Month: May 2019

I haven’t given an update on Radical Charity in a couple of months, but a lot has been happening very quickly! On the marketing side, I received blurbs and sent them into Wipf & Stock to be incorporated into the cover and the book. I also received cover art from the publisher. You can see both on the Radical Charity page of this website. On the more textual side, my index was completed and typeset. I had a few minor changes to the index and sent those in to the typesetter. This means that Radical Charity should be going…
I’ve said it before. I said it last week. I’ll say it again: You are loved and you are worthy of love. It doesn’t matter how you got here. You are here now. You are in grace. You are loved and you are worthy of love. I know that can be hard to believe. That’s why I say it so often. It is hard to believe… and there are so many voices in the world telling us that we are not loved and we are not worthy of love. Some say it outright. Some are more subtle. Some even say, “I love you,”…
How did you get here? It’s a question we ask each other a lot… and the answers matter. Way back when I was searching for a call to a congregation, I had to fill out forms—a ministerial profile—about how I got here.  I had to chart a journey through high school and college and seminary and a handful of jobs. I had to show you my sense of call and how that had developed. I had to find other people who would tell you about me. I had to show that I had gone through the approved process of…
Recently, I was perusing the workshops that will be offered at the United Church of Christ’s General Synod this summer and I came across one with this title: “Thawing the ‘Frozen Chosen’”. I have no problem with the content of the workshop, which is about using and teaching liturgical movement. But seeing the title made me realize just how tired of the term ‘frozen chosen’ I am. The idea behind ‘frozen chosen’ is simple enough. Different congregations and denominations have different traditions around movement and sound. Some churches are full of dancing in the pews, clapping during the hymns,…
On my drives from Davenport to DeWitt, and from DeWitt to Davenport, I listen to a lot of NPR. Last Sunday morning, as I was on my way to preach a sermon that touched upon violence at a house of worship, some people on Weekend Editionwere talking about violence at houses of worship and security at houses of worship. A couple of guests—a Muslim imam and a Christian pastor—said that they had armed security at their mosque and at their church. They needed to have armed security in order to keep their congregations safe. And I’m not about to tell…
For Lent this year, I led a book study of Rachel Held Evans’ Searching for Sunday at my church. I picked the book for a couple of reasons. First, Held Evans can write. As a memoirist, she invites her readers into her life in a way that is both informative an intimate. As a storyteller, she brings her readers into her experiences. So, for example, when she writes about serving communion at a Methodist youth event, you can see the faces in front of her in all their variety and strength and weakness. Reading her work is like reading…
We have spent the last twenty weeks—every week since Epiphany, way back in January—reading the gospel according to Matthew. That’s a long time to spend in one gospel. Over the last four months, we’ve heard Matthew’s version of the life of Jesus. The call of John the Baptizer, the temptation in the wilderness, the beatitudes and parables and sayings, the miracles, the triumphal entry, the last supper, the crucifixion, the resurrection, and the short time that Jesus had with his disciples after the resurrection. Today, we’re leaving the gospel according to Matthew and entering the time after Jesus left…

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