August 10, 2018

I’m tired of hearing pastors preach that “believing in Jesus” means I’ll never be spiritually hungry again. I’m tired of churches claiming that Jesus is the answer to our existential emptiness, and that once we “accept Jesus,” we’ll never feel distant from God again. Sometimes I’m not just tired of the put-on cheerfulness of church. Sometimes, (gulp), I’m even tired of the Bible. Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be... Read more

August 4, 2018

Shame is sneaky. Shame creeps into the passenger seat of the car at a stop light, and whispers you’re a pretty bad father, you know that, right? Shame crawls into bed with us at 3AM, pokes us in the back, and hisses wow, remember that time in college you really hurt your roommate? Shame slithers in and tells us that we are too bad, too mean, too sensitive, too needy, too anxious, too much, not enough. Shame keeps a ledger of everything terrible we’ve ever done,... Read more

July 27, 2018

It feels reckless to tell everyone that they’re “enough.” Some people are terrible. Some people clearly should be trying harder. And I’m not enough. My gifts aren’t enough. There is so much suffering and scarcity. What does “enough” mean when so many people are unfed? Who are we to show up, as we are? Who are we to say that we’re enough? How dare we show up with our mistakes and inadequacies, as if we’re perfect? How dare we bring our bag... Read more

July 20, 2018

This week, Jesus gets distracted. What? Not Jesus! Jesus was a man with a plan! Jesus knew what He set out to do, and then He did it! Not this week, friends. Our lectionary text this week is Mark 6:30-33 and 6:53-56. Jesus and His disciples are on their way to rest. But they don’t make it. Things change on the way. “He said to [the disciples], ‘Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.’ For many were... Read more

July 13, 2018

Edgar Allen Poe meets John Bunyan in this terrible little fable that’s snuck into our lectionary this week. In Mark 6:14-29, a local politician’s birthday party ends with the decapitation of an itinerant preacher. This dark story feels out of place in a gospel that is notorious for not wasting words or time (Mark uses the word “immediately” so often that this gospel could be called “The Gospel of Jesus Who Is In A Tremendous Rush”). Why does Mark include this,... Read more

July 6, 2018

“Pilgrimage” always sounds like an exhausting affair. We imagine dour monks in brown robes, praying solemnly on their way to very holy places, or maybe Reese Witherspoon in Wild, screaming and throwing her boots off the ledge while bandaging her blisters. Long journeys are for the relentless and unsmiling, wearing heavy packs and getting up while it’s still dark to cook tasteless food that is meant for sustenance but not pleasure. “Sustenance, not pleasure” sums up how we view Ordinary... Read more

June 28, 2018

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 Lectionary Text for July 1 Sixth Sunday After Pentecost I came into church one Sunday, and the soft ambient light on the back wall behind the pulpit was red instead of white. “That’s so weird,” I whispered to my friend. “Why is everything red today?” “Oh, it’s because it’s Pentecost,” she whispered back. “It’s... Read more

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