Category: Spirituality

Third Sunday after Epiphany: The Epistle Passage – How to let go of what you previously held on to tightly

I mean, brothers and sisters, the appointed time has grown short; from now on, let even those who have wives be as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no possessions, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.” (1 Corinthians 7:29-31) The apostle Paul, by implication, poses an interesting question. If you knew your time on this earth would be short and limited, how much would you focus on things of this world? What would your main focus be? If one were to take Paul literally, you should NOT tend to your earthly affairs and estate. You should NOT spend time saying your last good byes to those around you. You should NOT prepare a will or determine who should get what. None of that should be part of you thinking. [...] […]

Resisting New Year’s Burnout and the Way of Jesus

It is a new year. That is neat. 2018: we made it. And of course, “newness” is a Christian theme that runs through the entire biblical story. Sometimes, in the Bible (and life), things happen that are so brand new that we are tempted to forget the road that led to that moment. [...]

Baptism of the Lord: Psalm Passage – Preacher and Seeker talk about Psalm 29

Preacher: “Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory of his name; worship the LORD in holy splendor.” Seeker: Why does the Lord have glory and power? Where does the name of the Lord gather its glory and splendor? Preacher: “The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD, over mighty waters. The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty. The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon.” Seeker: The Lord is in creation. The Lord rules over creation. What else does the voice of the Lord do? Preacher: “He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox. The voice of the LORD flashes forth flames of fire. The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness; the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. The voice of the LORD causes the oaks to whirl, and strips the forest bare; and in his temple all say, “Glory!” Seeker: Is the voice of the Lord only a sound? Preacher: “The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD sits enthroned as king forever.” Seeker: What does the voice of the Lord give to us, humanity? Preacher: “May the LORD give strength to his people! May the LORD bless his people with peace!” (Psalm 29) Seeker: Has the voice of the Lord ever been heard by humanity? Preacher: The voice of the Lord speaks to us through scripture. The prophets of the Lord heard the Lord and carried spoke to God’s called and chosen people according to what they heard. We who listen for the Lord do not always hear the Divine’s voice accurately. So the Lord sent to the earth Jesus, the Son of God, so that humanity might hear the Lord’s voice clearly. But still there is debate as to what the Lord said and what was meant. That is one of the reasons the Holy Spirit of the Lord was sent to earth. Alas, human ears in whatever time and generation they are in interpret what they have heard according to human understanding. The voice of the Lord is glory and strength, holiness and splendor. Each human ear and each human heart must listen to it according to its ability and understanding. Seeker: I strain to hear what the Lord has to say. All of humanity and creation must also strain to hear. Preacher: Yes, it does. I confess, I strain also to hear. May our hearing and our understanding be perfected through the Spirit! Seeker: Selah! […]

Second Sunday after Epiphany: The Old Testament Passage – Doing what had been done, but doing it better!

Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD under Eli. The word of the LORD was rare in those days; visions were not widespread. At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was.” 1 Samuel 3:1-3 I remember this passage from three years ago. I remember how unsure I was about using the Revised Common Lectionary as the source of my comments and writing. Unsure how to format and stylize the posts, what titles to use, how much explanation to give – just unsure and trying to figure out how to do things. I imagine young Samuel felt the same way, learning how to “minister” to the Lord and work in the temple. And, it seems, how to recognize the voice of the Lord. It was not often heard in the days of young Samuel and aging Eli. [...] […]

Season of Advent – Third Sunday: The Old Testament Passage – What is Coming (it is good stuff, so we need not worry)

The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to provide for those who mourn in Zion– to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, to display his glory. They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.” (Isaiah 61:1-4) […]

Wisdom Raises Her Voice

If you’re not a socialist at twenty, you have no heart, and if you’re not a conservative at forty, you have no brain.  As far as quotes go, this well-known offering of unknown provenance could probably raise the ire of people across the political spectrum, particularly on the left. No one enjoys being implicitly told that they do (or don’t) have a brain or a heart. Those are fighting words, right there. Which is of course why the quote is repeated and why it’s memorable.  […]

Nine Common Beliefs about Pentecostals & Charismatics that are Totally False

Ever since rev. Campbell Morgan called Pentecostalism “the last vomit of Satan” and the Los Angeles Times warned the public about the “new sect of fanatics [that] is breaking loose” from Azusa Street, Spirit-filled Christians have had a bad rap. Other Christians as well as non-Christians oftentimes find us weird, and sometimes a bit dangerous. A lot of those perceptions are based on myths and misconceptions. Here are nine common beliefs about Pentecostals and Charismatics that are totally wrong.  Continue reading →

“I Float in Mighty Waters”

In the course of a given week, I consume and produce a lot of words. I read books and articles, newspapers and blog posts, denominational publications and the detritus of social media. I send and receive what feels like roughly a billion texts/emails/messages per day. […]

Jesus Hangs in My Honda      

Jesus hangs from the mirror of my 2002 Honda Accord. He’s up on his cross, arms outstretched. He’s skinny. His knees are knobby and his ribs are showing. His face is directed downward. He looks sad, lonely, defeated. […]

Talk to Me, Talk for Me

Over the last few years, I have found it interesting to observe where we turn in times of crisis. Increasingly, it seems that the answer is, “talk show hosts.” Every mass shooting, every natural disaster, every crisis now seems to be followed by a rather predictable ritual. In the hours immediately after the event in […]

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