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...]

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...]

We Had This Treasure in an Earthen Vessel: Marcus Borg, a modern-day divine

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Like many, I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of Marcus Borg, a scholar of the New Testament, a brilliant writer, and a gentle, courageous Christian. Like many, I never knew him personally, but his work nevertheless had deep and formational effect on me as a Christian. As I remembered him in my prayers this [Read More...]

Making Room at Christ’s Table: The Gift of Progressive Christianity

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You might underestimate how large the Christian umbrella is. This simple sentence appeared in red ink in the margins of a reflection essay I had written for an interreligious dialogue course in graduate school. It changed my life. The professor, a kindly and soft-spoken Jesuit, had written it as the gentlest of rebukes to my [Read More...]

#IfTheyGunnedMeDown, Who Do You Say that I Am?

Image by Shirin Barghi. Follow her on Twitter: @shebe86

Year A — August 24 — Matthew 16:13-20 — Proper 16 Who do you say that I am? A looter. A criminal. The falsely accused. Who do you say that I am? A rule breaker.  A deranged man. A demon. Who do you say that I am? A son. A beloved. A man. Who do [Read More...]

The Evil at Our Borders: Migrants, Refugees, and the Spiritual Crisis of Immigration

Creative Commons Copyright: Peter Haden

It is evil. Period. Treating child refugees like criminals is evil. Since October, some 52,000 children from Central America have been taken into custody as they crossed into the United States, overwhelming the U.S. system meant to handle only a few thousand. For more than a week, politicians, pundits, and pastors have debated how to handle [Read More...]

Holy Saturday and Harry Potter: On Tombs, Thestrals, and the Descent into Hells

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In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, author J.K. Rowling introduces readers to one of the singular best magical creatures ever created — the thestral. These magical creatures — compared to something like skeletal horses — are invisible to most, save those who have looked upon death, understood it and internalized it. Thestrals [Read More...]

I Don’t Blame World Vision. I Blame Homophobia and Hate.

I don’t blame World Vision for reversing their decision to accept employees in same-sex marriages. I don’t. They made the exact decision they had to, precisely for the people they serve in impoverished communities. They made the exact decision many writers and bloggers called for yesterday. Many asked folks to think of the children who [Read More...]

Into the Wild: A Lenten Homily Not About Temptation

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Lent 1 — Year A — Gen. 2:15-17; 3:1-7, Psalm 32, Rom. 5:12-19, Matt. 4:1-11 I don’t want to talk about the temptation of Jesus today. Or the temptation of Adam and Eve. In fact, I really don’t want to talk much about temptation at all. Because, to me, Lent isn’t really about temptation and [Read More...]

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...]


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