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I am an ordained United Methodist elder, a mom of two amazing girls, a committed community activist, a writer of long books and short essays, a teacher of astoundingly smart/cool students, and a walker of two unruly mutts named Mabel and Bertha.  I am originally from West Texas, where women are taught to be tough and sweet, somehow all mixed in together.  My mom is 4′ 9″, and she once chased down a truck driver to chew him out for driving his gravel truck recklessly down our small highway in Boyd, Texas.  (She called his supervisor when we got home, but the driver had already quit . . . ) She taught public school for decades, following my father for his work, and her grateful students still rave about how much she changed their lives with her tough-love ways. (Not incidentally, she trained herself to teach whatever was open for hire — French, English, History, Drama, you name it.  She is a pedagogical genius.)  My dad is a United Methodist pastor who served small churches and large churches, churches supposedly “on the rise” and churches supposedly “gone to seed.”  His patience with even the most difficult (and sometimes truly annoying) parishioners inspired me to care about each and every sheep, knowing myself also to be one of the flock.  I resist the market-driven, cheesy business-model ways of the United Methodist Church these days in part because both parents taught me that there is no way to “count” people and the means or effects of grace.  Each life is a gift, a joy, and incalculably treasured by God.  So, I am against applying quantified, count-the-numbers methods in public school and church, in organizing and in parenting.  The title of this blog is just a fancy way to say that grace may be hard-won, but it is also not measurable.  Solidarity, growth, and human flourishing require thought and care and tending, but that work withers when the results are put to a quantified test.

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