Good Samaritans, Good Immigrants, and Bystander Problems: Sermon for Lent 1

Maybe they were feeling a little disgruntled… After all, the Samaritans in the neighboring village had just been terribly inhospitable to them. Maybe that’s why the Samaritan, transformed by the narrative powers of Jesus, becomes the unlikely hero of this story. But “unlikely” is the operative word here. Even though "Good Samaritan” has become a blanket term for generic do-gooder in our modern day, secular culture, we cannot understate the inherent ‘bad guy’ implication that the term Samaritan c … [Read more...]

The World All Around: How We Can and Can’t Shield Kids From Violence

I recently wrote a post about letting our kids have their privacy and not sharing every blessed part of their lives on the internet. I stand by it. That said--I'm going to share this thing, because it is important. And not just about my kid.Last week there was a terrible shooting in our neighborhood. In what is now (finally) being called a hate crime, a man in a local bar and grill shot two Indian natives, as well as another man who tried to stop it. One of the men has since … [Read more...]

Ashes to Ashes, Stardust to Stardust

Guest post: This was the message for Saint Andrew's Ash Wednesday service last night, as we kicked off our Lent worship series "Everyday Marvels." I am hoping you will indulge me and let me take you on two very quick journeys. First, we are going to go outward, away from the Earth like explorers into a vast cosmic ocean, into a Universe so enormous our human brains are physically incapable of understanding the scale of it. Next, we are going to go inward, to the very core of the cells of our … [Read more...]

Refugees are Not Political

I'm sure I'm the only pastor in the world who's been accused of "being too political."Lol. I'm kidding. Every minister who addresses justice issues will inevitably be accused of being political.Sometimes it's true. Sometimes the church IS political, and sometimes that's ok. Read Benjamin Corey's post about how Jesus was political; and maybe we should be too.At other times, we aren't being political at all. Rather, the person who's accusing us of "wading into a political issue" is … [Read more...]

Showing Up for the Stranger: The Church Speaks Out Against the Travel Ban

Ever look around at the news/world/government these days and say "for the love of all that is holy, where is the Church??"Blatant marginalizing and silencing of women; racist rhetoric at every level of leadership; the destruction of the environment and the attempt to dismantle the EPA; the growing gap between the rich and the poor, and the continued scapegoating of the most disadvantaged among us; escalating violence in our communities and the continued glorification of guns and violence as s … [Read more...]

From SNL to the Super Bowl, a Good Weekend for Girl Power

It's been a rough season for the ladies. Ever since the release of those tapes--the ones that should have been the end of him but, somehow, weren't--I've been going around with this sick feeling all the time, and I'm not the only one. It's all made worse by the whirlwind first 2 weeks of this debacle of a Presidency; and the long line of white men parading into the White House to fill all the major Cabinet and advisory positions. Oh, and that image of all those white guys, surrounding the … [Read more...]

Reading As An Act of Resistance: How the Nerds Inherit the Earth

I read Animal Farm in high school. I learned that power corrupts; and absolute power corrupts absolutely.I read Lord of the Flies. I learned about scapegoating, and scarcity. And mob mentality.I read Heart of Darkness.  I hate that damn book, and I had to read it 3 times. THREE. Twice in high school for two different teachers (who I felt could have done some better collaborative work in planning their curriculum, but whatever) and then again in college for a Victorian lit class. I learne … [Read more...]

“This is Us,” and How Rape Culture Ruins Everything

Remember the good old days when people used to talk about TV shows they were watching? Fun times. How about a throw-back to the good old days...And speaking of good old days, I love This is Us. I love the flashbacks to the 80s, and the house that is full of things I had in my childhood home (I literally saw my parents' old bedspread on this week's episode.) I love the occasional twists and turns that make you sit up on the edge of the couch and go "WHAAAAA??? I did NOT see that coming!" I l … [Read more...]

Signs of Strength: Thoughts on the Women’s March

Guest post: Dr. Kimberly JonesOne of the first signs that I saw as we trekked into Washington DC for the Women’s March contained these iconic words:Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.Since the election, I have despaired that our country has moved so far from this welcoming spirit… until yesterday.I gathered … [Read more...]