Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Please visit my website

Hi friends and readers,

Thanks for visiting my blog for The One Year Daily Grind (now also known as The One Year Coffee With God). As you can see by my previous posts, it's been awhile since I've kept this up! That's because, in addition to attending graduate school and giving birth to a baby boy, I've completely overhauled my author website, where I am now blogging.

So starting June 1, 2011, please visit for all further updates, comments, and conversations about The Daily Grind devotional book. Feel free to "Like," "Tweet" and generally be obnoxious about the new & improved website! Hope to see you there.

Keep walking with Jesus,
Sarah Arthur

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The call

Well, it happened. My husband got his first middle-of-the-night-emergency-phone-call-to-the-pastor. It was sometime around 1:30 AM last night. The neighbor of one of our parishioners had just committed suicide, and the family was all over at the parishioner's house, freaking out. Could Pastor Tom come over?, she asked. Things were not going well for the family. Could he come over and offer words of comfort?

He would come over, anyway. Words of comfort might be a struggle. (Are there any words?) He would do his best. He would climb out of bed and get dressed in the cold, wondering what sort of situation he would find, a roomful of terrified strangers, no doubt, and meanwhile his wife lying awake at home, praying that he wouldn't hit a deer on the way there, or fall asleep at the wheel, or be lost to the dark like the son who had just done such a thing to himself, to his family.

This is ministry. This is the "neither death nor life...nor anything else in all creation" moment that Paul was talking about. God meets us here or nowhere at all.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Dispatch from the New Zone

It's amazing how quickly we moved into our new home in southeast Lansing, Michigan. Not only did we have a whole crew of folks from the church helping us, but after moving seven times in three and a half years, Tom and I have it down to a science. I've said this before, but the people who invented those foldable file boxes with handles should be sainted, or at least in the running with Mother Teresa of Calcutta and the Pope. Saint Chad of Milwaukee or something. Whoever you are, God BLESS you, dude.

So, with a little time on my hands before we leave for vacation, I polished off Kathleen Norris' Dakota, which seems appropriate somehow as I move into a subdivision on the edge of farm country. This afternoon I biked nine miles almost without meaning to: the land is perfectly flat, the roads are quilted north-south and east-west in mile-long blocks, and because it's impossible to get lost, you keep going. You cruise along, checking out the fields and wetlands and geranium-bejewelled farmhouses, and before you know it you've biked to the next town. Norris writes, "Living in a town so small that, as one friend puts it, the poets and ministers have to hang out together has its advantages" (105).

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Morning Prayer

In my previous entry--which I posted in late August--I talked about attending daily morning prayer at my seminary, predicting that many of my classmates would eventually stop attending it after their initial enthusiasm wore off. Irony of ironies, shortly thereafter I made the commitment to join my household in daily morning prayer instead. So I haven't been at school for prayer either. And who knows: perhaps the case is similar for all the others who "drift" away? My apologies, all.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Same New World

My husband and I are back to Durham, NC after a summer in our hometown in northern Michigan. It seemed strange to unpack the car Sunday evening after three days on the road and then bike to seminary the next morning without the usual back-to-school preliminaries. No shopping for folders or pencils or sharp new crayons. No new haircuts or pictures taken. I wondered if I was supposed to get an updated student ID or what. (Apparently not.) It was as if I hadn't left, hadn't stopped making hourly trips to the library, snarfing lunch between classes and meetings, battling crowds at the e-print stations. Gone for three months, yet nothing has changed.

And meanwhile I'm back to attending morning prayer at the chapel in the divinity school. It's amusing and poignant to see all the first year students there, so hopeful about their spiritual journey in seminary and eager to attend everything, but who will slowly drift away from daily prayer before the end of the semester. Our robust group of 50-60 will shrink to 10 or less. But that doesn't change the liturgy, or the lectionary, which I suppose illuminates the wisdom of a structure that doesn't rely on the emotional energy of a critical mass. I remember one morning during exam week last year, when my husband and I were the only two people in the chapel, and then shuffling up the aisle came Stanley Hauerwas, world-renowned theologian. And it didn't matter what sort of personalities were or were not in the room. The litury--the prayed Word of God--remained the same.

And I suppose that if the three of us hadn't shown up, the flagstones of the floor would have--if not cried out--at least whispered the praises of the Lord.

And then when the flagstones are gone--indeed, when heaven and earth have passed away--God's word will still remain.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sunny Days

So much for my Summer Blog Challenge! I'm already nearly a month behind in posting something weekly--in part because we've had absolutely gorgeous weather for two weeks straight, and in part because I've dedicated my summer to writing other things. The main thing I've been working on is a book for parents on creating rites-of-passage for their adolescent daughters. My friend Teresa Crouse (who has a teenage daughter) and I have been piloting the material with a group of moms from her church--the dads have been involved, too. So I've been interviewing those moms over the course of the summer, and spending some time with the girls, which has been a delightful and enriching experience. We are super excited about this material, and can't wait to make it available to more people! I'll try to post more about it soon.

I've also been writing weekend features for a youth devotional journal called devo'zine. It's written by youth and by adults who care for youth, and comes out every other month. If you've never heard of it, check it out! I'm honored to write for this award-winning publication.

But of course, in two weeks my writing will revert to grad school fare (gripping, I assure you). Pray for me!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Fluffy Assasin

My godchildren, who live next door to us this summer, have a young cat named Boo. Picture a soft, pale-gold fluffball with golden eyes, twining around my legs while I'm trying to water the plants. When I ignore him, he rolls and stretches on his back, purring. Boo is so friendly, he once followed my husband and godson on a walk along the river, dashing ahead of them on the trail and then lying down with paws in the air, begging a tummy rub. He's also made numerous attempts to enter the house, slipping through opened windows or doors on a great explore. And if I weren't terribly allergic to cats, I'd be tempted to keep him.

Fluffy. Adorable.


First it was a dead mouse in the yard. Then it was a baby bird. Then another. Then two more mice in various stages of...well, I won't go into it. One afternoon I found a baby bird on the ground, and while I was trying to figure out what to do Boo suddenly appeared and pounced on it. I shrieked. I threated the cat. I ran for the shovel, so I could lift the unconscious bird out of Boo's reach. I hollered for my husband to help me. Shaking his head he said, "Sarah, he's an animal."

Of course, my husband still helped me. But his words sunk in. This fluffy, adorable little personality was not a person. He was a small creature whose primary instincts were to hunt other small creatures. Boo was not capable of looking at the baby bird and saying, "Ooo, isn't it so cute?" or, "It is my duty to protect such a vulnerable little thing." He would never be able to rationalize himself out of a kill by saying, "Look, dude, you're not even hungry." This is why God did not put cats in charge of the world.

Not that fallen humans are doing much better. If anything, our ability to rationalize is precisely why our behavior is so much more sinister. We rationalize ourselves into doing things we know we shouldn't do. If it were simply a matter of instinct, we'd be no more guilty than Boo. This is why we need Jesus. Not because we are naturally, instinctively inclined to selfishness at others' expense. But because we are deliberately, calculatingly so.