Unholy Laws: Establishing Religion in N.C., Starving Children in Tennessee

  UPDATE: Sen. Stacey Campfield, who proposed the original welfare bill in Tennessee and responded to this post in the comments, has withdrawn the bill, asking it be studied over the summer. Clergy and activists in Tennessee and around the country put the pressure on and quashed the bill. I was profoundly saddened to hear [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 Lost Shepherd and the Amoral Love of God (Proper 19C Lectionary Reflection)

Lectionary Reflection – Proper 19 C – Luke 15:1-32 The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. So begins the most well-known and treasured Psalm of all time. At hospital beds, it is recited by patients and chaplains alike. In times of distress and discomfort, its soothing words are meant to bring succor and [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…]

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

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

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…]