Holiness, Blessedness: All Around

Rev. Erika Marksbury preached this powerful sermon at SACC yesterday. I love how she reframes the beatitudes in terms of 'holiness' rather than 'happiness.' These texts are not prescriptive, she tells us. They don't give us instructions. They just tell us how it is...        Read and be blessed, on this cold Monday.These past few weeks we’ve been hanging out around the outskirts of Jesus’ community – we’ve seen him baptized, we’ve heard his cousin, and teacher, John the Baptist, tell the sto … [Read more...]

Grace and Grammys: These Kids Today

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Several years ago, I made a disparaging comment about Justin Timberlake and the quality of his actual talent (or lack thereof) in relation to the enthusiasm of his disciples. I don't remember what all I said, but it had something to do with Britney Spears, the Mickey Mouse Club, and the boy band phenomenon that plaguing 'this generation of musicians.'My brother's best friend, Josh, totally called me out. "You need to open your mind and listen again," he said. "Because he is a total badass. … [Read more...]

Holy Meddling: I Know a Guy

MLK, John the Baptist, and Forrest Gump: a sermon about holy meddling, and the art of pointing people in the direction of Jesus.You know...when I say "testify," you can REALLY hear the Kentucky.Sunday, January 19Some questions for reflection: do you have gifts for connecting with people? How might you use those gifts to connect people to the gospel story? Or to your community of faith?How have you been led to 'come and see,' encountering the love of Christ in the f … [Read more...]

10 People Who Looked A Lot Like Jesus in 2013

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In the news this year: an extraordinary cast of characters. Some are public figures, and some we'd never heard of until recently. Together, they speak prophetic truth to power; breathe hope into the chaos; model forgiveness and sacrificial love; and ultimately, maybe restore our faith in humanity.This kind of post has 'troll bait' written all over it, so let me just be clear...I do not mean to say that these people ARE Jesus, or that we should worship them. Also, some of these folks are not C … [Read more...]

In Church, At Christmas Time

sacc tree

It's Christmas week, and you know what that means--re-runs! I wrote this piece last year, but as our staff puts final touches on the Christmas Eve services for tomorrow, I am reminded, all over again, that the sacred community bears gifts of miraculous proportions. I'm sharing this again today, with great thanksgiving for all the people who 'do' church, and who make Christmas happen for others. Blessings...The phone is ringing off the hook,The sanctuary’s hard to book.It's p … [Read more...]

Picture Perfect

silas, nose

After church yesterday, a small miracle occurred:  I got a good family photo. I mean, everybody was looking at the camera, everybody was smiling, everybody was wearing pants…this almost never happens. I have two small squirmy kids; a husband who is 17 inches (seriously) taller than me, so it is awkward getting us to fit in the same frame; and one or more of us is usually a hot mess in the clothing, hair and/or cleanliness department. Last year, we sent out a card with a pic of our son--wait for i … [Read more...]

More, Enough, and Plenty

bread

For Monday of Thanksgiving week, I'm sharing some narrative biblical snapshots of the many ways in which God answers the human fear of scarcity with the sacred promise of abundance. For some great extended reading and reflection, I highly recommend Walter Bruggemann's "The Liturgy of Abundance, the Myth of Scarcity." Blessings as you practice gratitude this week, and "witness to the manna" of all God is doing in our lives, our families, and our congregations. The people of God … [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 plant in … [Read more...]

Rushing the Season

advent cover

Every year, I rant and rave when the stores haul out the xmas stuff before they've cleared out the back to school aisle. I engage in some good-natured banter with friends who LOVE the October carols on the radio. (But it’s all good, Peter, cause at least we agree that bourbon is always in season). I wait, diligently, to hang so much as a branch of evergreen, until the Saturday after Thanksgiving. And the ^*@# Elf on the Shelf knows not to show up at my house until at least Advent 1.And yet, h … [Read more...]


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