“Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy.” It’s number four on our list of the ten big commandments, but true confession: for most of my life so far, it’s the other nine that have given me the most pause—not this one. Honestly, if I gave it any thought at all I likely just assumed this commandment has something to do with making sure you get to church on at least a semi-regular basis.  But as we heard from Rev. Keat… Read more

Earlier this week I spent a few hours at the Metropolitan Museum of Art wandering around the Heavenly Bodies exhibit.  Every year the Met holds a huge fundraiser gala with a specific theme.  This year the theme was “Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” which garnered a lot of press attention with its curious combination of fashion and faith (or at least the Church).  One of the costumes I saw reminded me of Princess Leia and an essay I wrote awhile back… Read more

When I first came to The Riverside Church in the City of New York, there were a lot of stories about the fact that I was the first female senior minister to step into this historic pulpit. In nearly every interview I got the question: what is it like to be a woman in this role? And my standard answer was that I wanted to be known as a pastor who happens to be a woman, not a woman pastor…. Read more

Unreasonable Love Rev. Dr. Amy Butler John 15:9-17 Okay, let’s pretend we’re all Christians here. We’ll assume for the next few minutes that we have all personally decided to be Christians, that is, followers of Jesus Christ, so let’s now speak frankly about what being a Christian is like in America in 2018. Most of us know what’s expected when you say you’re a Christian: accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior in just the right way. And when you do… Read more

Fooled by the Past Rev. Dr. Amy Butler John 10:11-18 As you may recall, it was April Fool’s Day that ushered us into this season of Easter—the weeks following Easter Sunday—when we read the stories of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances and reckon with the difficult-to-believe reality of resurrection, an idea that flies in the face of everything we know to be true about being human. During these weeks of the Easter season we’re grappling with experiences we have that try our… Read more

#FoolsToo Rev. Dr. Amy Butler Mark 16:1-8 The date was April 8, 2007, Easter Sunday morning.  The church was filled with people dressed in their finest.  There were flowers everywhere and a spirit of joyful anticipation in the air.  Much like today. As I recall, the sanctuary of my former church in Washington, D.C., was set up specially that day, with risers behind the pulpit for the special festival choir to sit during the service.  I was preaching the Easter… Read more

It’s been 15 years since Fred Rogers died. To be honest, I never really knew him as “Fred;” he was always Mr. Rogers to me and probably to a lot of you. I remember thinking as a child that Mr. Rogers was a little strange—he wore some ugly sweaters and played with puppets on TV, after all. But, of course had I known he was a minister, Rev. Fred Rogers, that would have made all the sense in the world…. Read more

Making a Movement Rev. Dr. Amy Butler Mark 11:1-11 There was bright sunshine warming the cool air as thousands of people gathered in the streets, chanting and waving, singing and marching.  They were there because they wanted change to come, because they’d been invited to gather to make a statement with their very presence.  That was the scene more than 2000 years ago in the streets of Jerusalem, the day we remember today. Welcome to the start of Holy Week,… Read more

“We have had enough.  All we want is this: we want you to come to the table and figure things out.” The statement sounds a bit like it’s coming from an exasperated mother, sick and tired of hearing her children squabble with each other.  And in a manner of speaking, that’s exactly what it is. Spurred on by what has become a deadlock, a hopeless political standoff, women from all over Israel and Palestine have risen up to demand peace. … Read more

This week in particular it seems appropriate to continue reporting on the #HolyWomenHolyLand trip with a quote from non-violent Palestinian activist and political leader Issa Amro, who met with our group after an emotional walk through the formerly bustling Palestinian city of Hebron. Issa Amro grew up in the city of Hebron.  He was in college when the Second Intifada began and the presence of Israeli troops in the West Bank increased significantly.  During that time Issa began to realize… Read more

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