Here is Your Son, Here is Your Mother


"Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home." --John 19:25-27Friday is usually full of good things. Cook-outs and road trips; family game night or movie night; the beginning of Sabbath; baseball, yard work, a … [Read more...]

Resurrection Matters: The Holy Unknowing


The insistence on a literal, physical, bodily resurrection is killing the conservative Church.The denial of a literal, physical, bodily resurrection is killing the progressive Church.Yeah, it’s a pickle.The Bible says Jesus died, rose again, and ascended to heaven. All tensions within the Body of Christ can be reduced to this one question:  Did he or didn’t he?That may not be the only question that divides people of faith. But most bones of biblical and ideological contention s … [Read more...]

Holy Week Survival Guide: 10 Life Hacks for Clergy


Deep breath. Inward Ommmmmmmmmmmm. It is Holy Week! Lace up your sprinting shoes, get ready to stress eat and drink way too much coffee, and tell your family that you will see them next Monday. No wait—Monday, you hibernate. Tuesday, for sure!  You will be down for breakfast on Tuesday. Or at least lunch… Something about that pattern seems not-so-holy, though. Sure, it’s going to be busy. You will need caffeine and adrenaline and the Holy Spirit to power through. And yet… we clergy types often w … [Read more...]

From the Crowd to the Cross: On Palm Sunday, Politics, and Religious Liberty


Palm Sunday--the gateway to Holy Week. Which is not only deeply sacred and important and full of all the meaning and all the feelings… but also the busiest week of the year for church folks. Dust the corners, print extra bulletins, shine the brass, eat your Wheaties, and for sure print extra bulletins. Gather early in the narthex and line up all the kids, and start the madness with a parade. We’ve been here before.Which is to say, I’ve got stuff to do. And I am so tired of writing about WHAT … [Read more...]

Unlaced and Undone


There was a “Kindness Assembly” at my daughter’s school today. One kid from each class was chosen to read an essay about something kind that they did, or a time when someone showed kindness to them. My 6-year-old was chosen from her class. She marched up to that mic like a pro and read her (4-sentence) story. While her friends waved like mad from the Kindergarten section.Don’t get me wrong—I was proud. It is no small thing to stand up in front of hundreds of people and say what’s true. There … [Read more...]

In New Skin, Again


Yes, this is what I do when I should be working on sermon notes, or prayerfully reflecting on high holy days. I rhyme things. It's a sickness... My car and my office are both a big messAnd I’m a big pile of hot-wired stress--Even the preacher has to confesswhen It’s Holy Week again. Friday’s black (but not like for shopping)The dang Easter bunny comes hippity hoppingAnd I wish this headache would just start stoppingIt’s Holy Week again … [Read more...]

Broken and Othered


This morning, I went to an interfaith Service of Unity and Hope at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park. Last Sunday, 2 people were murdered there. Another victim was shot at a nearby retirement facility, also connected to the Jewish community.The man responsible for these heinous acts of violence—we won’t say his name, because I don’t believe in making celebrities out of killers—he had a history. Some long and awful history. He was involved with the KKK, and was even a Grand Dragon, … [Read more...]

A Song and a Prayer: The Holy Week Playlist


Throughout the season of Advent,  Christmas music (for better or worse) blares at us everywhere we go. That means, for those of us who preach/lead worship/make church happen, we stay in a nearly constant state of season-mindfulness. Whether we like it or not. No matter where we are or what we are doing, we cannot escape the fact that Christmas is coming.The season of Lent has not quite seeped into secular culture in the same saturating way. Where is the soundtrack for Holy Week? How are we to … [Read more...]

A Handful of Change


Recession, re-shmession.I know it's tough out there. I know people have lost jobs and healthcare coverage. I know firsthand that, practically overnight, some of our homes were suddenly worth nothing. Not even what we spent on new landscaping. I know that people have been displaced, heartbroken, cheated, and kicked around in general by the economy these last few years.But people, we spent $1.5 BILLION on lottery tickets this week. You and me. And only 3 of us won.Now, lottery is all … [Read more...]