Just One Thing: On Hearing and Being Heard

Sermon from Sunday, July 17;  Luke 10:38-42The man said to the doctor, “I’m concerned my wife isn’t hearing well, and I can’t convince her to get it checked.”“Here’s what you do,” said the doctor. “Stand on the other side of the room and say something. If she doesn’t hear you, move a little closer and try again. Keep doing that until she responds, and then you’ll know how bad the problem really is.”So that night, the man sat on the far side of the room and said, “What’s for dinner?” … [Read more...]

Get Off the Fence: Why “We Welcome Everyone” Isn’t Enough

Since last week's horrific shooting at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, many pastors have offered words of comfort for the victims' families; words denouncing violence and gun culture; and prayers for a more peaceful world.Then, there's those other guys. "Pastors," so-called, in Florida, and Texas, who have said unspeakably hateful things about the LGBT community; who have publicly prayed that God might "finish the job" and kill the rest of them; and some other terrible things that I'm not … [Read more...]

Don’t Like Your Pastor? Don’t Leave Your Church

There's a blog post going around called "So You Don't Like your Pastor..." I read it. And it wasn't about what I thought it was going to be about.First of all, it was written from a completely male perspective. Not just written by a man, but written as though only men exist in the world, ever. You know how those things go... But the article was about clergy burn-out, the unique stresses of pastoral life, and how church members should have empathy for their pastors... Understanding that m … [Read more...]

Cleaning the Brushes: The Never-Done Work of Ministry

My friend Kory shares some thoughts on the "never done-ness" of ministry. On behalf of pastors everywhere, I say, "amen, brother."I helped my neighbor stain his pool deck this weekend. I wish I could tell you I did this Mother Theresa-style, all selfless and void of any agenda. But in all honesty, I had two motivations: (1) he helped me stain my deck last year, and (2) I want to stay in his good graces so my family and I have an all-access pass to use his pool.It took us about four … [Read more...]

Lost and Found: A Parable In Socks

You know what was great about living in the desert all those years? Among other things--not having to wear socks. Ever.Maybe occasionally with running shoes or hiking boots, if you were going out on a trail. Because, you know, rattle snakes. But otherwise, it was 10 months a year of sandals. Glorious, breezy, open-toed, sock-less freedom.Sure, I love a warm fuzzy pair to wear around the house on a cold winter day. But even better was the complete absence of cold winter days. For the most … [Read more...]

Lost in the Crowd

It's been a big week in Kansas City. Following the Royals' World Series win, we pretty much shut down the city for a few days. Standing in a sea of half a million people (which later counts put closer to a million) with zero visibility, limited access to food and restroom facilities--all after waiting in hours of traffic just to get there --DOES NOT SOUND LIKE MY IDEA OF A FUN TIME. However, the people who did venture out for the victory parade were ecstatic. They said it was a memory their f … [Read more...]

Bad News, Good News

Over the weekend, two young people in our community committed suicide. These young women went the same high school, and played on the same soccer team. I can’t imagine the grief that student body is bearing right now, not to mention the families of the two girls. In the wake of this tragedy, I’ve been impressed by expressions of sympathy and compassion from the entire community. I’m also impressed with the school’s response, encouraging parents to have real and honest conversations with their kid … [Read more...]

Showing Up

I never know what to say when someone thanks me for making a hospital or home visit. A simple 'you're welcome' will sometimes suffice. But at other times, people more than thank me. They say 'I know you're busy,' and “I hate that you had to go to this trouble;’ 'this is so important to my family,' and maybe even 'you're so wonderful to come.''You're welcome' doesn't quite seem to cut it.It almost feels like they're thanking me for breathing. For enjoying a great dessert, for taking a wal … [Read more...]

In Church, At Christmas Time

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...]


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