Month: April 2019

Right before today’s reading from Matthew, there’s another story. In this story, some soldiers discover that the tomb where Jesus was laid is empty, and they go to the chief priests and the elders and tell them. And the chief priests and the elders give the soldiers some money and tell them, “When people ask what happened, you must say, ‘His disciples came in the night, while we were asleep, and stole the body.” And the soldiers did that. They had a story about Jesus. It was a false story, but it gained traction. Matthew tells us that it…
God loved the world this way: she created it. We’re never told why. We’re never told for what purpose. Maybe it was just a joyful act of creation; the kind of thing an artist does. But, for whatever reason that she made a world, she made a world, and she made it good. And she gave it as a gift to itself. And then we broke it. And God saw that the world was broken and came into the world as one of us: a little baby born in a manger in a backwater province of a powerful empire….
When I was in middle school, I competed in the Optimist Club Oratorical Contest. I don’t remember what any of the official topics were, but I remember that my very first speech for that contest was about how people don’t listen to kids or respect the rights of kids… and about how people really should listen to kids and really should respect the rights of kids. And, of course, when I gave the speech at some ungodly morning hour—because Optimists meet for breakfast—the adults who were listening and judging… laughed. Because the idea of listening to kids and respecting…
Every year for the last few years, I’ve had the privilege of trekking back to my alma mater for the annual Knox Rootabaga Jazz Festival. I go partly for the fun of seeing old friends and making some noise in the Alumni Big Band. But I also go because this jazz festival at a small liberal arts college in Illinois is a place to hear truly innovative jazz. This year featured Xavier Breaker Coalition and Mark Guiliana Space Heroes, two groups doing amazing things and that you should definitely check out. Of course, the festival also featured the Knox Jazz…
Once upon a time, when I was young, I was a terrible Boy Scout. I had been a Cub Scout. I had worked my way through the ranks. I was a bobcat, and a tiger, and a wolf, and a bear, and a webelos. It wasn’t too difficult. The Cub Scout motto is, “Do Your Best.” And if there’s one thing I can do, it’s my best… even when my best isn’t that good. But then I became a Boy Scout. Now, the way I remember is that when I became a Boy Scout, I got the first rank…

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