Loving Those People

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This Lectionary Reflection is cross-posted at the Ekklesia Project  Easter 5, Year C John 13:31-35 She stood outside of the meeting room, a cigarette in hand–crying.  This was a weekend spiritual retreat, a time of renewal, but for this woman it was clearly painful, even degrading.  My wife approached the woman and asked what was wrong.  “I’m Baptist,” she said, “and everyone is just saying such bad things about us.”  The retreat was put on by the Episcopal Church and this being a southern Epi … [Read more...]

Why Christ Still Has His Wounds

A Sermon on John 20:19-31In Dante's Divine Comedy, after he's followed Virgil through hell, after he's climbed the seven story mountain of purgatory, watching penitents shed the remnants of each of the seven deadly sins as they climb, he arrives at the edge the garden of Eden on the top of the mountain.  It's a journey back to square one.  He will go into Eden and then from there into heaven where the beautiful Beatrice will great him.  There's only one thing he must do before he can enter th … [Read more...]

Pray for Me

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“I’ll pray for you.”  That can be a sentence of honest intent and care, but it can just easily be a power play, a kind of spiritual violence.  I had a friend who was once struggling with faith, asking deep questions of it.  Many who did not know him well, earnest evangelicals who hadn’t been gifted with such questions, would sometimes come to him and say, “I’ll pray for you.”  “I’ll pray for you,” because I’ve got God figured out and you don’t.  “I’ll pray for you,” because I have a close connect … [Read more...]

Gluttony: My Mix of Laziness and Ambition

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I’ve been realizing that I’m a glutton.  At least that’s the name for it that my Spiritual Director and I came to recently as I described how my ambitions toward discipline and self-control fall short, how I can’t let my wife buy graham crackers because some dark night I’ll eat them all.  I’m a hungry person whatever it is.  I am someone who wants more—more time, more books, more talent, more speed.  But when the time comes, when I get the books I want, when I have a chance to exercise my talent, … [Read more...]

Confessing My Fear of Trayvon Martin

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Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of Trayvon Martin’s murder.  It doesn’t seem that long ago and that is partly because it took months for the media to actually catch on to the story and call attention to the atrocity it was.  In remembering Trayvon Martin’s death as I move through Lent, this season of confession and penance, I have to admit that I am a part of the reality that resulted in the murder of an innocent teen.  I say this because as I think this week about what addictions are h … [Read more...]

Don’t Ruin Your Appetite: Fasting Through Lent

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On Wednesdays and Fridays I am hungry, but it is on those days that I am closest to being satisfied.  On the Wednesdays and Fridays of Lent I fast, following the ancient Christian tradition of abstaining from all caloric foods and drinks twice weekly.  This was a tradition regained by the early Methodists with their efforts to reinvigorate Christianity as a practice—in choosing this twice weekly fast I am in good company.There are of course a number of things I could have taken on to train to … [Read more...]

Remember that you are humus

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Ash, you should know, is a great source of phosphorus and potassium—two members of the essential soil chemical triad of Nitrogen-Phosphorous-Potassium (N-P-K).  We should remember this as we go into Ash Wednesday, a solemn day in which we meditate on our mortality and finitude.  In thinking of our death we must also recognize that our mortality is tied to the nutrient cycles of the earth, that our bodies are a source of new life.As Ashes are imposed in the sign of the cross on our forehead th … [Read more...]

Training for Easter

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I went for a long run today and it wasn’t easy.  I can usually go ten miles at a  pretty good pace without too much worry, but on today’s run my legs felt stiff and my heart rate was too high for the pace.  I’m a bit out of running shape, but I don’t worry.  I’ve been doing other things over the winter,  lifting weights, getting stronger, but now with an ultramarathon and triathlon on the calendar for the spring, it’s time to get to work training for specifically for those sports.The seasons … [Read more...]

Fish McBites and the Abundant Kingdom

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Just in time for lent McDonald's is releasing its newest product—the Fish McBite.  For those who grew up with the Friday Filet-O-Fish, this new McDonald's treat is a “healthy” twist on the old favorite.  Best of all it is sustainable.  The fish in the McBites are 100% wild-caught Alaskan Pollock from a sustainable fishery.  Next time you’re in the drive through you can feel good about the battered fish bites you’re putting in your mouth.I thought of the Fish McBite as I recently read Luke 5:1 … [Read more...]

You Won’t See Unless You Look

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When I was in high school I took up bird watching and found lots of rare birds.  I would go to places and habitats at times of years where a rare bird might occur.  There would be a flock of thousands of birds and I'd pick through every one, on many occasions, on the off chance that one time I'd find something out of the ordinary.  And I would often find something that didn't belong--a bird from Argentina in Arkansas, for instance.I'm no longer the serious birder I once was, but I still look … [Read more...]


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