How to Be Perfect (Matthew 5:38-48)

By Eric D. Barreto There's more to this year's Olympics than sports. “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Seriously, Jesus? Have you even met some of us? Have you seen the depths of our jealousies, the breadth of our greed? Have you noticed how insatiable our egos are? How deeply insecure we all are? Perfect? You cannot mean what you seem to mean. What then do we do with this seemingly impossible call? For many of us, this is one of … [Read more...]

A New Way of Being “Pro-Choice”

SBuckhanonCrowder

By Rev. Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder, Ph.D. Ella Baker chose her own path to effecting positive change. “I knew from the beginning that as a woman, an older woman, in a group of ministers who are accustomed to having women largely as supporters, there was no place for me to come into a leadership role. The competition wasn’t worth it.” These are the words Ella Baker spoke regarding her decision to leave the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, SCLC, in 1958. Baker was one of … [Read more...]

Matthew 2:13 – 23: The Massacre of the Innocents and the Soul of the Warrior

ColemanBaker

By Coleman Baker Soldiers across millennia have had to take actions that violate basic human morality, from Herod's slaughter of the innocents to soldiers in the field today. As we move into the Sundays following Christmas and begin to anticipate Epiphany, we face the terror of the coming week’s Gospel reading, the Massacre (or Slaughter) of the Innocents. While there are a number of stories in the Bible that are difficult to read/hear, Herod’s murdering the innocent children of … [Read more...]

Jesus, Poor Veterans and the Grass That Suffers (Luke 21:5-19)

BillyHonor

By Billy Honor After serving in Iraq, a young father battles unemployment as he and his wife fight to get a leg up in a tough economy. There is a popular African proverb that says when elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.  This proverb highlights the reality that too often while nations and powerful entities fight amongst themselves, the common people of the land suffer the most.  It is a historical truth that those who make the decision to wage wars (military, … [Read more...]

The Modern Need for Lamentations (Lamentations 1:1-11)

Russaw

By Kimberly D. Russaw Twenty first century readers of the Scriptures are likely uncomfortable with the book of Lamentations and its stories of weeping, groaning, and grieving. But, the act of lamenting is not unique to biblical Israelites. Today’s world is full of lament-worthy situations.  One need only turn on the nightly news to hear countless stories from places like Detroit, Michigan and Camden, New Jersey – plagued by record foreclosures, abandoned buildings, corrupt … [Read more...]

From Egypt to South Africa, We Are Each Other’s Keepers

JWM Professional Pic

By James W. McCarty III Nelson Mandela, the first democratically elected president of South Africa, has been in the hospital for over two months. Nearly twenty years after his election South Africa remains, despite a myriad of troubles, a stable, multiracial, and democratic country. Mohamed Morsi, the first democratically elected president of Egypt after the world-changing protests in Tahrir Square led to the resignation of former president Hosni Mubarak, has been out of office, by way of … [Read more...]

Galatians 6: Fighting for Freedom

SBuckhanonCrowder

By Rev. Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder, Ph.D. “If you love somebody, set them free. Free. Free. Set them free.” Of all the songs to come to mind during this Independence Day weekend, this one rings in my head. Sting, the artist, did not have America’s freedom celebration in mind when he coined these words. Honestly, the song has little to do with patriotism; it is more of a ballad of love lost and letting go. Nonetheless I dare to invoke it, as the words resonate with the spirit of … [Read more...]

Luke 9:51-62: Resistance Is Futile

Wiseman Headshot

By Rev. Dr. Karyn L. Wiseman In the Methodist tradition in which I was I raised, there is a concept of perfection. We “strive for perfection” in loving each other and loving God. It is not about avoiding all mistakes. It is about growing in love for neighbor and being hospitable to all we come in contact with. This is the point of our theology: as we grow in faith and love, we become closer to God. In the end, resisting God’s call to love others is pretty hard to do. And yet we know … [Read more...]

Mark 1:21-28: The Need for Authentic Leadership

By Rev. Angela Zimmann Once every four years, it happens like clockwork: Primary Season, when all across America voters trek to the ballot box to make history while our presidential contenders battle for every vote. This year, we watched as Mitt, Newt, and Rick traveled from Iowa to New Hampshire to South Carolina and saw the casualties occur along the way. Michele Bachmann is gone, Rick Perry fizzled, and Jon Huntsman faded away. Now it’s on to Florida for the January 31st primary. And … [Read more...]

Mark 1:4 – 11: Does Baptism Make for Better Presidents?

By Andy Watts Christians seem to have a genetic disposition for describing people and events through a biblical lens. It makes sense. We are story-formed people, and the Bible shapes our political, moral and social imaginations. It follows, then, that our judgments about Presidents and presidential candidates will also arise from our Bible-shaped imaginations. … [Read more...]