A Lent Where #BlackLivesMatter: 10 Ideas for Black History Month and the White Church

Dear White Christians, It’s February, and I know you’re probably very busy with your Lenten preparations. Especially if you work at a church like I do. Ash Wednesday is right around the corner. Dry, brittle palms from last year have to be collected and burned, returned to dust. Supplies for the Shrove Tuesday pancake supper [Read More…]

The Christian Response to the Measles Outbreak: Love Your Neighbor, Check Your Privilege, and Vaccinate Your Children

Look, I get that nostalgia is big right now. We’ve got more 19th century beards, vinyl records, backyard gardens, and banjo music in the United States than at any other time in probably the past 50 years. It’s a throwback to those halcyon days of previous generations. But do you know what I’m not nostalgic for? Measles. Like [Read More…]

Vanishing Jesus and the Christ of the Deserted Place (A Lectionary Reflection for Mark 1:29-39)

Epiphany 5B — Mark 1:29-39 When the people most sought him, Jesus ran away. When the people finally got an inkling, a glimpse of who he was, Jesus disappeared. When people at last realized that there was something different about this teacher and healer, Jesus vanished, eager almost in his need to be absent and alone. Unwilling to be [Read More…]

We Had This Treasure in an Earthen Vessel: Marcus Borg, a modern-day divine

Like many, I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of Marcus Borg, a scholar of the New Testament, a brilliant writer, and a gentle, courageous Christian. Like many, I never knew him personally, but his work nevertheless had deep and formational effect on me as a Christian. As I remembered him in my prayers this [Read More…]

Making Room at Christ’s Table: The Gift of Progressive Christianity

You might underestimate how large the Christian umbrella is. This simple sentence appeared in red ink in the margins of a reflection essay I had written for an interreligious dialogue course in graduate school. It changed my life. The professor, a kindly and soft-spoken Jesuit, had written it as the gentlest of rebukes to my [Read More…]

The Beauty of Bodies: Russell Wilson’s Inelegant Theology and the Joy of Incarnation

It’s true. God doesn’t have anything to do with winning a football game. On Sunday, Russell Wilson, quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, became the latest professional athlete to draw the ire of progressive Christians for expressing gratitude to God for winning a football game. Look, I get that to imply God had something to do with a sporting [Read More…]

An Ordinary Name: A Reflection for the Feast of the Holy Name

Back in 2013, a judge blocked a mother’s name for a child on religious grounds. She wouldn’t allow the mother to name her child ‘Messiah,’ because the judge felt it was a name reserved only for Jesus. It was probably the oddest judicial ruling I’d ever heard. It was almost as if the judge believed that names themselves had some sort of special [Read More…]

The Cowardly Wise Men: A Reflection for Epiphany and the Holy Innocents

When the Magi chose to deceive Herod, return home a different a way, and save the child Jesus, they unwittingly doomed countless children to slaughter and countless more parents to lives of eternal grief. Their choice may have saved the One but it killed scores. When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the Magi, he flew [Read More…]

#StayWokeAdvent, Ferguson & Apocalypse: A Lectionary Reflection

Follow #StayWokeAdvent contributions here and add yours, too! Oh that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence — As when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes the water to boil — Isaiah 64:1-2a  Advent 1B The fires of justice have been kindled in the [Read More…]

The Breaking of the Bridesmaids: Rethinking a Problematic Parable (Lectionary Reflection)

Matthew 25: 1-13 | Proper 27 | Year A (When the gospel is read, have different readers interrupt the gospeller with the italicized verses of Scripture. Visually, either have the disrupters stand, almost in protest, and remain standing through the reading. Conversely, have the disrupters process behind and surround the gospeller.) At that time the kingdom of heaven [Read More…]