Columnist: Amy Laura Hall

May. 02, 2015 @ 12:54 AM

Mother’s Day in history – from commercialism to feminism

One friend who served in the military and who does not have children told me that he and his wife avoid church two Sundays every year: Veterans Day Sunday and Mother’s Day.  He explained that both services are too painful.  (I have permission to share this.)  Pastors try to broaden Mother’s Day, so it is not merely a saccharine ode to “Motherhood.”  But if the second Sunday of May is about Mothers (capital M) at your church, Hallmark has won the day.

Apr. 04, 2015 @ 09:19 PM

Providing our daily bread, for real bodies

Workers across North Carolina are organizing for a large event “for 15” on April 15 The gathering will include women who deliver mail, teenage boys who grill hamburgers, young women who grade papers and men who change Depends undergarments.  What do we have in common?  We work caring for people’s bodies, souls and minds, and we take our jobs seriously.  We take our jobs so seriously that we expect to be treated with dignity at work.  We expect to be treated as people, not as tools, because our work demands that we daily treat other human beings with patience

Feb. 24, 2015 @ 04:54 PM

Giving up for Lent: No one size fits all

Lent is a time during the Christian year when many Christians note daily how God repetitively saves us.  Lent can be a time for individual, careful reflection about where and when we are cruel to ourselves and where and when we are deeply mistaken about ourselves.  It can be a time to inquire prayerfully about ways that a human life can become trapped in prosaic or original forms of evil. 

Jan. 31, 2015 @ 08:40 AM

On girls and books – and knowing body and soul

My daughter declared C. S. Lewis a heretic.  She was about 6, and her father had just read the part in “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” where Aslan the lion kills Jadis the witch.  She had a sense that readers are to celebrate Jadis’s death, and she protested. “But she is a child of God!”

Jan. 05, 2015 @ 07:44 AM

Reflecting on the 11th day of Christmas

I have written posts for The Herald-Sun against surveillance cameras, online classes, virtual sex and preaching by remote.   Putting cameras on police helmets is also a bad idea.  Durham should not be a city of alienated strangers. There are many arguments against turning people into automated enforcers of order.  This is a Christian one.

Dec. 06, 2014 @ 08:08 AM

My favorite things

For my 12th birthday my dad took a group of my friends to the local theater.  I can’t remember which movie we saw, but I do remember that night.  I was small for my age and planning to take advantage of the child’s ticket price well into my teens. 

Nov. 01, 2014 @ 09:20 AM

Laugh at the devil

I’ve learned how to “tweet.”  This involves putting words together to share, using 140 characters.  One of my most “retweeted” “tweets” on the Internet came out after a tragedy had everyone in panic mode.  These were the words:  “The world is transfixed by fear.  Perfect love whispers in fear’s ear to turn his head toward hope.” 

Oct. 04, 2014 @ 08:20 AM

A groundhog tale from Green Street

There are two shops on 9th Street in Durham featuring different messages about our dear city.  One has a t-shirt in the window that says “Durham, It’s Not For Everyone.”  Another features a t-shirt that says “Durham, It’s For Everyone.”

I love both stores, but I like the second t-shirt better.

Sep. 06, 2014 @ 08:17 AM

A gracious response to chivalry

My daughters had an exchange about tween boys two years ago.  My younger daughter was complaining about her fifth-grade class. My older daughter asked: “Are the boys still making [flatulence] noises with their armpits?”  Apparently they were.  “Well,” she reassured her sister, “they will stop that soon, and then school isn’t so bad.” 

Aug. 02, 2014 @ 12:04 PM

The union label and working with dignity

When I was a child, a catchy advertisement aired between reruns of “Scooby Doo” and “Josie and the Pussy Cats.”  It went like this:  “Look for the union label/When you are buying a coat, dress, or blouse/Remember somewhere our union's sewing/Our wages going to feed the kids and run the house!”  The one that aired in Texas was introduced by an avuncular, southern man wearing a bolo tie.

Jul. 05, 2014 @ 09:45 AM

Unreconciled: Forgiveness not the duty of mere mortals

“I know I have to forgive him, because otherwise I won’t get into heaven.”

 A friend said this to me recently about someone who had treated her horribly.   Casting forgiveness as a duty is one take-away message from the New Testament.  But how did that particular bumper sticker receive such tenaciously sticky backing in mainline, evangelical circles? 

May. 03, 2014 @ 11:36 PM

Easter tidings of “Doubting Thomas’ and ‘Believin’ Stephen’

It is hard to talk about the resurrection of Jesus Christ without shame.  The story is, at best, a strange story, and it has been used unabashedly to dominate non-Christians for centuries.

Apr. 05, 2014 @ 11:38 AM

The shenanigans of 'responsibility' politics

A media-savvy child of the new millennium, my older daughter is privy to all sorts of terms.  This includes informally coined, succinct phrases to describe complicated concepts.  These include phrases to label public conversations about tricky, politically charged issues.