Tag: deeply rooted blog (page 1 of 2)

“To My Church on the Day It Dissolves” | Deeply Rooted

Last fall, our church of thirteen years dissolved. I wrote briefly (very briefly) about it here, but that acknowledgement only hints at how acutely I felt that dissolution.

About a month passed between the first twinge and our final service, and that month came during our remodel, when we were already displaced and presuming upon the hospitality of friends and family. We thought that move would be the year’s Big Event, but it was only the backdrop against which this much bigger displacement occurred—the breaking of our church fellowship.

Deeply Rooted Magazine, Issue 14: The Church | Little Book, Big Story

In her book Keeping Place, Jen Pollock Michel writes, “Surely one evidence of the world’s fallenness from grace is its failure to provide stability. To lose our places is to lose our place.”

We lost our place. And that loss was a lot to process.

So one night, in the thick of things, I started writing. I had no intention of writing an article but wanted both to tidy my own mind and to make a gift for our weary church body—something that might help us lift our eyes above the horizon line of our church’s closure and to see God’s glory written in the heavens overhead.

This is a big thing, I wanted to say. But it isn’t an ultimate thing. God’s faithfulness doesn’t end here.

Deeply Rooted Magazine, Issue 14: The Church | Little Book, Big Story

That thought eventually became a song that I wrote and sang at our closing party. But those ideas continued to simmer, and I kept lifting the lid and adding words to the pot. The soup gradually took on flavor, enough so that when I learned that the next issue of Deeply Rooted centered on the topic of the Church, I understood that I was, in fact, working on both an open letter to our church and a publishable essay.

That is one of the reasons I’m telling you this now. That article—”To My Church on the Day it Dissolves”—appeared both in Deeply Rooted’s newest issue (you can purchase a copy here) and on the Deeply Rooted blog (you can read the full article here).

Deeply Rooted Magazine, Issue 14: The Church | Little Book, Big Story

But I also want to write about it because I have a little distance from the dissolution and I want to share that, too. We thought we had lost our place; we felt a wrenching, a breaking, an undoing, and we are still, in some ways, recovering from that.

Yet God’s kindness to us began long before this fall—or the Fall. He ordained for our good not that one church, now deceased, but The Church, a living body with members who carry the gospel to the world’s cities, villages, and camps; who translate the Bible so that others may know God’s Word in their own language; and who welcomed us in during those tender first months at our new church.

Deeply Rooted Magazine, Issue 14: The Church | Little Book, Big Story

We have heard people express a desire to rest from church, but what we needed in the months after the final service was to rest in the church. To lose our old church one Sunday and the next Sunday step into the foyer of a new one and feel a continuity between the services, a familiarity in the love and generosity of the people there—the Church has never seemed so radiant to me as it does now, and I have never felt so privileged to be a part of it.

Deeply Rooted Magazine, Issue 14: The Church | Little Book, Big Story

The New City Catechism answers its first question—”What is our only hope in life and death?”—with what has become a refrain for me in the past six months: “That we are not our own but belong body and soul, both in life and death, to God and to our Savior Jesus Christ.”

We are not our own but belong to Him. The Church is His; our church was His. We did not lose our place at all, for we are His, and there is no greater comfort in this world than to belong to Him. We are still learning the habits of our new church, but at the heart of it is the same command we strove to follow at our old one: love the Lord and love one another. He has given us new people to love, but our God remains wonderfully unchanged.


Lead me safely on to the eternal kingdom,
not asking whether the road be rough or smooth.
I request only to see the face of him I love,
to be content with bread to eat,
with raiment to put on,
if I can be brought to thy house in peace.

“Weaknesses,” The Valley of Vision

Deeply Rooted Magazine, Issue 14: The Church | Little Book, Big Story

If you’ve read this far—thank you. If you want to read further, consider this Part II of the story. The Deeply Rooted article is Part I, and you can read it here.

If you want to read further still (and I highly recommend that you do), you can read Deeply Rooted’s full issue on the Church. Of all the issues we’ve published in the last five years, this one is my favorite, because it looks at the Church from several perspectives and elicits a wonder and awe that I find thrilling. God’s plan for His people! It’s so stunning!

5 Books on Church History for Kids (and Grown-ups)

I wrote a post about great (sometimes pop-up) church history books for Deeply Rooted. It boasts a few books that you know well and a few you haven’t met yet, and I think you’ll really like like them. (I know I really like the photos, which were taken by my neighbor Felicia*, who has a knack for that sort of thing.)

