February 12, 2020

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me  (2nd Corinthians 12.9) (This is an updated and adapted version of a blog I wrote in the summer of 2015, I was thinking about it yesterday. So I gave it a fresh touch-up) I am a creature of habit. I like to… Read more

February 4, 2020

Are just cheesemakers welcome in the kingdom of heaven? Or, “any manufacturers of dairy products”. Every time I begin to study the Sermon on the Mount, I have to acknowledge my biases. If I try to ignore my preconceived ideas I will be manipulated by them. One of the simplest tools for helping me to hear the Sermon in a different way to hear it from some one else’s perspective. In Monty Python’s, The Life of Brian, while Jesus is… Read more

January 29, 2020

Preaching through the Gospel of Matthew every few years is an exercise in humility. This year, those of us using the Lectionary are back in the Gospel of Matthew for most of 2020. Looking back at my journals and notes, I find I expressed a great deal of assurance in my sermons. Looking back at my sermons and notes, I also find that I did not know what I was talking about. Each time I go through the gospels, I… Read more

January 27, 2020

Civility is lacking in public discourse. I have said this. Others have said this. Are we giving up on civility? Rants on social media. Abrasive political pundits on cable news. Foul-mouthed and derogatory comments and gestures from a president. All this lack of civility is like a plague. The time for civility to die a quick death has come. Civility, once the guardian of proper and polite interactions, should probably ride off into the sunset, retire, or simply be taken… Read more

January 22, 2020

The United States’ has been at war in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other Persian or Southwest Asian for nearly 20 years. This is not normal. This is wrong. A generation of war is a costly human tragedy in terms of lives and money. It is a soul-souring force in terms of understanding, allowing us to become embittered toward others. It destroys imagination of the possibilities of hope and peace, coloring all our ingenuity toward feeding destruction. War has become normal. Allowing… Read more

January 16, 2020

There’s a strangely escalated form of bravado that is commonplace. Escalation is so obvious, we hardly even see it anymore. De-escalation seems cowardly. Fear is as commonplace as are our attempts to hide it. Certainly, there is a need to challenge and even to oppose. But, I have witnessed a hardening of the heart in the strong and the brave. Boldness and courage are seen through machismo and violent examples. As a generation has grown to adulthood without knowing a… Read more

January 4, 2020

Routines he continued to go to his house…and to get down on his knees three times a day to pray to his God and praise him, just as he had done previously (Dan 6.10) If it wasn’t for my spiritual director’s collar, she would have face planted in the gutter. Fortunately, the collar was attached to the leash – oh yeah, remember, my spiritual director is my dog.  This morning while on our routine walk the sidewalks were icy. This… Read more

January 1, 2020

What did you do over the past ten years? I fight annual celebrations. It always turns into self-criticism over the lack of accomplishment. Recognition of things not done since the previous time the holiday came by. Highlighting this feeling, over the past several days, as the calendar has turned from 2019 to 2020, a number of friends have been using social media to post lists of experiences and accomplishments. Most of these are bright and hopeful. Many recall challenges overcome…. Read more

December 12, 2019

There’s a certain family resemblance between Jesus and his Mamma. Mary follows God. She will go where God leads. And because of that, she sees things others did not see. Those who keep looking to the tradition, the familiar, and the recognized are not going to see the new things that God has in store. Jesus in the same prophetic path, likes to stir things up, too. She Liked to Stir Things Up Mary’s Magnificat cannot be read too lightly…. Read more

December 11, 2019

Advent is a season of waiting. I have used that definition often. But to a certain extent, it falls short of being a full explanation. The question has to emerge: waiting for what? If we’re unaware of what we are awaiting, we might miss it when it arrives. And we might still not be clear what “it” is. Waiting for God? We who confess that the reign of God has come already in the person of Jesus (Mark 1:15), know… Read more

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