#OccupyChurch: Jesus Threw out the Moneylenders for a Reason (A Progressive Christian Lectionary Commentary on John 2 for March 11)

Andy Lester was one of the most important professors I had in seminary. I took two classes from him: Introduction to Pastoral Care and Pastoral Care Confronts Anger and Conflict. As part of the latter class, we helped edit his book A Pastoral Theology of Anger, which cuts against the grain of the tradition that anger is always a sin. Perhaps the most important reading assignment in that class was an essay by Beverly Wildung Harrison titled, “The Power of Anger in the Work of Love.” She invites us … [Read more...]

Raise the Minimum Wage to $10/hour

In Chris Hedges’ most recent column, he reports Ralph Nader’s recommendation to the Occupy movement: forge a powerful alliance with millions of working men and women around a national call to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour.... Some 70 percent of the public supports raising the minimum wage.... Barack Obama promised during his 2008 election campaign to press to raise the minimum wage to $9.50 by 2011, a promise that, like many others, he has ignored. But the ground is fertile.....The f … [Read more...]

Be Wary of Sensationalized “Jesus Tomb” News

Lent is not only the season of giving up bad habits or taking on new spiritual practices for 40 days. Lent is also the season of media outlets hawking sensationalized stories about the historical Jesus to sell copies or attract viewers during the built-up to Easter.Perhaps you have seen headlines in recent days such as, "Investigators may have discovered earliest evidence of Christian iconography in Jerusalem" or "'Jesus Discovery:' Jerusalem Archeology Reveals Birth Of … [Read more...]

Is Jesus the “Human One”? A Lectionary Commentary on Mark 8

Jesus does not echo Peter’s title “Messiah,” but instead refers to himself as “the Son of Man.” Why do many Christians almost exclusively emphasize Jesus Christ, neglecting a title Jesus repeatedly calls himself: “Son of Man?” What does this term mean?And are you on the path to becoming a fully alive human being like Jesus was? I invite you to explore further in my 600-word lectionary commentary on this week’s Gospel lesson in my new post at [The Hardest Question] on “Is Jesus the 'Human One? … [Read more...]

Reading the Bible with Jews: A Lectionary Commentary on Romans 4

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Many Christians have become accustomed to the realization that Jesus lived and died as a Jew. But the Jewish New Testament scholar Pamela Eisenbaum challenges us to the further realization that Paul Was Not a Christian.At my new post at [The Hardest Question] on “Reading the Bible with Jews,” I offer a 600-word lectionary commentary on Romans 4:13-25 that interprets this passage in light of the growing field of Jewish New Testament scholarship.I invite you to read the rest the … [Read more...]

Sermon Series Retrospective: Matthew Fox’s “Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality”

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For Advent, I preached through the four parts of Matthew Fox's landmark book Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality Presented in Four Paths, Twenty-Six Themes, and Two Questions. The following are the sermon titles and a brief summary:Embracing Christianity and Evolution: Matthew Fox, Original Blessing, and Creation Spirituality (Advent 1) What would Christianity look like if the focus were Original Blessing, not Original Sin; Creation Spirituality, not the Fall/Redemption sto … [Read more...]

Preaching the Didache (50-70 C.E.): A Sermon Series Retrospective

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During the season of Epiphany, I preached a six-part sermon series on the Didache (usually pronounced DID-ah-KAY").As part of my preparation, I reread Tony Jones’ book The Teaching of the Twelve: Believing & Practicing the Primitive Christianity of the Ancient Didache Community and watched the supplemental DVD from Paraclete Press. Jones has written that: If you don’t know what the Didache is, it is an early Christian document, only rediscovered in 1873 in a dusty library in Nicomedia. A … [Read more...]

“Your Daughters Shall Prophecy”: Abolishing the Laity and Ordaining Women

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Note: This post is the final installment in our six-part study of the ancient Christian document the Didache (50-70 C.E., pronounced “DID-ah-KAY). For previous installments in this series, see the links at the end. Appoint bishops for yourselves, as well as deacons, worthy of the Lord, of meek disposition, unattached to money, truthful and proven; for they also render to you the service of prophets and teachers. Didache 15:1Whom should we ordain? And why?To begin to respond to these … [Read more...]

What Happens to Those God Loves? (A Progressive Christian Lectionary Commentary for Feb 26)

9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. 11 And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased." 12 And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. 14 … [Read more...]

Paul: Misogynist or Mystic?

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. 14 Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot would say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear would say, "Be … [Read more...]


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