Author: Sarah Styf

“Mommy, why didn’t Jesus stop the flooding?”

On August 25, 2017, the world stood still for those in Southeast Texas. After an August of news media turmoil, we were not unified in watching riots grow on television and we were not watching an eclipse. We were watching an increasingly dangerous hurricane—the first of several in the coming weeks, it turns out—prepare for landfall. We watched the eye to determine who would be hit by the winds and...Read More

Prayer in Public Schools—The Laws Make Sense

Every year of high school I met with my fellow Christian classmates and friends during the designated Wednesday in September. We met to pray for our country. We met to pray for our school. We met to pray for each other. We met to prove that the First Amendment still gave us the right to profess our faith, even if a Supreme Court decision said we could not have school-wide corporate prayer. Most of...Read More

We want independent kids…right?

I drove down the country roads crisscrossing Indiana and Ohio, my friend looking on a map while we tried to figure out where we were in the middle of the Heartland. We were just two high school students nearing the end of our junior year, and we were hopelessly lost. No cell phones, no GPS, and just our adolescent map skills to get us to the youth retreat that we were headed to. We had promised ou...Read More

We need to change what it means to be patriots.

It was our first Sunday attending church in our new city. We were in a city with many Lutheran churches, so we had our pick, but we decided to start with the church right down the street. It was Fourth of July weekend. The worship service was patriotic, complete with Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to be an American.” And this politically moderate Lutheran was ready to run out of the building. It’s not tha...Read More

Suicide’s impact is broad. And our understanding is narrow.

From the moment she walked into my classroom, I saw a little bit too much of myself in her. She was an introverted junior transfer, struggling to find a place for herself in a new school, in a new state. Over the course of the first semester, I got to know her through her writing and she frequented my classroom after school. While I have several former students who I remain close to, I normally tr...Read More

My Battle with Stuff

It was stupid, really. Our family had recently moved from Detroit, Michigan, to a much smaller town in northern Illinois. I vacillated between anger and sadness as I watched my parents put an offer on an attractive older home away from my new friends’ neighborhoods. It was a home that clearly identified us as lower middle class. I hated that house when I compared it to my friends’ nicer, newer hom...Read More

Marriage and the Prom Fantasy

Ah, the promposal. Over the last couple of years I have watched a growing number of cute, silly, and sometimes romantic prom proposals pop up in hallways and classrooms. Usually, a boy comes up with a creative way to ask the girl of his dreams to attend the quintessential American rite of passage, PROM, but occasionally, the roles are reversed. Apparently this trend started in the early 2000s, wit...Read More