Help My Unbelief

By Cathy Norman Peterson After 9/11 I remember tearing up listening to the words of “America the Beautiful.” In those days of shared national tragedy and mourning, asking God to shed his grace on all of us together was a prayer that rose up from the depths of darkness and ashes. It felt appropriate and... Continue Reading →


The Weight of Advent

By Cathy Norman Peterson When a friend came to town a few weeks ago, we visited a church I’d never attended. The worship service was different from what I’m used to in several ways, but one thing especially struck me. They really prayed. In most areas of my life, everyone in the room avoids eye... Continue Reading →

Confessions of a Wannabe Church Shopper

By Cathy Norman Peterson When tatted-up, foul-mouthed Lutheran pastor Nadia Bolz Weber talks about her church, House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, you can’t help but want what she’s having. At the end of her new book, Bolz Weber includes a note that I can’t stop thinking about. She politely asks readers who... Continue Reading →

The Idolatry of Marriage

By Cathy Norman Peterson I grew up listening to radio broadcasts of James Dobson and Focus on the Family. I knew advocates of the “quiver is full” movement, those who contended that children are a gift from God, and thus, any kind of birth control is a refusal of God’s good and abundant gifts. I... Continue Reading →

Who Would Jesus Shoot?

By Cathy Norman Peterson Spike Lee’s forthcoming film about gun violence in Chicago is titled, controversially, Chiraq. The term comes from a sociologist’s observation that in a recent decade, the homicide rate in one Chicago neighborhood nearly matched the civilian deaths at the peak of the Iraq war. My city leads both New York City... Continue Reading →

What Woman Problem?

By Cathy Norman Peterson For a long time, I swore I wasn’t going to have children. The oldest in a large family, I was expert at changing diapers, soothing crying babies, and entertaining my siblings before I was in high school. That meant I was the neighborhood’s ace babysitter and that I spent more weekend... Continue Reading →

A Room of One’s Own

As a penniless grad student, my husband used to wander the aisles of office supply stores longingly, running his fingers over clean lines of file cabinets, manila folders, and label makers. He’s been known to neatly drape a towel over clean dishes drying on the counter to mask their unsightly state. And ask anyone in our... Continue Reading →

This Is My Body, Broken

By Cathy Norman Peterson I used to steal my sister’s clothes in high school. My entrepreneurial brother was happy to rent us his sweaters for $5 a day, but my sister and I were a bit less methodical. Many mornings after she left for her early class, I snuck into her room and “borrowed” something—maybe... Continue Reading →

Everyone an Outsider

By Cathy Norman Peterson When I was a terribly shy pre-teen, my mother got me some cassette tapes on adolescence by James Dobson. This was before he was a political power monger, and I remember listening to them raptly while I ironed my father’s shirts in the basement and my mother worked on sewing projects.... Continue Reading →

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