From a Small Circle

Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out … [Read more...]

The War On Fall

Let me tell you this really sad thing I used to do when I lived in the desert.In October--after 4 solid months of unrelenting triple-digit temps--we would get about 2 hours of cool in the mornings. For those two blessed hours, I would put on boots and my favorite jean jacket; go to a coffee shop and order a latte (maybe even a spicy Mexican Mocha); and I would sit there, pretending it was fall.By about 10am, the sun would brutally remind me that there is no such thing as fall in the … [Read more...]

The End of Us: Where Love Is Not Enough

Love is not enough.I'm a pastor, so I'm not supposed to say that. As a minister of the gospel, I'm supposed to say that love "bears all, believes all, endures all," etc. That love conquered the grave. The love is made perfect in Christ, and therefore perfects us all.Love will keep us together. Love lifts us up where we belong. Love is all you need.At some point, it all starts to sound the same, and it all starts to ring hollow. People have had enough of silly love songs.When the … [Read more...]

Beneath Our Feet: A Summer Psalm

1 O Lord, our Sovereign,     how majestic is your name in all the earth!You have set your glory above the heavens. 2     Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have founded a bulwark because of your foes,     to silence the enemy and the avenger.3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,     the moon and the stars that you have established; 4 what are human beings that you are mindful of them,     mortals[a] that you care for them?5 Yet you have ma … [Read more...]

The Death We Carry

I've been planning this for weeks. An intentional out-of-office beginning to Lent; traveling to different parts of town with ashes and blessings to share. Mostly I want to meet my people out in the world--in their real every day places where they live and work and share their gifts. Drawing a few strangers with my "ashes to go" sign would be an added bonus.Then last night, I got word of the sudden death of one of my church members. In my line of work, you expect to get these calls, on oc … [Read more...]

Cloud By Day: Living With Ambiguity and Measuring Ministry

In every generation, people of faith journey across the hazy plains of “What does this mean,” and “why are we here?” Right about the time one band of believers establishes a clear sense of purpose and identity for their time and place…well, they die. It is time for them to step aside and let the kids figure out what’s next, with nothing but "a pillar of cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night" to guide them. And is that ever a painful hand-off, every single time.We can wax poetic and … [Read more...]

Fear, Faith and Freedom: What You and I Know about Anti-Muslim Rallies

*Ritzheimer. I mean… it just SOUNDS like a Nazi caricature. A cartoon bad guy with a swastika and a little Hitler mustache, a tiny cartoon devil at his shoulder. But the real guy’s not a cartoon. He’s alive and real in Phoenix, and he’s drumming up an anti-Muslim following. Last week, he rallied a couple hundred of his white supremacist buddies for a “demonstration” on the steps of a local mosque. Wearing t-shirts with a message so obscene, the media has had to blur most of the words out in pict … [Read more...]

Still Time

For Lent, I was going write about Lent. Well and often. And then, I found that I didn't have much time to write.Which is ironic/telling/poetic--because my Lent sermon series is ABOUT time. How much we have, how much we waste; the blessing and burden of it; the things that hijack our sense of it... Time is complicated and beautiful and holds within its grasp the expanse of human experience and all of creation. We can totally cover that in six weeks, right?Right?But anyway. Here we are … [Read more...]

The Damp Murkiness of our Inner Underworld

“There is a part of the soul that stirs at night, in the dark and soundless times of day, when our defenses are down and our daylight distractions no longer serve to protect us from ourselves. What we suppress in the light emerges clearly in the dusk. It’s then, in the still of life, when we least expect it, that questions emerge from the damp murkiness of our inner underworld.”  --Joan Chittister, Between the Dark and the Daylight. The damp murkiness of our inner underworld?? Sign me up! Not on … [Read more...]