When Will the Untold Stories End? Another Entry for Black History Month

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Guest essay by Priscilla Pope-Levison Around the turn of the nineteenth century, Emma Ray and her husband L.P. experienced conversion to the Christian faith at an African Methodist Episcopal church in Seattle, Washington.Not long after, they experienced that distinctive, instantaneous experience of the holiness movement called sanctification. In her autobiography, Twice Sold, Twice Ransomed,  Emma describes a jolt like a lightning bolt that struck her head and coursed through her body "from … [Read more...]

The Holy Spirit: so much left to learn!

40 scripture texts.40 thoughtful meditations.40 spaces to write your own reflections.40 original prayers to the Holy Spirit.That's my newest book, Forty Days with the Holy Spirit, hot off the press. So hot, in fact, it's just out at Amazon, or you can get your copy on sale straight from Paraclete Press. It's the perfect book to deepen your discipleship and refresh your faith during Lent, which begins in a couple of weeks.I'll post the first day's meditation and prayer later on … [Read more...]

I Dare You! A pre-Lenten Challenge

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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...]

Life After a Shooting: The Metamorphosis of a College Campus

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Recently, I published this essay at Huffington Post. I republish it here, in case you haven't read it. It is June 5th, 2014, a Thursday night, 7 PM. My daughter and I walk onto campus. We are numb. The auditorium is packed, so we walk along the side row to the front stage, where we sit, facing out, peering over an altar of candles, at a sea of faces. They are numb, too. Just hours earlier, a shooting took place on our campus, and we have gathered to pray, to grieve, to grapple. We … [Read more...]

The Curious Case of the “Kick Ass” Messiah

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Don't be surprised if, during Advent, you hear a sermon that goes something like this: The Jews wanted a political messiah, but Jesus brought a peaceable kingdom.The Jews wanted someone to destroy Rome, but Jesus came to make peace.The Jews wanted a military ruler, but Jesus inaugurated a spiritual reign. I’ve heard this formula so many times that I’ve developed a gag reflex to it. Yet it keeps coming up. I was reading Christian Piatt’s Postchristian, for example, and came across this s … [Read more...]

Jottings from Assisi on Jon Sweeney’s When Saint Francis Saved the Church

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I read this book about St. Francis of Assisi all wrong.I should have read chapter five, Through Personal Poverty, in the Piazza del Vescovado, where St. Francis stripped himself naked and defiantly returned the clothes he had taken (read: stolen) from his father’s shop to distribute them to the poor. Instead, I read chapter five--on poverty--in the basilica of St. Francis, whose grandeur might have embarrassed him, according to Sweeney.I should have read chapter six, By Developing a New S … [Read more...]


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