Draw Near: Lenten Devotional by Lynne Baab, illustrated by Dave BaabTwo 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 Devotional

Friendship, loneliness, and prayer: Praying for our mirror neurons (and empathy)

Lynne Baab • Wednesday January 24 2024

Friendship, loneliness, and prayer: Praying for our mirror neurons (and empathy)

In the 1980s, neurophysiologists began putting electrodes in the brains of macaque monkeys, and in the early 90s they discovered a new kind of neuron that they named “mirror neuron.” These neurons fired when the monkeys did a certain action, and they also fired when the monkeys saw someone else do the same action. Humans have mirror neurons, too, and later research revealed that about 10-20% of the neurons in human brains have mirror properties. In addition to mirroring other people’s actions, neurologists hypothesize that mirror neurons enable us to feel sad or happy when we see another person feeling sad...

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Friendship, loneliness, and prayer: When thanks aren’t enough

Lynne Baab • Thursday January 18 2024

Friendship, loneliness, and prayer: When thanks aren’t enough

“Thanks for a delicious meal.” “Thanks for doing that favor for me.” “I’m grateful for your help with the project at church.”

“Thanks for changing my life.”

We use “thanks” or “I’m grateful” in response to specific actions and also to convey gratitude for huge, life-transforming support and encouragement. These things don’t seem equivalent. Knowing how to convey our gratitude for big, significant gifts is challenging. We don’t have a word that conveys really, really big thanks.

We sometimes say, “I could never thank you enough.” I feel that way when I think of certain friends who have given me far, far more than...

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Friendship, loneliness, and prayer: Praying for “holy listening”

Lynne Baab • Tuesday January 9 2024

Friendship, loneliness, and prayer: Praying for “holy listening”

Lutheran Bishop Craig Satterlee uses the term “holy listening” to describe the kind of listening that seeks to discern “the presence and activity of God in the joys, struggles, and hopes of the ordinary activities of congregational life, as well as the uncertainty and opportunity of change and transition.” [1]

Bishop Satterlee is referring to congregational life, but listening in any setting can be holy when we hope and expect to encounter God. Bishop Satterlee believes holy listening is indispensable because it builds intimacy and helps people connect with each other in a way that goes beyond the superficial, resulting in powerful...

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Friendship, loneliness, and prayer: Praying to give affection extravagantly

Lynne Baab • Tuesday January 2 2024

Friendship, loneliness, and prayer: Praying to give affection extravagantly

Talk not of wasted affection; affection never was wasted. If it enrich not the heart of another, its waters returning Back to their springs, like the rain shall fill them full of refreshment; That which the fountain sends forth returns again to the fountain. —Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

Have you ever given a small gift to a friend or family member, they thank you at the time, but then you never see or hear anything about the gift again? “What a waste,” you might think. Have you ever sent someone an email or text message to say you’re thinking about them, and you get no reply?...

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