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

Grief and gratitude in Advent

Lynne Baab • Thursday December 2 2021

Grief and gratitude in Advent

“We have a prevailing feeling, especially in the west, that spirituality must always be uplifting and positive. This tendency arises out of a confusion about what love truly is. We know that God is love, and that we are called to live lives of love, but we often think of the fake love of Hollywood movies and catchy pop songs. Love is not a positive happy feeling. It is not always uplifting and encouraging. Love is selflessness, it is the rapture of being lost in the well being of others. So, it follows naturally that if we have love for creation,...

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Intentionality and space at Christmas in the Southern hemisphere

Lynne Baab • Thursday December 31 2020

Intentionality and space at Christmas in the Southern hemisphere

For my Northern Hemisphere readers, I want you to think about the busiest times of year for you pre-pandemic. I’ve heard my mother say many times that December and June are her busiest months, because December is full of Christmas parties and extra events at church, as well as shopping and Christmas preparation, and June is full of graduations, student musical and theatrical events, and other activities at the end of the school year. One more busy time for most people is the weeks before a vacation.

Here in New Zealand, those three busy times are collapsed into one month, the month...

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Advent and Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere: Our bodies

Lynne Baab • Thursday December 17 2020

Advent and Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere: Our bodies

I am shopping for groceries in mid December in Dunedin, New Zealand, where I have lived for a few months. As I come out of the supermarket, I see a small stand where Christmas trees are being sold, and a man is walking away dragging a Christmas tree. He is barefoot.

I am bemused by seeing a barefoot Christmas tree shopper. I think about what he is feeling with his feet – the solidity of the asphalt, bits of gravel, maybe a random leaf. He connected to the earth in a way that I am not. And he is dragging a Christmas...

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Advent and Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere: The Light

Lynne Baab • Thursday December 10 2020

Advent and Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere: The Light

We left the United States on the summer solstice in 2007 and arrived in New Zealand in the dead of winter. I had a five year contract as a lecturer at the University of Otago in Dunedin, renowned in New Zealand for being cold. (We ended up staying ten years, and returned to Dunedin two months ago to wait for a covid vaccine here.) The outdoor temperatures in Dunedin aren’t much different than Seattle, actually a tiny bit warmer on average in winter, but many houses are drafty.

“Drafty” is an understatement. The house we rented for the first six months was...

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