Essays

Short personal, cultural, and journalistic essays for those on the margins of faith

The Unseen Life of Refugees in Greece

Sitting on the floor of my Afghan friend’s small apartment, our mouths watered as the smells of turmeric and basmati rice covered in hot oil and salt floated from Masuma’s kitchen. Stuck in a never-ending game of UNO with her…

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Living Among the Refugees

Refugees immigrating to America have a long road before feeling like they belong. I remember that feeling of not belonging, even though I was never a refugee.   Some of my first memories are from a refugee camp. When I…

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Be Not Afraid

We don’t know quite what else to do We have all our beliefs But we don’t want our beliefs God of peace, We want you. –Aaron Weiss   I have irrational fears.   They used to be small–pumping my own…

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Life in Za’atari: One Month in a Refugee Camp

I remember seeing the images, pictures of children covered in dust, debris, and blood. The 2015 photograph of three-year-old Syrian refugee Alan Kurdi, who drowned during his family’s flight to Europe, left me devastated. More photographs followed, images of devastation…

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Surviving Church

“Should we go to church this morning?”   My wife and I ask each other this question every week. We have for the last two years.   It didn’t used to be like this. We once considered our church a…

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Inhabiting Instead of Defending

I’m making dinner when a group of strangers comes tromping through my garden to the back pasture where the steers and pigs live, stopping first to see what I’m growing in the garden. My dog is barking at them. He’s…

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The Refugee Down the Pew

Sitting down the pew from her, you wouldn’t be able to tell. She’s got a small scar on her cheek from a fight with a boy in camp. She has another on her knee, the result of a fall as…

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Call to Prayer

I can still feel the blast of furnace-like heat on my tender skin, the crunchy sand blown onto my tongue by whipping desert winds, the sinking of my heart at the sight of the alien planet on which a Delta…

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Stepping Back into the World

Gates slam, voices scream, and somewhere someone bangs on a metal bar. She lies on the bed staring up at the ceiling, her fingers opening and closing. Her lips press in a heart-shaped pout, and she jerks at times. It…

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Beauty Behind Bars

His name is Ken, and our worlds collide under unusual circumstances. The local nature preserve is hosting a Wildlife Artist Expo, so I drive my oldest daughter, Rainey – who announced at her preschool graduation that she wanted to be…

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