Joy in the Morning. Again.


           Dear God,                   What the hell…??                   Thanks in advance for your quick reply.            Sincerely, Those of us who spend our days telling everybody how good you are.If you wake up with this prayer on your heart on a day like today, you are not alone. Nor are you unfaithful, a heathen, a blasphemer, or a heretic.  In fact, if you are a person who goes around with all-things-Holy on the brain, most of the time, it is only natural that God is the … [Read more...]

The Gospel of Dunder Mifflin


"Dunder Mifflin, this is Pam."I once heard a television critic on NPR discuss the best series finales of all time. He named the top three as St. Elsewhere; Newhart; and Six Feet Under.Today, I hereby proclaim that The Office joins those ranks of shows that ended well. Really, really well.While those others may have ended with epic plot twists that blew viewers' minds (the snow globe; the dream; the series of epitaphs spanning nearly 100 years of Fisher-dom) the Scranton crew went out … [Read more...]

What Does this Mean?

Nine years ago--almost to the day--I sat in a small meeting room with a committee who would decide yay or nay on my upcoming ordination. It was only mildly stressful; I'd been meeting with this group quarterly for several years...I figured if they hadn't found issue with me thus far, there was little chance of them flagging me as crazy or unfit at this point. Mostly, it was just a conversation.So when one of the pastors at the table asked me what I thought really happened at Pentecost, I … [Read more...]

Recipe for Joy–Review


It's always fun when people send you free books.A few weeks ago, I got a package in the mail containing a couple of books that other Patheos writers were going to read and review, forming a  virtual book club. The fun part (other than getting free books in the mail!) was that both seemed timely for things I'm doing in ministry right now. I mean, I'm in the midst of a sermon series called "Manna: A Gospel of Food." And what shows up in my mailbox but a book called Recipe for Joy. It's like ge … [Read more...]

Baby Jesus to Bloody Jesus: The Children’s Ministry Challenge

I'm finally letting myself believe it: the enormous pile of children in our sanctuary is not a fluke, and this is not just an Easter spike. These kids are coming, and they're staying.And we need to teach them about Jesus.Of course we've been teaching children about Jesus--in small, manageable increments. Now they have outgrown their space, seemingly overnight. Loaves and fishes up in here--but with children. 'New Program for Older Elementary Kids' just went from about #8 to numero uno on  … [Read more...]

Don’t You Know Who I Am?

He is risen! Happy Easter, and all that. I don't usually post my sermons in the blog. For one thing, I don't always write them out in manuscript form; and for another, a good sermon loses something in translation from the pulpit to the screen. Also, I tend to write in a conversational style (think incomplete sentences), so even my manuscripts don't really read like polished term papers.That said--this is a timely message that the Church in general--and some folks in particular--need to hear … [Read more...]

For Goodness’ Sake

Every other week of the world, Friday is full of good things. Barbeques and kids’ sleepovers, happy hour and road trips, family game night or movie night, the beginning of Sabbath, baseball, and blessed downtime. But this week…this week, we say every year: what is possibly good about Friday?We mark Jesus’ suffering death and explore stations of the cross. We hear the chilling last words. Silence, darkness, acts of God that shake the ground beneath our feet… Powerful, yes. Meaningful, certain … [Read more...]

Pink Bags (and Other Baggage)

Is this a post about Jesus? Not so much. I somehow couldn't manage to fit 'Jesus' and 'pre-teen lingerie' into the same sentence...Let's just call it a 'sacred embodiment' piece.I have sad news today for men who are married to/partnered with strong, confident alpha-girls: your wives and girlfriends are not shopping at Victoria's Secret anymore.No, it is not something you said. You are not in the dog house, you are not being 'cut off,' and you are not being punished for that thing you sai … [Read more...]

The Way the Wind Blows

I'm watching. You probably are too. While thousands of faithful Catholics have been waiting in Vatican square for days, the white smoke invites curiosity and anticipation from all over the globe.Why is that? The Pope is not the boss of me. If you are a Protestant, and atheist, an agnostic, a humanist, a Buddist/Muslim/Jew, then the Pope is not the boss of you, either. So why do we wait for this news?In the course of this process, a Catholic official said that the new Pope would not just … [Read more...]