Encountering Jesus for the First Time: Responding to Richard L. Black’s Maximus

“Be not conformed to this world; but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2) These words capture the spirit of Richard Black’s Maximus. The book is about the gradual and then quantum transformation of a Roman general and his closest friend and colleague’s from military men to lovers and followers of Jesus. [Read More…]

The Adventurous Lectionary – Fourth Sunday in Lent – March 15, 2015

Adventurous Lectionary – The Fourth Sunday in Lent – March 15, 2015 Numbers 21:4-9 Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22 Ephesians 2:1-10 John 3:14-21 Today’s passages raise a variety of questions. Though they speak of divine rescue, they also suggest a dark side to divinity. God causes suffering or may be the source of punishment that far exceeds [Read More…]

Adventurous Lectionary – Lent 3 – March 8, 2015

The Adventurous Lectionary -The Third Sunday in Lent – March 8, 2015 Exodus 20:1-17 Psalm 19 I Corinthians 1:18-25 John 2:13-22 Today’s readings join theology, ethics, spirituality, economics, and public policy. They suggest that religion and politics really do mix, but in ways that baffle liberals and conservatives alike. While the Hebraic wanderers lived under [Read More…]

The Adventurous Lectionary – The Second Sunday in Lent – March 1, 2015

The Adventurous Lectionary – The First Sunday in Lent – March 1, 2015 Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16 Psalm 22:23-31 Romans 4:13-25 Mark 8:31-38 An everlasting covenant! A covenant forged with Abraham and Sarah, and then us. Robert Jay Lifton has suggested that there are several types of immortality: biological, creative, naturalistic, mystical, and religious/chronological. In the [Read More…]

The Adventurous Lectionary – The First Sunday in Lent – February 22, 2015

The Adventurous Lectionary – The First Sunday in Lent – February 22, 2015 Bruce Epperly Genesis 9:8-17 Psalm 25:1-10 I Peter 3:18-23 Mark 1:9-15 Today’s readings can take a preacher and congregation in a variety of directions. We can reflect on mystical experiences, the Holy Spirit, the nature of temptation, God’s care for the non-human [Read More…]

Contrast, Stature, and Having a Fat Soul: Reflections on Joan Chittister’s Between the Dark and the Daylight

Joan Chittister’s Between the Dark and the Daylight: Embracing the Contradictions of Life is a hymn to spiritual stature. In a world that excludes and polarizes otherness, including the otherness in ourselves, Chittister argues that wholeness involves embracing the contradictions of life. A good life involves consciously embracing the totality of our experience, even the [Read More…]

Living by Your Affirmations: Reflections on Nelson Searcy’s “Tongue Pierced”

How you talk to yourself can change your life! So says Nelson Searcy and his writing partner Jennifer Dykes Henson in their new book, Tongue Pierced. When the Psalmist says, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O God, my Rock and Salvation” (Psalm 19:4), [Read More…]

Intimate, Yet Global: Reflections on Jack Levison’s “40 Days with the Holy Spirit”

Jack Levison’s 40 Days with the Holy Spirit invites you to take a journey in which you must let of control, go beyond your own understanding, and trust the wild winds of Divine Inspiration. You can’t put the Holy Spirit in a bottle. “The wind blows where it chooses,” so says Jesus. (John 3:4) You can’t [Read More…]

Transfiguration Sunday – February 15, 2015

The Adventurous Lectionary – The Transfiguration of Jesus – February 15, 2015 2 Kings 2:1-12 Psalm 50:1-6 2 Corinthians 4:3-6 Mark 9:2-9 What is a transfigured life? Today’s readings are about glory and transformation. They invite us to see our worlds as “thin places,” transparent to the divine. The transfiguration of Jesus occurs in one [Read More…]

God is Now a Patriots Fan? A Post-Superbowl Reflection on Divine Providence and Miraculous Outcomes

God makes a way where there is no way. Even in football games? I was ready to turn off my television and cry in my beer after Jermaine Kearse made his own version of the “immaculate reception,” planting the Seahawks’ ball just a few yards from the goal line with plenty of time to spare. [Read More…]