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the Shape of Someone

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the Shape of Someone

the Shape of Someone

October and November bring, for a number of our spiritual and cultural traditions, rituals to remember the dead. Not all of our relationships are with the living alone. Our ancestors shape us. Our loved ones live on in us. They shape our present and our future – for...

Soy Yo!

Soy Yo!

Me, outside MeowWolf, in Santa Fe last month. I hate spiders. Welcome to our new online home! Maybe the nudge came from the hilarious characters in the new live-action Dora the Explorer movie. (A family film that excelled in ways I didn't expect. But that's another...

Can We Talk about “The Media”?

Can We Talk about “The Media”?

Journalists are equal parts cynic and rabid patriot. Most own a well-worn pocket Constitution. Ask them. I bet they’ll be able to tell you right where it is. They’ll have the First Amendment memorized and are liable to recite it to you, unsolicited, with more...

“Well, It Isn’t Junk to Me”

“Well, It Isn’t Junk to Me”

A Eulogy for Elizabeth Annabelle “Betty” Bowers Hange, Feb. 29, 1920 -- June 15, 2018 I’m not sure what epitaph will be engraved with the artist’s palette Grandma picked years ago for her grave marker, but this would be my choice. I heard Grandma say it more than...

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Love and Life

Reflection

Love and Life

Current Events & Culture

A Message From Christina

I grew up on a hill in the middle of nowhere Northeast Ohio.

My words feel forged there, watching styrofoam cups melt at night in a burn barrel on a back 40 I imagine defending with a shotgun and my miniature Doberman pinscher.

(Disclaimers: It was the ’80s. We didn’t know any better than to burn styrofoam. It was more like an acre and a half, and my dog’s bark was much bigger than his bite. I also never owned a shotgun.)

From that little piece of Appalachia, I’ve transplanted several times… Minneapolis, Cleveland, and now non metropolitan but magical Southern Oregon.

A writer, editor, and refugee of the Fourth Estate, I am also an ordained pastor puttering in the spiritual R&D department of wherever Jesus is taking us next.

My best guess? It won’t be so much in the “thin places,” but the thick ones, those dense moments of human existence that feel like banging your forehead against concrete block, where the chasm between what is and what should be gapes, as impossible to traverse as the canyon between Lazarus and Dives.

What I look for is Love showing up with skin on. Right here.

Christina Kukuk

Writer + Preacher

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“Well, It Isn’t Junk to Me”

I’m not sure what epitaph will be engraved with the artist’s palette Grandma picked years ago for her grave marker, but this would be my choice.

I heard Grandma say it more than once when extended family members (read: daughters-in-law) disparaged the piles of seemingly useless materials she saved.

The piles got completely out of control: stacks of foam meat trays in not just white, but blue, green, yellow, and pink; empty spools bare of thread; buttons, clothespins (especially the old fashioned kind), empty baby food bottles and their caps, bits of cloth, yarn, ribbon and thread. She collected natural materials, too: dried thistles and milkweed pods, money plant, gourds.

These worthless things became craft projects, costumes, floral arrangements. She flooded the entries to the local County Fair with milk-pod interpretations of “The Owl and the Pussycat” or “Alice’s Wonderland.” Once, when she broke her leg falling into a hole the dogs had dug between the shed and the back-porch door, she gave her ample plaster casts a second life. Turned on end, with an extra bit of paper mache and paint, they made the best camels I have ever seen grace a home porch Nativity crèche.

“Well, it isn’t junk to me,” Grandma would say….