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...]

Pharaohs in America: On Beyoncé and blindspots

I am a pharaoh. Or at least, I am one of his people. As a white heterosexual male living in a racist, sexist and heterosexist world, I am the beneficiary of privilege solely because of what I look like. White progressives often like to think of ourselves as participants in liberation of the “oppressed.” We [Read More...]

A Defiant Dance of Power, Not Sex: Beyoncé, the Super Bowl and Durga

If what you saw onstage last night at the Super Bowl’s halftime show was a singer wearing too little clothes, let me suggest it is says more about the eye of the beholder. If what you saw was a singer selling sex to the masses in a skimpy outfit, let me suggest you saw what [Read More...]

Where God Weeps: Sandy Hook and the Myth of Redemptive Violence

Toys of Mass Destruction.

God weeps. That, if anything, has been the primary theological response of Americans in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre where 20 young boys and girls were murdered. Indeed, in the wake of such incomprehensible tragedy, perhaps this is the only theological response that makes much sense. It’s not that God is absent, whether [Read More...]

When the Second Amendment Enables Terrorism: Why Killing Children Isn’t a Well-Regulated Militia

A lot of people today are asking questions. “Why?” “Where is God?” “How could this happen?” Today, though, I’m not in the mood to ask questions. Because I know why mass shootings happen in America, and it hasn’t got a damned thing to do with God But everything to do with us. Do you want [Read More...]

Born to Die?: Why the Cross Doesn’t Belong at Christmas

Yesterday, I passed a church sign that proclaimed Christmas was the story of a baby born to die. It seemed a macabre, odd way to wish passersby a merry Christmas. Apparently, though, quite a few Christians root the story of Jesus’ birth in his death, as if they are determined to nestle the cross into [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...]

Battle of the Sundays: Pulpit Freedom vs. World Communion

The cup

A curious thing is happening this Sunday in churches across America. For some, this curious thing is Pulpit Freedom Sunday. The day, promoted by the conservative group Alliance Defending Freedom for the fourth year, urges pastors to speak out in favor of candidates they support, defying IRS restrictions that forbid such political speech in religious nonprofits. [Read More...]


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