Learning To Love By Being Loved

The house, our first, needed a ton of work. Worn wallpaper needed to be steamed and scraped off the walls. Every square inch, inside and out, needed new paint. Old, dirty carpets needed to be ripped out. (To our surprise, the original pine floor had been hiding underneath.) Holes in the wall had to be patched. Doors needed to be replaced. The kitchen needed a new ceiling. A small addition in the back was literally falling apart and needed to be completely rebuilt.

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Ryan TahmasebComment
A Letter To The Church On Mother's Day

One night a couple years ago, I was in the middle of our bedtime saga—trying to get dinner put away and my twin toddlers wrestled into pajamas so we could begin the  battle that would end, inevitably, with me sitting on the floor between two wiggly toddler bodies, a hand on each back, patting slowly while the white noise machine and the Moana soundtrack drowned out every thought.

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Parenting in the Age of Trump: 6 Approaches to Teaching Our Kids a Better Way

Early in the morning of Wednesday, November 9th, 2016, my pregnant spouse, Katie, and I learned that Donald Trump would be our next president. We just stared at each other in the dark, puzzled. As the news sank in and the sun came up, I remember thinking two distinct thoughts. First, I was genuinely sad that this cruel man would become the leader of our country in the same year our first child was to be born. I recognize this is kind of silly, but at the time, it felt wrong on a cosmic level. Second, I was angry that Trump’s election, which I wasn’t even sure he wanted to happen, would further feed his already out-of-control ego.

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Ryan TahmasebComment
I Met God—S/He Hates Plastic

I am the mother of boys (one and three). Every day I am barraged with the sins and sickness waiting to take hold of my family as we navigate our time on this earth—toxic masculinity, white privilege, sexism, American exceptionalism, and so on and so on. Yet on top of all that, caring for God’s creation and being stewards of this earth are targeted to us as being exhausting, overdramatic, a lie, or outside our purview.

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Let’s Teach Our Kids To Be Kind, Not Nice

So much of what I learned as a kid about interacting with others, both at home and in the Church, was centered around simply being nice. On the surface, there’s nothing with being nice, of course. It’s just that being nice is superficial when compared to being kind. Since I became parent, this distinction has become increasingly important to me.

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Ryan TahmasebComment
Mindful Parenting: A Conversation with Brie Stoner

For many of us millennial parents, we are trying to shift out of the static approach of religious thinking via indoctrination that many of us received as kid—and all the exclusionary, binary, and harmful frames that comes from it. So I like how you provided the alternative as “inspiring” our kids. The four ways I try to do this with my kids are through nature, history, literature, and rituals.

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Ryan TahmasebComment
Launching Rockets: A Conversation With Kristen Bell About The Parenting Journey

Being a parent can bring immense joy to our lives. It can also bring great challenges and difficulties. Because we love our kids so much, the emotions surrounding parenting are some of the most intense we feel. If our desire is to experience more of the joy of parenting the only way to start is by being honest about where we are. Admitting that parenting is difficult when that is how you feel is the only way to get to the other side.

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Ryan TahmasebComment
Wisdom for Pregnancy: A Conversation with Ilana Stanger-Ross

I started writing A is for Advice because I felt that, as a maternity care provider, I saw so much anxiety about pregnancy, birth, and parenthood among my clients, and so much self-inflicted pressure to achieve some kind of ideal birth or status as a parent. So ultimately, I wanted a book that said, hey, labor can be hard, parenting is definitely hard, but you’ll do your best and that’s going to be absolutely enough—trust yourself, and be gentle with yourself.

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Katie TahmasebComment
An Imprinting of Love: How to Be Gentle With Your Kids and Yourself

My brothers and I spent countless Saturdays exploring in the Adventures In Odyssey wonderland while my parents steeped themselves in Dobson’s philosophy. His empire pumped out radio programs, magazines, and parenting books that explained how our “sin natures” caused us to misbehave and directed parents to set firm boundaries via physical punishment and authoritarian shaming to help children understand the dire consequences of their sins.

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Screen Time for Toddlers: Why We Keep Our Little Guy Away

Before our son was born, my wife and I agreed that we would keep him away from screens for as long as possible, mostly because this is what’s recommended by the American Academy of Pediatricians. Their guideline is clear enough: “For children younger than 18 months, avoid use of screen media other than video-chatting. Parents of children 18 to 24 months of age who want to introduce digital media should choose high-quality programming, and watch it with their children to help them understand what they’re seeing.”

