Christchurch Cathedral When disaster leaves the remains of a church, with what do you rebuild? This question faces more than just New Zealanders: Christians as a whole are struggling with the fabric of our legacy and the material of our mission. Stone, steel, or cardboard? What do you think remains? I want to hear your response […]


An Advent Poem

Photo Dec 19, 3 44 49 PM

Poetry just seems right in Advent. Here’s a contribution of mine… Instructions for Making Appropriate Preparations  Light a candle. Carry a flower. Hear a song. Simple when the wick is long and dry, where the blooms multiply, with plenty of angels to choose from. But now the fuel is damp and dark, here the earth […]


Israel Pilgrimage 2012


I’m in Israel! And I hope you’ll follow along with this trip. Read about it on Facebook, follow me @expatminister or check out real-time tweets from Christie & I by searching for #israhale on Twitter, and read daily reflections over at


Further Adventures in Blogging

houstonbelief screengrab

Good day, expat companions! You may have seen some of my shameless self-promotion over the past week or so, but in case you missed it, here’s the big news: I’ve got a new blog! Kate Shellnut approached me about blogging for the Houston Chronicle’s online religion portal, HoustonBelief. After conversation, some advice from fellow community-religion-bloggers […]


Strangers and Foreigners on the Earth


The famed 11th chapter of Hebrews came up in the lectionary this week, and I really am taken with how Abraham’s faith in particular is narrated. The language of movement bookends chapter 11: chapter 10 ends with an exhortation to be among those who do not “shrink back,” while chapter 12 leads off with the […]


Can’t Stop the Signal


It’s no secret I’m a huge science fiction fan. At the top of the index card on which I listed attributes of a potential wife during a junior high relationship Bible study session, the very first item is “Must at least tolerate Star Trek.” True story. Still have the index card. But I nearly had […]


Expatriate Music

[picapp align=”right” wrap=”false” link=”term=expatriate&iid=7804953″ src=”8/b/0/6/Haiti_Wrestles_With_62a4.jpg?adImageId=12471495&imageId=7804953″ width=”234″ height=”154″ /]As I’m trying to wrap my head around the idea of writing something about faith from the perspective of an expatriate, I’m looking for music to go on this journey with me. So let’s play a word-association game. I rattle off some words, you give me the songs. […]


Thinking As an Expatriate

Edward Said: “Even if one is not an actual immigrant or expatriate, it is still possible to think as one…”


Value Engineering: Living an Expatriate Faith 3

What does it mean to be an expatriate? What does it mean to have an expatriate faith? All this week, we’re looking at this, well, bizarre question… When you talk about “value engineering” for a building project, what is generally meant is getting the most “bang for your buck.” But what usually happens when a […]


Stranger in a Strange Land: Living an Expatriate Faith 2

an Ivorian lunch

What does it mean to be an expatriate? What does it mean to have an expatriate faith? All this week, we’ll be looking at this, well, bizarre question… If having Christian faith means living in our homes as aliens or expatriates, then it also means being a stranger to the people around you and even […]