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…]

Theological Reflections on Suicide: A Conversation with Karen Mason’s “Preventing Suicide”

A number of months ago, a bereaved mother asked me, “Where is Susie now?” Her question was far from academic. When her daughter committed suicide, one of the first pastoral responses she received was, “Suicide is an unforgiveable sin. Your daughter has cut herself off from God entirely, and is now paying the price, forever!” [Read More…]

The Adventurous Lectionary – September 21, 2014 – Pentecost 15

The Adventurous Lectionary – Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost – September 21, 2014 Bruce G. Epperly Exodus 16:2-15 Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45 Philippians 1:21-30 Matthew 20:1-16 Will God provide for our deepest needs? Are we alone in the world or is there a gentle providence working through our lives, giving us guidance, energy, and sometimes surprising manifestations [Read More…]

Refreshing the Pastor’s Soul: In Conversation with Michael Voss’s Reviving the Congregation

Leadership is a spiritual issue, especially in congregational life. As Michael Voss notes in his Reviving the Congregation, pastoral leadership involves not only a pastor’s skills but also her or his personal well-being and spiritual life. Pastoral excellence is skill centered and we should always aim at excellence, as Voss notes. But, this excellence ultimately [Read More…]

Adventurous Lectionary – September 14, 2014 – Pentecost 14

The Adventurous Lectionary – September 14, 2014 – Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost Bruce G. Epperly Exodus 14:19-31 Romans 14:1-12 Matthew 18:21-35 Today’s readings explore forgiveness, pluralism, and deliverance. Our dependence and interdependence with God and others is the framework for understanding the spiritual adventure. The Genesis reading is about God’s deliverance of the Israelites from [Read More…]

Letting Go of Limits and Opening to Divine Possibilities: A Dialogue with Sarah Jakes

Every morning as I take my prayer walk along the beaches of Cape Cod, I repeat spiritual affirmations. These affirmations have transformed my mind and approach to the events of my life. They have also opened up new possibilities in terms of creativity and relationships. One particular affirmation I regularly use is: “I let go [Read More…]