The Price of Being Prophetic: Isaiah 6.1–8; John 3.1–17

By Sze-kar Wan The recent escape of the well-known blind Chinese human rights lawyer Chen Guangcheng from house arrest to the American embassy has attracted a lot of attention in the media. The story is rife with possibilities in an election year, and pundits and politicians are quick to spin it to their own advantage, be it to extol their virtues or launch preemptive strikes against their opponents. It would be easy to dismiss the American reaction as cynical and crass. The state-controlled … [Read more...]

Acts 2:1-21, Think Differently About Difference

By Dr. Eric D. Barreto Christians have often hoped for a time when our racial and economic differences would cease, when in Christ we would all be indistinguishable. Such impulses are earnest but fundamentally misguided. Watch the Video: Religion Without Borders Sikh, Muslim and Hindu students from across New York City have spent the last six months learning the art of debate through "Debate in the Neighborhood," a collaboration between the International Debate Education … [Read more...]

Psalm 1: Putting Evil in Its Place

By Dr. Amy Erickson Psalm 1 begins and ends in a way that puts a lot people off, particularly those who are less-than-compelled by fire and brimstone preaching: “Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread” (v 1) and “the Lord watches over the way of the righteous but the way of the wicked will perish” (v 6). It sounds like the psalm advocates - not only name-calling - but also a clean drawing of lines between believers and … [Read more...]

Acts 10: 44-48: Holy Calamity

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By Rev. David Lewicki We were warned. In the second chapter of the Book of Acts, after a resurrected Jesus leaves the scene for good, the first disciples are hanging out, waiting for God-knows-what. What, exactly, does one wait for after you’ve just seen your dead friend come back to life and eat a piece of fish (Luke 24)? Watch the Video: Faces of Poverty: A War Veteran After serving in Iraq, a young father returns to Reading, Pa. and battles unemployment as he … [Read more...]

Acts 8:26-40: Castrating Our Customs

By Rev. Adam J. Copeland Some people call them “thin places,” locations where the gulf between heaven and earth narrows and we fully sense God’s presence. Many people find these thin places in nature. Others discover them in the familiarity of a favorite book, a worshiping community, or a touching song. Though these thin places are inherently unpredictable, we can aid in their creation. Like Philip in Acts 8, we can run to join what the Spirit is already making possible. … [Read more...]

I John 3:16-24: The Love of God and the Needs of our Neighbors

By Eric D. Barreto The presidential election season is in full bloom. Political sniping will soon reach a new apex. As the months go by, we will grow weary of the coarse political discourse and will breathe a sigh of relief on November 5th. And yet, the political season is an opportune time to turn to the texts of our faith and be reminded of the values that we hold most dear. This is an opportune time to remember that politics--though vitally important--are only one sliver of our ever … [Read more...]

Luke 24:36b-48: A Welcoming Table

By Henry Brinton Everyone knows about Easter morning, when a group of women discover the empty tomb. Many people also know the story of Easter afternoon — the walk to Emmaus in which two disciples encounter a mysterious stranger who reveals himself to be the risen Christ. LGBTQ Groups on Catholic Campuses The Catholic Church's hierarchy has been clear in its statements against same-sex marriage. But many Catholic colleges and universities have officially recognized LGBTQ … [Read more...]

John 20:19-31: Thomas > Doubt

By Lisa Hickman Thomas is permanently labeled a ‘doubter’ by two millennia of history books, sermons, cartoons and theological treatises in the Christian tradition. A cartoon by Joshua Harris has Thomas crying out, “All I’m saying is we don’t call Peter ‘Denying Peter.’” Jefferson Bethke on Loving Jesus but Doubting Religion In January 2012, 22-year-old Tacoma, Wash. resident Jefferson Bethke posted a recorded performance of his poem "Why I Hate … [Read more...]

Beyond Fear and Silence: Mark 16:1-8

By Barbara K. Lundblad This story leaves us wondering and longing for more. Mark’s Easter gospel (Mark 16: 1-8) ends with silence rather than “Alleluia!” That wasn’t the word the women said at the end of their long night of waiting. That’s not what they said when the Sabbath was over as they made their way to the tomb. They had been there on Friday when Jesus died and the sky turned dark at midday. Mark remembers all three women by name: Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, … [Read more...]

Mark 14:1-15:47: What Jesus’ Death Tells Us About Ourselves

Mathew Skinner

By Mathew Skinner The Trayvon Martin story is tragic for many reasons. We see one of them in what his death has again brought to the surface: deeply rooted convictions that the system is flawed. We have a hard time trusting the criminal-justice processes in particular cases when the system-wide injustices remain so persistent. As Christians move into the week that most defines our faith, a week of remembering and reliving Jesus’ death and resurrection, this idea of a broken system … [Read more...]