Review: Wild in the Hollow by Amber C. Haines

I live in a shoddily-constructed rental home and I’m worse than ashamed about it. I’m irritated with the ground wasps that multiply in August that sting my husband whilst he’s trying to cut the grass. I’m annoyed, generally, with the lack of well-configured space and the moody windows that usually don’t stay open and the ugly countertops that are forever being stained in my kitchen. I’m full-blown ticked that I’m nearly old enough to run for U.S. President but am so broke as to need to rent property from a colleague.

I’m malcontent and it’s not okay and author Amber Haines seems to understand me.

Wild in the Hollow: On Chasing Desire and Finding the Broken Way Home is something of a masterpiece.

Truth: this is the best book I have read about spiritual conviction and the spiritual landscape in North America.
Truth: I am so jealous of Haines’ eloquence for writing about said conviction and landscape.

How can I be both jealous and in awe of a writer at the same time?

I just am. I cannot recommend this book enough. I’ve marked it up something fierce with my pen of conviction and I’ve already got it slated to lend to my girl Brandy who also teaches me things about spiritual convictions and landscapes and who reminds me not to be cranky about my rental home because I am a rich woman indeed and good things come to those who wait and hope in the Lord.

Here’s the trailer:

Wild in the Hollow: On Chasing Desire and Finding the Broken Way Home from Matthews Media on Vimeo.

Please go read this book if you have ever:
– felt a bit too wild for your environment
– wondered why you have an ache for something more at the end of each day
– known anxiety, depression or some combination thereof and wondered why you couldn’t pray it away
– desired community but were afraid you had nothing to offer
– felt despondent about church or the capital “C” church and didn’t know what to do about it

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What the World Cup is showing me about grace

Full disclosure: I haven’t watched any of the World Cup. Even more shame in my game is the fact that I am deriving this news report from Kathie Lee and Hoda’s Thirsty Thursday episode, watched on the treadmill yesterday. Seriously, WHO AM I?

Regardless of my newsfeed, one of the most beautiful images I have seen recently hails from the English women’s soccer match against Japan. England defender Laura Bassett managed to kick a goal. Into her own goal. Causing her team to fall and hand Japan a 2-1 victory.

Bennett was described as inconsolable. She is obviously shaken to the point of incredulity in the pictures and videos I have seen. How could this have happened? I was perfectly positioned–how did the ball ricochet so strongly in the wrong direction? How was my goalie unable to defend our net?

Photo: FOX Sports
Photo: FOX Sports

But then her teammates emerge and tell a different story. They lay hands on her, they shield her entirely, like she is the goal they need to protect. We can imagine their words unspoken. You are our teammate. You made a mistake. Remember all those times you were amazing and strong? This was just one time. We’ve all been there. We are all here for you. We share in this defeat but our sadness is divided.

Friends, what if this was how we handled a failure in our communities? Instead of castigating the mistake-maker, what if we treated him who has made a public blunder less as a pariah and more as a teammate? What if we rallied around them, blanketed them in mercy, told them how this was just an accident. Reminded him of all the other times he shined, he made a difference for the better on our team?

This is grace in a womens soccer jersey. This is the Gospel running around in cleats.

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Walking to church with my son-shine

Dear Little Man,

Earlier in the fall, your mama did something that she is not proud of but which she felt was necessary. She tried to beg out of church greeting. The extrovert in her enjoys the greeting and the handing out of bulletins and the occasional hugging that transpires during her monthly church greets. However, God’s little errand was starting to infringe upon sabbath school with you, because she had to leave early to greet. Full disclosure: I am not the biggest fan of sabbath school. In principle, it is fantastic, but the practice of it involves sitting in uncomfortable chairs, singing a lot of high-pitched songs that stay in one’s head for three days, crafts that are not recyclable, and being peer-pressured into taking a Little Friend magazine. Sometimes it’s a lot to do before noon on a Saturday, you know?

Anyway. The greeting boss lady suggested that your mama just bring you as her greeting deputy and–why hadn’t I thought of that before?!

I have come to love these mornings that we walk from the big church on the hill to our contemporary worship gathering downhill. I love the time with you and just getting some fresh air in our lungs before we put on our greeting pants. I can’t tell you what we talk about and I can’t be sure you’ll remember this time at all. But I will. I will remember how you stood no higher than my elbow, how you held my hand, how you would get frustrated when I would trump your bulletin giving, how you would eagerly anticipate “bucket time” aka offering time, how our friend Jeni said collections at church must go up every time you are collecting because who could deny your big brown eyes looking at them and passing the offering bucket?

I can’t be sure if we are making a Kingdom difference, you and I, the Lee Greeters, party of two, but I know one thing is for sure: you being a part of this ministry is making a difference in my life.


Sept 2014

Nov 2014

Dec 2014

Jan 2015

Feb 2015

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