Next Sunday I'll be teaching at entry.point church in Carmel on why it's more interesting and honest - even faithful - to be a community of rebels rather than conformists. One of my points will be all the good it does to expose ourselves to diverse ideas and perspectives. Community, though perhaps more chaotic, is wisest when created from varied voices.

In WAYfinding, I do my best to practice what I preach (in this case, literally). So, I want to hear from you! What are your ideas for our community? In July, I'll be taking space to listen - more on that next week - and I want your vision for WAYfinding to percolate with my own. Each of your voices is rich with the divine accent; please complete this short survey this week so I can create from your v/Voices as well as my own. Thank you!

- Anne

(The basic survey is 3 questions. However, if you were involved in any group from Fall 2014 - Spring 2015, if possible, please also take the time to provide feedback on your experience(s).)

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This week in WAYfinding we begin discussing the Seven Deadly Sins. If your mind immediately went to the movie starring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman; yes, those are the seven to which I'm referring, but no, images from our approach will not haunt you 20 years later. Bad call in letting me watch that movie, Mom and Dad; bad call.

Chilling flashbacks aside, I like the Seven Deadly Sins as our framework....

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It was the summer of 2002. I was sitting dead center in a large, megachurch auditorium. I had been struggling with my concepts of God and church for some time; so, although the good student in me wanted to sit near the front, I moved back in an act of deviance. I was there because the visiting preacher, Rob Bell, intrigued me; and yet, somehow, I needed him and everyone to know I would not be mindlessly accepting what was said. The best I came up with was to pick a less "enthusiastic" seat.

I only remember one part of the sermon that day: an aside where Rob Bell spent maybe a minute talking about corporate sin. It was a minute, though, I'd never heard uttered in church. I had grown up attending Sunday school and youth groups, going on mission trips and volunteering, being confirmed for Christ's sake, literally; yet sin committed on a larger scale, by societies or the groups within them, had never been discussed. The concept resonated deeply; why was this the first I was hearing of it?

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Why talk about sin? This is a legitimate question; especially when, for centuries, we've done it so poorly. We've liked our sins obvious and binary: the either-you-did-it-or-you-didn't kind of sins. We've especially liked it when the "it" we're referring to is the big It - you know, sex. We've spent an obscene amount of time on this one: Did she do it at the right time? That is, in marriage. Did he do it with the right person? That is, female. We've used sin to control, label, judge, hate, shame. And though we've generally used it as a weapon against others, turned inward, our approaches still cut and cage.

No wonder we don't want to talk about sin!

The problem is, however understandable our resistance, not talking about sin doesn't serve us. Theologian Barbara Brown Taylor often asks the question, "What is saving your life today?" That is, what is presently giving your life meaning, deep joy, wholeness? It's a powerful question; one that helps us identify good patterns, relationships, rituals, thoughts; and dive more deeply in. But, it's also only one side of the equation. We all also have things in our life that are corrosive to it; thoughts and patterns that erode our peace and wholeness - ours and others. That is, we all also sin. To ignore this piece is inauthentic, isolating, and ultimately undermines the wholeness we seek.

This is why, for the next ten weeks in this blog post and WAYfinding's spring round of groups, we're going to be exploring sin. Each week, our entry point will be a TED Talk that addresses one of the seven deadly sins in a thought-provoking way. The conversations that follow, and weekly questions we'll explore, will serve to give sin the complexity and nuance, seriousness, humor and grace it demands. Our lens will be both practical and theoretical, personal and corporate. Our intention will be, always, to experience and create the kind of freedom, joy, peace and wholeness we all desire - for ourselves and the world.   

Sometimes we need to identify what is saving our life. And, sometimes we need to get real clear about what is killing it. I hope you'll join me through this blog and/or one of our WAYfinding groups in getting clear together.  

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In the Kurt Vonnegut version of the biblical Genesis story, man politely asks God, "What is the purpose of all of this?" God's response is perhaps less than satisfactory; essentially, God replies, "You decide." God's response is not the part of the story I find most interesting, though. It's man's question, or rather according to this story, man's first assumption: that there is one purpose and it applies to everything.

Now, I like this idea. I like believing, underneath all the micro purposes, there exists one - one purpose that if comprehensively integrated would bring not universal peace but much, much more of it. I don't know this to be true, of course. And, I don't know what it is. I simply - or most days, incredibly not simply - have faith in it. 

