Beyond Worry: Living with the Serenity Prayer – A Conversation with Amy Simpson

We are a society dominated by worry. In many ways, North Americans have never been more affluent, protected, and secure. Yet, no people have been more preoccupied by weather worries, despite the warmth of our homes and availability of weather predictions. Germs terrify us despite better hygiene and greater longevity than previous generations. Parents are [Read More…]

Taste & See: Becoming Part of the Advent-Christmas Stories

When I received my copy of Jan Johnson’s Taste and See: Experiencing the Stories of Advent and Christmas for the Patheos Book Club, I did a double take – Advent and Christmas already! Of course, as an earnest senior pastor, aiming at balancing excellence and stress reduction in my ministry and the ministry of our congregation, [Read More…]

Adventurous Lectionary – October 19, 2014 – Pentecost 19

The Adventurous Lectionary – October 19, 2014 – Pentecost 19 Exodus 33:12-23 Psalm 99 I Thessalonians 1:1-10 Matthew 22:15-22 “No one shall see me and live,” so God proclaims God to Moses. God reveals God’s glory to Moses, but it is more than mere mortals can handle, even those like Moses who “walk with God.” [Read More…]

Altars Everywhere: A Conversation with Chuck Swindoll’s “Abraham”

Chuck Swindoll’s Abraham: One Nomad’s Amazing Journey of Faith paints the life and faith of the patriarch in broad strokes. Swindoll’s text has many inspirational and practical moments. While I might take a different theological approach at many junctures, there is much to commend in his text, especially for the faith formation of conservative and [Read More…]

Adventurous Lectionary – October 12, 2014 – Pentecost 18

The Adventurous Lectionary – The Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost Bruce G. Epperly Exodus 32:1-14 Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23 Philippians 4:4-9 Matthew 22:1-14 This Sunday’s lectionary readings challenge us to orient ourselves toward God’s way rather than pathways of our own making. God treasures innovation and creativity, even coloring outside the lines; yet true creativity emerges when [Read More…]

St. Francis and Saving Christianity – A Dialogue with Historian Jon Sweeney

Jon Sweeney’s When Saint Francis Saved the Church presents a vision of Francis’ message that is as relevant today as it was in Francis’ time. Today’s church needs saving, and so do we. We need to move from pathways of death to thoroughfares of abundant life. We need to choose Jesus over Caesar, and love [Read More…]

Every Moment a Call: Responding to Mark Labberton’s Called

I’ve spent this afternoon playing with my young grandchildren. I’d done a good day’s work at church before picking them up from preschool in the afternoon. As a pastor, teacher, and writer, I spent most of the early part of the day writing a sermon, working on an upcoming book, calling shut-ins, and leading a [Read More…]

The Adventurous Lectionary – October 5, 2014 – Pentecost 17

Adventurous Lectionary – October 5, 2014 – Pentecost 17 Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20 Psalm 119 Philippians 3:3b-14 Matthew 21:33-46 Today’s readings speak of the ordering of the universe and the ordering of human life. Too often Christians have misinterpreted Paul’s letter to the Galatians by asserting that Jewish law is burdensome, onerous, and irrelevant to [Read More…]

Time Enough? A Response to Michael Yankoski’s “Sacred Year”

In the course of a year, Michael Yankoski goes on a sacred pilgrimage. Although sometimes he travels, much of his spiritual peregrinations involve a journey without distance as he seeks to discover the geography of the spirit. The inner spaces of our lives, Yankoski discovers, are just as spacious as the landscapes that surround our [Read More…]

The Adventurous Lectionary – September 28, 2014 – Pentecost 16

The Adventurous Lectionary – The Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost –September 28, 2014 Exodus 17:1-7 Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16 Philippians 2:1-13 Matthew 21:23-32 God is faithful, providing a way where there is no way, and giving us the energy to grow in freedom and creativity at every stage of life. Faithful agency opens the floodgates of divine [Read More…]