God Bless America. Are you sure about that?

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You might want to think twice this Fourth of July weekend before singing “God Bless America.” Since 9/11, this sentimental bit of civil religion has become a national anthem of its own and almost every politician loves to end their speeches with this benediction. But it has always struck me as an odd thing to [Read More...]

Is Patriotism a Christian Value?

Meme Credit: David R. Henson Text: Frederick Buechner Original Photo: Frankileon

  Many churches this Sunday will be transformed into sanctuaries for nationalism and worship of a nation. There will be patriotic hymns sung. There will be sermons about the greatness of the country. But there will also be churches where flags will be conspicuously absent, where the faithful will be called upon to worship something [Read More...]

Why I Hate The Most Popular Verse on Twitter (Philippians 4:13)

Flickr Creative Commons Copy Right by Rachel Titiriga

  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 That, folks, is the worst verse in all of Holy Scripture. Many Christians, though, love it. I hate it. It grates on my last nerve. And since the rise of social media, my loathing of this verse — even just the citation itself [Read More...]

Dear Graduate: Do Not Follow Your Dreams

Flickr Creative Commons Copyright: Jason Bache (photo cropped)

Dear Graduate, If memory serves, this month, as you are nearing graduation, you will be getting a lot of advice from a lot of well-meaning friends, family, and advisers. Unfortunately, it’s often a fair amount of bad advice. For example, they will tell you  to follow your dreams. And you will be tempted to do just that, [Read More...]

The Descent: Short, Short fiction for Holy Week

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He knew he’d find his friend here, in this place of the forgotten dead, among the lost souls no one remembered any longer. It was these places where he always went first, where he always felt most at home.  It was a place without the pretense of religiosity and perfection, a place where failure was [Read More...]

Unholey Donuts, John 3:16, and the Condemnation of God (Homily for Lent 4B)

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Lent 4B + John 3:14-21 Note: An earlier version of this opened with a story about my son. I had his permission to use it, but as he heard me practicing the sermon, he said he felt embarrassed. In order to respect his privacy, I changed the sermon and used a similar story from my own childhood. [Read More...]

Imposing Hashtags: The Problem with #AshTag on Ash Wednesday

The New, Improved Imposition of Ashes!

  UPDATE: While I won’t be posting a selfie this year (2016), I am not going to worry or criticize this expression of the day any more. While AshTags aren’t for everyone, the post below, a year later, now seems remarkably petty. Let’s just go all the way this Ash Wednesday and stop imposing ashen crosses [Read More...]

The Beauty of Bodies: Russell Wilson’s Inelegant Theology and the Joy of Incarnation

Flickr/Creative Commons Copyright by Philip Robertson

It’s true. God doesn’t have anything to do with winning a football game. On Sunday, Russell Wilson, quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, became the latest professional athlete to draw the ire of progressive Christians for expressing gratitude to God for winning a football game. Look, I get that to imply God had something to do with a sporting [Read More...]

An Ancient Prayer Saved My Faith

Creative Commons Copyright: Andrew HIll

This is a late contribution for my friend Ed Cyzewski’s synchroblog celebrating the release of his new book A Christian Survival Guide. An ancient prayer saved my faith. A friend in college had invited me to attend a nearby Episcopal church. It was a disorienting place with its vaulted ceilings, stone columns, and ornate stained [Read More...]

Ferguson and the Assault on Black America

Tear gas shot at protestors

The police don’t need the National Guard’s protection. It’s the people who need protection.  The police have chemical weapons. The people have milk from McDonald’s.  But it’s not surprising. The state isn’t interested in protecting Black Americans. It’s demonstrated, time and again, it’s much more interested in killing them.  From the execution chamber to the [Read More...]


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