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 [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 [Read More…]

The Parable of the Estranged Family: Re-Imagining the Prodigal Son as a Tragic Family Drama

Lent 4 — Year C — Luke 15:1-3; 11-32, 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 Last week, as I was watching the Oscars, I was thrilled to see Brie Larson take home the award for best actress for her role depicting a kidnapped woman in the film Room. You might not have seen it yet, but the film [Read More…]

Fear Will Be the Big Winner on Super Tuesday

It’s Super Tuesday. Lots of people are voting today. And if I had to put money on it, I’d bet a large number of people aren’t voting for someone they love, but someone who best reflects their greatest fears back to them. Now, I know some folks will protest such a characterization. Ardent followers of Bernie [Read More…]

Repenting of Repentance

We need to repent of the word ‘repent.’ Shouted from pulpits and street corners, it’s long been a favorite refrain of fire-and-brimstone preachers hoping to provoke fear-induced conversions. Proclaimed to the faithful, it has long been a pious call to the congregation to enumerate, renounce, and turn from their sins. Painted on billboards and signs, [Read More…]

Expansive Love in the Church: On Being a Dad and a Father, a Priest and a Parishioner

  Peanut butter smudges against the screen of my smartphone, and I simultaneously mumble a curse and a prayer of thanks that I had the commonsense to get a sturdy case for my phone. Maybe it’s not the best way to handle the stress of my morning, but it’s 6:45 a.m., and I’m wiping peanut butter [Read More…]

Don’t Forget to Feast this Lent

Life was merrier when the Christians were still among us, not least because almost every one of their days was the feast of some saint. Little work was done, it seemed, but at least their revelry was infectious. — Iskander the Potter, Birds Without Wings Don’t forget to feast this Lent. In the midst of [Read More…]

Epic Lenten Failures and the Idolatry of Independence (A Homily on Tempation)

I have a confession to make. I am terrible at Lent. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love Lent, like any good priest should. I just happen to be awful at it. Most years, I fail pretty miserably in my Lenten practices. I’ve even been known to throw in the towel early, some time around [Read More…]

Lenten Disciplines for Social Media: Creating a Better Web Together

  Social media can be a pretty harsh place these days. Death threats, bullying, shaming, and the ever-present Twitter feud. It’s exhausting. Many folks I’ve talked to admit to feeling emotionally frayed, spiritually frustrated, and frankly fearful because of it. And as I was sitting in an Ash Wednesday service, I began to think about [Read More…]

Soot, Stones, and Stewardship: A Homily for the First Sunday in Lent

  Today, I’m pleased to share with you this post from Anna Howell, a long-time reader of my blog and Moonshine Jesus Show podcast listener. Anna is a twenty-four-year-old Episcopalian from Upper South Carolina who dreams of one day getting a postsecondary education in religious studies. In the meantime, she blogs at and is a moderator [Read More…]