This past Sunday, I preached on Micah 4:1-5. If you’d like to hear what I sound like, here’s the audio. What God did with the message on Sunday was a lot better than what I’m able to pull together with my feeble words below. The main gist of my message was that we need to look at our relationships and every aspect of the world the way a gardener looks at the world instead of the way a warrior looks… Read more

When I was a first year student at the University of Virginia in the late nineties, I was an on-fire evangelical. I designed my own evangelism tracts to print out in the computer lab and hand to people on the sidewalk. I wrote a salvation skit that our InterVarsity chapter performed with a Jars of Clay soundtrack on Rugby Road where all the frat parties were. But my greatest achievement was something we called the LoveFest. It was an evangelism… Read more

One of my favorite songs by the dark industrial synthpop band VNV Nation is “Control” from the album Automatic. When I got to see them live in New Orleans this fall, I screamed out several dozen times with everyone else in the room “I WANT CONTROL!” It was cathartic because the most infuriating thing about my job as a campus minister is that I can’t control the outcomes. I can do my very best and follow all the best practices… Read more

In 2019, United Methodism will experience an apocalypse. Representatives from all over the world will meet to decide once and for all how to move forward as a denomination in our endless, life-sucking debate about the validity of queer identity. Apparently there are two options being put forward. One is for the United Methodist Book of Discipline to re-assume its 1968 form before there was any language one way or the other about homosexuality. This would be a huge win… Read more

The best preparation for me to become a woketivist as an adult was growing up evangelical. In 2000, when I stumbled into radical political circles in DC, I already knew that white men were wretched sinners so there was hardly any need for theological adjustment. My “faith” was still measured by my capacity to believe hard things. It was just that the hard things were slightly different. The hard things evangelicals believe in are things like hell, God’s wrath, the… Read more

Fifty years ago, when Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, he had a national disapproval rating of 66%. This was largely due to the shift of his political organizing to address the Vietnam War and economic injustice. He was assassinated while making preparations for a Poor People’s Campaign that was going to culminate in another march on Washington. Though King’s assassination transformed public perception of him, conservative white lawmakers like North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms fought vociferously… Read more

Why does it matter that Jesus was raised from the dead? Perhaps it doesn’t if your world is just fine and you’re completely comfortable with the status quo as it is. Or maybe what doesn’t matter is whether he was actually raised from the dead, but whether you believe in it, so that you can plant your feet solidly inside of Christian orthodoxy. But for the people who aren’t winning, the resurrection is not an intriguing pub theology topic. It… Read more

Today is Holy Saturday, the day Jesus spent in the grave. It’s a day on which we are invited to sit with the unresolved brokenness of our world. Yes, we will say Jesus is risen tomorrow, but today is a day for not looking away from the suffering of the people whose company Jesus consistently chose and whose needs he consistently prioritized: the pueblo crucificado. Pueblo crucificado is a term I encountered in liberation theologian Jon Sobrino’s book El Principio… Read more

Jesus’ cross is hard to talk about. It’s an impossibly awkward, illogical mystery. It’s very easy to oversimplify it and get it wrong. So here are some both/ands that I think are essential to how we think about the cross as we ponder it on this Good Friday. 1. Jesus’ cross is both a crime against God and part of God’s plan When we turn Jesus’ cross into a simple math equation by which God resolves the problem of sin,… Read more

It’s Ash Wednesday which means it’s time for that new practice that makes the liturgical purists cringe. I call it sidewalk ashes. Some people call it ashes to go, which is terribly corny marketing. I’ve seen some strong critiques of sidewalk ashes this year. I understand the rationale. We need to do liturgy as a community. We need to stop bending over backwards to make things so easy for people. I get it. And yet, the fact that sidewalk ashes… Read more

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