Author: Rev. Joanna

Relief is Not Joy

There is an old joke about seeing a man repeatedly hitting himself on the thumb with a hammer. You ask him why he’s doing that? “Because it feels so good when I stop!”

I was reminded of the joke earlier this week when I woke from … read more.

No Expectations, Bad and Good

In that period between Christmas and New Years, a colleague-friend and I talked about what it would be like after the holidays. We agreed that there most likely would be some blues among most of us, as the distraction of the holidays faded and reality … read more.

And another thing …

What a week.

I mean, WHAT A WEEK! An attempt to get the Georgia Secretary of State to “find” more votes for one candidate, a nail-biter of a state election that will change the Senate, and an attempted insurrection.

And that was just by Wednesday.

Excuse my levity, … read more.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas 2020

Dear Live Oak,

What a year it has been. What began as a fairly normal year for a church was turned upside down on March 15, when we had our last in-person worship service. By the following Sunday, we were gathering online for our worship … read more.

Advent and Spiritual Preparations

At the beginning of December, I gave a sermon talking about how the period of Advent is, in a religious sense, considered to be a time for spiritually preparing for Christmas. Whether Christian or not, if you celebrate Christmas, this might be a helpful thing … read more.

Virtual Holidays at Live Oak

Usually, in December, we have flyers about all the events happening at Live Oak in December. Things are, of course, different this year. Everything is online, but we still have the traditions you love.

Tonight (Thursday) is our Blue Christmas service at 6:00 pm. We … read more.

What Are You Really Trying to Buy?

Back in 2017 (doesn’t that seem like 10 years ago?), I wrote this on Facebook:

This December, as you shop for gifts, pause before each purchase and ask, “What am I really trying to buy?” Like the year I bought tons of board games. What … read more.

The Church of the Crowded Table

This is the church of the crowded table
Our elbows bump, we whisper apology
And murmur absolution, and
Receive community and offer it to
The person next to us

The crowded table is an open table
Whoever you are
Whomever you love
All genders, all cultures
With whatever spirituality that guides you
All who are … read more.

Grumbling Gratitude

I am not a fan of forced gratitude and have even preached about it. I’ve pointed out if that if we make a cult out of gratitude, we establish denial its chief sacrament.

But you know, some years break the rules. And 2020, with … read more.


Tomorrow is Friday the 13th. The last Friday the 13th was March 13. The Live Oak Board and I had just sent out a letter that we would be moving to virtual services after that weekend. Even then, we thought it would be short-lived. We … read more.