Holy Week Survival Guide: 10 Life Hacks for Clergy

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Deep breath. Inward Ommmmmmmmmmmm. It is Holy Week! Lace up your sprinting shoes, get ready to stress eat and drink way too much coffee, and tell your family that you will see them next Monday. No wait—Monday, you hibernate. Tuesday, for sure!  You will be down for breakfast on Tuesday. Or at least lunch… Something about that pattern seems not-so-holy, though. Sure, it’s going to be busy. You will need caffeine and adrenaline and the Holy Spirit to power through. And yet… we clergy types often w … [Read more...]

From the Crowd to the Cross: On Palm Sunday, Politics, and Religious Liberty

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Palm Sunday--the gateway to Holy Week. Which is not only deeply sacred and important and full of all the meaning and all the feelings… but also the busiest week of the year for church folks. Dust the corners, print extra bulletins, shine the brass, eat your Wheaties, and for sure print extra bulletins. Gather early in the narthex and line up all the kids, and start the madness with a parade. We’ve been here before.Which is to say, I’ve got stuff to do. And I am so tired of writing about WHAT … [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...]

Unlaced and Undone

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There was a “Kindness Assembly” at my daughter’s school today. One kid from each class was chosen to read an essay about something kind that they did, or a time when someone showed kindness to them. My 6-year-old was chosen from her class. She marched up to that mic like a pro and read her (4-sentence) story. While her friends waved like mad from the Kindergarten section.Don’t get me wrong—I was proud. It is no small thing to stand up in front of hundreds of people and say what’s true. There … [Read more...]

Winter’s Dramatic Conversion

“Really,” said Winter, “I’m not one for sunflowers and birdsong.It’s all just too precious for me. Too easy.Gray skies are poetry; frozen earth is pure scripture.A good blizzard is benediction--black crystal slicing through the air...That’s a living color portrait of the soul.It’s all ice and razors in there, you know.”Then Winter shuddered in his thin coat, and drifted offHis lonely way. The shadow of himself hovered above the ground,Hesitated,And then followe … [Read more...]

The Damp Murkiness of our Inner Underworld

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“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...]

The Cross We Bear: Capital Punishment and the “Worthiness” Narrative of Christianity

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Christians love a conversion story. American Christians especially.Kelli Gissendaner’s is a good one. Faith leaders and Christians from across the country have raised an outcry to stay her execution, because of the dramatic transformation she has experienced while behind bars. During her prison stay, she has studied theology; made friends with well-known theologian Jurgen Moltmann; and ministered to fellow inmates, sharing the gospel and her own faith story generously.The pleas go so … [Read more...]

Psalm 23-and-a-Half

The Lord is my shepherd,      whether I like it or not. I shall not want.      Except for a bigger house, a nicer car, a slimmer waistline;      a newer device, a little more power;      and to always, always, every day, be right about everything. He makes me lie down in green pastures      as the world grays with concrete      and browns with toxic fumes           and bleeds with violence and rage. He leads me beside still waters                            even though I pull away, and … [Read more...]

Dark Before Dawn: A Soundtrack for Lent

I usually put out a playlist sometime around Holy Week. But this year, I started on it way early because we are using so much secular music in worship. Our theme is "Nothing But Time," which lent itself (get it? LENT itself? no extra charge for the puns, folks) to lots of wonderful art support.Ever thought about how much of your stress and anxiety is wrapped up in how you think about time? From the day to day hurry to the broad, existential, why-are-we-here kinds of things. If we could c … [Read more...]


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