$*^! Jesus Says: The Christmas Shopping Edition

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An open letter (because the blogging world freakin LOVES open letters) to the American Family Association: Dear Affluent Straight White (Mostly Male) Christians: Nobody is persecuting you. And I mean, nobody. Encouraging Christians to boycott Radio Shack because the retailer features a “holiday” greeting instead of ‘Christmas’ wishes, is like refusing to wear pants because it’s cold outside. Or something. Here’s the thing: Jesus never in his life said, “Merry … [Read more...]

$*^! Jesus Says: The Dumb Questions Edition

You have heard it said that there are 'no stupid questions, only stupid answers.' But Verily, I say unto you—there are plenty of stupid questions. And people in the Bible ask them alllll the time. In fact, the gospel writers use those dumb-question-having people in order to frame an important teaching or activity of Jesus. So in fact…perhaps we shouldn’t be so quick to judge those who do the asking. It could be they are totally on-script: a staged interview to show who Jesus is. A … [Read more...]

$*^! Jesus Says: The Lay Down Your Weapons Edition

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"You have heard it said, the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun. But verily, I say unto you, that this woman is a total badass...and her only weapons were prayer, courage, and compassion. Verily I say unto you; the world is violent, but there is always another way." Alright, so I don't say 'verily' much. But Antoinette Tuff deserves a 'verily.' She verily saved the lives of countless children yesterday. When a gunman entered the school where she works, … [Read more...]

$*^! Jesus Says: Seeds and Weeds Edition

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For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” A truth of desert life, and life in general: after the blessed benediction of rain, you will have weeds to contend with. The earth is so parched around here that the first drop of moisture brings forth all manner of latent vegetation—from beautiful wildflowers to potent, allergen-baring stuff.  … [Read more...]

$*^! Jesus Says: Wedding Edition

$*^! Jesus Says- Wedding Edition Image sabbath

Mary: Jesus, you aren't going to believe this. They have run out of wine. Jesus: I told you this was going to be a lame party. I totally didn't want to come. Mary: Yes, well, but i knew there would be some nice girls here... Jesus: ANYway...i guess somebody's going to have to make a run. Mary: Yes, I suppose. Unless...well, you know. You could do some party tricks. Jesus: Woman! And of course, I mean "woman" in the most sincere and respectful tone, and not at all the the … [Read more...]

Unto Others

I'm preaching on the Golden Rule this Sunday. Total snooze, right? It seems like the very heart of simplicity. Otherwise known as the 'ethic of reciprocity,' there is an equivalent of this directive in every faith tradition in the history of the world. And yet, the notion of treating others as we'd like to be treated is the most challenging, transforming, life-giving concept imaginable. Even if we memorize it in kindergarten, it has a way of getting lost among the other platitudes of our … [Read more...]

On Doing, and Being Done

August is to church what April is to accounting firms; or December to the mall; or crab season to those deadliest guys. Traditionally, you think of Christmas and Easter as the 'big' seasons for church work. But they've got nothing on August. August is the time for starting new things, engaging new people, upping the game in worship, and generally trying to get 'Church' back on people's planners--and in their collective imagination--as everybody gets into a daily routine at the end of … [Read more...]

S*^! Jesus Says: The Missionary Edition

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"Good afternoon. My name is **Jane** and I'm with **Betterthanyou** ministries. I was wondering if you'd like to meet with one of our missionaries and learn more about how to share the gospel of Jesus with our Jewish brothers and sisters?" Oh, girlfriend. You are barking up the wrong cactus... And THIS is why i usually don't answer the office phones in the afternoon, unless it is a name i recognize on that caller i.d. You know how you think of the right thing to say, about 4 seconds after … [Read more...]

More S*^! Jesus Says

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I'm working/praying/stumbling my way through a sermon series on the Beatitudes, otherwise known at my place as S*^! Jesus Says. In getting to the heart of these simple yet soul-shifting imperatives, I find it helpful to start with that which Jesus did not say: So, for week 2, S*^! Jesus Did Not Say: --Blessed are they who avoid nursing homes, hospitals, and funerals, for fear of their own human frailty. --Blessed are those who think divorce is contagious, and steer clear of their … [Read more...]

S*^! Jesus Says… Or Doesn’t

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I just dropped a book, picked it up, and then proceeded to trip over a bike rack, all in a span of about 7 seconds. And all in public, of course. Yesterday, I got my calendar wires crossed and missed a meeting with someone who drove nearly an hour to see me. Also, I spent most of the day lying on the couch, staring at the ceiling, while my kids played near me/climbed on me/came down from Sunday's sugar high. No, I'm not pregnant. This is just a glimpse of a minister's life the week after … [Read more...]