Deviled Ham

Like the demon-possessed man in the Gospel lesson this past Sunday whose problems were Legion, we often feel as though our lives are possessed by other forces, as if we are chained to patterns and behaviors from which we are helpless to escape. We’d like be able to blame our struggles on an external force [Read More…]

Congruent Christianity

Congruent Christianity is a pattern of living that seeks to consistently express the core values of Jesus in every area of our lives. This doesn’t happen by pretending we are perfect or holy. The only one who might be fooled by such pretense might be us. Anyone else who lives with us knows the truth [Read More…]


Last Sunday I talked about courage and our need for a large dose of it if we are going to be capable of the kind of honesty we need to acknowledge our broken places. The recovery community would teach us that the first and hardest step to recovery is acknowledging our need and the fact [Read More…]


Margins aren’t just for papers. In fact, I’m increasingly convinced that margins, or rather the lack of them, is one of the most self-destructive things today. Richard Swenson, an associate professor of medicine, wrote a book called Margin that warns about the impact that failing to leave margins in our personal lives has on relationships, [Read More…]


The Bible calls early Christians “people of the Way.” I’ve always loved that because it forces me to think about the ways of Jesus. It is such a cliché to ask, “What would Jesus do?” but that doesn’t make the question any less important. When questions arise we all have quick, and often firm, opinions, [Read More…]

Smartest Person in the Room

Someone recently said to me about a colleague: “He always thinks that he is the smartest person in the room, and often that is true. The trouble is that when it is not he never knows and never sees how much damage is done.” I wonder how often the same could be said of me, [Read More…]

Word Pictures

Recently, as the guest preacher at Virginia-Highland Church, I used a video in the sermon by a young African-American poet/preacher named Tiffanie Shanks.  I am a big fan of her work.  She has an incredible power to create word pictures.  In her poem “True Identity,” which you can watch on YouTube ( she presents a [Read More…]

What to Wear

I have been in local church ministry since 1985, and I have had privilege of call in the United Church of Christ for five years, and three years ago I was called as Director of Online Learning and Coaching for the Center for Progressive Renewal. On a recent Sunday, though, I was asked for the [Read More…]

Mission Budgets

“…and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice….”  –Micah 6:8 I have often heard it said that the first thing to be cut when a church’s budget is tight is missions.  While I haven’t done any systematic research on the subject (actually not much I do is systematic), I have heard [Read More…]

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed

As social classes lack clear boundaries and overlap there are no definite income thresholds as for what is considered middle class. Sociologist Leonard Beeghley identifies a male making $57,000 and a female making $40,000 with a combined household’s income of $97,000 as a typical middle-class family. Sociologists William Thompson and Joseph Hickey estimate an income [Read More…]