112514 Brown

Flip the Script: A Letter to My Son after Ferguson

"What the world witnessed last night was democracy on fire." -- Rev. Osagyefo Sekou"We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions. While we understand that many others share our pain, we ask that you channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change. We need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen." -- Michael Brown's family statement after last night’s decision from the Grand Jury“Real fat … [Read More...]

Everything is About Race: Recognizing God in #Ferguson

The decision not to indict the officer who shot and killed the unarmed black teenager Michael Brown has had the predictable effect: Those who identify with Michael and his family are hurt and angry, let down once again by a country that promises they were created equal. Many of those whose reality is very different from Michael's, who live in That Other America where the police are always your friends, scratch their heads and wonder why this has to be about race. Why can't we just evaluate this … [Read More...]


The Hipster’s Guide to an Authentic Christmas

I have a theory. I could be wrong. But I think Christmas 2014 will be the year of the New Authenticity in product-gifting. I’ve already seen a few intimations in this direction. First, Taylor Swift pulled her catalog off Spotify. So if parents want to give Taylor Swift music to their children for Christmas, they won’t be able to send them a link on Facebook and say, “Hey, you should really check this out!” Instead, they’ll have to buy an actual disc of plastic encased in plastic and wrapped in pl … [Read More...]


A Spiritual Path to Gratitude

Brother David Steindl-Rast has contended in his writings that gratitude is foundational to a healthy spiritual life. If that is true, and I believe it is, then how might we expand our capacity for gratitude?Perhaps some reflections drawn from the story of Moses’ encounter with God in Exodus 33:12-23 can lead us along a path to gratitude. Moses says, “If your presence will not go with us, do not carry us up from here. For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your … [Read More...]

The Politics of Love

For a long period in the history of the United States, Christians understood that progressive political action for structural social change was a necessary means toward the end of living out the gospel.  They understood that charity would never solve the nation's social ills.  Their religious faith t … [Read More...]

Early Christmas Joy: Meditating with the Advent and Christmas Stories

The joy came to me early this year, in the form of Jan Johnson’s Taste and See: Experiencing the Stories of Advent and Christmas. Johnson invites readers to enter into the stories through a sort of neo-Ignatian approach she calls “participative meditation.” We read each narrative and then place ourse … [Read More...]

Making the Most of What We Have Been Given (A Sermon on the Parable of the Talents in Matt. 25:14-30)

I don’t know if there is any truth to it or not, but the story is told that when Britain faced a critical shortage of silver during the days of WWII Winston Churchill launched a search of possible sources of silver. They discovered some sterling silver statutes of saints in some of their churches a … [Read More...]

Christmas as a Season: Sybil MacBeth’s “The Season of Nativity” and a Holiday Revolution

“The whole Nativity Season deserves to be relished.”~Sybil MacBethThere is perhaps no holiday for which it is possible to go more “all out” than Christmas. Stores start their marketing campaigns before the calendar has turned to Fall; Christmas trees go up before Thanksgiving dinners have eve … [Read More...]

What Children Need To Thrive: A Review of “Their Name Is Today”

Johann Christoph Arnold’s Their Name is Today: Reclaiming Childhood in a Hostile World crossed my desk at an interesting moment in my life as an educator:I am a college professor and, recently, became the mother to twin boys.In other words: I am learning to “mother” on both ends of the spectr … [Read More...]

Preaching as a Mad Act: A Q&A with John Holbert

"Preaching is a mad act, speaking for God to people who hardly know who God may be, proclaiming the gospel of one who came preaching and loving the world. No small task, that!" -- John Holbert, Old Testament scholar and Homiletics professor In this month of thanksgivings, I'll be blogging about … [Read More...]

They Call Her the “God Girl”: A Q&A with Newest Patheos Blogger Cathleen Falsani

"Thirty years later, I’m still looking for God in the places some people say God isn’t supposed to be found, and I’m still as fascinated as ever." -- Cathleen Falsani, award-winning journalist, author and blogger The Progressive Christian Channel at Patheos continues to grow and flourish each month … [Read More...]

A New Conversation on the Death Penalty

This week (Nov. 6) Wheaton College, often called “the Harvard of Christian colleges” is hosting a forum on the death penalty. But it’s not just any forum. It has potential to reshape the way evangelicals in America think about the topic.In addition to Wheaton’s own ethicist Vincent Bacote and Mer … [Read More...]

Away With the Manger

The annual rant is upon us: Thanksgiving is still weeks away, and already the stores are full of Kristmas Krap. (As opposed to Christmas decorations, which are lovely and which show up at the appropriate season.) So a friend and I were talking about the symbols of Christmas, and how they shape the … [Read More...]

Five Ways to Experience an Extreme Advent

By Sybil MacBeth Author, The Season of the Nativity: Confessions of an Advent, Christmas and Epiphany ExtremistI cannot remember exactly when it happened, but I think it was in a large high-end mall in Cleveland, Ohio. Decked in a spectacular array of shiny foil, colorful ornaments, and … [Read More...]