When God Sleeps through Storms (Lectionary Reflection on Theodicy for Mark 4:35-41)

Proper 7 — Year B – Mark 4:35-41 “Even the wind and the sea obey him,” the awestruck disciples say. Just minutes before, they had been in the most terrible storm of their lives. Out on the open sea, the storm had threatened to swamp the disciples and their boat. They were terrified. Completely undone [Read More…]

Jeremiah 29:11 Isn’t about You … And That’s a Good Thing

Jeremiah 29:11 is not about you. And, to be honest, I really don’t think you want it to be either. That’s because this verse isn’t about what your personal future holds. It’s not about whether you will get into the college of your dreams or the promotion you are hoping for. Not even close. That, of course, [Read More…]

Abuse Happens in Progressive Churches, Too: The Duggar Scandal and the Failure of Self-Critical Reflection

Now is the time to talk about abuse in the church. Now, when you are tired of talking about it. Now, when you’ve moved on to the next social media buzz. Now, when you think you’ve exhausted every possible angle of it. That’s because now is the time where we get to decide whether we [Read More…]

Don’t Thank God that Nebraska Ended the Death Penalty

Don’t thank God that Nebraska just voted to end the death penalty. Thank an atheist instead. And one in particular, State Senator Ernie Chambers, who had introduced a bill to repeal the death penalty 37 times before. Considering he’s served as a senator for 38 years, that means each year Chambers introduced a bill to repeal [Read More…]

Fiction for the Soul: 9 Spiritual But Not Religious Summer Reads

Fiction is good for the soul. For me, novels and short stories — not theological tomes — have been the landmarks of my spirituality. Fiction has opened me up to more profound spirituality and a greater awareness of the world than anything in the canon of great Christian writings. There’s nothing wrong with theology, of course. [Read More…]

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

  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…]

The Divine Protest of Pentecost: The Politics of Language and Respectability (Homily for Pentecost, Year B)

The God of Pentecost doesn’t have an official language. This is the shocking revelation of the day of Pentecost, but one often  lost amid the day’s more bombastic metaphors of rushing winds, descending doves and intoxicated disciples with tongues touched by fire. But in a country with a history of suppressing other languages in the [Read More…]

Going to Bed Angry

Going to Bed Angry Last night I slept into an angry pillow. In the morning I woke with it on the floor. Which makes me wonder If our dreams make love While we sleep, and seethe. Or if forgiveness extends From touching toes. [Read more…]

When Things Fall Apart: The Theodicy of Jesus, Judas, and Betrayal (Lectionary Meditation for Easter B7)

John 17:6-19 — Year B — Easter “Except the one destined to be lost.” In that one tiny clause, Jesus attempts to explain away his failure, the one given to him but was lost. The one that got away. Judas Iscariot. His betrayer. His disciple. His friend. Earlier in John, Jesus had explained exactly what [Read More…]

Dear Graduate: Do Not Follow Your Dreams

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…]