The Worst Bad Word You Can Teach a Kid to Say

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Whenever I’m angry or frustrated, I tend to say a very nasty, very ugly word. Naturally, I say it often. It starts with an ‘s’ and ends in a ‘t.’ I never really thought much of it, to be honest. It has always seemed harmless, even as an ordained minister. I mean, it’s just a [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...]

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...]

Questions Not Answers: My Journey from Journalism to the Priesthood

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In college, I thought that by the time I was 32, I would be working at a large daily newspaper, not a month away from ordination in the Episcopal church.* As a journalism student and a greenhorn reporter in Alabama and Northern California, I assumed I would spend the majority of my adult life in [Read More...]

Keeping Silence in Tragedy: In the Aftermath of Explosions

Violence and tragedy has again struck. And it is hard to know what to say, what to do, particularly now that mass and social media have made us all witnesses to carnage and horror. And it is even harder to remember, in moments like these, that the kind of violence our nation has experienced only [Read More...]

Unholy Laws: Establishing Religion in N.C., Starving Children in Tennessee

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  UPDATE: Sen. Stacey Campfield, who proposed the original welfare bill in Tennessee and responded to this post in the comments, has withdrawn the bill, asking it be studied over the summer. Clergy and activists in Tennessee and around the country put the pressure on and quashed the bill. I was profoundly saddened to hear [Read More...]

Easter for Doubters: The Unexpected Faith of Thomas (Lectionary Reflection for the Second Sunday in Easter)

  It’s Easter. Do not be afraid to doubt. Doubt boldly. Doubt joyfully. In fact, these are important, faithful and beautiful responses to the Paschal mystery, as author Rachel Held Evans demonstrated last week. Indeed, in the gospels, doubt and disbelief are important to the Easter experience, and Jesus does not condemn his disciples for [Read More...]

The Lost Shepherd and the Amoral Love of God (Proper 19C Lectionary Reflection)

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Lectionary Reflection – Proper 19 C – Luke 15:1-32 The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. So begins the most well-known and treasured Psalm of all time. At hospital beds, it is recited by patients and chaplains alike. In times of distress and discomfort, its soothing words are meant to bring succor and [Read More...]


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