My father used to read to me from The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire. He read it in answer to some question about my homework, some question that probably did not involve the Romans, and he read it at length. I know now that that was an awesome thing to do—take my homework question and place it in context by linking it to the historical moment that preceded it—but as a sophomore eager to finish that assignment so I could get back to living life (i.e. watching MTV while I waited for my hair color to set), I did not appreciate my father’s approach. 

I appreciate it now. Just as we can’t pull Leviticus out of context and expect to understand its laws and commands, we can’t pull our point in history out of context and expect to understand how we got here, where we are headed, or what we must do to change. . . .

You can read the full post here.

5 Books on Church History for Kids (and Grown-Ups) | Little Book, Big Story


*The photos in this post were also taken by Felicia. See what I mean?

The Savior and the Saved | Deeply Rooted Blog

On Easter Sunday when I was 17, one thought appeared unbidden and would not be chased away: Maybe I’ll pray this morning. I attended church only by parental decree. I wore knee-high Doc Martens and crimson hair in protest and sat through the pastor’s prayers with my eyes boldly open, head unbowed. I did not pray. But:

Maybe I’ll pray this morning.

There is nothing dramatic in my story—no brutal addiction, no “rock bottom,” no conversion in the backseat of a police cruiser—unless you consider the fact that the Creator of the universe unlocked some hidden chamber in the heart of a hurting girl and sowed there one thought, Maybe I’ll pray this morning, and from that seed sprung the sapling that buckled the sidewalk, shattered the concrete, and is still growing.

There was an altar call at the strip mall church that morning, and at the front of the sanctuary I knelt, with damp mascara and a half dozen others, and I prayed: God forgive me. The Lord lifted the glass dome off what I thought was the world and in rushed the dizzying winds of heaven. In rushed a new thought: God exists and he is not cruel or indifferent, but he loves me. I held that thought tenderly, the way one might hold a bird.

Seventeen years ago tomorrow, I came to faith. Mine was not a flashy conversion, but one that left me reeling, as though I’d skeptically tapped the back of a wardrobe only to find that it led to Narnia. I got to share that story alongside the story of Easter in a post for the Deeply Rooted blog.

You can read the full post here.

Happy Easter, dear ones!

To Dust You Shall Return | Deeply Rooted Blog

Ash Wednesday admits the dark into an otherwise well-lit space. We dim the lights—no, we shut them off. And in their place, we light candles, but around the candles’ contained glow is shadow. That shadow alters familiar faces, draws us near to one another in a ring around our pastor and around the table that ordinarily holds the bread and the wine. Today that table holds candles, a cross, and a small dish of ashes.

Those ashes wait as we read the liturgy. They wait as we sing hymns, somber ones in minor keys. They wait until our pastor takes them up and calls us to him, pronouncing ancient words over each of us as we move toward him in single file. We lower our eyes as he says them, and we remember who we are:

Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

He then marks our foreheads with ash, drawn on in the shape of a cross.

Yesterday, my post about Ash Wednesday went up on the Deeply Rooted blog. You can read it in full here.

An Interview (and Giveaway) with Dana Dirksen of Songs for Saplings

I have gone on and on at length here about Dana Dirksen and Songs for Saplings, and now I’ve been given the opportunity to go on at length about her music somewhere else: today on the Deeply Rooted blog, you can read my interview with Dana and find out more about how Songs for Saplings began and what they’re doing now.

You can also enter to win a Songs for Saplings Family Journal, as well as one of six full sets of the Questions With Answers physical CDs! Even if you don’t win, Songs for Saplings has offered a special coupon code so you can download the first three albums in the series for free, just for reading the interview.

Questions With Answers, by Dana Dirksen: music and theology for families | Little Book, Big Story

Really, you have nothing to gain by sticking around here. Go read the interview.

Gloria Furman on the Deeply Rooted Blog

I had the privilege of interviewing Gloria Furman, author of Glimpses of Grace and Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full (among others), for the Deeply Rooted blog! While writing a review of Glimpses of Grace and preparing to interview her, I really got to bond with Gloria Furman’s books—and that’s an experience I recommend. Her answers to the interview questions are just as lovely and life-giving as her books. You can read the interview here.

Glimpses of Grace, by Gloria Furman | Little Book, Big Story