What is family?

Last night I co-officiated my first wedding, for one of my oldest friends, who I’ve known since 1992.  He and his bride were gracious enough to invite me to be apart of their wedding service, and the joining of two families to create a new one.  This morning I headed to join my family down at the beach in Kiawah Island, SC, for a bit of long over due rest and relaxation (if that’s possible when there are three generations of the same family in one house, but I digress).  These two adjacent experi … [Read more...]


12 the last year of childhood should be met with wonder promise adventureyours was met with police officers who thought you looked twenty-one and a toy that looked too real to wait more than three secondsit snowed here today my boy turned twelve it snowed on your last day of twelve toohe is a lot like you sweet face big sister brown skin loving mamatwelve. the last year of childhood 12for Tamir Eric Riceby Micky ScottBey Jones … [Read more...]

Pentecost: An Invitation to Dream

In the liturgical calendar of the Christian year, today is Pentecost — a celebration of the descent of the Holy Spirit on the early disciples of Jesus. From a historical perspective, Pentecost is the birthday of the Church, both in terms of marking the inauguration of a Jesus-movement and in celebrating the enlivening, efficacious stirrings of the Spirit in Christian community. And in the tradition of biblical birth narratives, the Pentecost story is an odd one:When the day of Pentecost ha … [Read more...]

When Religion Fails, Economics Becomes Demonic

Carbon pollution is undeniably the material cause of Earth’s climate breakdown, but what is the root cause? Blaming our growth-dependent economic systems does not, in my view, go deep enough. Ultimately, religion is responsible — but not in the way secularists might assume.Crippled by what I call “the triple idolatries,” our prevailing religions have failed to evolve norms and values on par with our species’ escalating technological prowess. Religious leaders have failed to notice and then de … [Read more...]

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" (http://www.faithstreet.com/onfaith/2015/02/19/10-things-i-wish-everyone-knew-about-progressive-evangelicals/36195) 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...]