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Healing Spiritual Wounds: A Conversation with the Rev. Carol Howard Merritt

When I think about my experiences as a child, I remember the fear that grew up every Sunday, when our pastor began the altar call. We would sing “Just as I Am” and he would tell us that God wanted to save us from hell. I would whisper the Sinner’s Prayer, in the hopes that I would avoid it. I wouldn’t go up to the altar, because I didn’t want to make a scene every Sunday, but I was scared that I somehow lost my salvation, or that I didn’t have it in the first place. A stark panic rose up and I would plead with God to save me from the fires of damnation.

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Ryan TahmasebComment
Re-Centering of the Self: Seeing Christianity through a New Lens

What is a “spiritual life”? I didn’t have a good answer to that until recently. My road to a deeper spirituality was a long, arduous, and somewhat surprising one. It didn’t come through religion, church, Scripture, meditation, prayer, or any type of spiritual practice. Not that those things can’t get one there, I’m sure they can. It began with an examination of the self, one which revealed to me a small-false-ego-self that had to be stripped of all the detritus surrounding it so that it could be confronted in full light.

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Brad BensonComment
How an Ancient Spiritual Practice Can Help Parents Model Good Decision-Making

Ever since I became a parent, I have been particularly invested in living a moral life. This is not to say morality was unimportant to me before, of course. But now I have a little human around who observes everything I do and say, and I genuinely want to guide him toward making decisions that are right for him and those around him. Therefore, the choices I make each day, for myself and for him, have decidedly profound implications.

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Ryan TahmasebComment
Aligning Values & Actions: A Practice in Self-Discovery & Transformation

Developing self-control obviously does not come without struggle, as can be heard in Paul the Apostle’s famous lament: “That which I do not want to do, that I do.” Jesus delivers a similar warning when he tells us to “watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” The Desert Fathers put extremely strong emphasis on developing self-control as a means for attaining “purity of heart.”

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Brad BensonComment
Self Care for Parents: Why Self Reflection is Crucial

Doesn’t this ring true? We must do the work of aligning who we really are inside with how we actually act every day. And self-reflection enables us to bridge this gap. When we take stock of whatever’s going on beneath the surface of our thoughts, words, and actions, we’re better able to understand the gap between the way we are living today and the way we know we should be living.

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Ryan TahmasebComment
On Biblical Interpretation & The Importance of Questions: A Conversation With Wil Gafney

It’s really important for folk of all ages to have spaces where they can ask questions and have those questions honored and respected, and sometimes left hanging. It’s important for congregants and students to hear that clergy and faculty have our own questions with which we wrestle. It’s also important to introduce folk to biblical criticism early, to demonstrate the seriousness with which we take the complexity of the text.

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Ryan Tahmaseb Comments
Healing from Grief Means Allowing It To Help Us Grow

I don’t love the truth of it, but over time I’ve learned that our most powerful learning experiences often occur after a loss of some kind. With loss comes grief, and for a while, grief has a weight to it that can feel unbearably heavy. But whenever we’re ready, which hopefully isn’t too long after the loss, we can begin to work on giving our grief expression through activities like therapy, writing, prayer, honest conversation, and meditation.


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An Approach to Keeping Children Open to Religion in a Secular Age

I was raised in a Protestant Christian household, but after being confirmed at the age of 13 my parents gave me the choice of continuing with the church or not. I couldn’t run away fast enough. The whole thing seemed like a sham and a waste of time. Nothing aligned with the science I was learning in school, and the church’s ideas of God, creation, and heaven seemed beyond ridiculous.

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Brad Benson Comments
The Grace of Enough: A Conversation with Haley Stewart

There is no checklist for living more simply that’s going to fit each person’s circumstances or vocation, but we can all begin with prayer and discernment over what we want versus what we truly need. It’s easy to assume that because it’s the norm to have something, it’s impossible to live without it. There are many things that add convenience to our lives, but we can also handle inconvenience!

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Ryan TahmasebComment
And All The Bells On Earth Shall Ring

It’s Christmas morning, and despite everything painful, sorrowful, and even tragic that has happened to you and to me and to the world this year, the light has arrived. Today we celebrate the arrival of Jesus—the Christ—even though in some mysterious way the Christ has always been present in the world.

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Ryan TahmasebComment