In an effort to get up-to-date on posting about the Narrative Lectionary (for more information, check here), I’m going to post a couple of thoughts this week, then post next Sunday’s sermon next week. Week 2 of the narrative lectionary covered Genesis 15:1-6. This passage speaks as a visitation of God to Abram through a vision, reminding Abram of God’s covenant with him, and that he will have many descendents. My Hebrew study group and I struggled through this chapter,… Read more

I’ve been preaching the Revised Common Lectionary since my first church job in 2001. And while I love it, I also find myself reverting to the same themes, the same comfortable texts, and the same stories time and time again. It has become such a rhythm that I find myself thinking the right theme before I even check the text. But no more! As of September 9, 2012, I began preaching the Narrative Lectionary. With a nod to not only… Read more

The essence of bravery is being without self-deception. However, it’s not so easy to take a straight look at what we do. Seeing ourselves clearly is initially uncomfortable and embarrassing. As we train in clarity and steadfastness, we see things we’d prefer to deny—judgmentalness, pettiness, arrogance. These are not sins but temporary and workable habits of mind. The more we get to know them, the more they lose their power. This is how we come to trust that our basic… Read more

One of the greatest joys of being a pastor is that you get to be involved in the most intimate moments of people’s lives. And every time a child is born, I am filled with such hope in the human spirit, with such hope for the future. Through the darkest hours, it’s hard to be hopeless when surrounded by new birth. A few months ago, a Mennonite couple from out of town contacted me in hopes of finding some resources… Read more

“Ending Demand” refers to a number of initiatives aimed at the purchasers of sex, including diversion programs (John schools), advertising campaigns, shaming campaigns (photos and names printed and posted in public forums), and arrest of clients of sex workers. The model for many of these End Demand programs is the Swedish model, which has decriminalized the act of selling sex, but criminalized its purchase. Noy Thrupkaew, contributing editor at The American Prospect and a former fellow at the Open Society… Read more

A recent commenter on a post wrote that he’s a pastor involved in the anti-trafficking movement: I’m very interested to learn more about your contempt for/critiques of that movement. I was a little stunned at the question. Contempt? Do I really have contempt for the movement? The answer to that question makes me dig a little deeper. And perhaps I should explain… On Saturday, September 22 in the New York Times, there was an editorial by Noy Thrupkaew in which… Read more

Go to google right now. Search for “prostitution arrest” and select “images.” Or even better yet, don’t do that. Take my word for it. That google search will give you page after page of mug shots of women and men who have been arrested on solicitation charges. If sex workers are victims, as the anti-trafficking movement would tell you, then wouldn’t putting their picture on the Internet be much like posting the pictures of sexual assault survivors? Or naming rape… Read more

The Christian Science Monitor published an article by this name on September 10. In it, they write: As with anything that involves the letters S, E, and X, academics, advocates, and the general public are emotional and divided. Dig beneath the surface of the anti-sex-trafficking movement and there are ambiguities and confusions and facts and fictions. They go on to say: Rather than being a black-and-white, good-and-bad issue, trafficking touches on some of the most uncomfortable and conflicted areas of… Read more

I’ve been listening to NPR recently, and they’ve interviewed a lot of pastors about their views of the election. I’m always stunned when a pastor confesses who will receive their vote. Of course, I know who I’m voting for. As a matter of fact, I’ve been volunteering for that campaign, writing a little bit. But the most I will say to my congregation and others is that they should vote. In addition, when I’ve written about the campaign, I’ve written… Read more

Child, child, have patience and belief, for life is many days, and each present hour will pass away. Son, son, you have been mad and drunken, furious and wild, filled with hatred and despair, and all the dark confusions of the soul – but so have we. You found the earth too great for your one life, you found your brain and sinew smaller than the hunger and desire that fed on them – but it has been this way… Read more

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