The Best of Bearings

We celebrate. We bid farewell. We look ahead.

“It’s December, and nobody asked if I was ready,” writes poet Sarah Kay. December arrives every year with a bit of urgency, doesn’t it? The last remnants of turkey are still in the refrigerator, and all of a sudden, almost without warning, ready or not, we find ourselves turning the calendar to the very last page, and we’re forced to confront the truth that... Read more

Death, Ashes, and Resurrection

Every resurrection requires death. This is written into the rhythms of creation. Spring is preceded by winter. New forest growth is preceded by forest fires. Sunrise is always preceded by sunset. Rebirth comes after walking through the valley of the shadow of death. Easter Sunday comes after Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Nothing escapes this reality. I learned... Read more

Finding New Life by Sailing into the Void

As the sailboat continued to rise about the white capped waves, I gripped the side and leaned back as far as I dared trying to drive the boat down flat on the water. My feet slipped on wet floorboards and someone yelled, his voice constricted into a high-pitched squeak, “We’re going over!” I recognized that voice: It was mine. Wide-eyed and heart pounding,... Read more

Sharing is a Gift in Itself

Congregations becoming Spaces of Hospitality for People Experiencing Homelessness

Yesterday I spent several hours at church, but not for the reasons you might think. This was not for a worship service or a committee meeting. It was neither quiet nor serious. The evening I spent at church was filled with noise and children and purple frosting. It was filled with running toddlers, balloons, and at least four different spoken languages. When I... Read more

Finding Friends of God on the Streets of Seattle

And Listening to the Dreams They Offer the World

She said it with a cool indifference, and like she meant it: “If I stayed in Salt Lake City, I would have killed myself.” She said she had options. She had an underwear drawer full of “benzos.” She could cook a lethal overdose of heroin. The drugs weren’t really for lethal possibilities. They were medications, she said—psychic shields to absorb the pain pillaging... Read more

Nurturing a New Generation of Immigration Activists in the Church

Witnessing with Young Adults Yields Resources for Congregational Engagement

“How did I never learn about this in school?!” Last month, I stood with a group of young people at the site of the largest massacre in modern Central American history, El Mozote, El Salvador. More than 1,000 civilians, mostly women and children, were systematically and brutally executed by government forces in 1981. We learned about how the U.S. had provided... Read more

Ministry, Marriage, and Immigration

A Love Story

I was raised in Eatonville, Florida—the oldest all-black, incorporated town in the country. Eatonville sits between Daytona Beach and Orlando. We are smack dab in the middle of central Florida (thus the name of our university, the University of Central Florida). Eatonville was not a hot bed for immigration issues. It was a small all black town with dirt roads and... Read more

Social Media Ministry as Art

Painting with Boldness, Brightness, and Beauty

In the middle of my work as the social media assistant at Bearings Magazine, I came to an important, perspective changing realization: media is art. Surveying our contributors’ pieces, looking for quotes, scouring the internet for relevant pictures, and then diving into my favorite  design platform, Canva (which is available free to nonprofits) to bring the words... Read more

Returning the Call

What My Mom’s Cancer Allowed Me to Learn about Religion and Coping

I remember leaving a message for my mom the last time she was in the hospital. I let her know that I would be leaving in the morning to visit and that I expected, as usual, that she would be fine by the time I got there. The conventional wisdom in my family was that my mom was nearly superhuman. Every time that cancer, and later circulatory problems, took her down... Read more