False Pretenses

I’ve been listening to conservatives rail about how the United States is appearing weak in the face of Russia invading Ukraine. Now, I probably should confess that I had to look at a map to recall exactly where Ukraine is and why the Crimean Peninsula would be of any concern to the Russians. Having grown [Read More…]

Matching Dolls

Last weekend Bill and I were staying in a hotel that was filled with little girls whose faces were caked with makeup, with their hair up in curlers, carrying matching dolls. To be clear: the dolls didn’t match one another; they matched the little girl carrying the doll. It was creepy because so many of [Read More…]

Making Room for Repentance

Someone asked me recently why it is so much easier to be vulnerable and honest at their Alcoholics Anonymous meeting than at church. It was a very good question to which I did not have a very good answer. I suppose that we are reminded at church that God wants us to be better people, [Read More…]

Thought for the day

Leadership is not merely a position that describes who you are; it’s about being positioned to show what you can do. [Read more…]

Take Off Your Bib and Put on Your Apron

A preacher was shaking hands as people went out of church one Sunday, and she reached out to shake the hand of a man who clearly was visiting. As she welcomed him the guy began to explain that they were church shopping. They were actually members of a nearby congregation but were dissatisfied, so they [Read More…]

Higher Standards

Those of us who follow the lectionary have spent the month of February looking at that collection of Jesus’ teachings known as the “Sermon on the Mount.” Last week we were told that it’s not enough for us to resist killing; we need to purge anger from our lives. It is not enough to not [Read More…]

Cathedral of Hope

I am preaching at the Cathedral of Hope on Sunday. It is the first time since November of 2009. It was the 22nd anniversary of my becoming the pastor of that church. On that Sunday, though, I was no longer the pastor. We had made a wonderfully gentle transition from my long pastorate to my [Read More…]

Lofty Comandments

The assigned readings for last Sunday were tough. On the rare occasion when we are forced to read from the book of Leviticus, the passage begins by telling us that we are to be holy just as God is holy. In the passage from Matthew, taken from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us [Read More…]

Love Your Enemies

People make mistakes. We all do. Jesus talked about forgiveness in the Gospel lesson we read this past Sunday. The trouble is that he required us to forgive our enemies. It is hard enough to forgive our friends and the people we love when they mess up. It is even harder when their mistakes cost [Read More…]

Uncertain, TX

When I moved to Dallas in 1987 I tried to interview every member of the congregation to hear what they believed was their vision for the church. After that was done, the board of directors and I went on a retreat to Jefferson, Texas. We stayed in a bed-and-breakfast called the Roseville Inn. It was [Read More…]