Diana Butler Bass and A New Spiritual Awakening (A Review of ‘Grounded”)

Step 1: Buy Diana Butler Bass’ new book Grounded: Finding God in the World — A Spiritual Revolution. Step 2: Buy Kleenex. I’ll be honest: I’m having an unexpectedly emotional reaction to this book. I can’t seem to get more than a handful of pages without my eyes inexplicably leaking. One minute I’m reading this gorgeous and profound [Read More…]

Jesus Wasn’t A Radical

Jesus was a radical.  Christians love this idea, almost universally. It doesn’t really matter if you are conservative, progressive, anarchist or something else. All manner of Christians have laid claim to this notion of how radical Jesus was. As if being radical somehow makes Jesus and his teachings more worthwhile, revolutionary, or important. But what if they aren’t? [Read More…]

The Way of Cold Water: A Homily on the Hyperbole of Heaven and Hell (Mark 9:38-50)

Year B — Proper 21 — Mark 9:38-50 If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. — Jesus Like many who grew up in the evangelical Protestant church, I lived out [Read More…]

Things to #NeverForget on 9/11

It’s been 14 years. And we’re still reliving 9/11 each year. With videos of tumbling towers. With remembrances of the dead. With the call to #NeverForget.  But on this day, as a Christian, there are some other things I want us to never forget about 9/11 and the retaliatory War on Terror that happened in response. [Read More…]

Jesus and the Syrophoenician Refugee (A Guest Sermon)

This past week, I’ve read so many brilliant sermons on Jesus and Syrophoenician woman, most of them online (here from the Rev. Alissabeth Newton), (here from the Rev. Erik Parker), and (here from the Rev. C. Eric Funston). But this one, from the Rev. Erin Phillips, a priest in Canada, was the first I’d read last week that so forcefully [Read More…]

Kim Davis Isn’t the Problem. These 3 Cultural Forces Are.

Kim Davis has become one of the cultural icons of the 2016 election cycle, not unlike Joe the Plumber. Like Joe, her actions have struck a nerve and hit the zeitgeist in that perfect storm of passion and polarization on both sides. Like Joe, she’s been a willing prop for politicians. But like Joe, I think she’s [Read More…]

The Identity Crisis of Christ (Lectionary Reflection Mark 8:27-38)

Proper 19 — Year B — Mark 8:27-38 Ever since his baptism, Jesus’ world had simultaneously expanded and crumbled. It had all started so promising, with the Spirit descending like a dove, the voice from the heavens declaring him the Beloved Son. It was a public declaration of his identity he didn’t take lightly, despite [Read More…]

Bless Your Heart (The Southern Beatitudes)

One of the unique blessings — or curses — of living in the Deep South is the ubiquity of certain phrases and clichés. For example, if you move to a new town in the South, it doesn’t take long before someone asks you where you are attending church. The assumption is that if you are living in [Read More…]

Crumbs: Jesus and the Ethnic Slur (Lectionary Reflection, Mark 7:24-37)

Year B — Proper 18  — Mark 7:24-37 Jesus uttered an ethnic slur. To dismiss a desperate woman with a seriously sick child. In this week’s gospel text, in the Black Lives Matter era, I think we have to start with that disturbing and disorienting fact. Our immediate response likely is, “Of course not! Jesus couldn’t possibly have [Read More…]

If All Lives Really Matter: The False Racial Unity of Glenn Beck’s Massive March on Birmingham

Contrary to what conservative pundits would have you believe, Black Lives Matter is not a call to division. It’s actually a call for unity.  Because the truth is, we aren’t united and haven’t been.  Not since slavery.  Not since lynchings. Not since Emmett Till. Not since Jim Crow. Not since the Drug War.  Not since [Read More…]