What I do know to be true, though, is how necessary the presence, stories, ideas, questions of others has been on the journey to finding the one. Just when I think I've got it figured out, a new story shatters my confidence. Right when I feel solid in humanity's purpose, nature reminds me to think bigger, less anthropocentric. I know I've got a clear picture now until an unexpected question turns and blurs my lens just enough.

Is this frustrating? Sure. But, mostly, its grace. It's not up to me to determine the purpose of all of this. It's up to us. We need each other to find our purpose. Without a multitude of voices - strange and familiar - we become echoes who don't realize it. We settle into our perspective, and often, sometimes violently, force it on others.

This is one of the reasons we do what we do every week in WAYfinding. We create spaces where people with diverse ideas, beliefs, stories, gather to wonder aloud and honestly about "g/God" and how to live deeper and love better. Do we do this perfectly? No. Are we as diverse as we'd like to be? Absolutely not. But, it's our intention, our heart. Because we know we need each other. If there is a purpose to all of this; if "g/God," some sort of connective pulse to life exists, and we can know something about i/It; if we're going to live deeper and love better; we're not going to do so in silos, only hearing from voices like our own. We're going to do so together.   

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What a beautiful day in Indianapolis! Cold but sunny and snow-covered. Today reminds me I am always just one snowfall, one experience, away from seeing the world anew. What grace! 

So, in lieu of my traditional blog post, I want to share with you a few exciting, upcoming experiences. Whether you've attended many WAYfinding events, or not a one, you are welcome! I hope you'll add your voice.

This Wednesday, March 4. Doors open 6:30p. Begins 7:00p.
Table Conversations With A... Millennial, Black Man

We all possess biases - good and bad. Hearing another person's story is one of the best ways to widen our perspectives. We love better when we draw near. 

This is the idea behind WAYfinding's new speaker series, "Table Conversations." We're thrilled to welcome James C. Wilson as our first story-teller. Details below. 
RSVP here.

Thursday, March 19, 7:00p - 9:00p
Sample WAYfinding Night

Come experience what WAYfinding is all about by taking part in a sample group experience with other new people and current participants. The next round of groups starts mid-April. If you're curious about WAYfinding, but you've never been (or haven't been in awhile), this is a great way to check it out!

WAYfinding meets in homes, so our Sample Nights do too. March 19 is in SoBro. 
Email me with questions, interest, etc. 

Saturday, April 4, 6:30p - 8:00p
Can We Talk Honestly About Jesus? 

Whether we skip to church Easter morning or stay far away, many of us wonder about the man behind the holiday. Who was Jesus? And, for some, who is he still? Can we talk honestly?

This is WAYfinding's plan. Add your voice to this special Easter weekend learning and conversation. 
Email me with questions, interest, etc.

Einstein said, "Truth is what stands the test of experience." I'll add, "So, experience, experience, experience!" Likely, perhaps even hopefully, we'll still end up in different places. But, this time, our posture will have changed. Having let the experiences wash through our truths, we'll feel content, peaceful in what remains. No longer will we have to defend because no longer will our beliefs depend on the fierceness of our attachment to them. 

May it be so. Let's make it so! Check out one of the above events and see what comes!   



I had been in seminary a year when I found myself in an hotel room, alone, and feeling incredibly sad. It was the start of vacation, no papers were due, nothing to distract. So, I had to listen, listen to a truth I'd been pushing down for months: my beliefs about God did not make sense to me anymore. There, I'd said it. And the truth kept rolling: maybe they had always not made sense to me. Maybe this is why I went to seminary.

It felt like a kind of death. The God I knew was no more. And, I was sad. Sad and worried: what would become of my faith? A grief, and its process, that I realized then had already begun months earlier, swept over me. I let myself cry.

I also remember, though, experiencing a kind of lightening of the air around me. I think now I'd call it hope. I hoped in that moment there would be another way to imagine God. I chose to continue trusting the spirit-filled reality I knew, even though I now no longer had words to explain it.

In the years that followed, words came. I was introduced to new images, metaphors, ideas, theologies. They made sense to me. I found God again without abandoning myself.

Interestingly, translating these new images into my daily, personal relationship with God was much harder. Intellectually things made sense but my ability to be present with God suffered. I could think and talk about God all day long, but ask me to practice the presence of God, to pray, and nothing. I would sit there like a novice trying desperately to repeat a necessary technique she'd only ever lucked into the first time.  

