Blog Archive

Contemplating the messiness of Christian life

The Messy Jesus Business Blog is an ecumenical Christian gathering of musings about what it means to live the Gospel today. A variety of contributors offer prayer, poetry, book reviews, creative nonfiction and prose about what it means to live a life of faith in our complex, modern times.

  • metal figurine lady justice

    A long journey to healing, justice

    Having slid in a few minutes late, I sat in the last row of the courtroom. I had only been in a courtroom one other time since my husband’s immigration court appearance. Neither were particularly positive experiences. Court proceedings are dry, confusing and surreal. Jargon and formalities make it feel like a scene in a…

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  • people picnicking in a part with grass, trees, water and city skyline

    Hoverboards, driving lessons, friendships and the common good

    The sun was setting as we wrapped up a delicious meal at a local park with some new family friends. A couple of the youngest daughters from the Ahmed family walked slowly by the side of my daughter, JoyAna, on her first attempt at riding a hoverboard. JoyAna’s body was shaking, her knees bent, as…

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  • parliament of the world's religions

    Surrender to the sacred

    There was a time when the questions caused me a lot of agony, when the diversity of spiritualities and religions worldwide caused confusion and doubt. How could there be such a wide variety of religions and spiritualities throughout the world? What is The Truth? Am I am fool for being a Christian — a committed…

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  • watercolor illustration of woman sitting in corn field behind mountain underneath rain clouds

    Prayer is listening to my heart’s longing

    “Well, what do you want? What do you desire?”  At the start of my final year as a student at a Jesuit University, I felt like a spiritual mess. I had recently returned from studying abroad for four months in El Salvador through a service-based educational program that effectively upended what I knew about myself…

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  • A Personality Mosaic: How Enneagram Connects the Pieces

    I live in a neighborhood filled with vibrant, Mexican art and murals. Some of my favorites are mosaics. I love admiring a cohesive image from afar, then drawing close and realizing how many different shades and colors are really there. From close up, it can be hard to imagine how these little shapes could possibly…

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  • Neither created nor destroyed

    Last month, as Chicago and other Midwest cities made headlines for smoky skies, I donned my mask and headed outside. A certain sadness, much like the haze, enveloped me. I wondered whether the tears in my eyes were from the smoke or for the smoke, and what it meant. By the end of June, Canada…

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  • Women Eating Alone

    For decades, there was a stigma around women eating out alone. In 1964 the New York Times published a piece about how single women were not always well received at restaurants and how other women were too self-conscious even to try it. Now many women are discovering that eating out alone isn’t shameful. It can…

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  • The Messiness of Franciscan Sisterhood

    A Special Episode of Messy Jesus Business podcast, with Sister Julia Walsh. Podcast: Play in new window | Download Subscribe: Google Podcasts | Stitcher | Email | RSS | More IN THIS EPISODE We’re in between seasons on a break but are offering a special episode featuring five Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, who are in the same community as Sister Julia. Featured are Sisters Karen Kappell,…

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  • Litany of Joy

    Joyfulness is one of the things I most admire in other people; perhaps one of the main marks of an authentic Christian life. I gravitate towards people who exude joy, and I aspire to do the same. Unfortunately, despite what feels like a long road of seeking to build a joyful life, the emotional ups…

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  • Alone With God: Joan of Arc’s Resilience

    On May 30, Joan of Arc’s feast day — also the day she was burned at the stake in 1431 — I watched the great 1928 silent film, “The Passion of Joan of Arc,” for the first time at the historical Music Box theater in Chicago. The silent film was accompanied by an original 80-minute…

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  • Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

    Worthy and unworthy

    Again I am standing in a pew, among strangers and friends. I am facing an altar on which bread and wine were just transformed to the body and blood of Jesus Christ. There are warm vibrations between the people and the pews, a powerful presence in the room. Candles glow. Stained glass windows are shimmering….

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  • night-bonfire-silhouettes-alex-mccarthy

    God Who Riots

    I often hang out with idealistic Christians. People in my circles want to get back to the roots of the Gospel, to emphasize justice and liberation over condemnation and exclusion. It can feel so exciting to find other people who care about these things. Sometimes, though, I realize, with a jolt, that I’m not on…

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