Waiting for a Punchline: Llama-Crossing, Viral Dress-Watching, and Kansas Being Kansas

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 win. Yesterday’s newsfeed was filled with llamas, dresses, and unf … [Read more...]

Psalm 23-and-a-Half

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 violence and rage. He leads me beside still waters                            even though I pull away, and … [Read more...]

Dark Before Dawn: A Soundtrack for Lent

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 broad, existential, why-are-we-here kinds of things. If we could c … [Read more...]

Those Who Do Not Learn From History…

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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 my head and my heart.  I am fill … [Read more...]

Water and Ash

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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 benediction. From dust you were born. To dust, you will retur … [Read more...]

Six People You Need to Forgive

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 preacher has this pile. Promise.Other peo … [Read more...]

Breathing Room: the Legacy of Marcus Borg

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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 in their life of faith, and were transformed by both his wor … [Read more...]

Top 10 First World Headlines of 2014

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If I had to pick a word-of-the-year, it would be "privilege."  You either know why or you don't. And if you don't, I couldn't sum it up in a couple of quippy bloggy paragraphs. Truth is, the real defining story of 2014 is the emerging divide between those who talk about/are aware of privilege, and those who say "what are you talking about? We all live in the same world."Privilege is not just about race. Sometimes it is about geography, gender, ability, sexual orientation, state of mental … [Read more...]

In Defense of Innkeepers

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A communion meditation for Christmas Eve...Every good Christmas story has a villain. An Ebeneezer Scrooge. A Grinch. A Mr. Potter.What about an inn keeper? In my memories of childhood Christmas pageants, you DEFINITELY wanted to be an angel. You MIGHT want to be Mary or Joseph—depending on who was playing opposite you. It was totally ok to be a shepherd or a wise man. But the inn keeper? Nobody wanted to be the inn keeper. That guy was bad news. He was the callous, uncaring mogul who o … [Read more...]


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