“The Weather Presents its Caprice” [GUEST POEM]

I have a very dear, long-time friend who is open about being on the autism spectrum. This has given him the gift of seeing the world and its details in beautiful ways, allowing him to do what Emily Dickinson implores of us, to “tell all the truth but tell it slant.”

Below is a text message he sent me this morning that, with his permission, I’ve turned into a poetic form for you to enjoy. (When I asked him, his exact reply was “You go ahead, Paul!”) Continue reading

Sacred Autumn [GUEST POST]


This is another piece by my good friend Austin, who has written here before. You can also read my own, similar meditation from last year on what Autumn can tell us about our world and our God.

This month, we’ll witness the change of seasons. These liminal times, these times between the times, always put me in a mood of reflection. The approaching season is my favorite. It’s appropriate that it, unlike the other seasons, should be honored with two names—Fall and Autumn. And what about that?

Autumn is a noun, meaning cold. The word is anything but. It’s a beautiful word to look at, beautifully spelled. It’s a nice word to say. Think about how your mouth moves when you articulate it. Isn’t it like offering a kiss to something, someone? And didn’t Saint Paul say to greet the brethren with a holy kiss? That’s how I plan to greet the coming season.
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Male-Only Church Leadership: Blessing or Curse?


In these discussions on women’s roles in church leadership, a favorite little one-off argument by Egalitarians (and a pretty darn good sound bite) is that the very idea of exclusive male headship is part of the curse laid upon humans in the Genesis Eden story. In Genesis 3, this is what God speaks over the woman as a curse in response to her sin:

“I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

I’ll be honest with you. I haven’t done the research on the Hebrew or scholarship on those lines to know exactly what these lines really might mean.

Honestly, both sides could use them. Conservatives could say that the curse is that women will desire the authority that God rightfully gave men. Egalitarians would say that man’s “rule” over women is the curse.
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Weekend Photo Challenge: Silhouette (Autumn edition)

This week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge theme is “Silhouette“. For this challenge, I was able to choose I picture that’s very important to me. Like I said in my previous Photo Challenge post, photography editing is still relatively new to me; but for many years now, the desire to simply take beautiful pictures has been a consistent interest.

This was certainly true for me during my time in Richmond at Virginia Commonwealth University. Richmond is a beautiful city, but not in the grandiose way that usually marks the beauty of other American cities. No, Richmond’s beauty is far more subtle, and you find it most clearly exhibited in quiet corners and places that only residents would truly know. In fact, my first Photo Challenge picture was in this vein.

This picture was taken at the very beginning of the fall of 2005. It was my first Richmond Autumn as a resident: having conquered freshman year, there were now no more dorms or still learning the city. I had an apartment near campus and could honestly call Richmond home. The evening of this picture, I stepped outside and found myself captured by the oncoming sunset. I jumped in my car and raced to my favorite in spot in Richmond: Church Hill.

This hill looks out over the entire city (not unlike another hill that plays prominently in my life).This is the hill from which the original founders of the city laid the grid-lines for the streets. The “Church” on this hill from whence it derives its name is St. John’s Church, the very Church from which Patrick Henry proclaimed “give me liberty, or give me death!”.

I made it to Church Hill just in time to take some beautiful pictures of one of the most beautiful sunsets I ever saw in Richmond. It was one of my favorite introvert moments and captured so well the essence of my favorite times of solitude: me awash in beauty.

It was also the beginning of Autumn in Richmond, and I couldn’t help but draw my attention to the trees that were just about to peak in their transition towards death. I took this picture trying to capture the harmony and dissonance that exists when Nature is at the climax of its beauty; when darkness and death lay mere moments away.

Sorry to wax poetic, but this picture captures my own hope for my death and mortality. Even though I fear death so much, my hope is that my own death would exist in what this picture represents: the height of beauty awaiting sunrise, and awaiting spring. It’s appropriate that Henry’s words echoed from these heights, for it’s precisely in this place–and in this moment–that I precisely find liberty in death.

See my past Weekly Photo Challenges here.


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