Matthew 3:13-17 A few years ago I went to a wedding shower at which all the guests walked in the door and someone slapped a nametag on our backs.  As an icebreaker we had to talk with folks and try to find out who our “match” was at the party.  I was delighted to finally [Read More…]

Again, A Meditation for Christmas Eve

(**This meditation was inspired by Bishop Will Willimon’s column Christmas: Herod in Trouble) Well, here we are, and it’s Christmas Eve, again. On the edge of yet another year, we hear the ancient story read, picture a peace-filled stable scene, and open our hearts to hope that all that sweetness we imagine in the story’s [Read More…]

As If…We Had the Courage to Go Somewhere New

  Matthew 1:18–25   On December 8, just 10 days ago, Senator John Glenn died and 2016 further cemented itself in our minds as a really terrible year. It’s tremendous, the list of things that John Glenn accomplished in his life.  But if anybody asked you what he was most famous for, you’d know the [Read More…]

Welcoming an Atheist at Church

This piece was originally written in January 2014. Early in my pastoral work I found myself in the middle of an intense season of transformation and conflict at my church. I wasn’t prepared for the dynamics I faced then; really, nobody at church knew quite what to do with the ongoing and painful situation. In desperation, [Read More…]

As If…We Believed the Prophets

Matthew 3:1-12 Every year during the third week of January, I like to repost on my blog a little essay I wrote in 2006.  That year, my kids were 7, 8, and 11, and we lived in Washington, D.C. They were all enrolled in school, but they had the Martin Luther King Day as a [Read More…]

The Election is Over. Stop the Silence.

Objectively speaking, there has been very little in the political world that one might call good about the months leading up to the election. Now that the election is over (sort of), for Christian leaders everywhere there is at least one very, very good thing. Here it is: Donald Trump is no longer a candidate [Read More…]

As If…We Were Paying Attention

Matthew 24:36-44 It’s known in church history circles as the Great Disappointment.  Followers of Baptist minister William Miller quit their jobs in preparation for October 22, 1844, when Miller was convinced (and had convinced many others) that Jesus would come again.  He called the impending return “the Advent,” and taught widely and compellingly that Jesus [Read More…]

What Will Save Us

Luke 1:68-79 I don’t know how it was at YOUR house on Thanksgiving Day, but at my house growing up, Thanksgiving was one of those Norman Rockwell kinds of holidays . . . at least my Mom did her very best to make it seem so. I remember my Mom getting up very early in [Read More…]


Below are some excerpts from the forward I wrote to Elizabeth Hagan’s new book, Birthed.  Navigating the grief embedded in the human experience is something we all face, and this beautiful story will give universal words to your own personal pain.  Take a read and then check out the book! “At first glance I assumed [Read More…]

Meeting in the Ladies’ Room

Amy Butler and Leslie Copeland-Tune Okay, ladies. Huddle up. We’re having this meeting in the Ladies’ Room because we have a serious problem that can no longer be ignored. You don’t have to be even all that in touch with world events to know that the state of women in the world is pretty grim. [Read More…]