An Unexpected Servant: The Leadership of Pope Francis (Isaiah 49:1-7)

Huber

By Lynn HuberPope Francis signaled a new kind of Vatican leadership from the very first acts of his papacy. As the New Year brings reflection over the past year, we have heard much about Pope Francis and the ways he has surprised Catholics and non-Catholics alike.  The suddenness of his predecessor’s resignation this past spring, the fact that he is the first Pope from the Americas, and his apparent commitment to his namesake St. Francis’ concern for the poor and displaced al … [Read more...]

I Know What God Looks Like (Luke 15:1-10)

Mathew Skinner

By Matthew L. SkinnerDo you want to see what God is like? It just got harder to do so on Wikipedia.Wikipedia still has an article called “God,” and it hosts a range of ever-changing perspectives. But a few days ago the site made God less visible when it deleted its short article on Antoinette Tuff, the bookkeeper who in late August may have prevented a massacre at an elementary school near Atlanta. Wikipedia merged her name into another, more obscure article.The Wikipedians’ bland deb … [Read more...]

It’s Not About You (Luke 14:25-33)

Lutheran World Relief headshots

By John NunesA life transition—like any effort to follow Jesus—is stressful: packing and unpacking, bidding farewells, refocusing from one set of commitments to a new future. It might be summarized in the early North African church leader’s interpretation of this Sunday’s Gospel reading from Luke 14:27: “Take up your stress and your tortures.” (Tertullian)This September, my family’s transition from the hazy days of summer’s more casual pace back into the back-to-school rat race is tou … [Read more...]

The Ballad of Sour Grapes

GregoryCuellar Headshot

By Greg CuéllarMany of life’s memorable moments can be brought to mind just by hearing a favorite song.  Consider Sam Cooke’s protest song, “A Change Is Gonna Come,” and the ways it evokes the civil rights crisis of the early 1960’s, or John Lennon’s song of peace, “Imagine,” which has as a point of reference the Vietnam War. These and many other songs not only encapsulate moments of the human experience but also give voice to a social critique.Attuned to Social CrisisSpeaking to po … [Read more...]

The Power of Prayer . . . at the Kmart

susan2

By Rev. Susan Sparks When I want to remind myself of the power of prayer, I go to the Astor Place Kmart on the lower east side of Manhattan. Sure, I could read Kierkegaard or Augustine, but I prefer the Kmart. Specifically I favor an area in the far back corner of the basement. It is devoid of windows or natural light with a back wall of clear glass that faces the dungeon-like dark tunnel of the Number 6 subway train. There, you will find the most unexpected of things -- a plant … [Read more...]

Fear and Wisdom in the Immigration Debate

Nadella Headshot

By Raj NadellaThey have many labels. Undocumented immigrants. Illegal Immigrants. Illegal Aliens. Wetbacks. Jan Brewer, the governor of Arizona, recently suggested that most of them are “drug mules.” Some have even called them “terrorists.” But few are known by their real names or treated as people with real lives.Most of them live at the edges of the society, under inhuman and dangerous conditions, and often separated from their loved ones. For some it may be a choice. However, a vast ma … [Read more...]


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