A Back-to-School Liturgy That’s Not a Blessing of the Backpacks

Commonly, liturgical churches will do a back-to-school Blessing of the Backpacks. Usually, it is a simple, short blessing used in a Sunday Eucharist. But, for the purposes of junior and senior high students, I’ve always found them to be lacking something — honest engagement with how difficult and turbulent school can be for teenagers. So, [Read More...]

The Divisive Love of God: Homily for Proper 15C (Luke 12:49-56)

Proper 15C — Luke 12:49-56 As a parent of two little boys who in one breath dearly love each other and, in the next, dearly love to pester each other, I can’t say I was thrilled when I read the Gospel text for today, much less to have to preach on it. This text mocked [Read More...]

I Am Not A Drug: Why God Isn’t in the Business of Using People

Growing up, ministers would tell me that God wanted to use me. Even as an adult, I have had people tell me they believe God is using me to do God’s work. And it’s not just me. I cannot count the number of times I have heard people explain their own experiences and the experiences [Read More...]

The Shameful Neighbor: Food Stamps, Stereotypes and the War on the Hungry (A Homily)

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Proper 12 — Year C — Luke 11:1-13 There is no war on poverty in this country. There is no war on hunger. Instead, there is a war on the poor and a war on the hungry. Politicians today are targeting and bargaining away the food on the tables of the poor in the name [Read More...]

Jesus Doesn’t Want You to be a Good Samaritan: Lectionary Reflection for Proper 10C

For three unconventional retellings of this parable to enliven the well-worn story, visit here (the Immigrant Samaritan), here (the God Samaritan), or here (the Wrong Samaritan) Proper 10 – Year C – Luke 10:25-37 Jesus doesn’t really want you to be the good Samaritan. At least, that’s not the point of his story in this [Read More...]

Calling Down Questions: Homily for Proper 9, June 30

On July 29, I was ordained to the transitional diaconate in Northern California with eight other wonderful people, including two others from my sending parish, Grace Fairfield. The following day, I got to preach this sermon in the same church where I was confirmed and where both my children were baptized. It was good to [Read More...]

The Patron Saint of Poop: How My Kids Fell in Love with the Saints

When playing dress-up, my kids go from light saber-wielding Jedis to Julian of Norwich, patron saint of cats. If only I could get them to stop torturing the cat now ...

Like most of my good ideas, this one happened by accident. Four days into the Lenten season, I had nothing — no fast, no practice, no structure for the 40 days — even though I had spent most of January talking up the season to my two sons. We had gone to our Ash Wednesday [Read More...]

Animate:faith Isn’t Just for Young Adults (Review)

Sparkhouse’s animate:faith has one major flaw. And it’s a glaring one. It’s marketed for young adults. I was an early adopter of animate:faith. And by early adopter, I mean I signed up to be notified as soon the series became available for purchase. If memory serves, I ordered the series, if not the first day [Read More...]

Sleeping Through Storms: Rethinking Theodicy, Natural Disasters and God’s Omnipotence

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God is not all-powerful. At least, not in the ways we tend to define power. For us, power means that we get our way, that we can impose our will upon the world around us, that we can conform others into our images in order to achieve unity and security. In our minds, we equate [Read More...]

The Divine Protest of Pentecost

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...]


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