Taking to the Street

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My friend and colleague, Kevin Martin, achieves "Onion-esque" success at his blogspot with a satire that raises a serious question.  What happens when we transplant liturgical acts and sacraments from sacred space to the public domain? Baptismal Font Goes on the MoveEven though heavily endowed, Grace Memorial Episcopal Church in Kelso, Ohio, a town just outside of Columbus is facing hard times.  The Rector, an Assisting Priest, and a Deacon have only three remaining Church members.  That is … [Read more...]

The Language of Lent: Repentance

Lent is making something of a comeback as Christians who historically have observed the season bump up against those who don’t in the blogosphere.  But the language of Lent, which is rooted in larger Christian practice, often makes people uncomfortable.Of the many words associated with Lent, “repentance” may actually qualify as one of the more underappreciated and misunderstood words.  The conversation about repentance with the larger culture and, for that matter, conversations with people wi … [Read more...]

Lance Armstrong and the Meaning of Repentance

This just in from the BBC in an interview with cyclist, Lance Armstrong: Shamed cyclist Lance Armstrong believes the time is coming when he should be forgiven for doping and lying - and told the BBC he would probably do it again.  Armstrong, 43, was stripped of his record seven Tour de France titles and banned from sport for life by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) in August 2012.  "If I was racing in 2015, no, I wouldn't do it again because I don't think you have to," he said.  "If … [Read more...]

Final Lessons: A Tribute to Rueben P. Job

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In the fall of 2013 when I was installed as the first holder of the Rueben P. Job Chair in Spiritual Formation at Garrett-Evangelical, I understood well that I was not only assuming responsibilities for my students, but that I was shouldering the on-going work of the man whose name graced the chair that I hold.  His prayerful, measured, and visionary leadership stretched across six decades, touching people in the Dakotas, the Armed Forces in Europe, and Iowa.  His work on behalf of the United M … [Read more...]

No Cause for Celebration: Taking The Dave Test during the holidays, Question One

Question One: “Can I say life sucks?”Introduction to the seriesMy brother, Dave, battled a fatal brain cancer for nearly eight years and he died in January of 2013 as the result of a fall that was due in large part to his illness.  In reaction to Dave’s quest to find a durable faith and supportive friends, I wrote a book calledThe Dave Test. The book distills Dave’s quest into ten questions that any of us can ask ourselves, when we are in one of life’s hard places or when we are trying to … [Read more...]

Vocation and Jobs

I've been through two employment crises. Three if you include the uncertain business of doing doctoral work against the backdrop of a changing academy and a shrinking church. This is a piece of what I have learned: Focus on vocation -- on God's calling on your life. That calling won't have a title or a job description attached to it. You won't find it on an "org chart." It might not even be one in the same with your "day-job." The key to discovering your vocation lies in asking what do I do, … [Read more...]

Throw Like a Girl: The Power of Enacted Contradictions

In a world fraught with an increasing number of bitter debates over what is theoretically possible, the best antidote to prejudice may still be the enacted contradiction.  That, at least, is one of the lessons to be learned from the Little League career of pitcher Mo’ne Davis who pitches at 70 mph and just threw history’s first shut out for Philadelphia’s Taney Dragons. She shatters sexist assumptions about what it means to “throw like a girl” and she does it all with composure that most adults f … [Read more...]

A prayer and benediction for Robin, child of God, and for us all…

We are saddened and rendered fearful by the loss of one with so much energy. We watch the news that tens of thousands --- hundreds of thousands --- have died and hardly register the loss. But, then, someone who has lived so publicly, so fearlessly, so vulnerably, and joyfully dies and the dimensions of human loss are crystalized, brought to bear on a single life, a single loss, an individual tragedy. In response, we rehearse his gifts. We scour his life for an explanation. The most fearful among … [Read more...]


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