Learning. How curiosity changes everything (AMPLIFY PEACE part 2)

I read a book a few years back called 'How The Brain Changes Itself' and it debunked a lot of myths I had believed about myself. I had thought that my brain was static. That whatever things it had learned up until my adulthood was what I had to work with. Actually, I had believed that it was even worse than that because I did a fair amount of drugs as a teenager and figured that my memory 'issues' were most likely related to the damage I did to my brain which was now stuck in that condition. When I read that book it introduced the truth that our brains are dynamic not static. Which means that they are in the process of becoming and changing and shifting and learning ALL THE TIME. Your brain never stops making connections and new connections. It is discovering ways of functioning better and healing areas that have been damaged and creating new ways of doing the same thing when the old thing becomes blocked somehow. It's amazing. And SO hopeful.   

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Danielle Strickland
How listening could change everything... AMPLIFY PEACE part 1

Listen. This is much harder than it first sounds. Listening is an incredibly valuable way of beginning your peace making journey. Listening is an act of solidarity with the person you are trying to hear. And this is where we get a bit specific. Whose voice have you not heard? And how can you begin to make some peace by choosing to listen to the voices of those whom you don’t know? There is a beautiful saying, ‘an enemy is someone whose story you have not yet heard’. At the heart of every human being is a sacred beginning. And to find that human heart can take some uncovering of our own prejudice and distorted perspective and the only way to get to that divine connection of a shared humanity is to LISTEN to each other.

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reclaiming desert spaces

Maybe this season of lent is another faithful invitation from a God who knows we need to reclaim the desert spaces of our cluttered and barren lives. Maybe the love we crave and the violent cultural norms we've come to accept instead of challenge are evidence of a deep need we have, right now to be re-shaped into the image of Jesus. I'm praying for Florida, and for the United States as they grapple with the reality of yet another school shooting THIS YEAR. I'm praying for all those seeking love and finding themselves alone and afraid and desperate on valentines day. I'm praying for all of us really. To take the Ashes of our hollow praises and easy choruses and reclaim the desert space in our lives to make room for the God who is a safety, an adventure, a wild wilderness, a trainer, a healer, a gatherer, a Savior who gives suffering meaning, whose presence is true love in a fickle world.  I'm reclaiming the desert space in my life for God to make me more like Jesus. 

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Danielle Strickland
But For The Grace of God Go I. 

I’ve been humbled a lot lately. No doubt it’s a helpful remedy for my often prideful sense of self sufficiency. I suffer from an ‘I’ve got this’ spirit or ‘I can fix that’ one. Different sides of the same coin. Both are rooted in thinking I’m better than I am. 

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Danielle Strickland
Hope for our time.

I’m pregnant with hope right now. Which. Is. Weird. Because, well, things aren’t so good on a global scale. On the way to a conference recently, I had an especially frank conversation with my Uber driver. She’s not so hopeful. She recounted the horror of the shooting in Los Vegas and the hopelessness she felt about the American political system and the results of global warming on the world and lamented the fact that she chose to bring children into this god-forsaken place. And all the time she was sharing, I was trying to listen to her pain, but what I was really feeling was hope. Which. Is. Weird. Why am I feeling hope at a time that seems so perilous and hopeless? And that’s when it hits me.

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Danielle Strickland
On transitions and being still.

Lots of us go through these things – transitions. I’ve spent a whole life moving from place to place and loving it, well, mostly. The thing about transitions is that they wreak havoc on your everyday. Your rhythm gets thrown off, your relationships get stretched and curtailed and panicked, your life gets slowed and sped up at the same time in different ways. It’s a bit of a chaos that adds to what is already often a messy life.

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Fear is a punk: the gospel truth.

Fear is a liar. Fear manifests like a deep knot inside your stomach that tells you to be quiet when you should speak. To hide when you should be open. To lie when you should tell the truth. It often hangs around with shame. Fear uses shame like a sword to cut us into a controllable shape. Fear is a spirit that pushes against our own sense of self. Fear is humanity's oldest enemy, right along with pride. Fear tries to trick us into escapism, denial, anger, self-righteousness, self-pity and immobilize us from any creative action or dignified kindness, even to ourselves.

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