Waiting for Resurrection


Lent Week 5 Ezekiel 37:1-14; Psalm 130; Romans 8:6-11; John 11:1-45

Let’s talk about Death–that topic that is so far beyond the realm of polite conversation we can’t even name it as one of the things we don’t talk about. Also, there are zombies in the Bible.


Scripture: Mark Bertrand

Message in a Basket: Rev Barbara Jernigan

Main Message: Pastor Jenn (Rev Jennifer A G Layte)

Seeing Past the Surface


Lent Week 4

1 Samuel 16:1-13; Psalm 23; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 9:1-41

Are you a good judge of character? Sometimes even when we are, we struggle to see all the way past the surface. Only God sees ultimate reality, but as we turn to Him we can learn to see the bigger picture of His intentions for our people, each other, and even ourselves. It’s all still grace.


Scripture: Kathleen Youngs

Message in a Basket: Rev Barbara Jernigan

Main Message: Pastor Jenn (Rev Jennifer A G Layte)

Is the Lord Among Us or Not?


Lent Week 3  Exodus 17:1-7; Psalm 95; Romans 5:1-11; John 4:5-42

Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts. (Even if the sermon needs to be a little longer!)


Scripture: Paul Layte

Message in a Basket: Rev Barbara Jernigan

Main Message: Rev Jennifer A G Layte (Pastor Jenn)

You Have One Job


Lent Week 2 

Genesis 12:1-4; Psalm 121; Romans 4:1-5, 13-17; John 3:1-17

What if there are two slippery slopes, and all you need to avoid either one is trust?

(Somehow Scripture reading did not get recorded on this one.)


Message in a Basket: Rev Barbara Jernigan

Main Message: Rev Jennifer A G Layte (Pastor Jenn)

Pay No Attention to the Stubbornness

This morning I was reading part of Moses’ long recap/sermon/sometimes-amusingly-passive-aggressive-rant that is the book of Deuteronomy. The part where he’s recapping how he was getting the Ten Commandments directly from the hand of God on top of a mountain while meanwhile the people at the bottom of the mountain were already breaking at least the first three before they even knew what they were.

And how Moses came down the mountain and was so distressed he chucked the stone tablets God had written on the ground and so then he had to go back up there for another forty days so God could make him some new ones. But also how he interceded for the people with God, because God was already pretty fed up with those guys and was talking about destroying them and starting over with Moses. As part of his bid for God to show mercy, Moses said,

Remember Your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and do not pay attention to the stubbornness, wickedness, and sin of this people.

Deuteronomy 9:27, Good News Bible

I started laughing because it suddenly struck me what a crazy defense that was. Somehow remembering those guys was going to help God forget the stubbornness, wickedness, and sin of the people descended from them? Any familiarity with their stories (especially Abraham’s and Jacob’s)–which God certainly had more of than anyone else–and, well, let’s just say the patriarchs weren’t immune from committing their own nonsense. Seems like a strange tactic, Moses.

But I think I get it, actually.

“Remember the relationship You had with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Lord. (Maybe especially Jacob, who seems to have been the least interested in having one with You, but who You named Israel, and from whom these people take their name.) Remember the mercy and grace you showed them. Remember how You chose them out of the abundance of that grace when they had done nothing to deserve it and when, after You chose them, they frankly still didn’t do anything to deserve it. Remember how You love them. Remember You.”

This is Lent and I am rightly introspective and paying attention to where I am falling short in the here and now. But in what I’ve been reading lately I keep being overwhelmed by the grace. There is stubbornness and wickedness and sin in me and also around me, and sometimes God gets hurt and angry (which I understand–I mean, I get hurt and angry, too), but there is so much grace. And I like how Moses (who also got hurt and angry and maybe hadn’t even offloaded all of that until he gave his speech which became Deuteronomy) knew that the best way to remind God that He doesn’t really want to destroy us all–or even any of us–is to remind Him of His other human friends. Not because any of them were so great either, but because He loved them and showed them grace, and He has more than enough to love and show it to us–to me–too.

Bibliolatry–Fact or Fiction?

Everybody? I think I was wrong about something.

For years–even decades, probably–liberal progressive Christians have been leveling the charge of “bibliolatry” against evangelicals and fundamentalists. Bibliolatry in this context refers to a literal worship of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.

All the way up until a couple of weeks ago, I have agreed that there is a (or maybe more than one) false allegiance going on among many more conservative Christians which deeply skews how they read and interpret the Bible–to their harm and that of others around them. But I have not been able to get my mind around the idea that some people actually idolize the Bible, rather than idolizing the teachings of a preferred preacher, or idolizing a political lens through which they experience everything, or even idolizing a particular interpretation they came up with themselves. (I hasten to add, these other idolatries can happen whether you’re a conservative fundamentalist or a liberal progressive, no matter what your relationship to the Bible. I work among people in both camps, I want to say here that I’m not trying to pick on either one over against the other. But I’ve also never heard a fundamentalist accuse a progressive of bibliolatry and that’s what we’re talking about right now.)

