Wrestling With God

Is God Telling Me to Let Go?


Wrestling With God

By Beth Demme

Sometimes I hold on too tightly to God. To be more precise, I hold on too tightly to my ideas about God.

I unintentionally put God in a box.

You probably know the story of Jacob wrestling with God.

I love how Jacob’s story gives us permission to “wrestle” with God. It’s a poignant illustration of the reality that God is not detached or hands-off when it comes to his people.

It also reflects the reality of my relationship with God. Like Jacob, I wrestled with God before I understood the truth of God’s unconditional love. From time to time, I still feel like I’m wrestling with God.

Maybe, like me, you have read Jacob’s story many times. Maybe like me you missed an important detail.


In This Election, God Is On My Side

God On My Side

By Beth Demme

After three debates, a handful of scandals, and some terrific SNL skits, I feel a little flummoxed by this year’s presidential election. It’s not that I am an undecided voter, I have decided.

On the off-chance you’re interested, it was basically a 5-step decision-making process for me:

  1. Decide “not Trump.” That was easy for me. I made that decision months ago.
  2. Confront my personal bias against Hillary Clinton.
  3. Research Clinton’s platform, policy initiatives, and personal record.
  4. Research Johnson/Weld. This required me to learn who these gentlemen are, how they have served, and what they believe in.
  5. Research Jill Stein. (I admit I didn’t give this step equal time. I realized pretty quickly she wouldn’t be the right candidate for me.)

All in all, it’s been a good election cycle for me in terms of soul searching and deciding what is important to me.

If I’m really honest, I can thank Donald Trump for that.

I’ve been a loyal Republican for a long time. I would never have looked beyond the GOP candidate if the candidate had not been so unqualified and, truly, reprehensible. Thanks Donald! You gave me a YUGE opportunity to become a better person.

Although I won’t vote for Trump, I know many devoted Christians who will vote for him. I know their political views because I see them on Facebook. It’s the best place for politics. Really, the best.

The Best Hug Ever

Hugging @BethDemme

The Best Hug Ever

By Beth Demme

There’s something you should know about me. I’m a hugger.

I love to hug my children and my husband, but my hugging doesn’t stop there. If we’re friends and I see you at my child’s school, on the soccer fields, or in the grocery story, I’m likely to hug you. On Sunday morning, I go from one friend to another, hugging my way through the congregation.

Do you know what you have to do in order to share a hug? You have to choose to be idle for a moment.

A hug won’t work if either party is in motion.

If I can get the person I’m hugging to stay still, to hold the hug, for more than a nanosecond, I silently say a quick prayer. Although it’s brief, it’s usually a very deep and profound prayer, something theologically rich like, “thank you God for this friend.”

Romans Prayer Beth Demme

In Your Life There is More to Come

Beth Demme There is More to Come

By Beth Demme

We have a tradition in our family, our own catchphrase. In our home videos we never say, “The End.” Instead, we always say “More to Come.”

I don’t remember when it started, but it’s now ingrained in all of us. In fact, when the kids want me to stop-it-already-with-the-video they’ll smile and, sort of sarcastically, say “more to come, mommmmmm.” That’s my cue to start watching with my eyes instead of the lens.

More to come is an invitation to pay attention to the developing story.

Usually, the camera catches happy family moments (we don’t turn it on when we’re arguing!), but our catchphrase applies on the bad days, too. On good days, we’re saying, “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!” On bad days, it’s a statement of hope.

Whatever happens today, there’s more to come.

I was reminded of this in an improbable place the other day—the movie theater bathroom.

Jesus Is The Worst Mystery Ever


Jesus Is The Worst Mystery Ever

By Beth Demme

Sometimes words come out of my mouth, and I’m astounded at how awful they sound. It’s even more shocking when I then repeat those words.

“Jesus is like, um, the worst mystery ever,” I said to a room full of Christians. “Yep, Jesus is no good at being a mystery,” I then repeated.