The problem, of course, was my understanding of prayer hadn't yet caught up to my new ideas about God. What was prayer to look like now? How should I begin? Do I still say "Dear God"? Or, "Dear Sacred Spirit, Energy, the One Who is Both Us and Greater Than Us"? Doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. How did prayer work now? Does God still intervene? Does prayer work at all?

These are the questions we'll be wondering about together in group this week. Consider adding your voice. If not, read on and LEARN : LISTEN : LOVE.

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It's that time of year again! The season in general may claim to be the "most wonderful," but here at WAYfinding, we're also joyfully anticipating the start of our winter round of WAYgroups. They kick off the week of January 11! This 10-week round we'll wonder together what the spiritual - heck, life - journey is all about, consider the many faces of prayer, practice opening our hearts to unfamiliar stories, and more! 

If you're interested, or curious to learn more, please fill out this interest form. Please do so by one week from today, Monday, December 15. This gives me time to organize groups and get yours on your calendar before January.  

Thank you! I hope you'll add your voice this winter!



I recently read an article by James Martin, a Jesuit priest, about the benefits of being both spiritual and religious. In it, Martin is honest about the many sins of religion. He also asks us to consider the benefits. Particularly in contrast to spirituality, he sights community and the wisdom of religious tradition. To this end, he shares a great story...

"One of my favourite images of God is the ‘God of Surprises,’ which I first encountered in the novitiate. My own idea of God at the time was limited to God the Far Away, so it was liberating to hear about a God who surprises, who waits for us with wonderful things. It’s a playful, even fun, image of God. But I would have never come up with it on my own.

It came to me from David, my spiritual director, who had read it in a book of that same title, by an English Jesuit named Gerard W. Hughes, who borrowed it from an essay by the German Jesuit Karl Rahner."

I love this story. This kind of exchange of ideas, opening of perspectives, is one of the main reasons I'm passionate about faith communities too.

However, I couldn't help but notice Martin's teachers in this story were all white, male Jesuits. Of course, their perspectives are of value, but I find myself wondering... What other beautiful images may have come Martin's way in the novitiate had his teachers been from other religious traditions too? What wisdom may have arisen from being part of a community that did not mostly look like him? 

I love religion. I think it can be a beautiful, spirit-filled experience. I also think it can close us off... to other people and perspectives, yes; but, also, other ways of imagining religion, other ways of imagining communities of faith. If we truly believe in the God of Surprises, then shouldn't we be open to all possible imaginings? As Martin expressed, new images can be liberating. Perhaps new models of religion and spirituality can be too? LISTEN, LEARN, LOVE...

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Have you heard of Jimmy Fallon's "Do Not Read" list? In this "bit," he humorously draws our attention to books we seemingly would not want to read because they're obviously too boring or unappetizing. The problem is I've wanted to read a few - not "The Complete Book of Exercise Walking" or "The Joy of Uncircumcising," but admittedly, I was somewhat curious about "The Natural History of Vacant Lots." I don't know, maybe it's the dormant urban planner in me or environmentalist. It doesn't really matter; the point is, it's a problem. It's why I have 6 partially read books and another handful of magazines on my nightstand at all times. My curiosity runneth over!

Curiosity may not lead to magazine-ready bedsides, but in my opinion, it does lead to the best kind of faith. When we wonder silently and aloud, ask our questions, read, study, discuss - especially with a range of voices - our faith becomes informed not just by our own listening or a minister's but by a communal wisdom. When we question faith, we open it up to a universe, a God, who is still "speaking," still trying to reveal Herself through His many expressions, still trying to draw us to peace. 

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It had been an exhausting week: busy work schedule; sick toddler; midnight power outage and accompanying loud, electricity workers; packing. I thought I'd feel relief when finally on the plane to Seattle; instead, I was homesick. Strangely, I longed for the familiarity of my day-to-day life, however chaotic.

Fast forward 2000 miles and 24 hours. I've slept and woken up to Mt. Rainier, showered, and am now eating delicious food with my husband, sister and her fiancé. I feel almost giddy. The energy of a new city and a vacation without a certain (beloved) child has sunk in. Life looks different and me in it. 

Such experiences remind me, remind us, new perspectives are vital to seeing clearly. Stuck looking at life from one vantage for too long, and we forget. We forget parts of ourselves, that we once saw the world differently, and therefore, might again. We need these experiences to remind us that the kaleidoscope turns and is beautiful here too.

