“Did God Kill Jesus?” A Response to Tony Jones

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We were halfway through our youth group’s class on Holy Week. We discussed Palm Sunday as an act of political subversion and Maundy Thursday as the King becoming the Servant. We were on a roll and everyone was engaged, but he was becoming restless. I could tell it was much more than typical teenage angst. So I addressed him, “It looks like you may have something to say…” And then the question burst from his lips:What’s so good about Good Friday?“That’s a great question,” I responded. Reme … [Read more...]

Nonviolence in Action: Good News for Holy Week from Mel Duncan


We often hear from readers about the difficulties they face teaching and preaching the power of nonviolence in places where faith in violence runs deep. During Holy Week it is especially difficult to counter the idea that God required Jesus’ death to redeem humanity from our sins. This Holy Week preachers face a double whammy as the airways echo with faith in American firepower to restore peace in places like Syria, Iraq, or Ukraine. Faith in God’s violence is matched by an equal faith in our own … [Read more...]

Praying the Compline with Children

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I can be pretty dense sometimes. Exhibit A: I just realized that the child’s prayer “Now I lay me down to sleep” is a Compline, or night prayer, for children. As my Lenten discipline I’ve been praying the Compline, hoping to make friends with death. I’d begun to realize that facing up to my mortality might deepen my faith, and so it has. As I’ve forced myself to end my day with an examination of conscience and entrust my life into God’s care, I’ve sensed an opening up to life. I have a long way t … [Read more...]

Why Was Jesus Crucified? A Conversation with Romal Tune


  Welcome to our final installment in our Lenten series with curriculum writers. We invited a cross section of educators to share with us how they explain the violence at the Cross to children and youth. Our aim for the series is to provide resources to church school directors and educators who are seeking ways to present the Cross as a witness to God’s nonviolence. (To see the first three posts, go to Categories and choose Curriculum.)We’ve invited the inspiring Rev. Romal Tune into th … [Read more...]

Ted Cruz and God’s Political Subversion

Ted Cruz at Liberty University (Screen shot via YouTube.)

Ted Cruz became the first major candidate to declare a presidential run for 2016. His formal announcement came this morning at Liberty University, the largest Christian university in the world.Cruz’s announcement at Liberty University was an important political strategy. Cruz is the poster child of the Tea Party movement. He wants to spread his influence by appealing to evangelicals. There is no better place to garner the evangelical vote than the largest Christian university on the p … [Read more...]

My Biggest Concern for My Gay Son is Religion: On Being Catholic and Gay

Owning Our Faith (owningourfaith.com)

I recently wrote about a former member of my church youth group. She was everything that a youth pastor could ask for in a student. She was kind, welcoming, smart, funny, and she took following Jesus seriously. And I’ll never forget the day that she told our youth group that she is a lesbian. Fortunately, she continues to be a faithful follower of Christ.I’m a proud member of the United Church of Christ. We’ve had a long history that dates back to 1972 of being open and affirming of our siste … [Read more...]

Why Was Jesus Crucified? Curriculum Writers Discuss Their Answers, Part 3


Two years ago at the Faith Forward conference in Nashville, I met the amazing Rose Stutzman. She is the project director for Shine: Living in God’s Light, a Sunday school curriculum I wish I’d known about when I was directing the Christian education program at my church. Shine is an amazing resource for anyone looking to teach the nonviolence of God no matter how violent the biblical story gets. Which, of course, is the perennial challenge we all face during Holy Week.In this series, we are i … [Read more...]