A Quiet Bright Life: On Candlemas in the Bleak Midwinter

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” — Edith Wharton I discovered the celebration of Candlemas three years ago while doing research for my first book, and fell instantly in-love with this quiet mid-winter celebration of hope and light, that marks the presentation of Christ, barely [Read More…]

Swords into Plowshares: Turn the Other Cheek and Let Freedom Ring

By Jim Kast-Keat Associate Minister for Education Middle Collegiate Church, New York City People often speak about swords and plowshares as if one ominously threatens to poke your eye out while the other lulls you to cuddle up and go to sleep. The truth is that both these objects are deadly. Yet one threatens life [Read More…]

Progressive Christian Calendar 2014

Evolution Sunday: Sunday, Feb 9, 2014 – an opportunity for serious discussion and reflection in worship on the compatibility of religion and science. My book, BIRDLIKE AND BARNLESS: Meditations, Prayers, and Songs for Progressive Christians, is a “book of common prayer” for progressive Christians.  These “Sundays” are described more fully in it: Blessing of the [Read More…]

Mimetic Mondays: Christianity 21 Talk: Mimetic Theory and the Nonviolent God

(Mimetic Theory and the Nonviolent God was delivered at the Christianity 21 Conference in Denver as part of the conference’s 7-21 Talks. Participants have 21 slides that automatically advance every 20 seconds, which equals 7 minutes. The talk describes why mimetic theory is essential to the future of Christianity. The text is below. For more on mimetic theory and [Read More…]

Message in a Bottle

A message in a bottle In an ocean swirled with trash Would there be someone to read it If the ecosystem crashed? I could write that I was sorry That I left the earth a mess: And promise not to foul it Any more than all the rest. I could swear that this one bottle [Read More…]

14 Hopes for 2014

Each year I remix some of my hopes and dreams for the New Year, bringing some of last year along, and adding a few new ones… I realize this will become cumbersome in a few years.  Nonetheless, here’s the latest remix, 14 Hopes for 2014: 1)  SQUASH NEGATIVITY.  I commit to shut down murmuring and [Read More…]

Mimetic Mondays: 2013 Scandals – Attraction, Repulsion, and the Top 5 Ways to Become Scandal-less in 2014

As defined by mimetic theory, scandal gives offense and arouses indignation. Mimetic theory spells out its interactive core, involving a complex or structure of interpersonal relations that extends to all levels of social organization. From the Greek word meaning “stumbling block,” scandal names the offense that our conduct gives to others and that insidiously trips [Read More…]

God’s Gracious Deeds? Reflections on Isaiah 63:7-9 for December 29, 2013

By John Holbert Lectionary Reflections on Isaiah 63:7-9 It seems altogether appropriate that on this final Sunday of the year 2013 that we look back a bit on the year that is about to end. In my NRSV Bible, the title that stands over our tiny passage for the day (NOTE: these titles are decidedly [Read More…]

God in the Belly

“He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly….” Luke 1: 52 God in the Belly Full of God, full to birthing, Mary howls: head back, hair tossed, Hands skyward with joy That wrongs are about to be righted, Salvation’s about to be sighted. No more groveling for crumbs of [Read More…]

Mimetic Mondays: Finding God in the Mess

Despite years – and I mean YEARS – of therapy, I still run like a madwomen from my own feelings of sadness, especially during the holidays. Denial has always been my favorite coping mechanism. So this weekend, when my holiday spirits started to dip, instead of looking inside for the cause I started finding fault [Read More…]

Peace on Earth: Contemplating the Possibility

The greeting cards arrive extolling, “Peace on Earth.” They come as messengers, revealing the longings of other hearts. And for a moment they remind me that I too yearn for peace to flood my soul and to encircle our fragile world. Then I consider the violence, injustice, pain and tragedies that surround us. My heart [Read More…]

Holy Babies!

I recently taught a class on World Religions, at least a few of them, with the theme “Rivers of Wisdom.” Lots of water; some refreshing and clean; some muddy or stagnant or polluted. But there IS water, there IS wisdom to be found in the ancient rivers. We may need to test it before sipping. [Read More…]