Happy Labor Day

Here’s a prayer for Labor Day: Loving and laboring God, We thank you for the gift of labor. For many of us, work provides for our financial and material needs. For many of us, work fills our desire to do good in the world, and for many of us, work provides the structure for our [Read More…]

Setting Ministry Boundaries

Lesson One: She was referred by a friend to Star Light Ministries. She was desperate for help. Her daughter was stripping in a local club, and she didn’t know what to do. We talked some about the club, about the work her daughter was doing. And we talked about ways for her to stay connected [Read More…]

Rape Babies Are a Gift from God

I know. It’s a terribly tasteless title. But I’ve laughed all week at a comment posted at the LATimes on one of the first articles about Todd Akin. The commenter wrote, “‘Rape Babies are a gift from God. —I’m Todd Akin, and I approved this message.” But the message is so much more deep than [Read More…]

Elvis Is Dead

…And I don’t feel so good myself, as the late great Lewis Grizzard said. In 1977, on August 16, I was living in Memphis, Tennessee. It was the summer before 4th grade. We lived in a small townhouse that we couldn’t afford to heat in the winter, but it was the summer. I remember the [Read More…]

Needs Assessment: Beginning

In my forthcoming book, I examine the first step of building a ministry for sex workers. A needs assessment. You’re basically trying to answer the question: “Does my town (city, state, nation) need a ministry for sex workers?” And why would you ask this question? First, because there is no sense in re-creating the wheel. [Read More…]

Get Off Your Butt—A Sermon

A sermon based on 1 Kings 19:3-8 I watched a movie this weekend called Machine Gun Preacher. It’s based on the life of Sam Childers, played by Gerard Butler, a former drug-dealing biker tough guy who finds God and and a calling. His calling is to save orphaned children from being conscripted into the Sudanese [Read More…]

The Color Purple

I’ve spent three days, on and off, watching The Color Purple. For the 15th (at least) time. I first saw it in college, way back when, in the theater. I remember sobbing in the theater. I remember the person (who I didn’t know) next to me asking, “Are you okay?” There are so many themes [Read More…]

New Magazine: PLGRM

The first time I saw the title of the new magazine, PLGRM, I thought, “Plagiarism?” Okay, no. It’s PILGRIM. And an awesome new magazine published by Landon Whitsitt. Landon asked me to write there, so I partnered with a friend, Rabbi Rebecca Ben-Gideon. We wrote about the joys of chavrutot. That’s study partners. Rebecca and I [Read More…]

Constrained By Your Own Parameters

Betsy Carter writes: It’s easy to feel constrained by your own parameters. You look at your parents and the house in which you grew up and think, that’s it: These are the things that define my life, why bother to try and break out of them. As I look at my life, today, I’m identifying [Read More…]

Because The Bedpost Doesn’t Hurt

I heard this story around 9/11. There was a healer working on the back of a patient, in a bed. The healer would rub the patient’s back for a few minutes, then she would hold on to the bedpost for minute, then she would go back to rubbing the patient’s back. After 3 or 4 [Read More…]