Parable of the Triangle: Blessed are those who communicate directly

Anonymous complaints in churches can be a common source of conflict. They leave the recipient, minister or staff, unable to follow-up with the dissatisfied party and collaborate within relationship. This story is meant to illustrate some of those pitfalls.And it came to pass that Zebulon the Elder passed by a table of wares of Micah the Baker. Zebulon, having no small hunger, resolved to buy a small loaf.“Kinfriend Micah,” he inquired, “how much do you charge for a smaller one of these l … [Read more...]

Tony Campolo: Returning Agency to the Body of Christ through Spiritual Practice

Saturday afternoon, at a church near our home, beloved pastor Tony Campolo*, shared that his Ignatian contemplative practices are one key way to ready his body vessel for a daily infusion of Holy Spirit's healing power. I openly wept, recognizing that yoga and centering prayer do the same for me. Although Ignatian spirituality and Yoga developed independently, they have similar goals: union with God, and living life with more vibrancy. Had I already known my mind, my fears, curiosities, … [Read more...]

The Shiny Face of Jesus; A Transfiguration Sunday Sermon

This Sermon, based on Matthew 17:1-9, was preached by the author at American University for the United Methodist community's Sunday evening service on Transfiguration Sunday.Have you ever had a mountain top experience?One of those movements when the Kingdom feels close enough to touch, and the love and mercy, and justice, and grace of God seem to be flowing in and around you. The fire of the Holy Spirit is burning in your belly, and when you close your eyes, you can almost see Jesus … [Read more...]

Grace-Filled Conversations.

I’m really great at getting into Facebook flame wars. I want to say that I am not proud of that, but if I am honest, sometimes I am very proud of it. I like to know that I have gotten under my opponent’s skin. I like to know that I have bested them in the artful way that I can mix logic, metaphor, and personal example until I get them to the point where they know that if they disagree with me, they will look foolish, mean-spirited, and racist, (or sexist, or homophobic, ect). This is not a good p … [Read more...]

To all Allies in the Episcopal Church and Beyond, Shocked by the Election

I’m writing this post to my fellow progressive, white Episcopalians, but I also write it mindful of the many allies out there who are not Episcopalian. While some of what I write may not pertain to those outside of the Episcopal Church, I believe this post is relevant to many who are dealing with the implications of this election and are trying to find a way forward.I want to be clear up front about where I am coming from. I love my church. I love my country.  I write this post from my co … [Read more...]

Microagressions

 According to Dictionary.com, a microaggression is "a subtle, but offensive comment or action directed at a minority or other non-dominant group that is often unintentional, or unconsciously reinforces a stereotype." This isn't actually a new idea. The term was created by the psychiatrist Chester M. Pierce in 1970. I have heard many people dismiss the idea or say that it is just another silly part of politically correct culture. My first response to that is, why is it such a terrible … [Read more...]

Oh, Church

As I see you standing there. I’m not sure what to do. I wasn’t expecting you.You never said goodbye. You never checked to see what happened. You never knew the answer.As to why I left. Why I walked away. Why I felt I couldn’t stay.It was all too much. It all fell apart. All I could do was go.I never thought I’d leave you. Never thought I’d say goodbye. I never thought there’d be a day I knew it was all a lie.You came over to say hi. An arm extended. A hug granted. … [Read more...]

We Need to Care About the Dakota Access Pipeline

German Shepherds have always freaked me out. I remember being  about 7 years old and watching a documentary about the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's with my father and seeing footage and pictures of men, women, and children, all of whom shared my dark skin, being attacked by German Shepherds in the street during a protest. I remember being confused about why the police were not stopping the dogs, and then I realized the police were telling the dogs to do it. I never looked at law … [Read more...]

Sexism in the Church

This topic was bound to come up given some of the things that are going on in the election. For instance, the complete dismissal by D.J.T. of women's complaints against ex-FOX news head Roger Ailes. The blatant denial of anything inappropriate mixed with the complete dismissal of a woman's word against a powerful man is a clear example of how sexism can exist in many subversive ways, even when HR policies are written to prevent it. And while we would love to believe that this kind of sexism … [Read more...]

The Healing Spirit

In the halls of my Alma Mater, Wesley Theological Seminary, is a fresco called The Healing Spirit. It stretches the length of a tunnel that connects two buildings. It is upsetting, or at least it has always upset me. I have never liked looking at it. I remember the first time that I walked past it. It confused me, and disoriented me. It starts in deep pain with an image that always reminds me of a gunshot. The colors get deeper as you travel through the tunnel. Then light starts to creep in. The … [Read more...]