Tag Archives: Hope



Steward of Stories: Reflecting on Tensions in Daily Discipleship by JoAnn A. Post

JoAnn Post has been a Lutheran pastor and writer for three decades. She attended Wartburg College and Wartburg Theological Seminary before serving diverse congregations and settings. Her ministry has been committed to strong preaching and worship leadership, pastoral care, and community outreach. (See more about JoAnn and Steward of Stories at http://wipfandstock.com/author/view/detail/id/57509/)

As shared in her introduction JoAnn was dubbed “Steward of Stories” by her husband in recognition of how both strangers and friends entrusted her with their stories. The stories, many written while JoAnn underwent cancer treatments, presents meaningful reflection and insights into the rich and paradoxical world of a pastor. The thoughtful discussion questions at the end of each chapter encourage dialogue on the important topics brought to life in the stories shared in the book.



 Cover-_LauraNotes on the Journey: Living with Sarcoma & Hope by Laura A. Koppenhoefer

This book is a compellation of Laura’s “posts” from the Carepage.com journaling               she has done through the first years of her illness, a rare cancer diagnosis – “sarcoma”– changed   a lot in her life. Originally thinking that she was writing to inform the congregation she co-pastored of her treatment,          she found that she learned through writing as well. Insights are found in everyday things – gardens and baking and re-discovering knitting and quilting –        and the extreme circumstances of her medical care, the challenges of facing disability, and severe pain starting at age 49. However, all are instances for discovering the Spirit at work in her life whether in times of lament or joy. The proceeds of this book are all going to fund sarcoma  research at the University of Iowa Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center. For more about Laura and the Living in Hope foundation, see http://www.livinginhopefoundation.org/

A reflection from Tammy Barthels, Final Year M.Div. Student:

As I finish reading Laura’s book, two entries stick with me. 1) “Be strong and of good courage, be neither afraid or dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (p 332). And 2) “With thanks to …God – For your presence. Though I may feel lonely from time to time, I am never alone. For the gift of incredible people in my life – They are your hands and feet in the world” (p 333). Laura assures me, God assures me that God’s presence is always with us. God allows us to be lonely at times, but God never leaves as alone. God provides wonderful people in our lives to walk this journey with us.



Faraway: A Suburban Boy’s Story as a Victim of Sex Trafficking by R.K. Kline and Daniel D. Maurer

Daniel D. Maurer was an ELCA pastor for 11 years, serving parishes in western North Dakota. He is now a freelance writer and writes under the “Dan the Story Man,” his non-fiction brand.  R.Kevin Kline is an ELCA pastor who has served in Kansas and Hawaii. Having recently moved back to the mainland and received approval as a mission developer, he plans to foster relationships with other organizations to raise awareness about the ongoing issues of justice in the LGBTQ community. Maurer and Kline collaborated on the book after realizing that Kevin’s story had the power to help others.

Faraway: A Suburban Boy’s Story as a Victim of Sex Trafficking breaks new ground in the problem of sex trafficking in that it also affects boys. Set in 1975, Kevin’s true story shows how a young boy can find himself in a difficult and unsustainable life. Yet even in darkness, there is a light of grace —Kevin found two friends during that summer of ’75. With them, he would come to see a loving God in ways that the world would only begin to see in more recent years. For more, see http://www.faraway-book.com/

A reflection from Tami Groth, Final Year Diaconal Ministry Student:

I first heard Rev. Kevin Kline speak in the Spring of 2013 when he spoke to students at Wartburg Seminary, and shared his story with us. I encourage others to both read the book, and if possible hear Kevin speak. His story is powerful and an important one for us to hear. I am thankful for Kevin’s courage and the authentic telling of his story.



