This Side Up


One afternoon, a Japanese freighter was being unloaded in the Los Angeles harbor. Gigantic cranes were lifting crates of merchandise from the hold of the ship and placing them on the docks below. Each crate had unusual handling instructions printed on the side in bold black letters. The writing was in both English and Japanese. [Read More...]

Giving in to Grace


I am reading Brennan Manning’s last book, All is Grace. Manning died this past spring, so this will be his last word to those of us who, like him, feel a good bit like God’s ragamuffins (see Ragamuffin Gospel). I never met Brennan, though there was a time when we seemed to be following one [Read More...]

Learning to Fly


This past weekend I had the great privilege of spending the night with Pat de Jong and Sam Keen at their “farm.” It was wonderful to sleep with the door open and awaken to the fog and six or seven wild turkeys outside my room. As for many of you, Sam is a legend to [Read More...]

An Adventure of Re-becoming


I had lunch with my dear friend Jim Mitulski on Saturday. I’ve known Jim for almost 30 years, and he is one of the people I admire most on earth. He is incredibly wise and very smart, so his advice is something I have always treasured. We have had vigorous disagreements over the years, but [Read More...]

It is Dangerous and Costly to be a Neighbor


My UCC colleague Christine Smith, who teaches at United Seminary, tells the story of a friend named Kay. Kay was walking the streets of New York City one day with her lunch in hand when she passed a woman rummaging in the trashcan. After she passed, Kay paused and turned back to ask the woman, [Read More...]

The Hardest Eight Words


The curious lad lingered around the blacksmith shop watching the old smith work. The boy was always getting in the way and into things, but the smith tried to be patient, remembering that he had once been an inquisitive kid. The smith began hammering links of white hot iron into horseshoes. Having finished one, he [Read More...]

What’s yours is yours, but I’ll accept it.


The Gospel lesson on Sunday was one of the most familiar stories in literature. Even if you know nothing about the Bible you know what a Good Samaritan is. Most of us even know that Samaritans were reviled people in Jesus’ day, so making a hero of one was startling to his listeners. I suppose [Read More...]

Honesty Doesn’t Pay


The old woman stood in the longest line at the grocery store. She had nothing in her hand but her purse. When she finally reached the front, she opened her purse, took out a $20 bill, and said to the cashier, “When I was here earlier you gave me $20 too much change. I got [Read More...]



On Saturday evening, a jury informed us that they believed George Zimmerman was not guilty of murdering 17-year-old, unarmed Trayvon Martin. It was hard to sleep after the verdict was announced. Despite the fact that I had to get up early the next morning and preach about the Good Samaritan, I could not go to [Read More...]

The day the Marriage Equality movement died


Okay, I’ve kept my mouth shut long enough. I know that some of you must think something is wrong with me, but I haven’t said a word about the recent Supreme Court rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8, both of which advanced marriage equality in this country. Like all of you, [Read More...]