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…]

The Secrets We Keep: Reflections on Mark 1:29-39

If we are living faithful lives, seeking to serve others and love them as Christ loved us, it’s no secret to anyone. [Read more…]

Making Meaning

(This “musing” appears in The Interfaith Observer online magazine this month.) My wife and I drive out of the city.  On the way, we share stories with each other. We laugh about how complicated and intertwined the tales of our lives have become with each other, and with and among the people we know. We [Read More…]

Should MLK’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” Be Added to the New Testament?

Bruce Metzger, in his seminal work The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance, writes that, Shortly after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1968, a group of ministers seriously proposed that King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” be added to the New Testament. All will appreciate that this letter, written [Read More…]

Politicians and Prayer: On Blessing and Cursing

“Life is infinitely stranger than anything the mind can invent,” so says Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes.  These days, the words of politicians are infinitely stranger than anything the mind can invent.  Kansas Speaker of the House Mike O’Neal, noted for his recent description of Michelle Obama as “Mrs. YoMama,” is now [Read More…]

Mormon Reckoning

America is entering a Mormon moment as a former bishop of the Latter-Day Saints, Mitt Romney, takes front-runner place in the race for the Republican nomination for the presidency.  I welcome the religious reckoning that is bound to result.  Mormonism shines an ultraviolet light on Christianity in America, revealing features that are unseen under the [Read More…]