I'm Shawna and I'm trying to walk in the way of Jesus each day by grace.  I'm a wife, mom, pastor, writer, speaker and coffee addict.  I blog about faith, church, theology, parenthood and the beautiful mess of life enlivened by the Spirit.  I love watching God breathe new life into the holy words of Christian Scripture.  That's why I teach in a Bible study series called Breathe.  My B.A. in Philosophy and Theology is from Point Loma Nazarene University and my Master of Divinity from Nazarene Theological Seminary.

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  • Dec3Thu

    Advent in the Real World

    December 3, 2015
    Filed Under:
    Faith, Parenthood, Social Justice, Mission

    As children who have been raised in relative safety, we hear the story of this young couple with no place but a feeding trough to lay their new-born baby, and we know, even at the smallest of ages, that there is something wrong with the world where God would dare to come as a baby.

    One night Dorothee told Elias about the real drama going on in our world. She told him that there were so many little boys and girls with nowhere to sleep at night. Elias quickly offered, “They can bring their beds into my room!” His mom gently explained that these children have no beds, they left everything they had when they left home. This took little Elias a minute to process. Finally he said, “I guess they could have my bed too.”

    Even the littlest of children know that there is something wrong in this world where God would dare to come as a baby.

  • Nov11Wed

    Table Manners

    November 11, 2015
    Filed Under:
    Church, Faith, Worship

    It’s always a bit of adjustment eating at a new table, where you don’t know the etiquette. Even more so at The Table to which Christians have been invited to share in one meal for thousands of years. You’d think we would have a better grasp on the table manners.

    One of the great joys of this strange season my family is in, worshiping in a different church nearly every Sunday, is that we get to gather around the Lord’s Table with so many different congregations. Each table bears the unique marks of the Word that became flesh. No two invitations to communion have been the same. In one way this is a wonderful testimony to the incarnation of Christ and contextual nature of worship. In another, these differences speak to a discontinuity and confusion in our worship practices, which can make the invitation to this meal less than hospitable.

    But we have been given some wonderful table manners, if you will, that help us come together around the Lord’s Table and be filled with the gift of Christ who is our peace! 

  • Sep5Sat

    How (NOT) to Church Shop

    September 5, 2015
    Filed Under:
    Church, Faith, Liturgy, Worship, Mission
    For the first time in my life, I find myself in a new city at a different church every Sunday, comparing notes with Tim on the drive home, opening our gift bag and finding room on the shelf for one more coffee mug. And it is killing us.

    There must be a faithful way to land at a new church when life circumstances require it, without becoming a consumer and turning worship into any other gadget on the shelf advertised to make your life better. Since I have been thinking and praying about this quite a lot, I wanted to share three models of church life that help think differently about “shopping around.”
  • To the next pastor of the Bakersfield First Church of the Nazarene: I have a confession I need to make to you. But seeing how confession is as difficult as it is necessary, allow me to explain why I feel the need to write to you today.

  • In every season of our lives we have people who make an imprint on us, inspire us to dream a new dream and dare us to move to the rhythms of grace. As a church kid, those people had titles like children’s pastor, youth pastor, Sunday School teacher. But when I got to college, a new title captured my imagination: professor. These were the people who gave language to the questions, doubts and dreams I could barely bring into the light of day. They helped make sense of the chaos of an emerging world. I will forever be in their debt.

    There had been a day down at an altar that a 14 year girl told God she would give her life to follow the call to ministry, whatever that meant. That girl was filled with wonder and awe at the thought of someday walking into a hospital room or down from a pulpit and being greeted as “pastor”. But over the four years that girl spent at college – at no fault of the amazing and faithful professors she encountered! – that girl created a hierarchy in her mind, a tower of calling.  And out of deep respect and woeful ignorance, she placed the title professor at the top of a hierarchy that makes no sense in the Kingdom of God. It is that hierarchy that gives way to a dichotomy between the Church and University that was never meant to be.
  • Moms are servants. Some days we feel like slaves. But we serve with a love that supersedes all the boogers and diapers and whining and sleep deprivation. We serve the minute our eyes open in the morning until they shut for a precious few hours at night. We have to serve. (Literally, we could be arrested for child endangerment.) But that's not why we serve. No one has to mandate or legislate or regulate our care for our children because we do care for them, and so very deeply.

    Serving our children is hard work but we love it.

    Shouldn't this be a reflection of our service to Christ? To serve with joy and love even when it is hard? To be thinking of others the minute our eyes open until they close at the end of the day? To see the ugliest and poorest with the doting eyes a mother has for her child?

  • Reflections on Co-Pastoring from Levi Jones lead us to take up kingdom politics.
  • A recent series of events in Nazarene higher education has captured the gaze of young people and academics among us, leaving an uncertainty about the theological future of the church. And regardless of what facts and details arise as this all comes to light, the images are what will stick with people long after the dust has settled. In the midst of so much destruction at NNU, MNU, and on social media, this is a call to be remade in the image of God.
  • My pastor friends ask, "How can you work with another co-pastor?" My married friends ask, "How can work with your spouse?" To be honest, there was a time when my answer would have been, "I don't know and I don't wanna."

    But over the last three years I feel like we have learned so much and grown so much. So if you are asking either of these two questions, here are 5 things that have helped us survive and even thrive as co-pastors and as a couple.
  • Jan1Thu

    The Practice of Loving the Church

    January 1, 2015
    Filed Under:
    Church, Faith, Worship, Young Adults

    Love is not a feeling - I hope you've heard that before. I think we get this when it comes to marriage or relationships in general. We love one another through serving, giving, putting the other before ourselves... you know, easy stuff like that (sarcasm intended). But what about loving our churches?

    Most of us have gone through seasons with our church where, in the immortal words of The Righteous Brothers, "You've lost that lovin' feeling." I don't mean to make light of this. It's no small thing when you have been hurt, betrayed, or forgotten by the people of God. And while there are circumstances in which church relationships have become abusive and need to be discontinued for the health of all parties, more often than not people slowly fall out of love with their church, not because of one thing but because of the many unspoken things that pile up and collect dust on our shelf of discontent.