The Divine Protest of Pentecost: The Politics of Language and Respectability (Homily for Pentecost, Year B)

By Madison Baran (Flickr Creative Commons Copyright)

The God of Pentecost doesn’t have an official language. This is the shocking revelation of the day of Pentecost, but one often  lost amid the day’s more bombastic metaphors of rushing winds, descending doves and intoxicated disciples with tongues touched by fire. But in a country with a history of suppressing other languages in the [Read More...]

Going to Bed Angry

Photo By Quinn Dombrowski (Creative Commons Copyright, Flickr)

Going to Bed Angry Last night I slept into an angry pillow. In the morning I woke with it on the floor. Which makes me wonder If our dreams make love While we sleep, and seethe. Or if forgiveness extends From touching toes. [Read more...]

When Things Fall Apart: The Theodicy of Jesus, Judas, and Betrayal (Lectionary Meditation for Easter B7)

Creative Commons Copyright by Ryan Gilchrist Flickr

John 17:6-19 — Year B — Easter “Except the one destined to be lost.” In that one tiny clause, Jesus attempts to explain away his failure, the one given to him but was lost. The one that got away. Judas Iscariot. His betrayer. His disciple. His friend. Earlier in John, Jesus had explained exactly what [Read More...]

Dear Graduate: Do Not Follow Your Dreams

Flickr Creative Commons Copyright: Jason Bache (photo cropped)

Dear Graduate, If memory serves, this month, as you are nearing graduation, you will be getting a lot of advice from a lot of well-meaning friends, family, and advisers. Unfortunately, it’s often a fair amount of bad advice. For example, they will tell you  to follow your dreams. And you will be tempted to do just that, [Read More...]

The Shepherd Who Casts Us Out: A Homily for Good Shepherd Sunday

Creative Commons Copyright by Flickr User Koshy Koshy

Easter 4B — Good Shepherd Sunday — John 10:1-18 The Lectionary only offers a selection of the Good Shepherd discourse this week, but I have included verses 1-10 as well. This homily was written with collaboration and reflection from two the high school students at my local parish. Be honest, when you heard the readings [Read More...]

The Grief of Peter: A Good Friday Soliloquy (Homily)


I think a lot about that night, the night the soldiers came. In the quiet, I can still hear their steady footfalls approaching, that rhythmic shuffle of their metal breastplates, spear, sword, and shield. When I close my eyes, I can still see their torches blazing like evil eyes warning of coming misfortune. And I [Read More...]

The Descent: Short, Short fiction for Holy Week


He knew he’d find his friend here, in this place of the forgotten dead, among the lost souls no one remembered any longer. It was these places where he always went first, where he always felt most at home.  It was a place without the pretense of religiosity and perfection, a place where failure was [Read More...]

Leprechaun Traps and the Terrible Lessons They Teach


UPDATE: This afternoon, as my children and I continued to discuss whether it was okay to trap another creature, they decided that instead of a trap, they wanted to build a hotel for the leprechaun. And to provide robots with the hotel so the leprechaun wouldn’t be lonely. So maybe it’s a reach how I critique [Read More...]

Unholey Donuts, John 3:16, and the Condemnation of God (Homily for Lent 4B)


Lent 4B + John 3:14-21 Note: An earlier version of this opened with a story about my son. I had his permission to use it, but as he heard me practicing the sermon, he said he felt embarrassed. In order to respect his privacy, I changed the sermon and used a similar story from my own childhood. [Read More...]

#KellyOnMyMind but Is Manuel On My Mind, Too? Problems of our Death Penalty Activism


A saint’s scheduled execution was widely protested and decried in Georgia. A sinner’s scheduled execution in Texas was largely ignored. And history repeats itself.  On Sept. 21, 2011, two men were killed by the state. One man, Troy Davis, was innocent. His execution sparked a massive outcry. The other, Lawrence Russell Brewer, was not at [Read More...]