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 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...]

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 Crucifixion: A Tale of Two Kingdoms (Good Friday Homily, John 18:1-19-42)

During Holy Week, we are tossed to and fro with stories of triumph and hosannas, last suppers, grieving prayers, betrayals, denials and crucifixion, all which lead to Easter and alleluias. Holy Week reminds me a little of the opening lines of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. “It was the best of times. It [Read More...]

God is the Prodigal Son: Reinventing Christianity’s Most Beloved Parable (Lectionary Reflection)

Lent 4C — Sunday, March 10 — Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32   God is irresponsible. Hopelessly so. In the well-worn parable of the prodigal son, it seems Jesus is telling us God can’t be bothered to consider the consequences of actions — God’s or those of sinners. God is feckless. Ridiculously so. This is the Gospel [Read More...]

God is a Gardener: A Homily for Lent 3C (Luke 13:1-9)

Lent 3C — Luke 13:1-9, 1 Cor. 10:1-13, Exodus 3:1-15 It doesn’t take much effort these days to bump into tragedy. You don’t have to look very far to see bad news. As a former journalist, I can attest that the old adage is true: if it bleeds, it leads. In our information age, we [Read More...]

When Jesus Invented a New Commandment

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Mark 10:17-31/Proper 23B/Pentecost 20 “You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal;  You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.” One of the first things many young Christians learn to recite is the 10 Commandments. My wife, in fact, can still [Read More...]

Just Marriage: Jesus, Divorce and the Vulnerable (Lectionary Reflection)

Just Married

Proper 22B/Pentecost 19 Mark 10:2-16 Earlier in the gospel of Mark, Jesus has a very public falling out with his family. His brothers declare him insane and his family seeks to retrieve him so he won’t make a fool out of himself and the family anymore. In return, Jesus publicly disowns his family, a rejection [Read More...]

The Rich Young Rulers of America and the Good News that Makes Us Sad (Lectionary Reflection)

Money

I am the rich young ruler. And so are you. In the context of our world, we are all rich young rulers. If you make a mere $34,000 a year, you are part of the elite economic class, the wealthiest of the wealthy, the top 1 percent of humanity’s 7 billion people. In this light, [Read More...]


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