In the past few months, I’ve been thinking about the name of my blog. Sometimes it seems strange to call it “Slivers of Hope.” While many of the topics I write about—like mental/emotional struggles—have a clear connection to the title, others—like confronting bias in our traditions—don’t seem directly related. The original title for my blog was, “You’re Not Alone… and I’m Not, Either.” But, I couldn’t work out a web address with that title that wasn’t already [ continue reading ... ]

If you follow me on facebook and twitter, you may have seen a piece I shared by Jayson D. Bradley. I neglected to mention it on my blog at the time, but I greatly appreciate and resonate with the piece. I also think it's great that Jayson wrote it as a married person (AKA a person). There are a handful of wonderful single Christian writers (AKA writers) out there addressing single issues with courage and dignity, but it's rare that a married Christian writer thoughtfully addresses the single [ continue reading ... ]

According to Jimmy Fallon, this website I just googled, and a random girl I heard singing it on a beach boardwalk, Omi's song, "Cheerleader" is kind-of-sort-of-maybe one of(?) the songs of this summer. I was surprised when I first heard it. Although the lyrics aren't exactly inspired, it's kind of a sweet song (no "blurred lines" or "up all night to get lucky" here). If you haven't heard it, the song is basically an ode to his girlfriend (his "cheerleader") and how she's always there for him. Even [ continue reading ... ]

Wow. There has been a LOT of talk about marriage lately. Between the Supreme Court decision about same-sex marriage* and the rush of summer wedding ceremonies*, it seems like everywhere you turn, there's someone loudly declaring their belief in the divine/magical relationship that is the union of marriage. And so I feel compelled, once again, to remind us all: Marriage is a human relationship--nothing more, nothing less. (Throughout this post, I linked to several of my past pieces, in addition [ continue reading ... ]

What follows is a nostalgic reflection on the way an inanimate object can mark the passage of time. It may mean nothing to you. That's ok, because I wrote it for me. But you're welcome to read it, in case it does mean something to you. There's a treadmill in my parents' basement. More specifically, the treadmill is in the one finished room in my parents' basement. It's a room that has been used as a playroom, a piano practice room, a bedroom, and, for the several years preceding my dad's death, [ continue reading ... ]

This is a tricky topic to write about. I wish that just saying, "This is really hurtful to me," or "This is really hurtful to many people," was enough to cause others to at least reconsider their words and actions. But, for whatever reason, those words are often not enough. So, I am going to attempt to explain the circumstances around the hurt. We are a culture* that structures celebrations around a box of what we believe is "normal." Father's Day assumes everyone has a father around, and whether [ continue reading ... ]

Last week, I posted a letter to Donald Miller. I had spent several weeks writing it, having others read it, and revising it. I wanted to get across how much his words had meant to me. I also wanted to communicate my frustration with the overly simplistic tone of his marketing campaigns (and sometimes content), a tone that seemed in direct contrast to his earlier writings about the complexity of life and our relationships with God and others. I didn't know if he'd ever read it. Honestly, I [ continue reading ... ]

Dear Donald Miller, Your writing has helped me at some of my darkest points. Your words have inspired me to go places in life I had never before considered. Lately, however, your writing frustrates me. Your words disappoint me and alarm me at the implications for those who might take you seriously. Let me explain. I won't pretend I have been a fan from the beginning. When I became a fan, however, it was when I needed your words most. Recovering from my worst-ever season of depression, [ continue reading ... ]

Do the ideas around us shape us, or are we naturally predisposed to be drawn to certain ideas? I guess the question is another iteration of the nature vs. nurture debate. And maybe the free will vs. predestination debate. But I think it's an interesting version of the question, and possibly a helpful one. Recently, I described my (soon-to-be-finished) book proposal to a friend. The book is for Christians who teach. It's built upon the philosophy that God, as Creator, is the source of all [ continue reading ... ]

We all feel pressure to be like someone else.  Whether the pressure comes from an external source or from inside ourselves, we are constantly finding models for who we want to be, how we want to be.  We rarely ask ourselves who we already are, or how we can become even more ourselves. Last night, I had the delightful opportunity to address graduating college seniors about to embark on an intense career fraught with pressure: teaching.  I want to share that speech with you, not only because [ continue reading ... ]