Compassion When We Disagree

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I was listening the other day to someone talk vehemently about religious people who hold strong views with which he disagrees. This man was energized, describing those others in unequivocal terms. He was emphatic in making his points about how wrong those others are, using labels to describe them. In his passion, he had objectified the others.In the same meeting, a woman lamented the many years of struggle with folks at her congregation who had held the parish hostage with their recalcitrant … [Read more...]

Killjoy Prophets: Show Your Fruit

One of the marks of a truly holy and holistic faith is its propensity for sustained growth across sustained attempts to quash it.  Though this is a dangerous indicator to take on its own, it cannot be denied that the propelling-forward motion of the gospel has throughout history aided oppressed peoples in their battles and empowered them to resist spiritual and physical domination.  Jesus himself gives us a simple test to discern good teaching from false ones: the bearing of good fruit.  Good fr … [Read more...]

Je Suis Charlie? what would Jesus do? exploring some slogans a little further

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in our social media age slogans with punch spread fast. following the  events in Paris earlier this month it is not surprising that 'Je Suis Charlie' has been much used in solidarity with the cartoonists at satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo gunned down by Islamic fighters on account of their portrayals of Mohammed. Many of my Christian friends still have as their Facebook image the sign for a Christian used by ISIS to identify houses lived in by Christians before they are forced to pay t … [Read more...]

Let’s Talk About Race

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This week at my church, Solomon's Porch, while our usual master of ceremonies, Doug Pagitt, is out of town for the Christianity 21 Conference, I will be hosting the sermon time conversation. Actually I will be co-hosting the conversation with my friend Victor, who is one of the only black men in our community. And we're going to talk about race.Church continues to be one of the most segregated spaces in our culture. And my church is no exception. How does a predominantly white church go about … [Read more...]

The Wall of Love at the Gay Christian Network Conference

"God Loves Figs" sign from the GCN "wall of love"

For the last few days I’ve been in Portland, Oregon attending the Gay Christian Network Conference.I took a small shuttle bus from my hotel to the convention center Saturday morning.  I’d been walking those few blocks every day; but it was raining, and the driver was standing right there when I came outside. “Hey, wanna ride over there this morning?” he asked.Four of us climbed in. Said hello to each other as we pulled away.It was only a short ride to the convention center, a minute o … [Read more...]

Beyond Words: A Critical Response to the Non-Indictment Decisions

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Isaiah 64:1-9  O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence— as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil— to make your name known to your adversaries, so that the nations might tremble at your presence! When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence. From ages past no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who works for those … [Read more...]

God Chooses the unexpected

She turned out not to be one of the bookies favourites, indeed no-one had heard of her. She wasn’t someone glamourous or famous from the capital city who was chosen, but a very ordinary woman from an obscure northern town. Well I’m talking about Mary the mother of Jesus who turned out to be the mother of the long awaited Messiah, but I could have also been talking about the Revd Libby Lane, the person who is about to become the first female Bishop in the Church of Eng … [Read more...]

Be the Sign

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These are the days. Natalie Merchant came on over the radio as we sat and sipped wine in the brightly lit kitchen that first night. Ministers gone wild is what Jim, one of our hosts, would call the weekend as his wife, Heidi filled up our glasses. Conversations about raising kids and remembering the first week in the church and then lamenting at the exhaustion and hearing how that does change a little when the kids go to school. When they go to college?!?!? I shrieked, thinking, there’s no way I … [Read more...]

‘Tis the Season for Gift Giving

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Whether it’s Hanukkah, Christmas, or Kwanzaa that you observe, the season of gift giving is upon us. The joy of giving and receiving gifts is often in conflict with the stress of gift giving – the financial stress and consumerism of buying gifts, the emotional stress of choosing gifts, and the time stress of making gifts or creating gift experiences. We preach that it’s the thought that counts and not the gift itself, but the culture via advertising makes us unsure of that truism.A famous … [Read more...]

Chasing the ‘Christian vote’

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November saw the mid-term elections in the US and the Rochester by-election here in the UK. in both cases the subject of Christian voting has surfaced. This is no surprise in the US, the Christian vote has been a factor for a while and this has been highly organised when it comes to a right wing agenda through groups like the moral majority or more recently the Tea Party movement. So analysis by organisations like Reuters … [Read more...]


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