Part of why I have struggled to accept that Christian bibliolatry is even possible is that I myself deeply prize–even love–the Bible. I believe God inspired its writing differently than other books or media that God might’ve had a hand in. I believe that even though God inspired regular old humans to write it, everything that’s in there is what God intended to be there, and nothing is missing.

But I don’t worship it. I haven’t been able even to conceive of worshiping it. However, through its pages I have encountered the living God to whom it introduces me, and that God I do worship. I believe God inspired the writing of this book which is more than a book so that we could know something about Him, interact with Him through it, and begin to have “the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” transformed to be more like His, so that our actions can follow. I take seriously the idea that there’s a special connection between the Bible (the written word of God) and Jesus (the living Word of God).

I used to say, “The Bible is Jesus, written down.” And then I tweeted it one time, and a couple of people got really mad at me. Maybe it would be better to say the Bible gives us Jesus, written down. Or I could just plagiarize the Bible Project‘s tagline which is that the Bible is “a unified story that leads to Jesus.” The Bible itself isn’t really Jesus. I was being sloppy, I guess. And without the Holy Spirit to inform and facilitate our meeting (the one between me or you or the people I’m preaching to and Jesus) we haven’t got much more than just a book, really.

Here’s the tweet that changed my mind about whether bibliolatry is possible.

And also helped me understand why my “The Bible is Jesus” comment was met with such (appropriate, it turns out) rancor. Listen. The Bible is not one of the persons of the Trinity. Not Jesus. Not the Father. And not the Holy Spirit. I believe the Bible is a product of the Trinity working through humans, and that it was written to introduce us to the God who loves us. But no. It isn’t Jesus. Or any person of God at all. I’m also no longer sure I would say the Bible in and of itself has what this guy calls “authority.” But that’s a topic for another post.


[Please note: this post has been edited for clarity of submission rules since posting. Because I really want to give things away. But to be totally transparent, I also am trying to grow my subscriber list.]

In my ongoing attempts to simultaneously merge and keep distinct my writing and spiritual care efforts, and also grow all of them, you may encounter me doing and trying new things. For example, while I once wrote one newsletter in which I only ever talked about things going on here on Pilgrimage–such that if you wanted to know about writing or art or the church I pastor you were essentially out of luck (unless you follow Central Baptist Church on social media)–now I write one monthly newsletter with brief updates on all of those things, though you can also get in on specific Pilgrimage updates still, in between.

Today I am inaugurating the first combined Jennifer A G Layte/Pilgrimage giveaway. It’s funny because it’s basically just one person (me) giving away stuff, but letting you know about it through both online versions of me. You could say that the “our” below is the royal “our,” or something I guess.

I’m going to try to do one of these a month until I run out of stuff to give away. “Stuff to give away” may range from books to watercolor paintings to paint-poured art to Graced Objects (found object sculptures I make) to photography…

For March (I know today’s still February–I’m giving you a head start), the giveaway is a signed copy of each of my two already-published novels, Trees in the Pavement and Favored One.

How to Enter

  1. If you haven’t already, subscribe to the monthly Jenn/Pilgrimage newsletter here. If you are subscribed, everything that follows counts as a submission for this giveaway.
  2. Like the Giveaway post wherever you find it (for example here on WordPress). You could always pretend this is also an early Easter egg hunt and see how many places you can locate it.
  3. Share the post and tag three people you think might be interested in writing, spirituality, or writing about spirituality. (Bonus if you tag different people on each platform.)
  4. Like or follow any or all of my accounts on LinkTree.

Winner will be announced at the end of next week!

Until the Day Dawns


Exodus 24:12-18; Psalm 2; 2 Peter 1:16-21; Matthew 17:1-9

Epiphany Week 7 – Transfiguration Sunday

Pastor Jenn tries to make sense of the Transfiguration.


Scripture Reading: Tom Jernigan

Special Music (“In the Room” by Reddick): Tim Gunderman

Message in a Basket: Rev Barbara Jernigan

Main Message: Rev Jennifer A G Layte (Pastor Jenn)

Let There Be

Feels like I’ve been swimming in some deep waters for a long time now. The Spirit of God is hovering, and I am longing for God’s declaration of life and light–and probably also some soul-Sabbath.

I’ve been making cards lately, using a squeegee to smear acrylics, and then wiping the excess paint on a piece of paper. Then I noticed the bird-like shape in the bottom left and thought of the beginning of the world.

Are We Having Fun Yet?


Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Psalm 119:1-8; 1 Corinthians 3:1-9; Matthew 5:21-37

Epiphany Week 6

What if following the “laws and ways” of God could actually be enjoyable?


Scripture Reading: Paul Layte

Message in a Basket: Rev Barbara Jernigan

Main Message: Rev Jennifer A G Layte (Pastor Jenn)

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