Sticky Denominations?

By Jennifer Gutierrez Director of Urban Ministry for the California Pacific Conference of the United Methodist Church Why are mainline denominations dying?  I was recently in a trustees meeting for one of these denominations.  The trustees were grilling a representative from the committee that works with campus ministry.  The overall concern of the trustees seemed to [Read More…]

Towards an Honest Pluralism: Responding to “Being Different”

“The sheer range of religions represented led me to assume that they have few presuppositions in common. This assumption was supported by the fact that the main reason they meet is in order to learn about each other’s traditions.” Nate Gonzales, undergraduate student at the University of Southern California, made this astute observation in a [Read More…]

Ash Wednesday

On my forehead, A sign of the cross, Smudged in ash from the fire That burned down the McMansion of my hubris, And, with it, The money I should have given away, The television I used to numb my senses, The carpet I should have been called on, The doors I should have opened to [Read More…]

Becoming Like a Flute: Meditations on Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday

In a world filled with clutter, noise, and hustle, Lent is a good excuse to step back and rethink how we think and live. In a world of instant gratification, it’s a chance to practice delayed gratification – to fast — so that we can truly appreciate the blessings we have. [Read more…]

A Lectionary Poem: Transfiguration Sunday

A Poem for Sundays there is a place beyond belief, where faith is true and false this promised land I incarnate god and god incarnates me, and together with the incarnations of humanity, we seek to find, create to destroy, this Jehovah, this God, this Christ. in the land of milk and honey, curdled sweet. [Read More…]

Exorcise Wall Street

I am one of those Christians who believes in angels and demons. But I think the traditional Christian understanding of these things needs a major makeover. Seems to me the Tempter comes in many forms, and is just as likely to dote a three-piece-suit and wingtips as he is to have horns and a pitchfork. And perhaps the angels look more like the bums in the alley than the feathered white babies on Hallmark cards. [Read more…]

Earth’s Heartbeat

  (on a hike at Devil’s Punchbowl near Pearblossom, CA) Mountain-shaped silhouettesMark the the tall pale stalk Of a spent yucca:Are these its last lines of praiseFor the land where it stands? Above, the yellow pineSighs with the deep gratitude I feelAs wind vibratesIts long-needled vocal chords. Below, in the canyon,Slabs of pale sandstone tilt sunward.The [Read More…]

Signs of Hope: A Moment with the PC(USA) Moderator

By Cynthia Bolbach, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) One question I’m asked almost more than any other is, “So, where do you see hope in the PC(USA)?” A comprehensive answer would take up more than the word limits of this column. But two things stand out. First, all across the denomination persons are realizing [Read More…]

Dorothy Day: A National Hero?

This morning, at the National Prayer Breakfast, Barack Obama named Dorothy Day as a “great reformer in American history.” Who woulda thunk it? I think President Hoover called her a threat to national security. Here’s the exact quote from the President’s speech: We can’t leave our values at the door.  If we leave our values [Read More…]

Listening to our Inner Jobs: Lectionary Reflections on Isaiah 40:21-31

By John C. Holbert Lectionary Reflections for  Epiphany 5  –  Isaiah 40:21-31 We Christians have just concluded our yearly celebration of the birth of Jesus and, as always, have used the opening verses of Is 40 to inaugurate the feast. “Comfort, comfort, my people,” cries the unnamed prophet of the exile to a people lost [Read More…]

Shared Sacrifice, Shared Reward

“Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required; and of him to whom men commit much they will demand the more.” (Jesus, Sermon on the Mount, Luke 12: 48) That’s how it is in the kingdom of heaven, that realm of living imagination that inspires us to create it on [Read More…]

Epiphany 4: Lectionary Reflections

By John C. Holbert Lectionary Reflections on Deuteronomy 18: 15-20 Epiphany 4: Sunday, January 29, 2012 Many Bible passages are quite fascinating in multiple ways, but today’s Hebrew Bible pericope is especially interesting for several reasons, reasons that I hope will become apparent in this article. And it is peculiar at first blush just what [Read More…]