Month: July 2019

Recently, I was interviewed for an article from the United Church of Christ’s Tri-Conference Ministries. During that interview, I mentioned that I had recently read about the idea of doing good recklessly (I didn’t originally read it on Cheezburger, but you can read the same thread that I did there). The interviewer pushed back a little, pointing out that doing good recklessly can cause real harm. And she gave the example of companies and organizations dumping t-shirts into African markets, damaging local clothing industries. At the time, I said that there are large-scale policy issues (like market regulation in…
Linda Tirado is an author and a journalist. And she told this story to some people at NPR: In 2008, Linda and her husband moved to Cincinnati. They didn’t have much money, so they got a cheap basement apartment. And then a summer storm came through and the flooding ruined a lot of their stuff and the mold destroyed the rest. Tirado was eight months pregnant at the time and all she wanted was a place to sit down, so she started calling around to churches and charities, asking if she could get a chair. So she gets a…
Radical Charity: How Generosity Can Save the World (And the Church) isn’t just for solo reading. It also makes a great book for discussion for your church, organization, or book group. And now there’s a discussion guide available! You can download it here! FacebookTwitterLinkedInredditBuffer…
I am a writer and a preacher, so I know a simple truth: words have power. Words can lift us up and tear us down. Words can impart wisdom and spread ignorance. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words… words have almost unimaginable power. A few months ago, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives swore in its very first Muslim woman legislator. Her name is Movita Johnson-Harrell. Right before she was sworn in—as in, minutes before she was sworn in—another legislator delivered the session’s opening prayer. It was two minutes long. And I know that doesn’t sound like…
When I was in seminary, I spent a few months as a student chaplain at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in downtown Chicago. Along with the other student chaplains, I took classes at the hospital and covered on-calls.  During the week, during the day, there were real professional chaplains at the hospital. People who knew what they were doing. One night a week, there was only me. Just before my very first night, a pregnant woman had come into labor and delivery. She had a stillbirth. And after she spent some time with a real professional chaplain, she left alone. Her…
This post is based, in part, on this post from 2016. Not too long ago, I wrote a book called Radical Charity: How Generosity Can Save the World (And the Church). If you haven’t read it, you should. You can buy a copy here. One of the challenges of writing a book is that some of what I wanted to say just didn’t make it in. Books have a limited amount of space, and I couldn’t cover every topic that I would have liked to. And one of the topics that I couldn’t cover was race. So I took an old post…
The church is a hospital for sinners, not a country club for saints. And even pastors like me struggle to love as we ought to. If you’ve listened to my sermons, you know that I have some issues with how our country has been treating people who come to this country seeking asylum. And you can probably guess that I have some issues with how our country treats immigrants—especially immigrants from the south—in general. Well… earlier this week, while I was working on this sermon, there was a news story. There was a group on Facebook made up of…
A week-and-a-half-ago or so, I attended the United Church of Christ’s General Synod in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This is a time when a couple thousand people from across the denomination gather together to vote on resolutions, attend workshops and rallies, learn about what is happening in the denomination, hang out together, and worship. It is both amazing and exhausting. And while I wasn’t great about taking photos, I did take some. FacebookTwitterLinkedInredditBuffer…
Sorry there’s no recording this week! We’ve heard the first part of this story before. I know. I’ve preached on the first part of this story from this pulpit before. There was a man named Elkanah, who had two wives: Peninnah and Hannah. In a world where a woman’s worth was measured by the children she bore, Peninnah had many children… and Hannah had none. That didn’t matter to Elkanah. He loved Hannah. But it mattered to Hannah. So Hannah went to the temple in Shiloh, and she tried to strike a bargain. “LORD, if you give me a son,” she…

Pin It on Pinterest