Looking in the mirror at high noon

I had one of those slap-upside-the-head Bible reading moments a couple of days ago. The ones where you're reading words out of habit, and suddenly, blam-o! The Hound of Heaven ambushes you, and with no warning, you're having a holy "have a good look in the mirror at high noon" moment. I was reading Romans 16, which is mostly a list of personal greetings from Paul and team to the Church in Rome. There are some instructions and a beautiful benediction in the chapter, but the bulk of the language … [Read more...]

Not what you think it means

A few posts ago, I reviewed a book about Communion. I just received another volume on the topic that I'll be reviewing for Englewood Review of Books. And in the midst of it all, I wrote a short devotional about the Lord's Supper for the next Caspari Center newsletter. I'm reposting it here with a prayer that it will give you a fresh understanding of the Communion word "Remember",Remember…There were about 25 teenagers chattering with one another in the activity room of the church, but they fell s … [Read more...]

What’s that dirt on your head?

Though Lent is a somber forty-day period of the Christian year given to fasting, reflection and acts of charity, here's a story that will probably give you a smile - and serve as a reminder that those observing Lent need to interpret the practice to a watching, wondering world:I was immersed into Gentile culture for the first time in eighth grade after growing up prior to that in a predominately Jewish neighborhood. In the hallway at school on Ash Wednesday, I noticed that a friend had "dirt" … [Read more...]

Book review: The Sacred Meal

A few weeks ago, I reviewed a book about spiritual pilgrimage from Thomas Nelson's Ancient Practices series. Thanks to Nelson's blogger review program (which they've dubbed "Booksneeze", a cringe-worthy name if ever there was one), I had the opportunity to read another title in the series. This time, it was Nora Gallagher's The Sacred Meal, focusing on the sacrament of the Lord's supper.Gallagher, a lay minister in the Episcopal church as well as a noted author, brings her powers of observation … [Read more...]

February newsletter

A devotional, an invitation, a contest and an update - here are highlights of my recent newsletter: Home again?         If you’ve ever returned to your home town after a being away for a few years, you'll discover that there's truth in the old adage "You can’t go home again". It's not just that someone built a Walgreens where your favorite old health-code violating dive of a burger joint once stood. Your life experiences while … [Read more...]

Saturday afternoon time travel

A fun but surreal moment:I took my seven-year old grandson to Mickey D's yesterday. It's kind of a tradition for us. Cold, damp late February days mean that the indoor playground is the hottest ticket in town. There wasn't an empty table in the joint. Gabriel and I stood in the center of the room for a moment, he chomping at the bit to hit the slide, me hoping that someone was about to vacate a seat."Hey, you can sit here if you want." The man moved the empty wrappers and cups of pop over to one … [Read more...]

You know it’s gonna be a bad sermon when…

I've written about my sermon fatigue before. Honestly, I'd rather just have the preacher hand out copies of the text of his or her message and let me just read (or skim) them. I'm a terrible auditory learner, and retain only a small portion of what I hear - just like most of the rest of you. I attend church primarily to connect and worship with others, and usually do my best to hang in there and focus through the sermons. I appreciate the fact that we're currently hearing someone actually … [Read more...]