The Spirit Within

Someone very dear to me said congregations of faithful people are like a river, constantly moving through the terrain of life. Pastors are called to swim with them for a little while. Recently, my church family invited me to swim along with them for a just a little while. As their associate pastor, I’ve decided to

Go Boldly: Lent, In Other Words

Welcome back to my series, Lent, In Other Words. You are welcome here! The following essay is a reflection of the Palm Sunday lectionary reading, Matt 21:1-11. This week’s word is bold. I recently heard Thea Gillmore’s folksy yet chilling cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s 1969, Bad Moon Rising. She strums a banjo as she croons,

Unbound and Free: Lent, In Other Words

Welcome to the fifth post in my series, Lent, In Other Words. I’m glad you’re here! This week’s reflection is inspired by John 11:1-44, and the word is unbound.  Our church is doing interactive prayer stations during Lent. Each week the congregation is invited to pray using the elements thoughtfully displayed at the stations. The

Love Is A Willful Act

Have you ever found it difficult to love someone? Because let’s face it, some people are hard to love. And while we’re being honest, let’s confess that for as many people we find hard to love, we too are unlovable creatures in equal measure. (Yes it’s true, not everybody loves you and that’s ok…deep breaths).

The Hidden Truth of Progressive Christians

I’m not a huge football fan, and I’m even less of a Patriots fan (gasp!) but I watched the Super Bowl last night with my family for the entertainment value. I appreciate the creativity in the advertisements and look forward to the the half-time show–even if they are in support of a sports empire that

At The Intersection: Where Do We Go From Here?

  When American politics divide us, we talk about building bridges. But when it comes to division created by the color of our skin, I’d rather talk about intersections. Bridges, by nature, are built to connect two otherwise unconnected spaces. But intersections are a meeting point, and they require us to navigate a common space.

Blind Spots: Continuing Conversation on Race in America

The following is the second installment in a continuing conversation on race in America.  Our eldest child is learning how to drive, a terrifying and stress-filled experience for all involved. Every time we’re in the car, I hear myself lecturing him. “See, there’s a ‘no turn on red’ sign here,” I point out. “Remember, pedestrians have

Childhood Hunger and Six Things You Can Do About It

A family member told me a story that I can’t shake. It’s about two hungry little boys who scavenge the church kitchen after hospitality hour for leftover cookies and cakes. One has an unhealed wound and the other isn’t too proud to finish the half-eaten pastries that still bear the bite marks of another. While they

Broken Promises and a Poem Called Grace

I broke a promise despite the advice of mentor whose wise words I take very seriously. She warned, “Never make a promise you can’t keep,” but I did anyway. I promised you, faithful readers, that I would publish my writing at least once a week. I had grand ideas to continue a series of essays on redefining the vocabulary of faith, big plans to

First Things: Love

In the aftermath of the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, love has been exposed and it triumphs over hate. The tragedy reminded us that there is a community of human beings who have had to hide their love for too long. And that we all bear responsibility for forcing it into

Vocabulary Lesson

I recently read Amazing Grace, A Vocabulary of Faith, by Kathleen Norris and was captivated by her inspiration for writing the book. In the preface, she explains that when she decided to return to church after many years of questioning her faith, she realized that she’d need to brush up on her church vocabulary. So

The Trouble with Blessings

I confess. I have a troubled relationship with blessings. That may be a shocking admission especially coming from a minister, but the truth is that I’m confused about what blessings really mean. When I was living in the South I quickly learned that the familiar “Bless your heart,” means something very different from what my