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About Winn Collier

Winn’s home is Charlottesville, Virginia, where he lives with his wife, Miska, and their two sons. Winn likes friendship, fair-trade coffee, smart movies, books worth reading, mountains, questions, and walking in the woods. Winn dislikes pretense, fear, injustice—and that he doesn’t live anywhere near a Planet Smoothie. Winn writes for magazines and is the author of four books: Restless Faith: Hanging on to a God Just Out of ReachLet God: The Transforming Wisdom of François FénelonHoly Curiosity: Encountering Jesus’ Provocative Questions; and his recent fiction, Love Big, Be Well: Letters to a Small-Town Church. Winn is pastor of All Souls Charlottesville.

God Waited

By |2019-12-24T13:21:38-05:00January 3rd, 2020|

When Denise Levertov was just twelve, long before she became a renowned poet, she had the gumption to mail a package of poetry to the great poet T. S. Eliot. She then waited for a reply. Surprisingly, Eliot sent two pages of handwritten encouragement. In the preface to her collection The Stream and the Sapphire, she explained how the poems “trace [her] own movement from agnosticism to Christian faith...”

The Father’s Blessing

By |2019-12-18T13:43:48-05:00December 22nd, 2019|

Recently, several people within our church—those who had experienced poor relationships with their fathers—asked me to stand in as a loving, father figure and offer a blessing over them. The blessing asked forgiveness for the ways a father can hurt his children by setting expectations that are too high or being distant or failing to offer tender presence and affirmation...

True, Deep Desire

By |2019-11-18T16:20:14-05:00November 19th, 2019|

A mouse with a shrill voice, Reepicheep is perhaps The Chronicles of Narnia’s most valiant character. He charged into battle swinging his tiny sword. He rejected fear as he prodded on the Dawn Treader toward the Island of Darkness. The secret to Reepicheep’s courage? He was deeply connected to his longing to get to Aslan’s country. “That is my heart’s desire,” he said...

No Longer Afraid

By |2019-11-01T13:09:10-05:00November 4th, 2019|

When the Ethiopian police found her a week after her abduction, three black-maned lions surrounded her, guarding her as though she were their own. Seven men had kidnapped the twelve-year-old girl, carried her into the woods and beaten her. Miraculously, however, a small pride of lions heard the girl’s cries, came running and chased off the attackers...

Seeds of Grace

By |2019-10-24T12:14:49-05:00October 26th, 2019|

For nearly four decades, a man in India has worked to bring a scorched, sandy wasteland back to life. Seeing how erosion and changing ecosystems had destroyed the river island he loved, he began to plant one tree at a time, bamboo then cotton. Now, lush forests and abundant wildlife fill more than 1,300 acres. However, the man insists the rebirth was not something he made happen...

The Main Actor

By |2019-10-03T07:53:28-05:00October 11th, 2019|

I once heard about a student taking a class in preaching at a prominent seminary. The student, a young man who was a bit full of himself, delivered his sermon with eloquence and evident passion. He sat down self-satisfied, and the professor paused a moment before responding. “That was a powerful sermon,” he said. “It was well organized and moving...

Walking Backward

By |2019-09-11T14:06:52-05:00September 7th, 2019|

I stumbled upon footage from a British newsreel crew who filmed six-year-old Flannery O’Connor on her family farm in 1932. Flannery, who would go on to become an acclaimed US writer, caught the crew’s curiosity because she’d taught a chicken to walk backward. Apart from the novelty of the feat, I thought this glimpse of history was a perfect metaphor...

A Sad Story

By |2019-08-12T17:13:31-05:00August 16th, 2019|

Painfully, the evil that has long been swept under the rug—sexual abuse of many women by men who had power over them—has come to light. Enduring headline after headline, my heart sank when I heard proof of abuse by two men I admired. The church has not been immune to these issues...

Making Things Whole

By |2019-07-19T13:40:19-05:00July 26th, 2019|

In the documentary Look & See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry, author Berry spoke of how divorce describes the state of our world. We’re divorced from one another, from our history, from the land. Things that should be whole are split apart. When asked what we should do about this sad fact, Berry said, “We can’t put everything back together. We just take two things and put them together...”