6 Reasons Why Ben Carson’s Tax Plan is NOT Biblical (The Exploitative Politics of the Widow’s Mite)


Mark 12:18-34 — Proper 27 The widow’s mite is a symbol of economic exploitation, not of sacrificial giving. The widow is not an icon of generosity, but a victim of the wealthy. Long a favorite of religious professionals during stewardship season, the point of the story of the widow isn’t that she had faith enough to [Read More...]

The Way of Cold Water: A Homily on the Hyperbole of Heaven and Hell (Mark 9:38-50)


Year B — Proper 21 — Mark 9:38-50 If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. — Jesus Like many who grew up in the evangelical Protestant church, I lived out [Read More...]

Peace is Not Tranquility (A #WGFest2015 Lectionary Reflection)


  Lectionary Year B — Proper 11 — Mark 6:30-34; 53-56 On Saturday, my youngest son and I spent an afternoon carefully stacking a half-dozen rocks that had been worn smooth and elliptical by the French Broad River that eddied around our knees.  The swift river and its small pockets of whitewater drowned out the world around us [Read More...]

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...]

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...]

Vinyl Church: 5 Things Christians Can Learn from Vinyl Records

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Vinyl. It’s not just for hipsters any more. And Christians ought to listen up, because the future of the church might just be reflected in the resurgence of vinyl records. In many ways, the music industry reminds me of the modern church. Like the church, its leaders fret about its future in the midst of dramatic cultural [Read More...]

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...]

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...]

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

Creative Commons Copy Right by Alan O'Rourke

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...]