25 Books Every Christian Should Read

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(Renovaré, 25 Books Every Christian Should Read, 2011, 390 pages.) Renovaré is from the Latin word for "renew" or "restore." It is also a non-profit organization focused on spiritual formation. Their latest project is a list of the top 25 books every Christians should read. On one hand, I have deep respect for many of those who selected this list (Richard Foster, Frederica Mathewes-Green, Richard Rohr, Phyllis Tickle, and Dallas Willard). On the other hand, if I were empowered with the o … [Read more...]

Mutants and Mystics

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(Jeffrey J. Kripal, Mutants and Mystics: Science Fiction, Superhero Comics, and the Paranormal, The University of Chicago Press, 2011, 353 pages.) Have you ever been a comic book lover?Have you ever had a paranormal experience?If so, the author reports that his ideal reader is "Someone who (a) has undergone a profound paranormal event and (b) is obsessed with science fiction or superhero comics and does not know why." … [Read more...]

“Every Bush Is a Burning Bush”

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The verdant heat of summer is my favorite season, but I am learning to love the fall. Everywhere I look, I am arrested by lively colors: luscious yellows, warm oranges, and especially the vibrant hues of red:I titled this post "Every Bush Is a Burning Bush" as an allusion to the story in Exodus 3 of Moses hearing God speaking to him out of a burning bush. But we miss at least half of the picture if we read the Bible as only about 'miraculous' events that happened thousands of years ago. … [Read more...]

Cultivating a Theology of Abundance

Naomi King (@revnaomi) tweeted a great question recently: "What are your favorite #inspirational quotes about abundance?" Her prompt reminded me of how critical a theology of abundance is to a healthy spirituality. In contrast, a theology of scarcity can spiral into an unhealthy spirituality. A search for the words "abundance" and "scarcity" on my computer turned up the following quotes: … [Read more...]

Four Spiritual Practices for Preaching on Matthew 25 (A Progressive Christian Lectionary Commentary for Nov 20, 2011)

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Spiritual Practice I: Visio Divina To begin to reflect on this scripture, I invite you first to slow down. Take three deep breaths. And gaze softly at this image: What resonates with you most strongly about this picture? What word, phrase, image, or emotion does this image trigger in you? What surprises, excites, or disturbs you about this representation? This stunning icon is by Br. Robert Lentz, OFM. One name for this icon is "Christ in the Margins," echoing the call in Matthew 25 to see C … [Read more...]

Spiritual Practice: “Visio Divina”

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I recently attended a plenary session facilitated by Trevor Hudson, an author and retreat leader from Johannesburg, South Africa. He invited us to experiment with a spiritual practice known as visio divina ("divine seeing") on the icon "Christ and Abbot Mena" (late 6th-early 7th century, housed at the Louvre): … [Read more...]

Pilgrimage to the New MLK Memorial in D.C.

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I recently had the opportunity to visit The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on the National Mall. It has been said that, "tourists pass through a place, but pilgrims allow a place to pass through them." The site is gloriously located on the edge of the tidal basin, halfway between the Jefferson and Lincoln memorials, and I sought to pass through our capital latest's memorial in a spirit of pilgrimage. … [Read more...]

Living the (Hardest) Questions: What If God Is Not “Fully and Unambiguously Good?”: A Process Theology Sermon

“What is the character of your God?” At a certain point of spiritual development, deconstruction (saying what you reject, what you doubt, and what you disbelieve) is easier than construction (saying what you affirm, what you have faith in, and what you believe). So my challenge to myself and to you is to "live the (hardest) questions." Some people speak of this practice as leaning into your “growing edge." And this image of leaning into your growing edge resonates with the image/character of God … [Read more...]

From “A Thief in the Night” to Harold Camping (A Progressive Christian Lectionary Commentary for Nov 13, 2011)

Before there was a New Testament, before the Gospels were written, before any of Paul’s other letters were composed, there was 1 Thessalonians. Many scholars date this epistle to 49 CE, making this book not only Paul’s oldest letter of which we are aware, but also the oldest extant piece of Christian literature. So, approximately two decades after the life of the historical Jesus and approximately two decades before the Gospel of Mark, we have Paul’s first letter to the church at Thess … [Read more...]

Streams of Contentment

(Robert J. Wicks, Streams of Contentment: Lessons I Learned on My Uncle's Farm, 2011, 214 pages.)In our age of distraction, dissatisfaction, and designed obsolescence, Robert Wicks' latest book is a prophetic challenge to allow God to lead you beside the still waters, or, in Wicks' language, beside "steams of contentment." Wicks' latest offering is a small book: barely 200 pages that are each much small than the pages of a typical book. But, as Seinfeld taught us to say, "Not that there's a … [Read more...]


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