Defaulting to Grace


I recently had an opportunity to share lunch and conversation with a group of female seminarians. Over the course of the conversation I heard several fascinating questions, but one has been floating on the edge of my consciousness ever since it was raised. “In your view, what are the similarities between racism and sexism?” Though [Read More...]

Shine, Jesus, Shine

Transfiguration, Donald Jackson with contributions from Aidan Hart, Copyright 2002, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

Shine, Jesus, Shine Luke 9:28-36 Today we’re at the fifth Sunday following the Epiphany, this little season of the church year that begins with the Magi following one star in dark sky, leads us through story after story about Jesus’ earthly ministry, and lands us here—this year it’s in the gospel of Luke, chapter 9—on [Read More...]

Jesus Offends Me


Jesus Offends Me Luke 4:16-30   Today we find ourselves on the fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, a time in the liturgical year that takes us from the celebration of Christ’s birth right up to the beginning of Lent, Ash Wednesday, a six week season of penitence, reflection, and preparation for Easter.  This little season [Read More...]

When Church Really Isn’t What We Think It Is

Photo by T.H. Catapano

One of the best things about being a pastor is that over the course of experiencing the pastorate you can collect really great stories. Only some of those stories can be repeated in polite company, but that’s a topic for another column. Among the stories we collect, there are many that live in our memories [Read More...]

We’re Human Too

Get well soon flowers

Before you begin reading this column, I want you to know that I’m assuming we’re all clear on the fact that the pastor is a human being. This might sound like a strange way to start off. I mean, we all know the pastor is a human being, because the pastor needs to eat and [Read More...]

When the Ordinary is Suspended

Snow Storm

There’s a short story written by Philip Gulley, well-known Christian writer and Quaker pastor from Indiana. Here’s how it goes: I was born deep in the winter. Each birthday my father phones to recount the events surrounding my birth. Our sons are asleep in their bedroom under the eaves. My wife and I are sitting [Read More...]

What Can I Bring Him?


What Can I Bring Him? Hebrews 10:5-10   Welcome to the fourth Sunday of Advent, the Sunday of love.  These past weeks we have been living in the darkness and waiting for the light, working to make room in our hearts and in our community for Christ to be born even in us…for the promises [Read More...]

We Are Better Than This

Muslim Free Sign

Even the memory feels vaguely cheesy, as do most things Disney (in my experience). I was 6 years old; the date was July 4, 1976. For that year of my life my family lived in Orlando, Fla., and my parents took the whole family to Disney World for the bicentennial celebration. It’s one of my [Read More...]

Let There be Peace on Earth?


Let There Be Peace on Earth? Philippians 1:3-11 Advent 2 “Our prayers are with the victims, their families, and the first responders in San Bernardino.” “Thoughts and prayers are with #SanBernardino.” “My thoughts and prayers are with the victims, families, and brave first responders.” “Please keep the victims of #SanBernardino California in your prayers.” Perhaps [Read More...]

Poetry Corner


Wow, this is so beautiful.  Blessed Advent, friends.         O anitphon for our fears by Marin Tirabassi O Emmanuel, hailed by clueless Gabriel, who thinks we can shake off being afraid, Come to us in our fear. We fear the past and the future. We fear those who are unlike us in [Read More...]