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 something like this: Since she has come to… Read more

Why did the llamas cross the road? a) To get farther away from Kansas; b) they saw Arpaio coming and they didn’t have their papers; c) they wanted to know what color the dress was REALLY… Listen, Kansas. I know it takes some doing, a real concerted group effort, to be the most backward, most ignorant, most intentionally obtuse state in the union right now, but I’m telling you—IT’S NOT A CONTEST. At least, it’s not one we want to… Read more

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… Read more

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… Read more

I’m tired of writing about Kansas politics… So let’s talk about Oklahoma instead! I was going to write about the recent ban of Advanced Placement history courses, but thought it would be better to hear from someone who actually lives there and has a connection to that school system. Here’s what my friend Aaron Todd has to say from Midwest City.  My hands are shaking as I write.  A tangible expression of the mixture of emotions that have been stirred up inside… Read more

From dust you were born. And to dust, you will return. Is that a threat, or a promise? On the darkest days, we sense death hovering in our vicinity, like a grey cloud. It feels chilly. It sounds like slow, dirge-y organ music in a minor key. It smells like ash and feels abrasive against our skin—like burlap. Sack cloth and ashes… That’s what we could be about today. Or. We can choose to hear those words as blessing and… Read more

I wrote this last week as a guest post for Ed Cyzewski, who is running a “Denomination Derby” on his site. He’s inviting people from different backgrounds to share what makes their denomination unique, and what makes it ‘home’ to the people who stake their faith there. This is my shot at articulating/branding the Disciples of Christ. No, we’re not a cult. Yes, we know our name is ridiculously long (with parentheses even). We are not teetotalers, despite what our logo… Read more

Ah, the reject pile… No, not photos of people who got kicked out of new member class (KIDDING people, kidding. All means all). I’m talking about scraps of paper, stacks of notecards, and maybe complete folders: containing the anecdote or bit of commentary that didn’t make it into the sermon; the sermon that got started and never took off; Or the series idea that didn’t develop as fully as the OTHER series idea. But there it sits, all the same. Every… Read more

Don’t worry. I will not attempt to talk sports. I’m just here for the commercials. I love them/hate them/love to hate them. Ministry is 70% marketing work anyway, but IF IT WEREN’T, I would say I missed my calling. In another life, I would be Don Draper. (Or Peggy. Or Megan! But I’m pretty sure they’re going to kill her off, so…) Speaking of killing people off… WTF, Nationwide?? I thought you were on my side? That commercial was not… Read more

Listen, I don’t have a wildly inspiring story about the time I met Marcus Borg, or how one of his books saved me, precisely, from abandoning the church altogether. I did hear him speak once. From the FRONT ROW. And he was gracious, and engaging, and challenging, and yes, inspiring. But I never met him in person. The internet will be full of those stories today—testimony from those who knew him well, or met him briefly at a critical time… Read more

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