‘Killer Mike’ and the Tragedy of Advent


I spent over a decade doing youth ministry and have worked most of my career with persons in their teens, 20s, and 30s. Minus the creepy overtones, I resonate with that horrific line spoken by Matthew McConaughey as he gazes at a group of high school girls in Dazed and Confused (1993), “I get older, they stay the same age.”One of my most valued practices in working with younger persons is what I called “the ten year rule”.  I never wanted to have a former student or person that I had served m … [Read more...]

‘Tis the Season for Gift Giving


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...]

Incarnation, Hope, Darkness and Waiting for Change


For Christians, December is an expectant month. We've set our clocks back, noticed our emotions darken a bit with the abrupt change to early evening darkness and in many places, a downward trudge into increasingly cold weather. As we move into the depths of winter toward the lights of Christmas, we would like to reflect on the things that give us hope in the darkness and in this time of waiting - waiting for justice, waiting for healing. What sustains us in this period of waiting? One thing that … [Read more...]

Killjoy Prophets: The Tale of Sugmanitu and the Rabbits


A long time ago, there was a broad and beautiful land bounded by two rivers.  This land was inhabited by a tribe of wise wolves who hunted and governed the land fairly.  Though they sometimes disagreed, they always resolved their conflicts with tests of strength or cunning and never resorted to killing each other.One day a wolf named Sugmanitu was patrolling the eastern riverbank and found a pair of rabbits, bedraggled, exhausted, their lungs half filled with water.  They must have floated do … [Read more...]

Psalm of Lament (Cries of the Unheard) #ferguson

God, put an end to white supremacy;Avenging God, show up!Insurrecting God, unravel the venomous cords of racism from the core of our democracy.How long, Lord, will the racially unconscious remain comfortable in their blindness?The domination system pours out arrogant words and policies barren of empathy;The domination system crushes the unheard;The system only rewards obedience;It punishes self-reliance and a protesting spirit;Come Lord Jesus! … [Read more...]

Chasing the ‘Christian vote’

BNP Jesus

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...]

Stay Woke Advent or Waiting Sucks


Nothing I try to type seems right today. I already preached a Twitter sermon this morning on white fear and don’t have the energy to rehash it. I posted a reflection to Facebook about the phenomenon of Dr. King worship, while viewing the protests of the last 109 days with scorn, disgust or confusion and it became a blog post: This All Happened Before. Of course people also tried to whitesplain me there too. My mother-in-law, concerned for my safety. asked me to be careful attending a vigil (a V … [Read more...]

The Not So Irresistible Revolution


In 2005 I read Shane Claiborne’s Irresistible Revolution and fell in love with the idea of intentional community. Five intentional communities later, I know now that living in community is tough stuff. In fact, Shane says it himself: “The simple way is not the easy way. No one ever promised us that community or Christian discipleship would be easy… This love is not sentimental but heart wrenching, the most difficult and the most beautiful thing in the world.”I must have skimmed over that part … [Read more...]

Musings on the Upcoming Holiday Season


Thursday Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving. Many of us in true, opulent American fashion. We’ll cook three times as much food as we need and then we’ll rush off to participate in Black Friday...on a Thursday night.“God, thanks for all this awesome stuff. Sorry to run, but we need to buy some more shit to be thankful for!”I’d love to tell you that I’m better than that. I wish I could say that version of the holiday season repulses me. But I’m struggling this year.In years past, it’s be … [Read more...]

We Refuse to be Enemies


I get what it means to feel connected to the land. My great great grandfather, Carl Schroeder, came from Germany to America. He built a farm atop a hill outside of a small town in rural Wisconsin. He had a son named Carl, who grew up and built his farm at the bottom of that hill. This Carl had a son named Carl, my grand father, who grew up and built his farm through the woods from his father’s farm. My grandfather also had a son named Carl, who built his farm adjacent to his father’s farm. Four g … [Read more...]