Meeting Jesus – What My Mom Taught Me About Death, Cussing, and Salvation

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I began my second unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) yesterday.  CPE is basically a fancy way of saying that I’m studying to become a chaplain in a hospital. And “unit” is CPE speak for semester.We share our “story” with our supervisor and the other students on the first day of every unit of CPE. Our supervisor says that part of CPE is about owning our “stuff,” and part of the “stuff” we need to own is our past. So we tell our story to discover how it informs our present and how we mig … [Read more...]

For the Love of Paddington: A Movie Review

I loved Paddington, the new movie based on the Michael Bonds books about an immigrant bear who arrives in London from darkest Peru. Paddington has no resources other than his faith that he will be welcomed with open arms. Sadly, his experience begins like that of most illegal immigrants to the European or American shores – he is rejected and ignored. But this is a playful movie with a happy ending that celebrates what wonderful things happen to the Brown family when they allow Paddington into t … [Read more...]

In Gratitude for Marcus Borg: On the Unholy God


Marcus Borg, a bestselling author and prominent Jesus scholar, died last week. I read the news on my Facebook feed as many of my progressive friends lamented his death.Borg’s influence is unparalleled in progressive Christian circles. He was a scholar with the rare ability to speak to academics and to the masses. Many in my mainline denominational church claim that Borg has helped them remain Christians. His books, especially Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, provided a way for them to … [Read more...]

Who is God: Part 2: The Holy Spirit and judgmental gods not worth believing in

Ask anyone to tell you about the Holy Spirit and you will likely receive blank stares. How do you describe a spirit, let alone one that is marked as “Holy”?Rene Girard’s book “I See Satan Fall Like Lightning” changed my life – and changed my understanding of the Holy Spirit. He points out that Jesus used a specific name for the Holy Spirit. In the Greek of the New Testament, that name is “Paraclete.”Paraclete is often translated as Advocate. For example, Jesus says, “I will ask the Father … [Read more...]

Questions from Selma: Where Was the Love?

After watching Selma, I had a weird feeling that the filmmakers thought they were making one kind of movie but unintentionally made a very different one. I gleaned from rave reviews and interviews with the actor David Oyelowo (Dr. King) and director Ava DuVernay that they thought they were making a tribute movie to a hero of the civil rights movement in the United States, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. They seemed to believe that his leadership in the face of insurmountable political odds and … [Read more...]

Who is God? Part 1: God is Love

Theology comes from two Greek words. Theos, meaning God, and logos, meaning word or reason. So, theology is simply words about God.The most fundamental questions for theology is “Who is God?”* People have answered the question in many ways, but as a Christian theologian there are two answers that I find the most compelling.An early follower of Jesus, possibly his disciple John, wrote a letter knowns to us as 1 John. That letter contains the only two truth statements about God in the New T … [Read more...]

John McCain, Mitt Romney, and America’s Insane Foreign Policy

 John McCain recently held a press conference where he speculated on a third Mitt Romney presidential campaign. He said that Romney would be a “viable” candidate, especially when it comes to foreign policy. Just to show how good Romney’s foreign policy would be, he attacked Barack Obama’s foreign policy.Welcome to the presidential campaign.McCain stated about the debates between Romney and Obama during the run up to the previous election, One of the rationales that Governor Romn … [Read more...]