December 30, 2018

And the angel said unto them, Fear not! for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people! A bunch of confused folks showed up to church this morning, heard Christmas carols, and were ready to hightail it out again. We already *did* Christmas. It’s done. We survived, and now it’s time to get on to the next thing. But the Church year, the old pathway of marking spiritual time, isn’t ready for us to… Read more

December 17, 2018

I sat on the couch across from my spiritual director, looking at the painting of the Annunciation. Mary is sitting on her bed, white bedclothes gathered and spilling onto the floor, and a bright light filling the room. She looks so gentle and submissive. Submissive Sister Mary. I never really felt very kindred to Mary as a kid. I’m big, and noisy, and never had the “gentle and quiet spirit” that some parts of the Bible seem to be annoyed… Read more

December 15, 2018

There are strange words on the wind this week of Advent. The lectionary texts from the Hebrew Bible are full of promises and joy. God is singing and dancing and delighting over us. “Sing aloud!” Isaiah hoots and hollers. “Rejoice!” Zephaniah sings. Abundance is here! Joy is today! [Zeph 3:14-20; Is 12:2-6]. Even our Epistle, Philippians is decadently delighted: “rejoice in the Lord always! I will say it again! Rejoice!” [Ph 4:4]. Merry Christmas, time for Christmas cheer, pass the eggnog, oh… Read more

December 7, 2018

“By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Zechariah’s Song Luke 1:78-79 I live with the fear that I’m going to get it wrong. Not even necessarily “I am going to be very sinful,” but the nagging fear that I am going to take the wrong path – or… Read more

December 1, 2018

Welcome to Advent, which launches off every year with a good old fashioned End Times Bible thumpin’ street preaching session! Wait, what. “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves.  People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see ‘the Son of Man… Read more

November 24, 2018

I want it to be Christmas so badly. I have never wanted it to be Christmas so much in my whole life. And we have to wait. This Sunday is the last week of Ordinary Time, which means we’ve successfully navigated the longest liturgical season that is so. totally. ordinary. Since July, we’re been trudging through spiritual disciplines on this column, and I’m just really, really ready for Christmas. Ordinary Time is the longest season in the Church calendar, a reminder that most… Read more

November 8, 2018

Jesus isn’t messing around today. Beware! the lectionary text begins. The NIV translates this as watch out! Be careful! Keep your eyes open. Danger ahead. As he taught, he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets! They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”… Read more

November 3, 2018

Tithing conjures up images of prosperity preachers hollering at little old ladies to send them their last paycheck so that these old ladies will be mightily blessed by God, one day, eventually, with a tremendous windfall. It conjures up TV evangelists sitting around fireplaces with big hair, surrounded by Southern ladies with even bigger hair, asking for money for their “ministry” that turns out to be their private jet. Tithing is not particularly popular, especially when people telling you to tithe are directly… Read more

October 25, 2018

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked [Bartimaeus]. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. From Mark 10:46-52 Gospel reading for Sunday, October 28 When was the last time you said what you really wanted out loud? Not the things you’re supposed to want, or think you want, or what you were told to want, or what the Fake You… Read more

October 20, 2018

I got very into Job in high school. I was a kid who got “very into” things, that included books of the Bible. My first love was Revelation, because of the dragons. I moved to Ecclesiastes, because of the existential dread. And when I was fifteen, I fell in love with the last four chapters of Job. I printed them out and taped them up around my room – I loved the sea monsters and lightning storms and the way… Read more

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