Nigger is a nasty word. Like any other word, there’s nothing offensive about those particular letters strung together. It’s the connotation, and this one has a history as ugly as any. It has been spit out with venom and hatred, with whipping, chains, and every kind of inhumanity. I don’t know how Paula Deen said […]
Our focus is on the downtrodden these days. Maybe it’s the media. Or the internet with its potent visuals making the world that much smaller. Maybe more of us are finding ourselves among their ranks, or dangerously close. Maybe the reality that it could happen to us brings it closer to home. Whatever the reason, […]
The kid in the first row, sitting up straight with hands folded, eyes on the teacher — that was me (long ago when students did such things). I know how to meet expectations. I can sense people’s expectations a mile away, and I have this morbid fear of disappointing anyone, of dropping the ball. This […]
My in-laws said they’d meet us. My father-in-law had a hankering for wiener schnitzel — the German version of chicken parmesan made with veal — and found this restaurant online. Jager-Haus had been around forever and had a reputation for authentic German cuisine. We drove right past it the first time, missing the sign in […]
They’re a conservative Christian family. Church on Sundays, Bible reading every night. Born again. They’re looking for a church where their teen boys can fit in. But they’ve had a hard time finding a church that would accept them, one that isn’t a gay church, that is. I was talking to my old college roommate. […]
“Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love … . Abraham’s heart had dropped to the pit of his stomach. He could feel the sweat cold on his temples, as he thought, “Lord, could this please not be a hard request, another stretching, another move beyond my comfort zone?” He had wanted to cover his ears, but he could not cover God’s mouth, and God had continued as if he had not known Abraham’s desperate thoughts, as if it did not matter.
God did things his way and in his time, and things were not always what they seemed. He could be trusted, but he was not predictable. This much he had learned, or perhaps was still learning. How could he explain this to Sarah? How could he expect her to hope again when he could give her none of the assurances she would expect?
She had followed Abram on this crazy journey, leaving behind all her friends and her childhood home. She never imagined it would end this way.
Abraham and Sarah saw the smoke rise up from the valley, and the acrid smell of sulfur and burning filled the air. Just the day before, Abraham had entertained the three visitors. The Lord had said to Abraham, “I have heard a great outcry from Sodom and Gomorrah. I am going down to see if their actions are as wicked as I have heard.”
Then the sun dropped behind the horizon, and in the darkness Abram saw a smoking firepot and a flaming torch pass between the halves of the carcasses. The Lord himself was making a covenant with Abram that day.
By the time she discovered the spring, her head was hot and throbbing. Dirt streaked across her face where her tears had mingled with the wilderness dust. Hagar sat down to rest, splashing the cool water on her face. For the first time since she left, she realized she had no plan.