Freedom: For Everyone or Just People Like Us? (2 Corinthians 12:2-10)

By Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder. For one year, five French students of different faiths traveled the world to document different models of interfaith dialogue. There are people who irk us. Something about their ideas, talk, or disposition gets under our skin. Their idiosyncrasies are like sandpaper to our souls. To be honest, we are perhaps just as irritating. The way we talk on the phone in public, how we drive in rush hour traffic, our aggression getting off a train or… Read more

Pope Francis on Climate Change: Hearing the Cries of Earth and the Poor (2 Corinthians 8:7-15)

By Keith Anderson. Facts about climate change and poverty. Last week Pope Francis issued a blockbuster papal encyclical on the environment called “Praised Be.” It is the pope’s clarion call to address what he describes as an urgent global environmental crisis. Sweeping in scope, it addresses the many dimensions of environmental degradation and the devastating toll it is taking on people, communities, and nations.  He writes, “It is my hope that this Encyclical Letter…can help us to acknowledge the appeal,… Read more

Reflections on the Charleston, SC Shooting

A vigil was held for the victims of the Charleston shooting in Union Square, NYC. In light of this week’s shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC, several of our ON Scripture writers took a few moments to reflect upon what they would/will be preaching on this Sunday. To continue the conversation, join us on Twitter at #ONScripture. Rev. Eric D. Barreto, Ph.D., Associate Professor of New Testament, Luther Seminary: St Paul, MN The call to preach is daunting in… Read more

Scandalous Leaders, Scandalous Power (1 Samuel 8)

By Eric D. Barreto. Facts about leadership. Political scandals are evergreen. On any given week, one or another political leader, cultural star, or renowned athlete are experiencing an embarrassing and public downfall. Recently, we’ve born witness to the fall of a former Speaker of the House and a reality television celebrity. Next week, a new cast of characters will take their place. So ubiquitous are such scandals that they are the backdrop for the television show Scandal, a show I… Read more

Sorry, Presidential Candidates: Hope Resides in Groans, Not In Your Rhetoric (Romans 8:22-27)

By Matthew L. Skinner. We asked people about the upcoming 2016  presidential election. Hope Votes It’s election season. Hold your groans, but I’m obliged to point out that the 2016 US presidential campaign is gathering momentum. Please, make it stop. So far, eight men and women from the two major parties have formally declared their candidacy. Actually, eight is the number of candidates whose names you might know. There are others. And even more will declare their intentions soon. Even… Read more

Death Penalty for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev: A Call for Radical Mercy

By Shane Claiborne. It’s hard to have mercy for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. It was Jesus who said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” And he certainly demonstrates that mercy on the cross as he forgives the people nailing him to it. But as a follower of Christ, mercy seems like an audacious thing to ask of us. His guilt is clear. He posted offensive, arrogant messages all over the Internet. He carved a manifesto of revenge into… Read more

Don’t Ask Jesus to Say the Table Prayer (John 17:6-19)

By Barbara Lundblad. Project RETURN helps men and women leaving prison return to the community. If you ask Jesus to pray the table prayer, you need to be ready to keep your eyes closed for a long time; at least if he prays like he did in John 17. Jesus’ table prayer goes on for twenty-six verses! This isn’t “God is great. God is good. Let us thank God for our food. Amen. Let’s eat.”  Besides, when Jesus prays in… Read more

Preaching Reflections on Freddie Gray and Baltimore

In light of this week’s events in Baltimore, MD, several of our ON Scripture writers took a few moments to reflect upon what they would/will be preaching on this Sunday. To continue the conversation, join us on Twitter at #onscripture. Rev. Eric D. Barreto, Ph.D. Associate Professor of New Testament, Luther Seminary: St Paul, MN Here we are, again. The cycle of police violence and public outrage are once again filling our lives. Or I should say that these conflicts are… Read more

Legislating Love in the 21st Century (Acts 8:26-40)

By Karyn L. Wiseman  Facts on marriage equality in the United States. One of the hot button topics in America today is same-sex marriage. This issue has been in the news often due to same-sex marriage bans being struck down in state after state and on the minds of many after the controversial “religious freedom” law passed in Indiana (and similar ones already enacted in other states). And it has been in the hearts of many gay and lesbian couples… Read more

More Than the Eye Can See (Acts 3:12-19)

By Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder. Rev. Otis Moss, Jr., who marched in Selma, proclaims the power of a vote and the importance of protecting that right. “We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.” This Talmudic quote from Rabbi Shemuel ben Nachmani notes that seeing is not always vision. What we see in life is more than what the eye beholds. A person or circumstances right in front of us can be merely the surface… Read more