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Dirt is Resurrection and God is a Bad Farmer (Homily for the Parable of the Sower)

Year A + Proper 10 + Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 I love dirt. I love the way it smells early in the morning, still damp with summer dew. I love the way it feels between my toes when I walk on it after the sunsets, the warmth of the stars still radiating through the soles of my feet. I love the way it gets under my fingernails and refuses to go away. I think I’ve always loved dirt. Maybe it’s part of the Alabama childhood I never really outgrew. As a kid playing middle school baseball, I … [Read More...]

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Picking Sides: The Deciding Reason Why I Was Baptized in the Episcopal Church (Guest Post)

This past Sunday on Pentecost, baptisms were celebrated all across the Christian world. It's a traditional day for baptism, and today, I'm honored to share one touching and poignant story of baptism from a reader, T.R. Sherrill (also a listener to The Moonshine Jesus Show).  — David Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." -Matthew 19:14 (NIV) By T. R. Sherrill My mother and my father were an … [Read More...]

All Executions Fall Short of Humane Standards: What’s Horrifying About Oklahoma’s Botched Execution.

The botched execution of Clayton D. Lockett is horrifying. Wait, that's not quite right. The execution of Clayton D. Lockett is horrifying. The state-sanctioned murder of anyone is horrifying. The White House said today that this particular execution fell short of humane standards. In truth, however, what was inhumane on Tuesday night had nothing to do with him feeling his death and execution. The inhumane part of it is that the state was killing him in the first … [Read More...]

The Hope in Our Wounds: A Homily for Easter 2A

[Open with dialogue with congregation about wounds] Some wounds never really heal. When I was a journalist, it was my job to bear witness to these kinds of open wounds that life inflicts on the unsuspecting. Like the mother who welcomed her son home in a flag-draped coffin. Or the parents of the teenagers who were pulled out of a car submerged in a frigid river. Or the couple who watched a fire consume a beloved home and the generations of memories that it had safe-guarded. These are … [Read More...]

Why Sarah Palin is Right About Baptism by Waterboarding — #AmericanBaptism

Sarah Palin is right about baptism and waterboarding. In a speech now heard round the Christian world, Sarah Palin said at an NRA rally that "waterboarding is how we'd baptize terrorists" if she were president. Christians were up in arms about the apparent blasphemy of the statement, shocked that she would sacrilegiously connect waterboarding with the Christian sacrament of baptism. It taps into a long, shameful legacy of Christianity that forced baptism on people of other faiths under … [Read More...]

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

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 are visible, in other words, only to those who have been baptized into death. They are terrible, frightening looking creatures, and when Harry first sees … [Read More...]

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Disciples in the Darkness: Joseph of Arimathea, Loss of Meaning, and the Last Words of Jesus (A Good Friday Homily)

Good Friday — John 18:1-19:42 — Psalm 22 — Isaiah 52:13-53:12 It is finished. How do you hear these final words of Jesus tonight? Is his voice exhausted and trembling as he walks through the dark doorway of death? Is there relief in his words as he realizes the long ordeal of his arrest, torture, and execution on the brutal cross are finally over? Is there defiance in his words, a man who even while being executed is so in control of his fate that it is he, not the cross or his … [Read More...]

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The Holy Week Series You Should Be Reading: The Pilgrimage for Immigrants

A few years ago, I had participated in the Pilgrimage for Immigrants in the Atlanta, Georgia, area, a moving and meaningful event that I still have vivid memories about. Because of my parish duties, I haven't been able to attend again since then, but thankfully organizer Anton Flores-Maisonet of Alterna Community in La Grange, Ga., posts nightlyreflections about the experience. Seriously, I hope you will read his daily reflections. It is how I am walking through Holy Week myself, and I'm … [Read More...]

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The Faithfulness of the Noah Film: Writer Ari Handel on God Learning From Humankind, Vitriolic Christians, & Midrash

Go see Noah.  As a priest and a person of faith, this is my message to everyone who asks me about this film. Go see it — today — because Noah is exactly what a film about the Bible should be. It is a deeply theological work that raises more questions than it answers. In that sense, it is one of the best biblical films ever made, precisely because it resists answers and seeks to raise questions about the Flood, about God, about humanity, and even about Noah, who is both … [Read More...]

6 Things the Church Can Learn From Jimmy Fallon — #ordainjimmyfallon

The Church could learn a few things from Jimmy Fallon, the new host of the "Tonight Show." And it’s no surprise, really. Jimmy has said in interviews he once wanted to be a priest in the Roman Catholic Church and was influenced early in life by his experiences as an altar boy. But he never felt he could really be a priest because he couldn’t keep a straight face. As a priest myself, it’s always good to be reminded that our image in culture is often a dour one when it should be a joyful … [Read More...]


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