The Appearance of Hope (An #Advent Poem)

The Appearance of Hope (An Advent Poem) Not long after John appeared in the wilderness with sweet locusts on his breath Not long after the expectant crowds churned muddy waves of confession into the Jordan Not long after he baptized Jesus in the cold river on a day overcast with love and thunder Not long [Read More…]

Mary, Martha, and the Only Meal Jesus Cooked (Lectionary Meditation)

Lectionary 10C — Luke 10:38-42 Jesus spent his entire life talking about meals, presiding over meals, and distributing them. He ate enough to be accused of being a glutton and received enormous hospitality from a variety of homes. In fact, he made receiving hospitality a central tenet of his disciples’ sending and an icon for [Read More…]

Demons and Demonization: Jesus, Sirius Black, and the Gerasene Demoniac

  If you’ve followed me on social media or had a conversation with me in real life, chances are you know I’m a little obsessed with Harry Potter. My kids are obsessed, too, and we each have our own Hogwarts costume. I once held a massive Harry Potter lock-in as a youth minister, complete with [Read More…]

Keep Christianity Weird: The Trinity, Mermaids, UFOs, and Holy Strangeness

Keep it weird. From Portland and Boulder to Austin and Asheville, “Keep It Weird” has become a rallying cry for local culture in an increasingly mass-produced landscape, a full-throated embrace funky individualism that ironically forges strong community. Of course, to really find the misfit and funky expressions of humanity, you have to move beyond the [Read More…]

Judas Lives! (What’s So New About Jesus’ New Commandment to Love One Another?)

Easter 4C — John 13:31-35 — Lectionary Reflection  One of the curious things about Jesus’ new commandment he gives to the disciples is that it doesn’t really seem all that new. It’s something that frustrates me every Maundy Thursday when we read this story, this idea that serving others and loving others is somehow a [Read More…]

The Parable of the Estranged Family: Re-Imagining the Prodigal Son as a Tragic Family Drama

Lent 4 — Year C — Luke 15:1-3; 11-32, 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 Last week, as I was watching the Oscars, I was thrilled to see Brie Larson take home the award for best actress for her role depicting a kidnapped woman in the film Room. You might not have seen it yet, but the film [Read More…]

Soot, Stones, and Stewardship: A Homily for the First Sunday in Lent

  Today, I’m pleased to share with you this post from Anna Howell, a long-time reader of my blog and Moonshine Jesus Show podcast listener. Anna is a twenty-four-year-old Episcopalian from Upper South Carolina who dreams of one day getting a postsecondary education in religious studies. In the meantime, she blogs at www.sulfurfreejesus.wordpress.com and is a moderator [Read More…]

The Temptation of the Transfiguration: On High Places, Presidential Politics, and the Glory of God (Lectionary Reflection)

  The Last Sunday After Epiphany — Year C — Luke 9:28-36 (37-43a) Right now, we are in a season of seeking power and prestige. With the presidential election season officially in full swing, we see it in almost every news story on the front page or leading the 24-hour news cycle. It’s an all-out [Read More…]

Our Genealogy of Water: A Homily for the Baptism of Our Lord

This past week, as I was blearily returning from dropping my kids off at school one morning, a story came on the radio about new DNA tests that help people trace their roots and genealogy with surprising accuracy. The story was mildly interesting, but then as the reporter Eric Weiner was preparing to send his [Read More…]

Unspeakable Joy, Unbearable Tragedy: Christmas, Incarnation, and Holy Innocents (A Homily for Christmas 2C)

Christmas 2C — Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23 A few months ago, I let my spouse read a draft of a sermon I wrote and, when she was finished, she just shook her head.  “Don’t you ever preach on anything happy?” she asked me. I began to protest, but she stopped me. “Just once,” she said, “would it [Read More…]