Identity and the Current Tumult

January 27, 2019 4:42 pm

Central to the discussion of cultural and pastoral issues concerning ministry in the current societal tumult is the matter of identity, specifically in reference to what constitutes identity and on what it is based. This touches on every aspect of human existence and is especially at the core of any discussions regarding human sexuality, even when it is not explicitly noted. ‘Individualism’ is a term first cited by DeToqueville in connection with Enlightenment assertions (broadly considered) about the nature of human personhood, a movement which marks the transition from what Charles Taylor has referred to as the ‘porous self’, in... Read this post

Daily Prayer: Day One – Vision! Pray with Your Eyes Open

January 27, 2019 4:31 pm

Living On Purpose Proverbs 29:18 – “Without a vision my people perish…” When Paul wrote his beloved friends in Philippi he urged them to be ‘intent on one purpose’ (Phil 2). He knew that a people united in purpose and heart would be a people through whom the Gospel would flourish in the world. These ancient Christians were clearly a people of vision, giving their lives, energy, time, and goods to see the Good News about Jesus spread in their cities and towns and world. They were a people captured by a supreme vision that caused their hearts to rejoice... Read this post

It’s Advent – Happy New Year!

November 20, 2018 2:38 pm

We are only a week away from exclaiming, “Happy New Year!” I know you must be thinking that my forward planning has gotten out of hand and I’m in need of more coffee and a new calendar but bear with me. Advent is almost here. Rejoice! Yes, we’re a week away from the dawn of Advent, the first day of the new year in the Church’s calendar. The Church’s calendar has its own beautiful rhythm that redeems the time in our evil days. It begins with Advent, moves to Christmas and then Epiphany, on into a Lent that begins with Ash... Read this post

Evil, Sin, and the Language of Love

October 16, 2018 1:44 pm

Since 9/11 the word ‘evil’ has regained some popular usage in our culture, and the painfully essential revelations about the abuse of children and women by men with power in religious, business, political, and entertainment spheres have reinforced our awareness that evil is real and has to be faced. Such language helps us to name an action and begin to deal with it in a just and proper way. The lynching of an African-American man by the Ku Klux Klan, the slaughter of Jews by Nazis, or the sexual abuse of a child is not merely “bad” or even “criminal”;... Read this post

Some Reflections on The Benedict Option

May 29, 2018 2:31 pm

In the past year, I’ve read with both pleasure and profit Rod Dreher’s book The Benedict Option. Mr. Dreher, a popular conservative columnist and Orthodox Christian, offers many helpful observations in this work and the book is one which needs to be read with care by Christian leaders across the variety of traditions. I nonetheless have significant reservations about the foundational aspect of Dreher’s observations and conclusions in regard to culture and civilization, namely the irreversible collapse of what is commonly referred to as Western Civilization. This ‘culture’, rooted in the fertile soil of both Christian and Enlightenment Europe, is... Read this post

The Abuse of Women and the Abuse of Power

May 23, 2018 3:14 pm

So you want to say that you’re a ‘complementarian’? Ok… There’s nothing ‘complementarian’ about a man abusing a woman. Abuse of another human by a human is a sin. Abuse of a wife by a husband is this, as well as a degradation and denial of the beauty of Christ’s love for his Bride. Telling women to submit to abuse by their husbands is a distortion of Scripture. That people use Jesus’ teaching on divorce – which in context was offered to prevent the abuse of wives by husbands – and turn it into a mechanism by which wives are... Read this post

A Pentecost Sunday Story

May 22, 2018 3:44 pm

My good friend Cara Dublin has written a great little reflection on her experience of celebrating Pentecost Sunday last week at her church, Redeemer Presbyterian in Austin, Texas. I asked her if I could pass it along and she graciously agreed. Here it is! A Pentecost Story Today was Pentecost Sunday- stormy and threatening rain. During the first service, distant thunder had been rumbling. When we got to the central reading for the day, Acts 2, and the elder reading at the lectern came to the verse “And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in... Read this post

Oscar Picks

February 27, 2018 10:34 pm

“And the winner is…” I love those words! It’s Oscar time once again. This Sunday night I’ll be tuned in and switched on to the Oscars, the awards show that drives some people batty but which cannot be ignored in terms of artistic talent, the national mood, and cultural commentary. As for me, I just love film, and while I’m a supporter of  Indies and so look on the big studio work with a certain measure of mocking envy, I’m also aware of how impressive the work of these artists can be. I will cheer – or groan along with everyone else. While 2017... Read this post

A Prayer of Lament in the Aftermath of Another School Massacre

February 15, 2018 5:19 pm

Gracious Father, Bloodshed in our classrooms is is erupting again. I confess that I am angry about this. I am overwhelmed with grief, and I am also afraid at times. I fear for my own child in a school, for the people attending worship services, for all of us just doing what we do in the course of life but always under the dark shadow of gun violence. I long for the day when no more tears will have to be shed and funerals held for children slain in a school. I long for the day when the horrifying images... Read this post

Faith, Work, and Violence: Why “Sending Thoughts and Prayers” Isn’t Enough

February 15, 2018 1:25 pm

Let’s suppose there’s a terrible earthquake that strikes a major city, killing hundreds and leaving thousands more homeless, with hunger, thirst, and disease becoming a real threat because of damage to infrastructure. Should we send ‘thoughts and prayers’? Of course, we should. We must pray. Then we get busy as we continue to pray. We send teams of emergency workers to help dig through the rubble, medical personnel to assist with the injured, food and water to sustain those in need, set up shelters for those without any, give blood and money, sweat and tears, and work to create laws... Read this post