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Elise Seyfried


Elise Seyfried is the author of five books of essays. Her essays have also appeared in Gather, Insider, The Independent, Chicken Soup for the Soul, HuffPost, The Philadelphia Inquirer and many other publications. Elise recently retired after 20 years as director of spiritual formation at a suburban Philadelphia ELCA church.

Check out “human books” - May 20, 2024

“We read to know we are not alone.” —C.S. Lewis I’ve always adored books, especially fiction. My childhood favorites usually had a character who was a bit like me. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith, is about Francie Nolan, a girl growing up in New York City in the early years of the […]

Thinking about “blue” - November 6, 2023

“Now we see only a reflection, as in a mirror, but then we will see face to face” (1 Corinthians 13:12). I’m not a big fan of the winter months. I’m already dreading the coming of ice and snow to the Northeast. I’m aware that cold winter weather, like the warm sunshine of summer, is […]

My take: Holding the center - August 7, 2023

“Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world .… The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.” —W.B. Yeats, from “The Second Coming” “[Irish writer] Fintan O’Toole has proposed the ‘Yeats Test’: ‘The more quotable Yeats seems to commentators and politicians, the worse things […]

The story behind the story - June 21, 2023

As a little girl, I loved mermaids. I recall being crushed to discover that they didn’t exist in real life. I’d look at pictures of “The Little Mermaid,” Edvard Eriksen’s bronze statue based on the Hans Christian Andersen story, at Langelinie Pier in Copenhagen, feeling so sad that mermaids weren’t truly swimming in the ocean. […]

My faith journey: Glimpsing God’s mind - April 11, 2023

“[Science] is glimpsing God’s mind and being in awe of it.” —Francis Collins, to the Templeton Foundation For most of my life I had no interest in science. I considered myself an “artist,” even as a young child. I adored reading and writing and music, and merely endured math and science as boring, if necessary, […]

Step into mystery - October 20, 2022

“By love he can be grasped and held, but by thought, neither grasped nor held. … With a devout and delightful stirring of love, [you must] struggle to pierce that darkness above you; and beat on that thick cloud of unknowing with a sharp dart of longing love” (excerpt from The Cloud of Unknowing). For […]

The greatest gift - July 20, 2022

When my children were young, I spent way too much money on far too many playthings. With my grandchildren, I had a chance to pull back on the gifting (with the help of my practical daughter-in-law). As a result, my two young grandsons take good care of what they receive for birthdays and Christmas and […]

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 […]

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