A Kinder, Gentler, more Grown-up Easter.

In yo face Devil! Take that forces of evil! Look whose laughing now! Ding Dong the witch is dead! We fart in your general direction! Sike!… Such has become the way that many of the world’s Christians have come to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection on Easter. We’ve allowed the ways of the world to infuse our beliefs and we end up fighting fire with fire. Employing the world’s ways against it.Once our religion became the official religion of the Roman empire, followers of the non-violent Jesus … [Read more...]

Forgiveness that’s hard to Fathom.

Holy, holy, holy. Beauty and blessing beyond my ability to comprehend. As a progressive Christian, embracing doubt is an essential part of my faith. It's integral to avoiding religion at its worst, at its most over-stated, and at its most dysfunctional. But there are bits of reality that come crashing into my healthy skepticism that leave me thinking ... "I guess there really is a God."This week marks the 20th anniversary of the beginning of 100 days of bloody mayhem and genocide in … [Read more...]

Great man, Great Speech, …and now – Spirituality Lite?

[This blog was originally written on April 3, 2011, the anniversary of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King's last speech - given the night before he was assassinated. Moving beyond confronting racism, King had expanded his work to speak out against the war in Vietnam and to address issues of economic injustice. In a crowded church in Memphis, TN, he spoke about his intention to march in solidarity with that city's sanitation workers (black & white) who were on strike to protest low pay and poor … [Read more...]

A “Sacred Fire” that Presents a Sacred Challenge — and Blessing.

I was really excited about the opportunity to read and review Ronald Rolheiser’s new book Sacred Fire: A Vision of a Deeper Human and Christian Maturity.I was… that is, until I started to read it. At a certain point I wasn't so sure if I truly wanted to keep going. You see while the title appealed to me, and while I fancied myself as someone who is a “deep human” and who is a relatively “mature Christian” – reading Rolheiser’s frank words made it clear to me that I have quite a ways to go. I … [Read more...]

Cookies of Love: a Progressive Pastor’s Encounter with Fred Phelps

Brother Fred - is dead. When someone passes it is right and well to remember them. The following is a recounting of an encounter I had with the late, spreader of homophobic hate - Fred Phelps -- at his worst, and perhaps at his best. During my last semester of grad school I was involved in monitoring the proceedings at the General Conference of the United Methodist Church (effectively, the “Congress” of the denomination that meets every four years to adopt and revise policies & regulations) … [Read more...]

Happy Slave Patrick’s Day!

      While we’re digging through our wardrobes trying to find that one item of green clothing that we own, and while the bars are stocking up to prepare for happy throngs tonight, and while certain folks challenge ecosystems by dumping green dye into rivers,      we might do well to ponder a part of the St. Patrick’s Day story that often gets forgotten — Patrick was a slave … [Read more...]