I was speaking to a group of moms and children at a retreat designed just for them. The theme for the weekend was “A Holy Mystery,” based on Colossians 2:2-3 where Paul (or whoever wrote Colossians) refers to Christ as “God’s mystery, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

Of course, God is a mystery. Of course, the incarnational truth of Jesus is mysterious. Of course, the Trinity is beyond explanation.

I wasn’t disputing any of that. My point was that once we start looking for clues, we see God all around us and even in us. As strange as my words sounded, they weren’t wrong.

Although we will never be able to completely explain God, the love of God is not hidden from us.

As I stood in a room full of moms and kiddos, with my daughter at my side, I was overwhelmed with the truth of how much God loves us.

It makes sense that the love between mother and child would make me think of God. Consider what 1 John 4 says:

A Biased Review of Finding God in the Waves


A Biased Review of Finding God in the Waves

By Beth Demme

Mike McHargue’s debut book, Finding God in the Waves, was released on September 13, 2016. This is the story of how one man lost his faith, and found it again, through science. Mike went from Southern Baptist to Atheist to Unspecified to Methodist. I want you to read his book. Here’s why.

I cannot write an unbiased review of this book. I hope you’ll understand.

I’ve known Mike for a long time. Since before he was part of The Liturgists. Since before he was “Science Mike.” Since before he was Madison or Macey’s dad.

I first met Mike back in his days as a devout Southern Baptist.

Back then, Mike was the kind of Southern Baptist I would not talk to about faith. Not because there was anything wrong with him (or his church), but because I felt inadequate.

Back then, my faith already had a pitted patina. His faith seemed shiny and easy.

I experienced faith as something deeply private and personal, but his faith was an integral part of his identity. He didn’t need to wear a shirt that said, “DEACON,” because … well, because you could tell. At least, having lived in the South my entire life, I could tell.

I knew he and I probably had different ideas about the Bible. Mike admits in the book, he “once made fun of a friend for saying, ‘God is bigger than the Bible’”—just the kind of thing I might say.

What’s In Your Bible? Probably Not the Apocrypha

sweet girl reading Bible

What’s in Your Bible? Probably Not the Apocrypha

By Beth Demme

For the last few weeks, we’ve been looking at “What’s In Your Bible?

When I looked to see what was in my Bible, I found questions and notes leading to questions. I think questions are good stuff! I can’t imagine reading the Bible without questions popping up.

In addition to looking at questions, we looked at how meaningful and important handwritten notes and highlighting in a Bible can be. We can’t write a book, poem, or blog post and have it included in the scriptural canon (aka Bible), but in our own small way, we can add meaning to scripture when we make a note in our Bible.

This raises an important point: How did we get the scriptural canon as we have it today?

There are some books in the Bible that aren’t necessarily part of every church’s scriptural canon. (Canon, not cannon. A canon is a group or collection of exemplary literary works. A cannon is a huge gun.) As we look at the Apocrypha, I’m going to get into the weeds a bit. Don’t abandon me! Knowing a little bit about these things will make the Bible, and Bible study, more manageable and meaningful.

How many books are in the Bible?

If you said 66, you’re right.

And you’re wrong.

What’s In Your Bible? Questions or Answers?

Smiling Woman Studying Bible

What’s In Your Bible? Questions or Answers?

By Beth Demme

What do you see when you flip through the pages of your Bible? Do you see highlights? Notes? Randomly placed bookmarks? I invited you to send in photos of your Bibles so I could see, What’s In Your Bible? Your photos taught me a lot.

Bibles that are written in and marked up can convey family history, reveal your own “additions” to Scripture, or highlight what you dug up as you got messy in your study.

Sometimes we mark verses for educational and, perhaps, impersonal reasons. But for the most part, I think we mark verses that speak to us. The reason for each note or highlight is unique to our life, our circumstances, and our relationship with God.

Sometimes reading the Bible leads to questions instead of answers.

Joy sent in this photo of the Bible she received as part of her confirmation class in 1990. She opened it to Matthew 2 for me. She has a note next to the Beatitudes describing them as a “Bill of Rights”—this was a new idea for me, so I added the same note to my Bible.