The Woman with an Issue of Blood

clayBy Denise Griebler. Part of a continuing series on badass women in the bible.

“If I could but touch the hem of his garment.
If I could but touch a part of his robe
I know I’d be healed, my sins all forgiven.
If I could but touch him I know I’d be whole.”
– the chorus of a gospel song by Rev. George A Rice

Matthew 9:18-25; Mark 5:21-43; Luke 8:41-56

The story goes that while Jesus was walking through a crowd, she touched him and was restored to herself.  Imagine that gutsy move.

She’d been hemorrhaging for twelve years.  Her search for a cure had bled her of everything she had and after all that, her condition was worse not better.  Elizabeth Schüssler Fiorenza says through this woman we glimpse of  the impoverishment of the permanently ill.  And she didn’t just suffer an incurable illness, but she was also permanently unclean and impure.  Whomever she touched would also be made unclean.  Imagine 12 years of untouched isolation. Continue reading

Witnesses to the Resurrection: I know Hope in Clay


Photo Credit: Denise Griebler

By Denise Griebler, Detroit, MI

I know hope in clay.
Soft and cold in my hands, I turn and pat wedge to ball.  A tender rhythmic caress.
Alongside radiator clangs and spews,
window pours in sunlight, together they warm my shoulder.
Sit and slap a mound of mud to wheel.
Breathe.  Lean in.  Center.
Who Knows what will rise up? Continue reading

Good Earth to Good Earth

deniseBy Denise Griebler

I’ll shake these bones and shout and sing my life away,
It won’t be long before these bones turn to clay.

— from Shake These Bones, by Malcom Dalglish

“Good earth to good earth.”

It’s one of the things we’ll say graveside when we offer back the earthly remains of beloved Bea Wylie. Her ashes will be buried in the UP, alongside her husband, the good bishop, Sam Wylie.

A week ago I rolled out the slabs of clay. And few days later I fashioned the urn. A sprig of lavender harvested from Manna Community Garden along with grasses sporting well-defined seedheads, pressed into the clay. There’s a cross on one wall. And a bird in flight on another.   I’m told for 60 years Bea wore a bird like that on a silver chain that rested upon her heart. Unbeknownst, I made the mark of the bird in upward flight, imaging her home-going and the welcome she received as she crossed over to God. Continue reading

Blackberry Economy: Meditation on Luke 12:15-21

Warrenville Kitchen 391By Denise Griebler

I’m thinking about the poor rich farmer in Luke’s gospel.  12th chapter, verses 15- 21.  Greed and idolatry.  The parable offers a back way in to the economy of grace by means of bad example.  Sometimes they just nail you.

There are so many ways to fall into greediness.  It’s not just about money.  Or possessions.  Or position.  Or control.   But it is always about economy.  I wonder if we can contemplate lilies?  Can we trust grace?  Can we participate in jubilee and resurrection?
Continue reading

Charge to Pastor

debGiven by Dr. Deborah Conrad, Pastor at Woodside Church in Flint, MI at at Installment Service for Denise Griebler.

Denise has asked me to deliver the charge to the pastor today, so I’m happy to share with you these thoughts rolling around in my head:

Work hard; in fact, work all the time. Don’t go bowling or see a movie if there is something else more ministry-like that you should be doing. Set goals and don’t stop until they are met. Take failure personally. Let the anger of one person outweigh the joy of 99 (because isn’t there a parable about that?). Set high standards and never let yourself off the hook. Be innovative. Start new traditions. Buck the system. Maintain a high level of righteous indignation. Stay up on the news. Be creative, spiritual, humble, well-loved. Be an excellent preacher. All the time. Seriously, 52 weeks a year, plus festivals. One single mediocre sermon is beneath you and will undo all the good you are trying to accomplish here. Be relevant, empathetic, deep, engaging, confident. And hip with young people.
Continue reading

An Easter Vigil Word

mary magdalene Preached by Denise Griebler at the Detroit Peace Community/Catholic Worker/ St. Peter’s Episcopal Church Easter Vigil on Mark 16:1-8.

16 When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.” So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

The other day I cyber-stumbled on a new childrens’ book called Rad American Women from A to Z – it’s a picture book that teaches kid’s a little women’s history along with the ABCs. A is for Angela (as in Davis) – Z is for Zora (as in Neale Hurston). There’s even X for the women whose names we do not know.   It’s a collection form AtoZ of courageous, badass women we want our kids and our grandkids to know. Continue reading