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...]

What Job and God Learn From Each Other: Prophetic Grief Meets Prophetic Beauty (A Homily)


Proper 24 — Job 38 — Year B Earlier this month, a gunman went on a shooting rampage at a community college in Oregon, millions of Syrian refugees fled a bloody civil war where thousands have been killed, and we were reminded again that there have been more gun deaths in the United States since [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...]

The Identity Crisis of Christ (Lectionary Reflection Mark 8:27-38)


Proper 19 — Year B — Mark 8:27-38 Ever since his baptism, Jesus’ world had simultaneously expanded and crumbled. It had all started so promising, with the Spirit descending like a dove, the voice from the heavens declaring him the Beloved Son. It was a public declaration of his identity he didn’t take lightly, despite [Read More...]

Crumbs: Jesus and the Ethnic Slur (Lectionary Reflection, Mark 7:24-37)


Year B — Proper 18  — Mark 7:24-37 Jesus uttered an ethnic slur. To dismiss a desperate woman with a seriously sick child. In this week’s gospel text, in the Black Lives Matter era, I think we have to start with that disturbing and disorienting fact. Our immediate response likely is, “Of course not! Jesus couldn’t possibly have [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...]

Taking Liberation without Permission: Bree Newsome, #BlackLivesMatters, and the Hemorrhaging Woman (Lectionary Reflection)

Proper 8B — Mark 5:21-43 The woman with the hemorrhage didn’t ask permission. She didn’t wait until the appropriate time. She had suffered long enough. So she took her liberation into her own hands. She broke the rules. And became free. It reminds me so much of Bree Newsome, the courageous activist who took matters [Read More...]

When God Sleeps through Storms (Lectionary Reflection on Theodicy for Mark 4:35-41)

Flickr Creative Commons by Ben Salter

Proper 7 — Year B – Mark 4:35-41 “Even the wind and the sea obey him,” the awestruck disciples say. Just minutes before, they had been in the most terrible storm of their lives. Out on the open sea, the storm had threatened to swamp the disciples and their boat. They were terrified. Completely undone [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...]

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...]