As some of you know, I’ve gone through this long season of playing with different names for my blog. This year alone, I’ve tried on a few different ones (branding experts are crossing their arms and shaking their heads disapprovingly at me right now, I know…).
I thought I had the right one with the name that I assigned a few months ago: A Sacramental Life. Before I pulled the trigger on the name change, I did some due diligence to make sure it wasn’t taken… I searched Medium for it and saw that it wasn’t… I even Googled it… It showed up a few places in various articles and whatnot, but not as a personal blog name (well, there was one with a slightly different name that only had a few entries and hadn’t posted for years).
There was one place I didn’t look…
A few weeks ago I did a Facebook search for it and sure enough, there it was. A Sacramental Life by Tamara Hill. And Hill is doing such a nice job with it. She’s a spiritual director and her Facebook page and website are amazing.
Ugh… I felt bad. It’s probably not illegal for me to give my blog the same name as hers. But it is ethically sketchy. She was there before me and I don’t think it’s right to muddy her internet search waters with my blog (and vice-versa)— especially since our content is so close in nature.
As inconvenient as it is to change the name of my blog again (not really, but kinda), I was actually okay with it (maybe even happy, actually) because I’ve had another name in the back of my mind that I’ve long thought would be great for the blog but it’s ‘belonged’ to someone else. That ‘someone else’ is one of my most beloved seminary professors, Dr. Kurt Hendel, who assigned the name to his Lutheran systemic theology class.
Well, I just received the blessing from Dr. Hendel to go ahead and name my blog the same name as his class. He told me that he didn’t copyright it and as long as I don’t either, he’s happy to let me use it. And the name is (drumroll please)…
Yep — Grace Incarnate. And just in time for Advent, nonetheless.
I mean, seriously… What a fantastic name, right?… Grace Incarnate (à la: Jesus the Christ; God having slipped into flesh as a divine act of solidarity, love, and mercy).
Here are a few reasons the name means so much to me and why I’m super blessed to embrace it…
- Again, it’s such a strong way to explain the nature of Christ. I pray that this new name keeps me rooted in sharing the gospel promise of God’s furious love for all of creation that was embodied and expressed through Jesus’s life, crucifixion, death, and resurrection.
- As I alluded to earlier, it’s the name of my very first seminary class — the one that rooted me into my newfound Lutheran/Christian identity. Dr. Hendel is one of the most passionate and humble souls I’ve had the pleasure to learn under (and a brilliant theologian who can talk for three hours about grace and Lutheran theology ALL WHILE DRINKING NO WATER). See, I don’t deserve to be in seminary. I barely graduated high school and dropped out of community college after five years (with no two-year degree). And somehow, I’m now in a Masters of Divinity program at one of the best theological schools in the country and discerning a path to ministry in the Lutheran (ELCA) church. Insane. This is grace. Totally undeserved, unmerited, and unexpected (and born out of the rubble of a lot of suffering and gnashing of teeth).
- Grace is my utter focus these days, as I’ve explained above. I’m really trying to get away from exhortations (“You should do this.”). That stuff is everywhere and I’m here to give you something new, refreshing, and life-giving. Something less burdensome. I pray that this grace-centric focus will help me share the good news of God’s promise through the gospel of Christ rather than giving people more items on their spiritual or moral to-do list (pretty sure we have enough to-do lists in life). The gospel isn’t a guidebook for a form of do-it-yourself spirituality. It doesn’t start with us — it starts with God and moves into and through us whether we want it to or not. (It’s just nice to be aware of it.)
- Even when I write entries of a more secular nature, I hope to keep grace in the center. Grace plays out in the horizontal (worldly) realm just as profoundly as it does on the vertical (divine) realm. Every good story has strong elements of grace in it. (I mean, have you read any Flannery O’Connor?!— C’mon now!)
- Grace Incarnate also has a sacramental nature to it (sacramental: the sacred and divine nature of physical earthly things). I look forward to exploring ways in which grace is showing up in the world. It’s easy to get stuck in our heads or even our hearts/emotions with matters of faith. The word incarnate reminds me that God is in the dirt and physicality of the material world. Christ is the embodiment of God’s love, not only towards humans but towards all of creation from the beginning of time. This is the incarnate nature of Christ in the world.
So that’s it, friends… Grace Incarnate: A new name. A new season.
Grace & Godspeed,