September 14, 2018

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council.  He came to Jesus at night and said… However you come, it’s good enough. Whatever you bring, Jesus welcomes you. Nicodemus is a fool and a coward, and when he shows up at Jesus’ door at 1AM with his face covered so he won’t be recognized, draped in the trappings of his institutional power, asking silly questions and shifting nervously – Jesus… Read more

September 8, 2018

We’re prone to take the healing stories of Jesus very personally. We see the Gospel as Jesus coming to save one person (me), to forgive my sins (which I commit in a bubble), to send me to Heaven when I die. But the Gospel is bigger than Jesus saving one individual at a time. A woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. Now the woman was a… Read more

September 1, 2018

This week, the lectionary invites us to be weird for a bit, and imagine that God is not a Thesis to prove, an Idea to explain, a Deity to impress, a Lawgiver to obey, a King to worship, but a Lover to know. This week, the lectionary invites us to play with mysticism. My beloved speaks and says to me: “Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for now the winter is past, the rain is over and… Read more

August 25, 2018

It isn’t supposed to hurt, my yoga teacher said. I disagreed. This is exercise, I told her. Of course it’s supposed to hurt. She shook her head. Pain isn’t the same as effort, she told me. It’s OK to be uncomfortable, but it’s not OK to be in pain. It’s OK to be uncomfortable. It’s OK for new poses to make your legs shake. It’s OK to breathe so deeply that your chest burns, and to hold a pose until you think you… Read more

August 18, 2018

“You can always tell when they’re gonna lift their hands,” he snickered, looking around the evangelical church. “It’s right when the song modulates. Seems like the Holy Spirit always works at the key change!” The implication was clear. They aren’t really feeling the Holy Spirit. They aren’t really experiencing God. It’s just smoke and mirrors, signifying nothing. Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation!… Read more

August 10, 2018

I’m tired of hearing pastors preach that “believing in Jesus” means I’ll never be spiritually hungry again. I’m tired of churches claiming that Jesus is the answer to our existential emptiness, and that once we “accept Jesus,” we’ll never feel distant from God again. Sometimes I’m not just tired of the put-on cheerfulness of church. Sometimes, (gulp), I’m even tired of the Bible. Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be… Read more

August 4, 2018

Shame is sneaky. Shame creeps into the passenger seat of the car at a stop light, and whispers you’re a pretty bad father, you know that, right? Shame crawls into bed with us at 3AM, pokes us in the back, and hisses wow, remember that time in college you really hurt your roommate? Shame slithers in and tells us that we are too bad, too mean, too sensitive, too needy, too anxious, too much, not enough. Shame keeps a ledger of everything terrible we’ve ever done,… Read more

July 27, 2018

It feels reckless to tell everyone that they’re “enough.” Some people are terrible. Some people clearly should be trying harder. And I’m not enough. My gifts aren’t enough. There is so much suffering and scarcity. What does “enough” mean when so many people are unfed? Who are we to show up, as we are? Who are we to say that we’re enough? How dare we show up with our mistakes and inadequacies, as if we’re perfect? How dare we bring our bag… Read more

July 20, 2018

This week, Jesus gets distracted. What? Not Jesus! Jesus was a man with a plan! Jesus knew what He set out to do, and then He did it! Not this week, friends. Our lectionary text this week is Mark 6:30-33 and 6:53-56. Jesus and His disciples are on their way to rest. But they don’t make it. Things change on the way. “He said to [the disciples], ‘Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.’ For many were… Read more

July 13, 2018

Edgar Allen Poe meets John Bunyan in this terrible little fable that’s snuck into our lectionary this week. In Mark 6:14-29, a local politician’s birthday party ends with the decapitation of an itinerant preacher. This dark story feels out of place in a gospel that is notorious for not wasting words or time (Mark uses the word “immediately” so often that this gospel could be called “The Gospel of Jesus Who Is In A Tremendous Rush”). Why does Mark include this,… Read more

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