Selected posts from around our network of affiliated bloggers
As the weather has warmed to summer heat here in the desert, I’ve begun taking a morning walk that starts somewhere around 5:15–5:30 am. It’s best to get outdoors before the sun clears the mountaintops, or at least soon thereafter. I see a number of people as I wind my way through the neighborhood and along the walking trails which surround it. I also see birds, rabbits, and a colorful array of flowering and fruiting plants.
Each week when I preach, I write out a whole text, but I don't bring it with me into the pulpit. I have found that, if I know well the biblical texts and the sermon that I have written, a few bullet points are enough to keep me on task. That way, I can connect with the congregation, react to them, listen for the Holy Spirit, and adapt the sermon as I go along. Sure, it's risky.
This is a 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. It is the Platonic form of the muscle car, a huge slab of overpowered absurdity, arguably the high water mark of the guzzoline age. It only has two doors, but seats four comfortably, being a huge hulking beast of a car.
Pope Francis got himself in trouble last week for suggesting that the “great majority” of Catholic marriages being celebrated today are “invalid” because couples do not fully appreciate that they are making a lifetime commitment. The fact that this statement would draw criticism is puzzling, on the face of it, because who would dispute this after even a cursory glance at the world we live in? Apparently conservative critics objected to his use of the word invalid.
There are very few idiomatic tropes that carry meaning across generations, let alone thousands of years. Mental Floss generates thousands of clicks by giving readers insights into how words and phrases have changed over the years. There are, however, a few images that carry weight over centuries, one of which we hear from the lips of Legion in the Gospel lesson for Sunday. Keenly aware of the power of Jesus, the demons “begged him not to order them to go back to the abyss,” Luke tells us. While this fear is from the demons in this story, there seems to be something universal about their fear.
Recently a grandmother told me how much her fourth grade granddaughter already loves a new three-year-old in our congregation. Their family just started visiting, and when the children, all ages, come together for to play and draw and wonder about the scripture readings, the little girl sings her own song about how much she loves Jesus. They are making a connection, beginning a relationship, not based on being in the same grade, but based on being in the same body of Christ.
I posted my own brief prayer on Facebook Sunday after learning of the shooting in Orlando, and I’ve shared a few posts from others that moved or touched me. But I confess that I’m a bit tired of well-crafted prayers proliferating on my social media pages. At some point it starts to feel like a prayer competition. No doubt most of these prayers are heartfelt and helpful to many, but I’ve seen so many of them in recent years. At the same time that thoughts and prayers have begun to grate on me, I am far beyond that with American society.
My wife and I are in Maine for a memorial service celebrating the life of the grandfather of my children, my beloved father-in-law from the first go-around. The collection of his children and grandchildren, and his wife’s clan of three generations, includes a handful of other LGBTQ people. It’s been a wonderful experience, living into the way we’ve all worked so hard to make our two household-family work for 20 years now.
A few years ago, I was asked how long I had been a pastor. I forget how long it was precisely, but it must have been somewhere in the window of two to three years. I told my questioner this and the response was darkly humorous: “Oh, so long enough to disappoint some people.” Indeed. I was having a conversation with a friend recently about the broad strokes of our city’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis.
We sat on the T, hot and tired after a morning wandering the streets of Cambridge and the ivy-Hogwarts glory of Hahvahd's campus. It was the final day of an all-too-short vacation. It being public transportation, the public was present, a sampling of the Boston streetscape.