From the Branches Blog

Where is God? Or: Is God Where I Am?

Guest post by Ryan Peak In tough times, the question is often posed: Where is God? In tough times in my life, I also wonder: Is God where I am? I have often felt that God is not where I am. To say it another way: I am not where I ought to be, so God cannot be where I am. All the assurances of scripture, the assertions of classical and…Keep Reading

Mary and Eve: a new way of looking at Advent

Guest post by Molly Just Last Christmas, I received this print – it’s one of the most profound pieces of religious art that I have ever seen. This picture was hand drawn by a sister at the Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey in 2003. This drawing has been so well received over the last few years that the monastic community from which it comes has begun selling prints of it around…Keep Reading

I Hope I’m Good Enough

guest post by Nancy Golden While visiting Phil’s parents this past July, on impulse I went into a Tractor Supply store in Clovis, New Mexico to purchase some hoof conditioner for my horse back in Texas.  A lady was stocking a shelf in the equine section and we began to chat. In the course of our conversation, she mentioned that she had been studying the “end times” and felt like…Keep Reading

Visio Divina: Sacred Viewing of the World Around Us

guest post by Val Isenhower I saw this gate when I was in Rancho de Taos, NM, to photograph San Francisco de Asis Church. The gate leads to a home on the plaza beside the church.  The color in the midst of the dormant vines drew my eye.  I looked at the printed image when I picked it up from the lab.  I thought, that’s nice, and then put the…Keep Reading

A New (Old) Tool for Prayer

Guest post by Todd Vick Have you started to fix something and the project just didn’t go as planned?  Maybe that bolt wouldn’t turn, or the nail was having a hard time going in.  During this situation, whatever it was for you, did the thought ever occur that you might just have the wrong tool?  I remember when I first learning how cars worked and taking auto shop in high…Keep Reading

Nine Years of Raising

September marks nine years that I have been with Been with? That’s not an adequate term. Worked for? Employed by? Involved with? Parented: that’s the right word. This month marks nine years that I have been parenting Where has the time gone? How has grown to this place? I was a stay-at-home mom for 13 years. Well, I had a little scrapbooking business, but I was never very serious…Keep Reading

How to Live a Balanced Christian Life

Guest post by Bill Lewis Have you ever been around someone who is passionate about God but seems a little, well… off?  Too often we hear of folks going overboard with one aspect of life with God and ending up out in kooksville.  They may be passionate about God and very well intentioned (and following God often calls us to act in ways the world thinks are strange), yet something is…Keep Reading

Seven Ways to Deepen Your Discipleship

To be a disciple of Jesus is to follow closely in his footsteps. Reading scripture and attending worship are great ways to start the journey of discipleship, but should be done alongside other spiritual practices to become a follower with a deep and strong connection to God. It can be difficult to know what to try next. If you’re a Christian who would like to deepen your faith study or…Keep Reading

The Myth of the Youth Minister Personality

What color are you? What animal type describes you? What combination of the alphabet are you? If you were a fruit, what would you be and why? Sound familiar? At some time in our lives we’ve heard all these questions in some form or another. We’ve been in job interviews, or on staff retreats or in a school counselor’s office trying to find just the right way to describe our…Keep Reading

What Moms Really Want for Mother’s Day

So, I am a mom, and I think the idea of honoring mothers (and fathers) once a year is a fabulous concept. But I must ask, where did the “floral kitsch” concept of what mothers want come from? From rose-clad teacups to offensively scented candles to sculptures of angels holding lilies – we don’t like these things most days, so why on Mother’s Day? (Please forgive me if you collect…Keep Reading

Eastertide: Ripples of Belief

Luke 24: 13-49 There are forty days of Lent. If you observe the Christian calendar, you have just completed walking through this rich and challenging season. Perhaps you gave up something, or added a spiritual discipline in order to align yourself more with the story and journey of Christ to the cross and into the grave. And now we are on the other side. We rejoice in the unbelievable truth…Keep Reading

Sharing Good News – Virtually

I remember as a child in the early 1970’s sitting down and reading select articles in our 22 volume World Book Encyclopedia. It was a vast source of information updated annually with a special Year Book. While they are still published in book form today, the main source of sales is through World Book’s online electronic subscription. The way we gather information has drastically changed over the past few decades…Keep Reading