Two Hands: Grief and Gratitude in the Christian LifeA Renewed SpiritualityNurturing Hope: Christian Pastoral Care in the Twenty-First CenturyThe Power of ListeningJoy Together: Spiritual Practices for Your CongregationSabbath Keeping FastingPrayers of the Old TestamentPrayers of the New TestamentSabbathFriendingA Garden of Living Water: Stories of Self-Discovery and Spiritual GrowthDeath in Dunedin: A NovelDead Sea: A NovelDeadly Murmurs: A NovelPersonality Type in CongregationsBeating Burnout in CongregationsReaching Out in a Networked WorldEmbracing MidlifeAdvent DevotionalDraw Near: Lenten Devotional by Lynne Baab, illustrated by Dave Baab

Draw near: Praying from a liminal space

Lynne Baab • Wednesday February 1 2023

Draw near: Praying from a liminal space

I first met the word “liminal” in 2009 in readings for a new course I was planning to teach on the missional church. I had arrived in New Zealand in 2007 to teach pastoral theology, and I found that many church leaders there were talking about the idea that Christians need to be missional. They seemed to be contrasting “missional” with traditional church missions. I didn’t understand the concept and wanted to learn more. What better way to learn than to design a course around a new topic?

To summarize briefly, “missional” focuses on the idea that we are sent in to...

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Draw near: Praying about what we are looking for

Lynne Baab • Tuesday January 24 2023

Draw near: Praying about what we are looking for

Lutheran Bishop Michael Rinehart once got three speeding tickets in a year. The state where he lived, Iowa, required that he take a defensive driving course. At the end of the second class, the instructor asked to talk with him for a few minutes. The conversation that Bishop Rinehart describes is both amusing and thought-provoking.

     “Why are you here?” he asked.      “Because I got three speeding tickets.”      “No, really, why are you here?” It was an existential question. I wasn’t sure how to answer. “Where are you going in such a hurry?”      “Well, the first time I was going to ....

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Draw near: Praying about ambition

Lynne Baab • Tuesday January 17 2023

Draw near: Praying about ambition

“Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition. I can say for one that I have no other so great as that of being truly esteemed of my fellow men, by rendering myself worthy of their esteem.” —Abraham Lincoln, age 23, running for his first political office in 1832

Apart from the frustrating fact that people 150 years ago used “men” to refer to people, what do you think about Abraham Lincoln’s words? Is he describing a perspective that is consistent with Christian values because he focuses on developing an admirable character? Is he looking too strongly to people around him to...

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Draw near: Praying to be like water

Lynne Baab • Tuesday January 10 2023

Draw near: Praying to be like water

I have always loved water. We lived in Athens, Greece when I was 2 and 3. My dad was assigned to the American Embassy there, and my mom took me to the beach almost every day. She tells me I paddled around in an area for kids, using an inflatable ring. Later I learned to swim, and I still remember those incredible moments of deep peace when I would let myself hang suspended under water. No pressure to be a perfect daughter! No pressure to conform to standards I didn’t understand! Just silence, my body in held in balance by the...

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