Misery is Optional

Some years ago I preached a sermon entitled “Pain is Inevitable, but Misery is Optional.” I thought about that yesterday as I preached about the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. It is an odd story to read at the end of Lent. We are trying to focus on the passion of Christ, [Read More…]

Healthy Souls

Easter is very late this year. For the most part, that makes church life easier. More of the country gets a taste of spring, which makes Easter and resurrection more tangible realities. Good Friday is two weeks from today. I should confess that this hasn’t been my best Lent. I’ve done pretty well with what [Read More…]

A Devotion by Richard Rohr

Richard Rohr is a Franciscan priest and the author of numerous books worthy of your consideration. Earlier this year he wrote a devotion that struck me as particularly profound. A few weeks later, I was in a meeting with the pastors of the larger churches in the United Church of Christ and someone quoted that [Read More…]

More Wisdom, Less Siri

Since long before we started kindergarten, we have been praised and rewarded for what we learn and what we know. The pattern of living for a grade is so deeply engrained in us that people who build electronic games create them to praise us. Fact, data, information, charts, graphs, and detailed descriptions all prove our [Read More…]

See Life Clearly, See Ourselves Truly, See Our Future Hopefully

During Lent this year our congregation is seeking the Spirit’s wisdom in three areas. We are doing this individually and corporately. We are: Identifying our core values: those things we care about so deeply that they shape who we are; Discerning God’s vision: God’s dreams about who we might be if we actually became all [Read More…]

Jesus Did Not Debate

Yesterday’s assigned gospel lesson was from the ninth chapter of John. It is one of several very long readings that are assigned during Lent. Your church might have read the entire thing. Ours did not. It is unfortunate, but reading something that long to people usually reminds them of being read to at bedtime. So [Read More…]

The Man Was BLIND.

If it doesn’t rain Sunday, or God forbid snow, or if the spring day isn’t too pretty, or if some other excuse doesn’t present itself, you might go to church. If your pastor follows the common lectionary then, like us, they will preach on the story about healing the man born blind. Yesterday I talked [Read More…]

We Argue; Jesus Heals

This Sunday the Gospel lesson shares the story of a man who was born blind. As they pass by him, the disciples of Jesus ask, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2) There is so much wrong in this one verse that preachers can fill their entire [Read More…]

Defrosting Devotion

I’ve been listening lately to an African-American gospel radio station in the mornings and a contemporary Christian station in the afternoon. The music plays in the background while I work, but, every now and then, a song will demand that I pay attention. Sometimes it is the irresistible tune or beat. Other times what catches [Read More…]

A Complete Dismissal of Jesus’ Most Core Instruction

When I was in Dallas I often got into trouble for calling the church to contest the inequalities in the judicial system and, in particular, how capital punishment is imposed only on the poor. One Sunday I pointed out that Jesus, a peasant rabbi, had been executed by an unholy alliance of religion and the [Read More…]