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Bulldozing Magdala: Feast of Mary Magdalene Amid the War in Gaza and Displaced Palestinians

We often think of Mary Magdalene in terms of resurrection.After all, she is called the Apostle to the Apostles, was the first to witness the resurrection, and was the first to proclaim that Good News to others. As a result, Christians — particularly progressives — see her as a patron for women who claim their rightful places in pulpits, at altars, and in positions of church leadership.But today, on her feast day, I want to remember something else about Mary Magdalene.Not that she wit … [Read More...]

Creative Commons Copyright Bradley P Johnson (Flickr)

Let Them Grow Together: On Gaza, Migrants, Refugees, Wheat and Weeds (A Homily)

Proper 11 — Year A — Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 A few weeks ago, I asked my boys to help me pull weeds in the garden.For me, I have been trained over 33 years to know what’s a weed and what’s not. I can look at my tiny plot of dirt and I can see in a second what’s not supposed to be there. I know what belongs and what doesn’t.My boys, on the other hand, weren’t so sure. Their little hands would grab along the base of a plant and then they’d ask, “Daddy is this a weed?”Sometimes they had … [Read More...]

Creative Commons Copyright: Peter Haden

The Evil at Our Borders: Migrants, Refugees, and the Spiritual Crisis of Immigration

It is evil.Period.Treating child refugees like criminals is evil.Since October, some 52,000 children from Central America have been taken into custody as they crossed into the United States, overwhelming the U.S. system meant to handle only a few thousand. For more than a week, politicians, pundits, and pastors have debated how to handle this crisis.For conservatives, it is an immigration crisis, demonstrating the failures of the U.S. immigration policy and the need for … [Read More...]

Creative Commons Copyright: Mike Schinkel

The Gospel of Murrieta and Migrants

Once, Joseph, Mary, and the infant Jesus fled in the middle of the night to escape a murderous ruler. Unfortunately, upon reaching the borders of Egypt, they were met with protesters, taken into custody, and soon deported back to their native land.The day after they were sent back, Herod completed his massacre of the innocents, killing Jesus. And just to send a message to others, he slaughtered Mary and Joseph too.Here ends the Gospel. +++ There is a humanitarian crisis going on at the … [Read More...]

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Dirt is Resurrection and God is a Bad Farmer (Homily for the Parable of the Sower)

Year A + Proper 10 + Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 I love dirt. I love the way it smells early in the morning, still damp with summer dew. I love the way it feels between my toes when I walk on it after the sunsets, the warmth of the stars still radiating through the soles of my feet. I love the way it gets under my fingernails and refuses to go away. I think I’ve always loved dirt. Maybe it’s part of the Alabama childhood I never really outgrew. As a kid playing middle school baseball, I remember fee … [Read More...]

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Picking Sides: The Deciding Reason Why I Was Baptized in the Episcopal Church (Guest Post)

This past Sunday on Pentecost, baptisms were celebrated all across the Christian world. It's a traditional day for baptism, and today, I'm honored to share one touching and poignant story of baptism from a reader, T.R. Sherrill (also a listener to The Moonshine Jesus Show).  — David Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." -Matthew 19:14 (NIV)By T. R. Sherrill My mother and my father were an inte … [Read More...]

All Executions Fall Short of Humane Standards: What’s Horrifying About Oklahoma’s Botched Execution.

The botched execution of Clayton D. Lockett is horrifying.Wait, that's not quite right.The execution of Clayton D. Lockett is horrifying.The state-sanctioned murder of anyone is horrifying.The White House said today that this particular execution fell short of humane standards.In truth, however, what was inhumane on Tuesday night had nothing to do with him feeling his death and execution.The inhumane part of it is that the state was killing him in the first place.The d … [Read More...]

The Hope in Our Wounds: A Homily for Easter 2A

[Open with dialogue with congregation about wounds]Some wounds never really heal.When I was a journalist, it was my job to bear witness to these kinds of open wounds that life inflicts on the unsuspecting. Like the mother who welcomed her son home in a flag-draped coffin. Or the parents of the teenagers who were pulled out of a car submerged in a frigid river. Or the couple who watched a fire consume a beloved home and the generations of memories that it had safe-guarded.These are … [Read More...]

Why Sarah Palin is Right About Baptism by Waterboarding — #AmericanBaptism

Sarah Palin is right about baptism and waterboarding.In a speech now heard round the Christian world, Sarah Palin said at an NRA rally that "waterboarding is how we'd baptize terrorists" if she were president.Christians were up in arms about the apparent blasphemy of the statement, shocked that she would sacrilegiously connect waterboarding with the Christian sacrament of baptism. It taps into a long, shameful legacy of Christianity that forced baptism on people of other faiths under … [Read More...]

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Holy Saturday and Harry Potter: On Tombs, Thestrals, and the Descent into Hells

In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, author J.K. Rowling introduces readers to one of the singular best magical creatures ever created — the thestral.These magical creatures — compared to something like skeletal horses — are invisible to most, save those who have looked upon death, understood it and internalized it. Thestrals are visible, in other words, only to those who have been baptized into death. They are terrible, frightening looking creatures, and when Harry first sees them, … [Read More...]


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