The same is true of faith. If God or the Divine is ultimately a mystery to us - and I would argue this is necessarily the case - then trying to traverse this Mystery from one perspective is too limiting (not to mention hard). We need others to lend us their perspectives, to reach up and turn our kaleidoscope. 

This is exactly what we try and do for each other every week at WAYfinding. It's not perfect. Community never is. But, maybe, it's necessary. Maybe to see a true image of God, we have to engage in God talk with people of diverse perspectives. In the absence of perpetual travel, we have to find a way to new perspectives ourselves.

What do you think? LISTEN, LEARN, LOVE...

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One of my favorite books to read my daughter is The Shape of My Heart by Mark Sperring. It runs through a series of shapes and their role in our lives concluding with, “And this is the shape I love you with. This is the shape of my heart.” So sweet. 

Lately, though, it’s become more than a heartwarming children’s book for me; it’s become a question: how do we form the shape of our hearts? How do we? How do we actually become more compassionate, more loving? 

There are a thousand stories every day – personal and not – that pull us to explore this question.  But, recently, none has pulled my attention like the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. (You may find a timeline here.) The analysis of, and responses to, this event and its aftermath has been so diverse, it begs the-shape-of-our-hearts question. How is it that we feel so differently? 

Perhaps it is because we’re not actually practiced in changing the shape of our hearts? The reason being: to really change the shape of our hearts requires deep discomfort. It can’t be achieved through loving someone you find easy to love. It comes when you expose your heart to that, to who, you struggle to understand, you struggle to empathize with, you struggle to love, and then say to your heart, repeatedly, as many times as it takes, “Open.” Whether a spouse we know intimately or a young urban black man we don’t know at all, we change the shape of our hearts by, as Jesus said, loving the “enemy” we perceive in them.

It is my belief this is the work of real spiritual growth. Whether we call it “salvation” or “enlightenment” or “nirvana,” it is not a destination but a process of changing the shape of our hearts. It’s a process where, instead of hoping to love some people well, we, in time, shape our hearts into a form where there is nothing but love… for all. 

What do you think? LISTEN, LEARN, LOVE…

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Both my husband, Todd, and I love to sing our daughter to bed. Whereas I almost always sing "Edelweiss" from The Sound of Music, Todd's selections jump around. So, a few nights ago, I asked, "What did you sing to her?" Because he couldn't think of the title, he started singing to me, "... One song, a song about love. Glory, from the soul of a young man. A young man, find the one song...." He then added, "I'm pretty sure it's called 'One Song.'" Well, I was pretty sure it wasn't, "No, it's just called, 'Glory.' I'm fairly certain." (The unspoken here was we both knew it was from Rent, a love for which we've shared for 18 years and occasionally erupts into this kind of trivia sparring.) Todd, upping the pride ante: "No, it's definitely called 'One Song.'" Me: "No, it's 'Glory,' for sure." Todd: "Okay, let's look it up." Wait. Wait. Wait. A not-quite-gloating smile emerges on his face, "It's called, 'One Song... Glory." I smile ironically and say out loud, "Of course. Of course it is." LISTEN, LEARN, LOVE...

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It's a big week in the Christian tradition: Holy Week, Easter. And, I'll be honest: I don't know what to do about it. The story, and thus its commemorative days, is deeply meaningful to me; yet, I have little desire to attend church. I want my daughter - and myself - to experience traditions beyond bunnies and eggs; yet, I don't yet know what to incorporate or create.

I've been rereading the book of Mark over the last few weeks, and it strikes me that Jesus too was celebrating holy days at this time: Passover. Of course, his circumstances were unique. And yet, amid the extraordinary, I also read a deeply human struggle: how to remember an old story in ways that feel honest and connecting, personally. For Jesus, given his obvious disdain for the practice, we can assume temple sacrifices went off his list (Mark 11.15-19). He also seems to have taken a traditional meal, the Passover Seder, and infused it with new meaning for himself and his disciples, what became The Lord's Supper (Mark 14.22-24).

Since that time, many new (Christian) traditions have arisen. We don't have to label each "good" or "bad" to discern whether a tradition is personally meaningful. What feels honest and connecting for you may not for your neighbor. Jesus' reimagining of his own traditions teaches that what matters most is to discern the story's point and live authentically from there. What would it look like for you, for me, to do the same? LISTEN, LEARN, LOVE... 

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