Bridging the Great Divide

Luke 16:19-31 Thomas Jefferson, as you know, is famous for many things.  One thing in particular is currently housed in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.  It’s a Bible, sort of.  He created it by cutting passages out of a Bible with a razor and pasting them with glue into a collection he titled: [Read More…]

Bread on the Water

In April 2015 I gave the closing address at Faith Forward in Chicago.  It ended up being some deeply personal reflections on the loss of my brother, John, only one year before.  Yesterday would have been John’s 40th birthday, and even with the passing of time occasionally the grief is so sharp it makes you [Read More…]


Luke 15:1-10   I don’t quite know why I was so surprised by this. As I prepared for my sermon this week, today—the 15th anniversary of the terrible and terrifying day that airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center towers and hit the Pentagon in Washington, DC—it was not far from my consciousness that so [Read More…]

Out of Many, One

I doubt I’m telling you something you don’t know, but just in case you’re wondering, let me say from the start: leading a church is hard work. It’s just perpetually difficult to bring a group of people together, united or at least generally aligned around a shared conviction and mission, and move them toward action. [Read More…]

People Are Watching

Luke 14:1; 7-14 When I was in seminary I had a professor who taught us a lesson about hospitality that I will never forget. Some of you may know that I went to seminary in Europe with Baptists from all over the world.  Occasionally we would travel for study trips into areas of Eastern Europe [Read More…]

Bent Over

You would think that after preaching almost four cycles of the Revised Common Lectionary a preacher would have at least one sermon on all the interesting texts that come around regularly. For some reason unknown to me, however, it turns out that I have never written a sermon on the Gospel text assigned for last [Read More…]

Facebook, Family, and Surviving the Election

In this week’s column I talk about the pain that comes when politics divides us from those we love and makes us forget the deeper common values that keep us bound to each other. Guns have become a hotly contested political issue in our country, one that will ruin a family Thanksgiving meal every year. [Read More…]

Quit Your Job

Luke 12:32-40 “It’s time to quit your job and start living the life you’ve always dreamed of!” I heard someone say that on an advertisement this week and it caught my attention.  Why?  Well, I’m learning, once you reach a certain stage in life, you start to think more about things you never gave a [Read More…]

Grief Fatigue

Last week I had the opportunity to meet with a group of millennial social justice leaders who were meeting across the street at Union Theological Seminary. I probably shouldn’t have read their bios before I headed over to their closing dinner, where I’d been asked to “share something hopeful,” because their list of accomplishments and [Read More…]

When God Gets Political: Next

Hosea 1:2-10 For the last few weeks we’ve been talking about what happens with God gets political.  We’re doing that because this month we’re being bombarded with political messages here in America: so many things to think about, so many important decisions to make.  And some people claim that our faith, our understanding of how [Read More…]