Accompaniment as Emergence

The Truth a - 2011-02-24

I’ve been called to a ministry of accompaniment that means I have chosen to walk with one or two people or a family, serially, one after the other, to be a support for whatever it is that they are going through. To me, emergent church in the world looks like the ministry of accompaniment. Grounded in scripture, I cling to Jesus’ new commandment to love others as Jesus loves me; by this I will be known as his disciple. [John 13:34-5]In the past, our accompaniment has been to families with imm … [Read more...]

Resisting the Silence of Holy Saturday & Embracing its Darkness on Friday

Holy Week of Resistance

I have resisted this post all week, and now I find myself on Good Friday, the day that Christians remember the death of Jesus who died perversely on a cross.  It brings to mind the many black and brown bodies who die at the hands of police violence, another perverse cross that exists in our nation (and world).  In many ways, I resist this moment for I know it takes us all into the silence of Saturday, the unknown of resurrection, and darkness shrouds this day in a darkness that I must e … [Read more...]

Lenten Peace in Israel


Today There are three big things in my cultural-religious mind going on today. Today is St Patrick's Day. It is also Lent. And it's Israeli Election Day.  First, St. Patricks's Day. With a maiden name like Riley O'Brien, each year on this day I try to feel a sense of connection to my Irish roots. And I never do. I've never been to Ireland and I don't even drink. Instead, observance of St Patricks Day for me is usually something closer to shuffling into my closet and thinking, "Shoot! Why don't … [Read more...]

The Jesus I Need — An Easter Reflection

Painting of Cross over Church

In the Passion narratives I’ve never been that interested in what comes after the crucifixion.  I know that some say the whole ball of wax hinges on the stories of Jesus as the resurrected Christ.They say it’s all one thing, the suffering, shaming, crucifixion, resurrection, and later appearances.  You can’t lose the end parts without changing the meaning of the whole thing.And that’s my point.When I look at it, all I see is a beautifully complicated presentation of how to accomplish … [Read more...]

“Flipped” About Lent & Resurrection


Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Lent is a time of lengthening, stretching ourselves, as we journey toward celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus.Lately I've been thinking about an idea that has stretched me further, lengthened me. And, luckily, it has a roundabout connection to the Resurrection. So I'll share it with you.Last night my friend, and pastor, Doug Pagitt, hosted a book release party for his fantastic new book, Flipped:The provocative truth that changes … [Read more...]

All About That Faith

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Since the day we first enter the world, we face the realities of imperfection. We know that we will struggle to do well, to live in a way that best reflects Christ and that brings joy to the people we are on the journey with. But sometimes, somewhere along the way, things start to change. The arguments about the color of the sanctuary carpet move from fun and exciting, to painful and dull. The music we have always found as a pathway to worship starts to sound flat and lifeless. The traditions … [Read more...]

Marcus Borg: The Legacy of a Theological Mystic

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     Marcus Borg was a rare and beautiful paradox in a time of great social, political and religious polarities. He was a theological mystic--and of these there are far too few. I came to awareness of his body of work and this quality of spirit very late in the game. I am not much of a theologian and only slightly more coordinated in my clumsy crooked mysticism.For me he was inspirational and aspirational in his beautifully paradoxical way. I … [Read more...]

Let’s Talk About Race


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...]

Becoming UNenlightened


My birthday This October I celebrated my 20th anniversary of being a Christian. Well…to be honest, I didn’t really celebrate – there was no cake, decorations, princesses, or a donkey-horse hanging precariously from a tree branch. It was more like, changing diapers, chasing children, and pretending to be a donkey-horse for my five year old. So…I guess in that sense there was a donkey-horse.This has been a difficult spiritual year for me as I have struggled to reconcile the actions of many of … [Read more...]

Dear Theology Professors

Dear theology professors,I have a request. Though it may seem short on words (and definitely short on tact), it is quite complicated. However, I trust you are up to the task.Please stop making your classes so boring.(What? How can I possibly say this? I'm a theology student, after all, isn't the topic innately interesting to me?)No. It isn't. I love theology and all its related fields. I enjoy studying it, interpreting it, and creating my own highly irreverent and usually wrong … [Read more...]