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Author: Laura Cerbus

“A Weighty Burden of Guilt”

“A Weighty Burden of Guilt”

“As a culture we have spent a great deal of time in recent decades naming and deploring the crimes and injustices in our history. This is right and necessary. But the present crises have exposed crimes and injustices deeply embedded in the society we live in now. So we provide our descendants with a weighty burden of guilt to lament. This irony—too mild a word—casts grave doubt on the rigor of our self-examinations. “All this comes down to the need…

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Pentecost & Justice

Pentecost & Justice

Today — the Feast of Pentecost. Today, we remember the sending of the Spirit, the gracious outpouring of God himself on his people.  As I meditate on God’s gift of his Spirit, I think of Jesus’ words:  “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind,to set the oppressed free,to proclaim the year…

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The Help We Need

The Help We Need

For us cross-cultural workers, so far away from our mothers, we tend to mother ourselves — to hack and schedule and self-care our way into health and flourishing. And we can get pretty good at it. We are creative, resilient people, and we couldn’t keep going if we didn’t have some measure of endurance and spirit.  We’ve learned to live without our mothers, and many of us are perhaps living without mother-figures, as well. We feel the weight of cross-cultural…

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COVID-19: A Prolonged Sabbath in a Culture of Productivity

COVID-19: A Prolonged Sabbath in a Culture of Productivity

I wrote this a couple of weeks ago, in the middle of school holidays and feeling untethered in many ways. Now, as Term 2 descends, “Sabbath” does not quite seem the right idea for what I’m facing now. The same maybe true for you — or not. I’m sure that our experiences of this time will be as diverse as we are ourselves. Even so, I’m hoping that what I was thinking about a couple of weeks ago may be…

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March 25: Annunciation of the Lord

March 25: Annunciation of the Lord

“Here am I, the servant of the Lord: let it be to me according to your will.”– from Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals This morning I had another conversation with my children about what is happening in the world. They woke up ready to launch into complaining, particularly about the limits on their social life. Normally, they mark the days of the week by which friends they will play with. Now, tears come regularly. They’re not alone. While…

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The Better Portion

The Better Portion

Does the story of Mary and Martha bother anyone else? Honestly, for much of my life I’ve had a hard time understanding what exactly I’m supposed to take from the story. I’m not obviously the Martha or the Mary — I’m happy to be in the classroom or the kitchen. But I’m not happy to be left alone in the kitchen when guests are over. To me, Mary’s abandonment of Martha seems selfish, justifying Martha’s indignation. In my mind, the…

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Not My Own

Not My Own

“I am not my own. I am bought with a price.” The woman recited the words quietly, without power of voice or presence. A petite, white-haired woman in a simple polyester dress, she spoke simply and matter-of-factly as she told the small youth group her story.  Although I had read many stories of cross-cultural workers, she was one of the first I had heard give her story in person. Her name was Orlena Boyle, and she spent almost 50 years…

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Seasonal Disorientation

Seasonal Disorientation

In the northeastern United States where I grew up, the holidays of the church moved with the rhythm of the seasons. In November, the days grew shorter as our part of the earth tilted away from the sun, and Daylight Saving Time kicked in. Most of the trees shed their last remaining leaves, creating a stripped landscape. The temperatures dipped, bringing frost and snow. As darkness and death descended, in December the light of Advent slowly pushed against it, growing…

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Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Last week a neighbor popped over to give my children the toys she had earned through her grocery store purchases.  That gesture, entirely mundane and unremarkable in my home context, has filled me with pleasure every time I’ve thought about it since.  Our home in the U.S. was a small town, tight-knit and friendly. Many residents, including us, worked for or had graduated from the local college. Within a short time of moving in, I knew all my neighbors in…

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When it’s not my story

When it’s not my story

I have a prayer letter to write. It’s been on my to-do list for the past three weeks now — each Saturday, I write it again in my planner for the following week. Our family has been very busy lately, with more church activities than usual and visiting family members (cue cheers and tears of joy!). While sometimes I sit down to write a prayer letter and struggle to fill it, right now our lives feel full enough to provide…

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