Advent, Christmas, and the Messiness of Wombs

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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 [Read More...]

Yes, Mary Did Know. But Do We?

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By the Rev. Jude Harmon Chartbusting 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 Lowry, the song has been covered by the likes of [Read More...]

When Jesus Stopped Believing in Santa

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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 announced. Joseph, startled, asked why. [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 [Read More...]

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

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A balm for the soul Blues 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, unresolved, and buoyant experiences through their [Read More...]

The Virgin Monologue: A Poem for Advent

“‘God did it’ isn’t an explanation,” said Joseph. He got no account for the baby’s chromosomes, No description of the mechanism that Transmuted the divine shadow into royal blood. “‘The devil made me do it’ would have sounded better to me,” said Joseph, Though it never did him any good When he said it to [Read More...]

Following Our Heartache: The Intersection of Yoga and New Monasticism

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“Yoga mats have become little island sanctuaries of peace. The time for that is over. We are now called to truly build community, to pool our talents, to share our heartaches and triumphs, and to use this energy in service of compassion and justice.” If a person reaches enlightenment with no one to serve, even [Read More...]

Advent Begins in the Experience of the Oppressed

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“If you, like the magi, seek out the newborn Jesus this season, then this is how you must prepare: by seeking out the oppressed of our world, being immersed in their experiences, crying out to God on their behalf, and working against their oppressors, even against yourself.” Advent always begins in the experiences of the [Read More...]

Rob and Kristen Bell on the Art of Marriage (and a Few Words about Oprah)

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“Life is always changing. The space between you is always changing. Marriage is this art form where you never stop exploring, discovering, and you never stop figuring it out.” – Rob Bell, bestselling author and international teacher and speaker It has been a very busy couple of years for Rob Bell. The former Mars Hill [Read More...]

Why President Obama’s Executive Actions Are Hostile To The Kingdom Of God: Voices From The Religious Left

By the Rev. Ellin Jimmerson A factual certainty about the Bible is that the Old Testament was put together in the aftermath of the Babylonian Deportation of Jewish leadership. It cannot be fully understood apart from the central importance of deportation. By the same token, there are theological certainties revealed throughout the Bible. One is [Read More...]

Church Without God

I now have the privilege of watching a remarkable experiment unfold – up-close and personal. And where better to observe an experiment than at a research university? My new colleague and friend, Bart Campolo, is the principal investigator. Bart is the new Humanist Chaplain at the University of Southern California. A former evangelical Christian leader [Read More...]

A God with Skin on Her Face: Exploring the Mystery of Advent

Advent is derived from a Latin word meaning “arrival” or “coming.” The season of Advent on the church calendar marks something momentous. Henry Nouwen, who taught at both Harvard and Yale and authored over forty books, spent the last seven years of his life serving in a community of people with mental disabilities. One Christmas, [Read More...]


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