A Mini-Memoir of Pastoral Burnout

Today I have a piece up at Fathom Mag on my experience of pastoral burnout. Here’s the intro:

I knelt on the floor of my study all night, my forehead pressed into the carpet, my fists pressed against my temples. I pulled my hair and wept until I fell asleep, exhausted. Waking in a fetal position, I remembered where I was and what I faced and begged, “Lord, please . . . please . . . please . . . send someone else.”

I pressed my face into the floor and sobbed, no longer able to pray with words. Tears and snot and saliva soaked my beard and the carpet. Alone in the darkness, I didn’t care. 

A faint light shone through the blinds but the rising sun did not bring hope. I wiped my face and tasted blood. Weeping face down through the night, the capillaries in my nose had broken and bled into the cream carpet. Time was up. I had to shower. I had to dress. I had to go to church. I had to preach. 

In the early morning light, I knelt with rags and carpet cleaner and scrubbed the spot until it changed from crimson to white. The words of the prophet repeated in my head, “Though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be white as snow.”

Although that was the last time I bled into the carpet, it was not the last time I met Sunday morning with a breakdown. I didn’t want to preach. I didn’t want to pastor. I didn’t want to live. 

Read the rest here.

Sisters, Don’t Be Afraid to Ask: The Daughters of Zelophehad and Women in the Church

I’ll admit it: I never noticed the Daughters of Zelophehad—Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah—until my friend Elyse pointed them out to me. But, now that I’ve seen them, they are some of my favorite women in the Bible. They hold out valuable lessons for the church today. Continue reading “Sisters, Don’t Be Afraid to Ask: The Daughters of Zelophehad and Women in the Church”

Thoughts on Willow Creek, Independent Third Party Investigations, and the Southern Baptist Convention

Last week Christianity Today covered the report of the Independent Advisory Group (IAG) that did an independent, third-party investigation (ITI) into allegations concerning both Willow Creek Community Church and the Willow Creek Association. (Full report available here.)

I found these elements noteworthy:

Continue reading “Thoughts on Willow Creek, Independent Third Party Investigations, and the Southern Baptist Convention”

An Open Letter to Rachael Denhollander on #SBCtoo

Dear Rachael,

This past week, the Houston Chronicle published a three-part series on sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention.

In response, you asked: “Pastors, where were you? When we were pleading for you to speak up against your peers or the leaders your support props up, where were you?”

I want (and need) to answer your question. Continue reading “An Open Letter to Rachael Denhollander on #SBCtoo”

Welcoming the Hearing Loss Community

Last October, I posted the following tweet, in which I used the term “deaf and dumb” in proximity with being cognitively impaired:

One of my followers, Lucy Crabtree, sent me a kind private message in response. She informed me of how the phrase has been used historically. She also explained why it can be offensive to those in the hearing loss community.

I felt convicted and posted an apology thread.

Since that time, I’ve thought a lot about how little I understand the hearing loss community and how to welcome them into my life and church community.

In December, I published a two-part guest series, “Welcoming the Eating Disorder Community.” It was well-received, and I learned a lot. So, I decided to continue the “Welcoming…” series. Lucy graciously accepted my invitation to write a series on “Welcoming the Hearing Loss Community,” which will appear in three parts this week.


— Part 1 —

I smile and nod in empathy as my new friend tells me about her church. “The pastor sends me and a few other people his sermon before church,” she says. “Those of us with hearing difficulties.” I wince as another friend sighs deeply and says she can’t follow the conversation during the ladies’ Bible study. And I listen as my Deaf and hard of hearing friends tell me over and over, “My parents made me go to church but I had no idea what was going on, so I don’t go anymore.”

A few years ago, I would have told a similar story: I went to church, but I had a hard time following conversations and keeping up with the sermon, so I stopped going.

I spent two years out of church. How could God be okay with me being excluded at church? Why did I have to be hard of hearing and why did communicating with others have to be so much extra work? Why didn’t He DO something? Continue reading “Welcoming the Hearing Loss Community”