Shouting Stones: The Woman Anointer

The woman with the ointment of nard used her hand to spread the aroma and texture into the hair, scalp, neck, and shoulders of Jesus—for respite from pain, for removal of tension, for blessing in the present moment. Jesus recognized this act as an anointing for his burial. He will be anointed again after his physical death by the women who followed him so closely during his ministry, but now he is able to feel and savor the beauty that meets him in this moment of tension, trepidation, and wondering. [Read more...]

God Was NOT In The Earthquake

Before preaching that God caused the recent earthquake in Japan, and quoting scripture to justify it, I’ve got a verse that you should read. 1 Kings 19:11 says, “God was NOT in the earthquake.” If you keep reading, you will see that Elijah likewise does not find God in the “great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces” or in the “fire.” Instead, Elijah meets God in the “sound of sheer silence.” Pastors preaching earthquake theology should get themselves to a Centering Prayer retreat ASAP. [Read more...]

Who wins? Thoughts on Rob Bell and Christian Feuds

I wish I could say that I was more surprised that people were up in arms over Rob Bell’s new book, Love Wins. By foregrounding the question of whether there truly is a hell, whether ultimately God might save all people, Rob Bell has struck a fork in a set of dangerous beliefs and pronounced them done. [Read more...]

Draw the Circle Wide: St. Patty’s Day Spirituality

St. Patrick’s Day can be an opportunity to reflect on God’s presence in your life. You can take some time today, and each day, to draw a sacred circle around yourself. You can chant Patrick’s words whenever you are feeling at risk or anxious. They are a reminder that God is your companion in all your adventures. [Read more...]

Glenn Beck’s God of Tsunamis

Fresh back from holiday, America’s self-proclaimed “revival” preacher Glenn Beck attempted to give a theological explanation for the recent Japanese earthquake and tsunami.  Speaking on his radio program, Beck suggested that the catastrophic earthquake might be a “message being sent” by a higher power, God or Gaia.  Beck postulated, “I’m not saying God is, you [Read More...]

Saying No and Saying Yes: An Ash Wednesday Meditation

Lent is really about saying no to some things so we can say yes to others. An Ash Wednesday Meditation on Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 and Isaiah 58:6-9. [Read more...]

Going Kosher: My Curious Lenten Project

I am a Christian practical theologian who is embarking on a curious quest: I want to know what it’s like to maintain a kosher home—what it requires, for what reasons, at what cost, etc. The web of motivations for this exploration will unfold in due time, but here I would like to describe the project, articulate some original goals for it, and invite you into the learnings that come over its duration of about 40 days. [Read more...]

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The Adjustment Bureau: Divine Plan or Sacred Possibility?

Are our lives governed by fate or do we have freedom and creativity to shape our destinies? Does God have a clear plan for us, choosing the most important things in our lives without our awareness or consent, or is the unfolding of our lives the result of the interplay of chance and choice and divine call and human response? While it doesn’t claim to be academic theology, that’s the theme that runs through The Adjustment Bureau, a fast-paced thriller that joins romance and popular theology.
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Should It Matter What Justin Bieber Thinks About Abortion?

Should it matter what teens think about important issues related to faith and ethics? Are teens old enough to have a real opinion on such topics? Does it really matter what they think? [Read more...]

Piecing a Quilt: Preparing for Lent

As I get ready to enter in to the Lenten season, I gather a quilt, the Comforter, around me, in the knowledge and hope that whatever lies ahead in these 40 days comes to my life with my history, with celebration, and with forgiveness, and as is the custom of Amish quilt makers, a space where the Spirit can get in. [Read more...]

Practicing Transfiguration

What can we do beyond merely admiring Jesus’ Transfiguration? Said differently, what could it mean to practice Transfiguration? [Read more...]

Saving Christian Bookstores

I have been the publicist for a major Christian music festival for years, and every summer I hang out with thousands of young people and see what they’re into, and liturgical/Southern Gospel music ain’t it. [Read more...]