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...]

Response to Tony Jones’ Blog on “Picking and Choosing Your Bible Verses (or, Why To Abandon the Lectionary)”

(Note: At the end of last week, I posted a lectionary commentary for Sunday, October 23 on “Why Not Choose Love? Picking and Choosing Scripture as a Twenty-first Century Christian.” Tony Jones, a leader in the Emergent Church Movement, wrote a response titled, "Picking and Choosing Your Bible Verses (or, Why To Abandon the Lectionary)." I have been out of town all week at a conference, but when my flight home was delayed yesterday, I had some time to draft these thoughts related to Tony’s origi … [Read more...]

More Formation, Less Information (The Future of Seminary Education)

(This post is part of a Symposium at Patheos on The Future of Seminary Education.) After earning a B.A. in Religion and Philosophy from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, I graduated in 2003 with a Master of Divinity from Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, Texas, which is affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). I am currently in the final stages of revising my dissertation for the Doctor of Ministry program at San Francisco Theological Seminary. … [Read more...]

Jesus’ Parable of the Job Creator, the Day Laborers, and #OccupyWallSt

Jesus’ “Parable of the Generous Landowner and the Laborers in the Vineyard” could be profitably retold today as “The Parable of the Job Creator and the Day Laborers.” This story is one of those frequent passages of scripture that many would likely decry as “Socialism!” if these passage were not from the Bible. … [Read more...]

Brian McLaren, "Two Kinds of Religion," and #OccupyWallSt

I was reminded today of a quote from author and public theologian Brian McLaren that has fresh resonance in the wake of the Occupy Wall Street protests: There are two kinds of Christianity, along with two kinds of Islam, Judaism, and every other religion and non-religion too: one of social control and one of social transformation; one to hold people down, one to lift them up; one an opiate to pacify people into compliance, the other a stimulant to empower people to imagine a better world, a … [Read more...]


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