Some Assembly Required: A Church Without God

On January 11, I drove down the hill to the Musicians Union hall at 817 Vine Street to attend the monthly Sunday Assembly Los Angeles, described at its website as “a godless community that meets monthly to hear great talks, connect for service projects, sing songs and generally celebrate life. Assemblies are free to attend, and everyone is [Read More...]

Trust Me, Church: How Your Bulletin Makes Me Feel Like I Do (or Don’t) Belong

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In my search for a church home during graduate school, I attended over ten churches in two years, each with their own different style of communication. Some handed out a tan, tri-fold piece of paper by which I could follow along, nose down, during the service. Others projected announcements on movie screens that required thick-rimmed [Read More...]

Trust Me, Church: Five Micro-Resolutions That Make a Big Difference

Hello My Name is Millennial

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I said to myself as the storm door pumped behind me to a close. I carried the day’s mail in on the flat of my forearm, like a waiter bussing dirty dishes. A letter from my former church lay on top of the junk addressed to “The Beam Family.” [Read More...]

Where Is God? A Sermon on Why It’s Not Necessary to Believe that Jesus is God

John’s prologue is actually a poem that introduces major themes that will be developed in the unfolding of the story that follows. It is a beautiful poem about the mystery of incarnation. I love the story about two mischievous boys, Tommy the oldest, Jimmy his little brother. One summer the two boys became quite popular [Read More...]

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?

© Eremin Sergey/Shutterstock

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

© Ollyy/Shutterstock

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

Claudia May Professionl Shot

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

Copyright: Sarah2

“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...]


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