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  • being real,  church stuff,  deconstruction,  walking in love

    Dear Church: you are free to love people

    Nearly every church I have been a part of, spoken at or visited shares a common theme: they all claim to love people. Some of you may be like, duh Anna, of course we love people. Isn’t that the whole idea of the gospel? While others of you are like, heck to the no. I felt ANYTHING but love at my church. And this is exactly why I wanted to write this particular post. Let me just start by saying, I believe (for the most part) that the majority of people inside church sincerely believe they are loving. After all, it is what Jesus told us we would be known…

  • being real,  church stuff,  deconstruction

    What did Jesus really save us from?

    There has been much discussion lately around this idea of hell. Readers have reached out to me on numerous occasions asking me the same question: do you think hell is a real place? I can almost hear the fear resounding in their words as they painfully type the question… It’s the question from congregants that even causes pastors to squirm: what about my loved ones or family members who don’t attend church or who don’t believe like we do – will they go to hell?? These are the moments I think all of us wish Jesus were here to clarify – to set the record straight so we could be…

  • being real,  church stuff,  deconstruction,  women's issues

    To the Deconstructing Christian

    There’s been a lot of talk recently around this idea of deconstruction inside the Christian faith. I think for many people, the idea of deconstruction can hold a variety of different meanings. Leaving many scratching their heads wondering, Is that me? If you find yourself questioning what you’ve always believed or what you were always “taught” to believe about God, the Bible or Jesus or your church or denomination or what have you –then you are probably somewhere inside the deconstruction category. Some of you may already know this, but for others it may completely freak you out. The ironic thing is, anyone on a spiritual journey has most likely…

  • being real,  church stuff,  holidays,  walking in love,  women's issues

    Easter – when the definition of holy changed

    Easter is often referenced as “holy week”. Depending on your background and personal story, the word holy can tend to have a lot of feelings associated with it. Growing up for me, holy week and Easter had a sweetness to it. Memories of Easter egg hunts in my Grandma’s backyard, to waking up to Easter baskets filled with chocolate bunnies and all the goodies you would expect. We would attend church where the “Easter story” was told and at times a passion play or clip from The Passion of the Christ was shown to drive the message home. Threaded in the message was typically the stark difference between our lack…

  • being real,  relationships

    What about when it is NOT well with your soul? – Finding permission to not be okay

    I’ve been pretty open about the pain of this last year. Walking through the ending of my marriage, while simultaneously attending two funerals of family members – it has been a difficult road to say the least. As much as I want to tell you that I’m completely healed from all the heartbreak and that life is back to normal again, I can’t. Each day brings a different set of emotions. Some days I am completely enthralled with my daughters and feel excited at the life that lies ahead. Other days, I am swarmed in a blanket of sadness and it feels like it’s all I can do to get…

  • being real,  walking in love

    Christianity vs the NRA – finding a different perspective on gun control and violence

      I understand the sensitivity of this topic right now…I do not dare venture into these waters lightly. Like many of you, I’ve been on the other side of the TV watching horrific details of yet another senseless mass shooting. I’ve heard the tears and screams of the family members and students affected by the tragedy. There are countless arguments in the news, political circles and social media – these arguments trickle into our living rooms, dinner conversations and coffee conversations. Each holding tightly to their beliefs regarding what it means to be a Christian, republican, democratic and/or a gun owner. Personally, I don’t care what the current definitions are. …

  • being real,  church stuff,  holidays

    A look at anxiety and stress inside faith communities

    Last year was my jump into a world of raw, honesty. Part of that honesty included admitting that I had neglected myself and my needs for far too long – and was paying a high price for it. Part of the price I paid was loads of stress and anxiety. This pushed me into a subject that I had not given much thought or credit to before: self-care. (What even. I can’t believe I’m even writing this. Just admitting that I had to stop my life and put Anna back on the radar gives me loads of anxiety. GOOD GOD. But, alas, here we are and I am sitting here…

  • being real,  relationships

    It’s official – I started a podcast

    I feel like a proud (and nervous) momma introducing you to my new baby. This has been in the works for a while and I am so excited to officially announce the launch of my new podcast: Behind the Mirror. As you all know, I love to deep think and enjoy pushing the boundaries of conversation inside our faith communities – but I especially love connecting one on one. I am thrilled to have an opportunity to join you in your car, at your desk or while you are doing laundry and literally talk your ear off (just kidding. I promise I don’t go longer than like 30 minutes…I JUST…

  • being real,  church stuff,  walking in love

    2018 – Re-thinking my Christianity

    I’ve called myself a “Christian” from the moment I could talk. Singing Jesus Loves Me was one of the first songs I ever sang. I got my first Bible in Elementary School and was playing CD’s of Amy Grant on repeat in my room as a pre-teen (I didn’t discover DC Talk and Jars of Clay until I was a teenager. I was SUPER-Christian-cool then) I grew into adulthood where Beth Moore bible studies were all the rage and scrapbooking clubs were how young moms connected.  I hosted Premier Jewelry Parties and sang Hillsong worship songs in my car. I volunteered in ministry groups and quickly asserted myself into all…

  • being real,  holidays

    A remedy for what we don’t like about Christmas

    I’m sitting on my couch, gearing up for a weekend of craziness we call Christmas. I do love this season. I love the togetherness – being with friends and family during this time has a sense of magic to it. It’s special. Beautiful. Spiritual. But, alongside the moments of joy and excitement, I feel equal amounts of anxiety, stress and sadness. It isn’t something we talk much about, but I believe this is a universal occurrence. Our personal circumstances may be different, but the base line of emotion is the same. I believe there is a reason for this – a purpose in fact. But, I’ll get to that in…