Five Things To Do When GOD Seems ALOOF

There is an old joke…There was a man who fell in a hole and couldn’t get out. He had a friend walk by above and he called out for help, but the friend kept walking. After some time he saw a second man he knew and called up. The second man looked down into the hole, made eye contact, then checked his watch and kept walking.Then, the man in the hole, looked up and saw John. “John, its me. I’m stuck down in this hole. Help me out.”Then John jumped in the hole.“John, what the heck are … [Read More...]

Holy Parents, Not Rabbits and Colonizers

By Timothy VillarealDiscussing the Catholic Church's prohibition on artificial contraception and its promotion of Natural Family Planning (NFP) on his return flight from the Phillipines, Pope Francis told reporters, "Some people think -- excuse me for saying this -- that to be good Catholics we have to be like rabbits."Well, I have an extended Catholic family, some from small families and others from large - meaning 6 to 10 children. Having grown up with these families, I can say this … [Read More...]

Pew

Trust Me, Church: Why I’m Not That Interested in “Letting You Know I’m Here”

When I graduated from divinity school, I was homeless. Not in a literal kind of way but a spiritual one. I had been living in the same city for two years without a church to call my own. Sure, I had dated a few congregations on and off but nothing serious developed. The only names I remembered were the ones printed in the bulletin and if anyone remembered mine, well, I didn’t give them a lot of chances to prove it. If I wanted to find a church where I could know and be known, I’d have to take som … [Read More...]

BC_TonyKriz_Bio

When God Hides: An Interview with Author Tony Kriz

Have you ever felt like God was hiding from you?Have you ever wondered how you're supposed to be a faithful Christian when God feels absent so much of the time?If you've ever asked these questions or others related to God's presence or absence, author and speaker Tony Kriz wants you to know you're not alone."It's a fairly universal experience of everybody," Kriz says. "Some of us are more attuned to the divine than others, but almost all of us have had seasons where God felt distant. … [Read More...]

Two Conversations Christians Need to Have in 2015

America is coming apart at the seams. Greed, corruption, fear, and violence are among our defining qualities. We Christians must confront the fact that we have done a poor job of proclaiming Good News in America. As such, there are two conversations we must have in 2015. This first is, “what is s … [Read More...]

Some Assembly Required: A Church Without God

On January 11, I drove down the hill to the Musicians Union hall at 817 Vine Street to attend the monthly Sunday Assembly Los Angeles, described at its website as "a godless community that meets monthly to hear great talks, connect for service projects, sing songs and generally celebrate life. As … [Read More...]

Trust Me, Church: How Your Bulletin Makes Me Feel Like I Do (or Don’t) Belong

In my search for a church home during graduate school, I attended over ten churches in two years, each with their own different style of communication. Some handed out a tan, tri-fold piece of paper by which I could follow along, nose down, during the service. Others projected announcements on movie … [Read More...]

Trust Me, Church: Five Micro-Resolutions That Make a Big Difference

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I said to myself as the storm door pumped behind me to a close. I carried the day’s mail in on the flat of my forearm, like a waiter bussing dirty dishes. A letter from my former church lay on top of the junk addressed to “The Beam Family.” I took a deep breath. It was … [Read More...]

Where Is God? A Sermon on Why It’s Not Necessary to Believe that Jesus is God

John’s prologue is actually a poem that introduces major themes that will be developed in the unfolding of the story that follows. It is a beautiful poem about the mystery of incarnation.I love the story about two mischievous boys, Tommy the oldest, Jimmy his little brother. One summer the two b … [Read More...]

Advent, Christmas, and the Messiness of Wombs

I never had children; never wanted to. So I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about my womb. I never really had to keep track of its schedule, so I just let it do its thing, tended it as necessary without giving a lot of thought to what it was there for. I don't even like the word "womb," which … [Read More...]

Yes, Mary Did Know. But Do We?

By the Rev. Jude HarmonChartbusting this holiday season is Pentatonix’s cover of “Mary Did You Know?” Rich vocal harmonies fused with the group’s fresh, dynamic flavor make this version really pop. It has rightly been hailed as “haunting,” “breathtaking” and goosebump-inducing. Written by Mark Lo … [Read More...]

When Jesus Stopped Believing in Santa

The day after the first Shabbat in Advent, Mary and Joseph took Jesus, who was eight years old, To the Great Mall of Bethlehem. There, in the middle of the huge indoor shopping complex, Was a stately Christmas tree surrounded by wrapped gifts. "I don't believe in Santa anymore," Jesus … [Read More...]

Gold, Circumstance, and Mud: Living in the In-Between (Isa. 40:1-11; Mark 1:1-8)

Advent reminds us that we live in an in-between time. In between the historic coming of Jesus of Nazareth and the future coming of a new world of peace and righteousness. The prophet in Isaiah 40 is addressing a people in exile who are preparing to return home, but they are not home yet. And when … [Read More...]

“Welcome to America”? Praying Through Anger, Loving Through Racial Storms

A balm for the soulBlues artists, the slaves who composed the spirituals, psalmists, and practitioners of the spoken word have much in common. These artists sing and rap about, and testify to, the pain and joys of those inhabiting their songs. They live out raw, jarring, messy, brutal, … [Read More...]


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