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Elise Seyfried


Elise Seyfried is a freelance writer whose work has been published in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Guideposts and many other publications. She is author of three books of humorous spiritual essays and director of spiritual formation for an ELCA congregation in Oreland, Pa.

The joy of third things - September 8, 2021

If soul truth is to be spoken and heard, it must be approached “on the slant.” —Parker J. Palmer In his book A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life, Quaker writer Parker J. Palmer talks about “third things,” how people can make emotional connections while talking about something they’re experiencing together. This can […]

Looking at the “long now” - July 28, 2021

He brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” —Genesis 15:5 I remember first reading the verse above, then going outside to look at the starry night sky. I imagined the Lord’s conversation with Abram […]

Empathy: A pandemic silver lining? - May 5, 2021

Editor’s note: May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Read the ELCA’s social message “The Body of Christ and Mental Illness.” Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind (1 Peter 3:8). Ever since my diagnosis of bipolar disorder in 2006, I’ve been trying […]

Repair the world - November 2, 2020

Woolly alpacas graze peacefully in a field. Bhutanese refugee farmers till the soil and harvest the crops. Youth practice yoga. Single parents attend free child care classes. Family mission teams from all over the country come to serve. On any given day, a visitor to Tikkun Farm can see Mary Laymon’s vision of a beloved […]

A pilgrimage at home - October 26, 2020

“What I have to do is to honor this pilgrimage through life. And so I am this pilgrim who’s constantly amazed by this journey” —Paulo Coehlo I’ve long loved the idea of a pilgrimage—taking a journey to a faraway place for a spiritual purpose. All religious traditions include pilgrimages, from going to Mecca (Islam) to […]

My faith journey: The spirituality of grandparenting - June 22, 2020

“But take care and watch yourselves closely, so as neither to forget the things that your eyes have seen nor to let them slip from your mind all the days of your life; make them known to your children and your children’s children” (Deuteronomy 4:9). “Nana! Come and watch me do gymnastics!” (Translation: “Watch me […]

My take: Servants come in all sizes - January 30, 2020

“Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.” –1 Peter 4:10 Volunteering. Lots of us do it, whether in our congregations, in our communities or in distant lands. We Lutherans believe that we are meant to be God’s hands and feet in the […]

The search for baby Jesus - December 23, 2019

And the Word became flesh and lived among us … (John 1:14) When I took my church job in 2002, I was tasked with organizing the annual Christmas Eve family service and pageant. I’m a trained actor and have directed productions, so this part of my new position was right up my alley. Traditionally, the […]

How Rachel Held Evans influenced my faith - July 9, 2019

“When you stop trying to force the Bible to be something it’s not—static, perspicacious, certain, absolute—then you’re free to revel in what it is: living, breathing, confounding, surprising and, yes, even magic” (Rachel Held Evans, Inspired). I lost a good friend in May. We had spent many hours together over the years, discussing and debating. […]

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