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...]

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...]