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Rev. Susan Baller-Shepard
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Susan Baller-Shepard tweets @yoursbc. Her award-winning writing and poetry has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post "On Faith," Spirituality & Health, Writer’s Digest, and other publications. Author of a children's book about identity and adoption entitled, Matching Yu, a PBS program interviewed her about faith and mystery in the adoption journey.

Susan looks at what unites people, across different traditions and belief systems. Susan's co-founder and editor of with its blog of over 200 interviews entitled, "Real People, Real Lives, Real Spirituality." Likewise, the Spiritual Book Club is a partner with the Charter for Compassion, which addresses the role of compassion in the world’s religions.

With a Master of Social Work and a Master of Divinity, Susan’s worked on global projects in England, Brazil, parts of Africa, China, and Haiti. She’s a parish associate pastor at First Presbyterian Church-Normal, teaches "Major World Religions" and "Literature of the Bible" at Heartland Community College. Her best buddies gave her the moniker "mean minister," for myriad reasons, and she believes sugarcoating anything is bad for your teeth.

Entries by Rev. Susan Baller-Shepard

From Jesus to Hollywood: Author Jay Parini

(0) Comments | Posted October 20, 2014 | 4:40 PM


From Jesus to Hollywood: Author Jay Parini

Perhaps you know his name from his book Jesus: The Human Face of God, or perhaps you know him as author of The Last Station, which was turned into an Academy Award-nominated film? However you might...

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10 schonungslose Tipps für den schönsten Tag im Leben

(0) Comments | Posted May 30, 2014 | 12:50 PM

10 Hochzeitstipps von der schonungslos ehrlichen* Pastorin
*weil mir dieses Thema wirklich am Herzen liegt

1. Eine gute Hochzeit macht noch lange keine gute Ehe

Lassen Sie mich mit diesem Thema beginnen. Denn in Hochzeitsmagazinen oder auf Pinterest Boards bleibt folgende Tatsache gerne mal unerwähnt: Ihr Hochzeitstag ist nur...

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10 Wedding Tips Before Your Big Day

(4) Comments | Posted May 20, 2014 | 1:12 PM

10 Wedding Tips from the Mean Minister*
*mean, because I care

1. A wedding, a marriage, does not make.
Let's start with this one. Bridal magazines and Pinterest boards don't often speak of this, but I will: Your wedding day is one day of your life. Your...

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Fresh Grief: Thoughts of Easter

(0) Comments | Posted April 15, 2014 | 5:29 PM


Some day you will stand before the casket, and the last sentence you had with that person is what you'll remember. You'll recall the last smile, the last joke, the last knowing glance, when you caught her eye, and you knew...

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Sanctity of Sport: Tuning In

(0) Comments | Posted February 10, 2014 | 3:17 PM


Funny, I'm glad I'm not in Sochi. I've been in places with bad plumbing and flooding, none for me, thanks. What I do love is the drama that unfolds, not in the geopolitical events surrounding the Olympics as much as in...

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75 Years After Kristallnacht: The Story of One Family

(0) Comments | Posted November 11, 2013 | 9:44 AM

Kristallnacht November 9-10, 1938

This week marks the 75th anniversary of the atrocities of Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass. Seventy-five years have gone by and countless stories have been lost about those two days, and that horrific season. Stories have been lost: stories about the Night of Broken...

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Going Monastic: Thoroughly Modern Woman Experiences an Ancient Rule

(0) Comments | Posted October 22, 2013 | 1:27 PM


Judith Valente is an award-winning journalist, poet, speaker and retreat leader. She is an on air correspondent for WGLT Radio in Normal, IL, Religion & Ethics News Weekly on PBS-TV and a contributing correspondent for Chicago Public radio. A Benedictine Oblate, she has also authored...

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Local & Global: Both/And

(1) Comments | Posted September 4, 2013 | 3:40 PM

As strikes on Syria are being considered, drones debated, fracking practices questioned, global markets rising and falling like tides, I consider a summer road trip of a thousand miles.

In July, I help drive across three states and into a fourth to watch my friend Judith Valente interview...

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Wild and Precious Lives: Godspeed Graduates!

(2) Comments | Posted May 19, 2013 | 5:16 PM

When our oldest was in pre-school, we moved out to the country, and with all this space, he begged us to get an elephant.

"I'm taking good care of Froggy!" our earnest child would say, because care of an African clawed frog and care of an...

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Searching for Goodness in Times of Horror

(4) Comments | Posted April 18, 2013 | 1:11 PM

I remember July 7, 2005, when an acquaintance of mine, Colin Morley, was killed on the Tube, Edgware Road in London, by a suicide bomber. I remember the horror of it. The bomb had nails packed into it so when it exploded, it would do as much damage and maiming...

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Prayer for Confluence in the Course of Elections

(0) Comments | Posted November 5, 2012 | 11:50 AM

God of all, in all, through all,
we, clinging to the safe shores of our understanding,
we believe You work in time.
Believers and non-believers alike argue about how You
intervene in time or if You do?
We ask now, Your Presence, in...

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Prayer for What Crumbled on September 11th

(1) Comments | Posted September 11, 2012 | 9:27 AM

God of All,

As we look to the past, we remember a day when towers fell, and buildings blew apart, a day when hatred seemed to have the final say, and we as a country were amazed at our own "failure of imagination." Let us recall that day, and make...

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The Very Real Face of Domestic Terrorism

(3) Comments | Posted August 7, 2012 | 3:16 PM

Twenty-five years ago, I worked in Walsall, England, in the West Midlands, near Birmingham. Birmingham is a city known for many things, including having the largest Sikh gudwara outside of India.

In Walsall, in Caldmore (called "Karma"), I worked with countless Sikh families and experienced...

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Being a Mom, Being the Church

(3) Comments | Posted June 6, 2012 | 1:12 PM

It's been a hard week as a parent. Interesting, given school is almost out, but there it is. As author Mary Wollstonecraft said, "For years I have endeavored to calm an impetuous tide, laboring to make my feelings take an orderly course, it was striving against the stream."...

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Good Friday: Reliable Narrators

(1) Comments | Posted April 7, 2012 | 1:38 AM

Good Friday: Reliable Narrators

"...all the ends of the earth shall remember"--Psalm 22:27

On October 11th and October 13th, I can tell you what was going on at 10:45am and 8:30am, and on December 18th at 1pm, the days I first held my children. I recall these days, hours well,...

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God of Light and Matter: Prayer in the Season of Lent

(21) Comments | Posted March 11, 2012 | 4:13 AM

God of light and matter,

Gazing into fierce dark energy,
here on earth, not that which makes up space,
Gazing into all that darkness, spongy and close,

Piecing out gravitational pulls on us, it's time
to sort what makes and breaks us. Watching
for Doppler shift,...

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Lent as Shot Clock

(2) Comments | Posted February 22, 2012 | 3:01 PM

Please join the HuffPost community in "A Lenten Journey" for reflections throughout Lent, and join our online Lenten community here.

"The adoption of the clock was the most important event in the NBA." --Maurice Podoloff, the NBA's first president

Invariably, it happens. I'll run into someone...

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Forget God. How Are We Helping Haiti?

(6) Comments | Posted January 11, 2012 | 4:10 PM

Circling the second anniversary of Haiti's earthquake, theodicy questions linger, along with unmet pledges to give assistance and aid, to this, the poorest country in the western hemisphere. The earthquake mobilized people so quickly, to give, to send medical teams, and two years later, there's been a fizzle, a falling...

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