Good News in a Shampoo Bottle

This is every sermon you will ever need to preach or hear.It’s hope from a sink, wisdom with wet hair.  It’s good news from a shampoo bottle. There’s pain, and grace, and beauty. It reminds me of Maundy Thursday, but with washed hair instead of feet. Watch the whole thing. It’s worth every minute. Read more

The Worst Prison Escape in History (A Homily for Easter 7C)

Seventh Sunday of Easter, Year C — Acts 16:16-34 — John 17:20-26 Seventh Sunday of Easter, Year C — Acts 16:16-34 — John 17:20-26 Today, in our text from Acts, we read about what is quite possibly the worst attempt to escape from prison even recorded. I know this might be a bit of an exaggeration, but I can’t help but notice just how strange this story is when compared with almost every other prison escape story in our literary… Read more

Faith is Like Laughter

Faith is like laughter. It doesn’t have to be real to have a real effect. Even if it’s fake, laughter still helps lift our spirits, relieves our burdens, and joins folks together. Even if it’s completely fake and forced, it still somehow winds up being real anyway. Kinda like faith. Several years ago, as a journalist, I attended a laughter yoga class for a story. It sounds exactly how you’d expect. It’s a bunch of people laughing for no good reason. It was… Read more

‘Influence Without Responsibility’: An Interview with Morgan Guyton about Toxic Christianity

I had the opportunity to chat a bit with Morgan Guyton, author of How Jesus Saves the World From Us: 12 Antidotes to Toxic Christianity. It’s an engaging and challenging book, and Morgan is refreshingly honest in it and in his answers to my questions below. I definitely recommend his book. My only criticism is that some of his ideas and his subjects could have been expanded into multiple books. Particularly compelling was Morgan’s analysis of social media and leadership within… Read more

Judas Lives! (What’s So New About Jesus’ New Commandment to Love One Another?)

Easter 4C — John 13:31-35 — Lectionary Reflection  One of the curious things about Jesus’ new commandment he gives to the disciples is that it doesn’t really seem all that new. It’s something that frustrates me every Maundy Thursday when we read this story, this idea that serving others and loving others is somehow a brand new idea no one had ever thought of before Jesus came along. Loving one another isn’t an earth-shattering new reality. You can find that command,… Read more

Holy Ship: Four Ways the Church is like the Millennium Falcon

When I was a kid, I loved the Millennium Falcon. Okay, so it’s not just when I was a kid. I still love the Millennium Falcon, and I’ve always held a special place in my heart for the Corellian freighter. In fact, a friend sent me off from my last job with a poster of the ship, and I wear my Millennium Falcon T-shirt at least once a week (much to my spouse’s chagrin). But it wasn’t until I watched The Force Awakens that I began to see… Read more

The Sacrament of Housework: When the Risen Lord Did the Laundry

Sacrament After Jesus climbed up out of Death the first thing he did was the laundry. He creased the shroud that covered his face, just so, and placed it back where it belonged. He could have left it in a messy pile in a hurry to file his taxes on time or make that lunch date to outrun death again with a long list of errands. But he took the time in the tomb to fold the laundry like he… Read more

The Three Days: A Poem for Holy Week

Three Days (Cleopas, Peter, Arimathea) My shoelaces frayed into aimless clouds from walking too far after the knot of hope loosened and untied the future. I erased the darkness bathing despair in the warm blue glow of an endless screen, the only light left. I sang a lullaby and opened the abyss, gathering the dead body of God into my arms. I cradled the future when I buried it. Read more

Be a Poet, Not a Preacher During Holy Week: Why #WorldPoetryDay Matters to the Church

Our churches need more poetry. Especially on Holy Week. So this week, let us not be theologians or philosophers. Let us not be pastors or priests. Let us seek to be poets. Because on Holy Week, I’m convinced, even the world’s worst poet is better than the world’s best preacher. But Christians, and clergy especially, can get caught up in the prose of Holy Week — the exposition and explanation, the theological and the teleological. On social media and the blogosphere, everyone… Read more

Building a Bridge to God’s Kingdom

Awhile back, I hosted a beautiful sermon by the Rev. Erin Phillips on the Syrophoenician Woman and the Syrian refugee crisis. Now, several months later, I am even more honored to share the amazing, faithful, incarnated work she and Mennonite pastor Ryan Dueck have been doing in their small town of Lethbridge. Soon, the town will have welcomed 300 Syrian refugees, thanks to an incredible partnership and a town willing to come together for the good of humanity. Erin explained to me that private sponsorship groups, working… Read more

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