Abraham Lincoln and the Quest for Religious and Political Stature

AbrahamLincoln, flickr, Marion Dass

One of my favorite books is Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals, in which Goodwin reflects on Lincoln’s sagely leadership of a cabinet, many of whose members opposed both Lincoln and one another prior to Lincoln’s election and, at times, during Lincoln’s presidency, one of our nation’s darkest hours.  With the future of the nation [Read More...]

Valentines of the Spirit

Heart Doorknob

When I was a small child, Valentine’s Day was a big deal.  Though I hadn’t yet discovered the joys of romance, I recall my excitement at going to the store with my Mom, buying two packs of valentines for fifty cents, and then writing notes to all my classmates and my teacher, who got a [Read More...]

The Tragic Beauty of Christmas: The Massacre of the Innocents

Just a few days after the celebration of Christmas, the light of Bethlehem is eclipsed and the dark shadows of life return to the stories of young Jesus.  Tucked between Christmas Day and the Feast of Epiphany (January 6), the Massacre of Infants or Slaughter of Innocents is remembered.  In the Roman Catholic, Lutheran, and [Read More...]

Spirit-centered Process #1 Does Theology Matter?

All theological reflection should be willing to face the question, “So what?” Are our ideas merely abstractions with no value below the neck, or to they help us navigate the rough and tumble world of living and dying, loving and fighting, healing and curing? Do they give us guidance for our political and economic as [Read More...]

Adventures in Healing and Wholeness #20 – An Intimate Question

In my final reflection on Mark’s healing stories, I want to focus on Jesus’ question to Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?” The fact that Jesus healed his blindness, responding both to his physical condition and the reality of his social location as an outcast, most likely blamed for his disease, [Read More...]

Adventures in Healing and Wholeness #19 – Blessing the Children

In another curious passage, the disciples discourage people from bringing their children to Jesus. (Mark 10:13-16) We don’t know their motivation, perhaps they see the children as a nuisance to their Teacher, or they believe that they will only get in the way of Jesus’ more important business. Once again, Jesus rebukes them. “Let the [Read More...]

Adventures in Healing and Wholeness: Global Healing

In a curious story, Jesus’ disciples return to their teacher, rather proud of themselves. (Mark 9:38-41) They report: “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him because he wasn’t one of us.” They expect to be congratulated for maintaining the purity of Jesus’ teaching. Instead, Jesus tells [Read More...]

Adventures in Healing and Wholeness #17 – A Gradual Healing

Most healing is gradual and imperceptible. The healing of a sight impaired man is interesting simply because it is recorded in Mark’s Gospel (Mark 8:22-26). When Jesus first lays hands on the man, all he can see is a blurred vision of the world. Jesus has to touch him a second time for him to [Read More...]

Adventures in Healing and Wholeness – Many Paths to Healing

In the healing of a speech and hearing impaired man, Jesus employs spittle along with healing touch. Spittle was vested with curative power in the ancient world. While today, we might consider spittle a folk remedy, it was seen as medicinal in Jesus’ time. From our 21st century perspective, we would say that Jesus was [Read More...]

Adventures in Healing and Wholeness: An Empty Tomb and an Open Future

Most scholars agree that the original version of Mark’s gospel ends at Mark 16:8. There is no image of a physically resurrected Christ, just the promise that Christ is going ahead of us. Now, I happen to believe the resurrection reflects the real experience of transformed lives. But, its truth is in the rolled away [Read More...]