“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)

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 Robert Lentz's icon "Christ in the Margins." 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? The name for this icon is "Christ in the Margins," echoing the call in Matthew 25 to see Christ in the … [Read more...]

Spiritual Practice: “Visio Divina”

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.

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...]

How an Anti-King Parable Was Co-opted as a Kingdom of God Parable (#OccupyWallSt)

A 'Happy Halloween' Homily: A Spooky-Scary, Empire-Critical Reading of the Parable of the Wedding Feast The Parable of the Wedding Feast from Matthew’s Jesus is an appropriate story for the eve of Halloween: … [Read more...]

#OccupyChurch: Jesus Threw out the Moneylenders for a Reason

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...]


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