Top 3 Blog Posts of 2011

Gold: by far my most viewed blog of this past year was "Four Spiritual Practices for Preaching on Matthew 25."Silver: second place goes to "Jesus’ Seed Parable and Merton’s New Seeds of Contemplation.”Bronze: the final top contender was "Jesus, a Donkey, and Jon Stewart’s Rally for Sanity.”Thanks, everyone, for reading.(Also, just FYI, the above list was generated from Google Analytics, an incredibly handy -- and free! -- tool that all bloggers should embed in their websites immed … [Read more...]

The Sound of Silence: Reflections for a Soulful Solstice

Thursday, December 22 is Winter Solstice: the shortest span of daylight hours and the longest night of the year. In my neck of the woods, this means "The sun is above the horizon for approximately 9 hours, 26 minutes. Sunrise occurs at 7:24 a.m. and sunset at 4:50 p.m."On this day with more than 15 hours of darkness, perhaps Paul Simon offers us the most lyrical invitation for how we might begin to allow ourselves to savor a Soulful Solstice. Simon challenges us to sing, Hello darkness, my o … [Read more...]

Top 10 Best Podcasts of 2011

(1) NPR: Religion – A few years ago my car radio was almost always tuned to NPR. More recently I have taken to listening selectively to my favorite NPR segments. Since I’m a huge religion nerd, I love being able to listen to the religion-themed excerpts of “Morning Edition,” “All Things Considered,” and other NPR programs without necessarily having to listen to each of those hour-long shows each day.(2) Homebrewed Christianity - An astonishing number of great interviews with world-class theol … [Read more...]

“Out Beyond Ideas” for Advent: Original Blessing, Creation Spirituality, and Social Justice

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Jesus clearly says the kingdom of heaven is among us (Luke 17:21) or “at hand” (Matthew 3:2, 4:17). One wonders why we made it into a reward system for later, or as Brian McLaren calls it, “an evacuation plan for the next world.” Maybe it was easier to obey laws and practice rituals for later than to actually be transformed now.The price for real transformation is high. It means that we have to change our loyalties from power, success, money, and control (read: “our kingdoms”) to the Lordship … [Read more...]

Dear Lowe’s: Islamophobia is as equally reprehensible as anti-Semitism

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Dear Lowe's: Islamophobia is as equally reprehensible as anti-Semitism. Both are forms of racism and bigotry. Christians must stop confusing Christianity with Christian Supremacy.I wish I could force both the management of Lowe's as well as the protesters to read Philip Jenkins' important new book Laying Down the Sword: Why We Can't Ignore the BIBLE'S Violent Verses: Commands to kill, to commit ethnic cleansing, to institutionalize segregation, to hate and fear other races and religions — all a … [Read more...]

Preaching through the Didache: A Call for Resources

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During the season of Epiphany (basically from the beginning of 2012 through Ash Wednesday), I'm planning a sermon series on the Didache. I've read the primary text previously a few times as well as a pieces of secondary literature, but I still don't feel like I have a firm enough grasp on this important early document. I figure preaching through the Didache is a great opportunity to correct this gap.As part of my sermon preparation, I plan to revisit Tony Jones' book The Teaching of the T … [Read more...]


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