I Dare You! A pre-Lenten Challenge

seattle

Though they roll their eyes, I love to tell my kids about the Heidi Bowl. I was 12 at the time—November 17, 1968. The Oakland Raiders were playing the Jets--my team--with Broadway Joe Namath at the helm. At 7 PM, with a minute left, the Jets ahead 32-29, NBC cut away to the film Heidi. During that minute, the Oakland Raiders scored two touchdowns and beat the Jets 43-32. (Crazy, I know, but I had it backwards until I just looked it up on Wikipedia; I could have sworn the Jets won! Wow, am I a l … [Read more...]

Before Bethlehem

candle image

The joke is told about a priest, Father Murphy, and little Eileen O’Connell, a third-grader in his catechism class. Father Murphy was explaining one day that Jesus was a Jew, not a Christian. Jesus was born a Jew, lived a Jewish life, and died a Jew. The implacable, red-haired Eileen O’Connell shoved her freckled arm into the air and shook it violently. “Yes, Eileen,” the unflappable priest responded, “What is it?” “Well, Jesus may have been a Jew, Father Murphy, but his mother was a Catholic!”* … [Read more...]

A Wee Little Man and a Big Insight

zaccheus

Last weekend Priscilla and I flew to Dallas to teach in an organization called United Methodist Women. We’d written the 2014 spiritual growth study, How Is It with Your Soul?, so they asked us to teach. We had a wonderful time with a remarkable group of people who share an equal amount of hunger for scripture and for justice.I arrived late. Priscilla and I were scheduled to leave at 6:45 AM on Thursday, but it was not to be. Jeremy graduated on Father’s Day, and our whole family, one by one, … [Read more...]

Garage Sale Antics and the Church in Antioch: Reflections on Generosity

mercedes benz

Last Saturday, my wife and daughter held a garage sale. I wasn’t there because I went with my son to his college orientation. When I arrived home, Priscilla couldn’t wait to tell me this story.Mid-morning a woman drove up in a late model black Mercedes Benz. She nosed around then offered Priscilla and Chloe a quarter—that’s twenty-five cents—for a brand new bulletin board they had priced at a buck. In the spirit of garage sales, Priscilla countered, “50 cents!” The woman hesitated then packed … [Read more...]

Intimacy with God and a Blindfolded Boy

Vineyard

After the evening’s lecture, I trundled off to the men’s room. When I returned, not five minutes later, nearly everyone had gathered at the front of the room. People were praying for each other, laying hands on each other, talking quietly with each other, while a pianist played riffs lightly in the background.This is the quintessence of the Vineyard movement, which began under the leadership of John Wimber in the 1970s. It’s a strange—and inviting—mixture of Pentecostal and Quaker elements. T … [Read more...]

Some Pretty Good Advice from Ecclesiastes for Valentine’s–and Every Other–Day

old couple

I just wished a faculty colleague Happy Valentine’s Day and told him, as I put it, “I’m writing exams, but at least I’m doing it across the kitchen table from the woman I hold dear.” That made me think about living in the moment. About living into the moment.Yesterday, I taught on Wisdom Literature. Proverbs. Ecclesiastes. Job. Song of Songs. We talked about how the Teacher (the main figure in Ecclesiastes) tears apart cheap, simple, and ultimately unsustainable formulas. “A stitch in time sa … [Read more...]


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