more

Self-Educate to Ameliorate

Self-Educate to Ameliorate 1080 1080 Nicole
If I say that I follow Jesus, I have a responsibility to stand with the oppressed. The first step is to self-educate. read more
Encircling Love

Encircling Love

Encircling Love 2550 1700 Nicole
God designated the times, gave us enough space, so we’d search, find God – though God is always near. Through time, across cultures, we find God, are finding God together. It is not a one-person show. It is not a one-denomination’s show. It is not for a single entity to decide who God is because it takes millennia and worlds of discovery to even begin to know this God. Still, this God is not unknown, unknowable. Just unfathomable. The unknown god is known to the people of Athens because God is in our very breath! We breathe the Spirit of God. It is because God is not enshrined, not a piece of wood, not high above – beyond anything we know or experience (sure, God extends beyond anything we can even conceive. Still.) God. Is. Near. Indeed, It is IN God we exist. We have as the essence of our being, in the power that made death absolutely inert – nothing – we are held within the very bosom of – the Holy Trinity. And this Triune God Is Love. Encircles us. Holds us together – In Love. All of us. This same God. This same Love. Encircles ALL of us! We breathe the Spirit of God. God, Who is Love lives IN us, and we are enclosed IN God, and we share the same Spirit, contained within the same God. This God Who is love. Encircling us. Empowering us. How do we live like we believe this in this time of pandemic? read more

Leading Out of the Darkness – Together

Leading Out of the Darkness – Together 1634 1567 Nicole

Guitar and music by Robbie Green Uncertainty. Uncertainty is the bane of decision-making. And if one could distill the job description of leadership into one phrase, it would be: to make decisions – How to move forward; how to reframe; what perspective to take; what will administer the greatest good to the most people… Uncertainty…

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Radiant Expectation

Radiant Expectation 2560 1920 Nicole

For Lent, we have been using the book, The Art of Lent: A Painting a Day From Ash Wednesday to Easter, by Sister Wendy Beckett. This week, Holy Week, the theme is Love. Our meditation for Holy Saturday is entitled, “Radiant Expectation,” and the focus of our attention will be on the painting, Easter Saturday,…

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