First Sunday after the Epiphany/Baptism of the Lord

by Jim Kast-Keat How often do you think Jesus remembered his baptism? How often do you remember yours?A splash of water.A gasp of breath.A startled cry.Eyes wide open.A community cheers as they offer their welcome.Remember your baptism.I was baptized on October 23, 1983. I was ten days old, held in my parents arms, and surrounded by family, friends, and a community of faith that would call me their own. The pastor placed his hands in the water and then onto my head, … [Read more...]

Selfie Culture and True Community (Isaiah 63:7-9)

The modern world for the last four hundred years has been largely committed to the autonomous self, an individual who is without social burden or obligation. From the mathematical logic of Rene Descartes to the Enlightenment rationality of Emmanuel Kant, our Western world has taken a dramatic “turn to the self.” Many people who have never heard of Rene Descartes or Emmanuel Kant have embraced the unburdened self as the center of all reality. This in turn has led variously to consumer satiation fo … [Read more...]

Signs Endure (Isaiah 7:10-16, Matthew 1:18-25, Romans 1:1-7)

The onslaught of “fake news,” concocting stories about the Other, erect seemingly inseparable cultural chasms between us. They reinforce “echo chambers” of homogeneity, and regardless of the “facts” deliver a fake narrative: people that disagree are enemies. Here’s the thing though: real news may use facts but only as a weapon to do the same reinforcing; in many ways all news is becoming “fake news.” (No wonder it’s so hard to tell the two apart!). The truth, as ever, is less exciting and more te … [Read more...]

Voices in the Wilderness (Matthew 3:1-12)

By Shively Smith. The impact of the #SayHerName Movement cannot be overstated. This is a campaign that gives voice to “black women’s experiences of profiling and policing,” setting the names and death-taking stories of women, like Sandra Bland and Meagan Hockaday, alongside the names and stories of black males like Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. The #SayHerName movement is a resource that makes the public aware of the trauma and loss of life experienced by black females in “civi … [Read more...]

Prophetic Resistance (Isaiah 2:1-5)

By Eric Barreto.  Losing an election shouldn’t feel this dire.Sometimes our preferred candidates win. We celebrate, but then life goes back to normal. Sometimes they lose. We protest. We demand a recount. But eventually we accept the loss. We lick our wounds and begin to think about the next election.But this was not a normal election. None of what has been happening over the last few weeks is normal. No part of this campaign was as it should be. Not the misogyny. N … [Read more...]

Heeding God’s Relentless Demand for Justice (Jeremiah 23:1-6)

By Keith Anderson. This year’s bruising presidential election ended in shocking fashion in the early hours of last Wednesday morning when Hillary Clinton conceded the race to now president-elect Donald Trump.Much of the focus of the election had been on leadership, temperament, experience, and fitness to lead the country. And already, in the hours and days following the election, political pundits are speculating on what kind of president Trump will be. Will he continue his i … [Read more...]