Did Christmas Really Come?


Did you have a nice Christmas?  Everyone asks you that.  It’s a sort of conversation filler to use between Christmas and New Year’s since it’s too early to say “Happy New Year” yet.  So let me ask you a different question.  Did you have Christmas?  In other words, did Christmas come for you?In the weeks leading up to Christmas, the cable channels are full of children’s shows, done in everything from claymation to CGI, in which the basic plot is always the same.  Some mean person or creature d … [Read more...]

Mary, Joseph, and Mysticism

Many years ago, during my days as a university chaplain, I led a weekly prayer and meditation group. We practiced centering prayer, Quaker silence, visualizations, and lectio divina. After one of the sessions, a visitor, active in the campus Intervarsity group, took me aside and asked, “Isn’t this mysticism, taking time to meditate?” To which I replied, “Is there something wrong with mysticism? After all, Psalm 46 tells us to be still and recognize God’s presence.” His response was a litany of … [Read more...]

Forgotten Figures: Simeon and Anna

One of my favorite pairings of stories in the Bible is the two characters who emerge to interact with baby Jesus and his parents in the temple 8 days after Jesus was born.  After his parents offer the sacrifice and do what was required by the law, the text reads: Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before … [Read more...]

Emotional Gaps

The Bible has what I consider to be many emotional gaps. Places where the text keeps plodding along without comment on the complex feelings the people in the story must be experiencing. I like to write poetry about these emotional gaps in order to understand what is happening in the inner landscape of those inhabiting the story. I wrote this to read at the Christmas Eve community gathering tomorrow at my church, Solomon’s Porch, and hope some of you may enjoy it as well.ElizabethThey r … [Read more...]

An EPCOT Christmas

Gabo y Globo

­­Every Christmas Eve, my town hosts a night of carol singing in a church at the center of town.  The event takes place in a beautiful 19th century quaint country church.  In fact, the building is so quintessentially churchy, it was even featured as a location in the movie “In and Out”.  (Don’t feel bad if you didn’t see it.  No one did.)  I’m a little busy most Christmas Eves, but from what I hear, the event is as beautiful as any Currier and Ives print.Just one problem.  The church hasn’t b … [Read more...]

Everything I needed to know about church, I learned in Kindergarten.


Okay, so I actually don't remember much about Kindergarten, apart from the location of the classroom at Vandercook Elementary in Rockford, IL (which is interestingly, now a Muslim community center).  I remember the strange allure of paste (I was a player, not an eater), the utter joy of the playground (remember defying certain death on the merry-go-round?), and tables with toys.  If I learned any important lessons there, I have forgotten them.No, the place where I've been learning a … [Read more...]

Parenting the Divine: A Christmas Meditation

At the emerging community where I once served as pastor, current co-pastor Diane Brandt has created a banner that affirms the words of German mystic Meister Eckhardt, “We are all meant to be mothers of God, for God is always seeking to be born.” Listen once more: God is always seeking to be born! God is seeking to born in us right where we are. This could be the mantra of emerging and life-affirming Christianity as well as the Christmas season.God is not far off. God is near, and mov … [Read more...]

Why I Am Emergent, Part 3: Theologically Counter-Cultural

 Continuing in the series of processing through the reasons of why I resonate with the Emergent Movement (See week 1 and week 2), I’m left pondering being theologically countercultural.One of the first things I noticed as I began reading emergent books and blogs, visiting emergent churches and events, and meeting emergent people, was that there seemed to be a uniqueness about them and the way they were.  I have heard of a church that jokingly refers to themselves as “the island of mi … [Read more...]

An Invitation to None

“Nones” were the subject this past weekend of a New York Times op-ed piece (Dec 10, 2011) by Eric Weiner, entitled “Americans: Undecided About God?” “Nones” refers to people with no religious affiliation. In this article Weiner has a challenge for church folk to seek a “new way of being religious...this new way would be straightforward and unencumbered and absolutely intuitive. Most important, it would be highly interactive. I imagine a religious space that celebrates doubt, encourages experiment … [Read more...]

Arab Spring an Inventive Age Reality


Over the last couple of years I have been suggesting that we are living in the fourth cultural epoch of North American culture. We have seen the Agrarian Age, the Industrial Age, the Information Age and now we are entering the Inventive Age.Each of these ages has particular ways of thinking, valuing, appreciating aesthetics and way of using tools. And all parts of culture including religious communities are created from these cultural situations.In Community in the Inventive Age, I … [Read more...]