Sprigs of Green

The Hebrew lesson on Sunday was that great passage from Isaiah that predicts that the “stump of Jesse” (King David’s father) would spout again. Isaiah wrote in a day when the nation had fallen and no monarch ruled from Jesse or David’s lineage, though they believed God had promised that someone always would. From this [Read More…]

Nelson Mandela

Yesterday, in churches around the world, the faithful remembered Nelson Mandela. For our modern lesson at Virginia-Highland Church, we used Maya Angelou’s beautiful tribute, “His Day is Done,” (www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqQzjit7b1w) and I saw the young people lean forward and many of the adults wipe away tears and swallow hard. That is as it should be. There [Read More…]

Cheap Food

There is a young man in my church who spent most of his life growing up in Africa. On Sunday, I asked him how his first Thanksgiving in America was. He was polite, as always, but otherwise noncommittal. I asked him if he ate lots of pie, but his mother explained that he really didn’t [Read More…]

Word in Action

Expect the unexpected. Faithful living means that your expanded awareness of God includes the ability to trust that balance and harmony will soon emerge. [Read more…]

In Honor of World AIDS Day

Yesterday was World AIDS Day. In honor of that, I thought I’d share what I wrote in my book Queeries to a young man named Tim who asked if HIV/AIDS was a punishment sent from God: Let me begin by assuring you that God did not give you HIV. What kind of God would go [Read More…]

Expensive Propositions

I wonder if it is merely a coincidence that there are almost exactly the same number of homeless in America as there are churches. One day, a member of a church’s finance committee was out visiting members to ask them to make a pledge. One man said he wasn’t giving anything because religion had become [Read More…]

Welfare Has Become a Four-Letter Word

My sermon on Sunday focused on the passage in Jeremiah in which he addressed the exiles in Babylon. He gives the odd advice that they should “seek the welfare of the city into which you have been exiled for in its welfare you shall find your own welfare.” The word “welfare” is an inadequate translation [Read More…]

Thought for the day

What does it mean to determine a better existence? When we know better we can do better, but how is better defined? [Read more…]

Affordable Care

Okay, I’m really angry about the news coverage about the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Yes, the law is complex, convoluted, and complicated. So why isn’t anyone observing that the reason for this is that our bought-and-sold politicians were too cowardly to do the right thing, which is single-payer, universal coverage? Health care is a human [Read More…]

Old Dogs, New Tricks

Lately I’ve been learning a lot about something I thought I already knew a lot about. It has been fascinating, challenging, and exhilarating. It also has been a humbling reminder of how hard it really is to teach an old dog new tricks. Furthering that is the recognition that success or acclaim makes learning and [Read More…]