A God of Second Chances (2 Peter 1:16-21)

A God of Second Chances (2 Peter 1:16-21) By Melissa BrowningMy five-year-old, Olivia, lives in a world where all that she imagines is fiercely real. She walks through life with an entourage of imaginary friends, all busy participants in the universe she has created. The situations she conjures up are colorful and complex. On more than one occasion, I have been asked to mediate imaginary disputes or attend birthday parties for characters that I cannot see. Among the entourage of the … [Read more...]

Are We Safer Now? Security and Mercy in God’s Law (Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18)

Are We Safer Now? Security and Mercy in God’s Law (Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18) Johnny Ramirez-JohnsonHow would you feel today if you learned that your neighbor is a refugee from Syria? The concerns about security (i.e. the measurements we take to arrive at a place of safety) have become central to our daily life; we (all Americans) have banned Syrian refugees from entering the USA. The Statue of Liberty has nothing for them, they are a threat to our security. Are we safer now?True safety comes f … [Read more...]

Saving the Soul of Our Nation

Saving the Soul of Our Nation (Deuteronomy 30:15-20, Psalm 119:1-8, I Corinthians 3:1-9 and Matthew 5:21-37) By Rev. Dr. James ForbesOur nation has a right to expect faith communities to provide vision, vitality, meaning, purpose, responsibility toward each other, respect and care for our planet, as well as accountability and trust in God who is the creator of us all. Lukewarm and lackluster religion will not be able to address the demands of these troubling times of polarization, … [Read more...]

Too Much Salt or Not Enough? What Jesus Says About Americans and Their Super Bowl

Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany The Super Bowl – A Religious Festival?It will surely be a festival, but is it religious? Most people will say “no,” but in terms of devotion – well, devotion to a team or even the game itself often has religious zeal. The game hasn’t started yet, but we can imagine this year’s festival. Even the number of the game cannot be ordinary. Roman numerals set it apart as sacred time: this is Super Bowl LI (and that doesn’t mean Long Island!) Pilgrimages began earlier … [Read more...]

Rise Up!

Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany The prophet Micah lived during a time of political turmoil and transition. Sound familiar?For a large portion of the eighth century BC, the Assyrian Empire conducted a massive military conquest of Israel and Judah. During the time of Micah, Samaria had already fallen, and King Hezekiah was in the midst of fervent preparations of protecting Jerusalem for an inevitable Assyrian invasion. At the time, the Assyrian Empire was the largest empire the world had … [Read more...]

Trump’s Inauguration and Conflicted Hope in a Divided Christianity

By the time many read these words the United States of America will have innagurated its 45th President, Donald J. Trump.In a democratic republic like the United States we take much pride in the peaceful transition of powers and nothing symbolizes this more than the inauguration of a new president.  Through this event, full as it is with pageantry, patriotism, and political theatre, we Americans demonstrate our commitment to country over partisan politics.  We ceremonially pledge allegiance t … [Read more...]