The Invisible Man, Language, and Faith

This life, this adventure we are sharing here on Earth, is an interesting undertaking. And it’s pretty clear to me it’s all too easy to take it for granted.We tend to get so focused on ourselves and what is happening to us, basically losing track of everything except the sequential material events of our waking lives, that it’s nearly impossible to get any perspective or retain any understanding of what is really going on.Now, sure, I understand that what we experience moment to moment as … [Read more...]

4 things Summer Missions Teams need to think about before headed to the City

4 things  “Summer Missions teams” need to think about before headed to the city.Short term missions trips and summer service trips hold within them the power to transform leaders and youth with experiences, education, and the work of the Holy Spirit. Or these trips fumble into breeding a bunch of privileged, whiney, and sunburnt white kids indulging in poverty voyeurism or tourism. The later becomes a selfish act, what some have deemed “poverty pornography.” When service becomes about us, our … [Read more...]

A Prayer to Saint Martin

Dr. Martin, please come back. Just for a day. It's a mess around here, and we need you to set a few things straight. And by 'mess' I don't even mean the general state of things, the wreck of relations between races (which might be as bad now as it's ever been, in spite of the surface veneer), or the lack of justice that's becoming more apparent to those of us who have been getting preferential treatment for generations. No, sir, I am talking about your work, your words, your passion. I'm … [Read more...]

A Call to Organize

"We" need to get politically organized!Forms of Progressive Christianity are clearly growing. Communities and expressions of inclusion and hope working for multi-valent streams of justice are present and expanding both in communal, autonomous settings and in institutions. Doug Pagitt's short description on "progressive Evangelicalism" ( is tremendously hopeful and entirely on … [Read more...]

Emergent Body of Christ

We know the Body of Christ as the entire communion of saints, past and present, who profess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. We sometimes refer to ourselves as the hands and feet of Christ. What, then, does the Emergent Body of Christ look like? I would challenge us to look beyond the typical, narrow, and exclusive memes found in the institutional church that say things like:We must offer more youth and young adult activities, because our future is the youth and young adults. That’s why i … [Read more...]

Why Busy Christians Need to Learn from Thomas Merton

The Catholic mystic Thomas Merton’s witness and wisdom can help those of us seeking to integrate contemplation and action today. Who would have thought that a cloistered monk, writing from behind the gated boundaries of the austere Cistercian order, would become a counter-culture hero, the “conscience of the peace movement,” as Daniel Berrigan called him, and a spiritual teacher to millions?Merton first published a spiritual autobiography narrating his conversion to Catholicism and the monas … [Read more...]

The Bleeding Edge

Recently, my friend Jacqueline taught me a new expression. Sometimes, when things are as far out as people can imagine, we call that the cutting edge. Jacqueline taught me that the bleeding edge is even further out. It is an organic living boundary where something is happening, sometimes uncomfortable, but probably growth.I can conceive of business as usual. I can even imagine taking a risk in my spiritual life, a risk in believing, in loving, in seeking. Even if these risks are out of my … [Read more...]

God Can Also Be Found In The Dark- The Film Metalhead and what is says to us about Grief

God can also be found in the Dark- Metalhead Film.Have you ever heard a sermon about grief? Was there an altar call afterwards? Should it have rather just been long wails or maybe weeping? The Sunday after my brother shot himself, I showed up at church. It was all so surreal. I moved around. Feeling hardly nothing. Just trying to keep it together. “You know, don’t want anyone thinking I might be crazy.” During worship, I just wept. I suddenly felt arms around me. Lots of arms … [Read more...]

Accompaniment as Emergence

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...]

Soul Train Line

This week I leave for the first of three conferences I am working this month. I’m under-prepared for the first one, new kid on the block for the second one and probably should be working on something right now for the third one instead of writing these thoughts. In varying capacities, my job for each event could be described as “professional [read: perfect] Christian” or facilitator. In each instance I will have a microphone put in my hand, walk on stage and be expected to say something profo … [Read more...]