“Hannah, Delivered” a review

Hannah, Delivered is a fine new novel by Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew. Elizabeth and I met two summers ago at the Collegeville Institute, and re-met last spring at the Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College. When I received my copy, Elizabeth included a kind note that read, in part,“I’d love for Hannah to speak fresh conversation about what it means to be a person of faith both within and outside of the church.” Indeed, it does. Quite well.

The story follows a young Minnesota midwife learning the trade (art?) in the 1990s when homebirth is illegal in Minnesota. Hannah’s story brings pain and joy, wrestling with faith and finding a bit of peace, and the search for her heart’s true vocation.

Screen Shot 2014-07-17 at 1.42.33 PMAs a pastor’s kid and transplanted Midwesterner myself, I particularly connect with the fact that Hannah is a pastor’s daughter. She struggles at points with her father’s dogmatism and the insular nature of her rural Minnesota hometown.

While the spiritual aspects of the story sing beautifully—I particularly appreciated what I read as several water/baptism motifs—what seems to be sticking with me is the midwifery themes. Heck, “theme” isn’t quite the right word here: Hannah’s connection with birth and birthing carry the story from beginning to end.

My experience of birth has been limited to my wife’s informal conversations about her OB rotations in medical school, my occasional pastoral visits to a family of a newborn, and being born myself.

Hannah, Delivered helped me consider birth in a way not bound-up in medical jargon or debates about today’s homebirth movement. Certainly, the novel speaks to the medial, practical, and spiritual connections to birth, but it’s not in-your-face. It’s delicately, delightfully done. After reading it, I felt more informed as well as entertained along the way.

So, check it out. Hannah, Delivered. It screams like a good fit for a book group, or for any folk with a passion for how life comes to be.

What is Digital Humanities? (in 400 words or less)

For my last blog post for Texts, Maps, Networks: Digital Methods in the Humanities, I’d like to respond to a question I get fairly often. “What is digital humanities?” Since those who ask it come from all walks of life—churchy, professory, friendy—I’m going to attempt to go both deep and wide in, well, exactly 400 words. Here goes nothing…


:-|On that Controversial Facebook Emotion Study

The best controversies are those in which the headlines make you think one thing, but the full article pushes you another way. Eventually, you say, “I have no idea what to think on this one.” That happened to me this week when investigating Facebook’s social experiment on happiness, the experiment conducted without that little thing called “informed consent.”


Radical Hospitality & the Rooster Soup Company

Help support a new Kickstarter venture, a partnership between Broad Street Ministry and Federal Donuts. It’s a great idea: to use high-quality leftover chicken backs & bones that would go to waste, make delicious soup to sell, and donate 100% of our profits to Broad Street Ministry.


Should We Kill the Essay? Is It Dead Already?

If no boss is ever going to require employees to write an essay, why should professors assign them?


500 Lifetimes of Books & the Screwmeneutical Imperative

If you went to the Library of Congress and read a book every day from birth to death, it’d take you 500 lifetimes to finish. What to do? Enter: the “Screwmeneutical Imperative.”


Think This, Do This, Read This

This is a hodgepodge post about thinking, doing, and reading. First, the thinking regarding the blog’s Fargo media debut last week. I Think This… The reaction to my “I’m #AmbivalentAboutFargo and You Should Be Too” post went beyond anything I envisioned. Not only did the post receive over 600 Facebook shares (most of them well […]


I’m #AmbivalentAboutFargo & You Should Be Too

ambivalent, adj. having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas about something or someone I’m ambivalent about Fargo and I believe you should be too. I’m writing this post in response to a common theme in media coverage of Fargo. The typical Fargo story goes something like this: OMG, look what I, intrepid reporter, just discovered: Fargo […]


Goodbye, dear friend. I don’t plan to keep in touch.

One of my best Fargo buddies ruined my life this semester by getting a great new job and leaving town. (An all too common occurrence if you live in Fargo.) The other evening, over beers, Andrew was preparing me for when he’ll be gone. “Just so you know, I suck at keeping in touch” he […]