Sobriety A graphic novel by Daniel D Maurer. Illustrated by Spencer Amundson

Through rich illustration and narrative, Sobriety: A Graphic Novel offers an inside look into recovery from the perspectives of five Twelve Step group members, each with a unique set of additions, philosophies, struggles, and successes while working the Steps. Readers gain an intimate look at the challenges faced by those in recovery–and at the boundless power of working the Steps in helping people find strength in one another as they reach for a clean-and-sober life. For more, see http://www.danthestoryman.com/

THE BEGINNING…OF WHAT? Sermon by Rev. Dr. Gwen Sayler, Professor, Wartburg Seminary

Text: Mark 1:1-5; Isa 52:7-10
Tired, dusty feet honed and callused by desert sand
A voice proclaiming hopeful and yet fearful tidings….Turn, turn your feet and your hearts…get ready for the in-breaking of the reign of God.
More feet–wet feet wading in the Jordan
Voices confessing sins, hearts awaiting the One to baptize in Spirit and in fire.
Fresh feet as yet unmarred by suffering, unblemished feet wading into the Jordan to be baptized by John;
A voice from heaven as the heaven rips: You are my Son, the Beloved; in you I am well-pleased.
Hot, tired feet driven into the wilderness, defiantly standing firm, refusing the temptation to stand down, massaged by the angelic host.
Energized, fleet feet on the move.
The voice of the One whose body those feet anchor speaking into being the in-breaking of God’s reign in word and deed, challenging the power of forces of evil allied against that reign.
Feet that before the story comes full circle will lead a rag tag bunch of followers on a circuitous route through Galilee and down to Jerusalem.
Feet—talented, tired, beautiful, battered, bruised feet nailed to a cross.
The sound of the temple curtain ripping; life-less feet carried down from the cross and buried in a tomb.
And then, silence.
Three days later…..fearful, frazzled feet furtively moving through shadows to the tomb, feet bearing women firmly determined to anoint the dead body one more time.
A voice crying out:
The beginning of the story of Jesus Christ crucified and risen, footloose and fancy free, on the move into all the shadowy desert places where feet are shaky, the wildernesses where fears abound, frustrations frazzle, feet fall down—the broken places of our world, our bodies and our hearts as well.
The risen Christ, footloose and fancy free breaking through the very barriers that hold us back and tie us down and tempt us to stand down.
The risen Christ, footloose and fancy-free with life-giving, death-defying hope, love, and courage for God’s fearful, frazzled people of every time and every place
The beginning of what? The beginning of the new world-changing day to which you and I are invited—no, more that, the new world-changing day to which you and I are called and challenged and sent to participate.
It’s no secret that Mark’s Gospel ends as abruptly as it began.
Our last sight—that of the women running as fast as their fearful feet will take them leaves open the ending of the story because the story has not ended—it lives on in and through you and me and all God’s people of every time and every place.
Beautiful, talented, sometimes tired feet—your feet and mine. …. feet that have borne us through our joys and sorrows, our anxious days and those we have eagerly anticipated. …feet washed in the waters of baptism, bearing you, God’s beloved, talented daughter and son, you in whom God is well-pleased……
…..and yet sometimes, when work pushes us further than we think we can go or uncertainly weighs us down like a menacing cloud hanging over us or when death tries to do its worst, those beloved feet get downright battered and bruised.
But through it all, the voice continues to ring: He is not here….he is risen….go and tell. Jesus the risen Christ, footloose and fancy free on the move for and to and through you and me.
The risen Christ, footloose and fancy free, on the move walking on our sometimes tumultuous roadways with us, massaging our battered feet and bruised spirits, making himself known in bread and wine, fueling our spirits and energizing our tired feet with God’s very own life-giving, life-sustaining power for today and tomorrow and every day ahead.
Jesus the risen Christ, footloose and fancy free, on the move refreshing and renewing, energizing and equipping beautiful, talented, tired feet for the mission to which their bearers are called.
The ancient prophetic oracle, spoken originally to give confidence and courage to exiles whose tired, talented beautiful feet were about to get to go back home says it so well : “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the one who brings good tidings, who publishes peace, who brings good tidings, causing us to hear salvation.”
Jesus Christ, crucified and risen footloose and fancy free, entering into the shadowy places of our lives and our world with light and love and peace…..energizing our feet for the ministries to which we are called…………

What more can we add to that except to thank God for God’s inexpressible Gift. Amen.