Christmas and Killings: Where is God?

I was working on our Christmas Eve program Friday when I heard the news about the shootings in Connecticut. Shootings at an elementary school. An elementary school. Dead bodies–little bodies–sprawled on the floor. Bloody children. Wailing parents. It was hard to get back into the Christmas spirit after hearing that news. Hard to write about…

Living these Days “Advently”

As a pastor, I know that Advent is a time of preparation, a time of pondering, a time of patient waiting. It is a season to contemplate the growing darkness of our days and appreciate the promise held in the darkness of Mary’s womb. It is a time pregnant with the possibility of recognizing and…

Advent Reflections: Mary

My oldest two children came into our family as a foster-to-adopt placement. We were told that their biological dad was not in the picture and mom would not be able to get custody. They were foster children that would be available for adoption soon. James was three and a half. Jasmine had just turned two.…

Creflo Dollar, Cindy Crawford and Salvation

This morning at the gym, I found myself on the elliptical machine with two television options in front of me. To my left was evangelist Creflo Dollar telling his congregation that they could escape the prison of sin by being born again. To my right was supermodel Cindy Crawford telling viewers that for $39.95 a…

An Alternative to Black Friday

The “Abnormal Anabaptist” recently quoted his wise wife’s comments on the upcoming shopping frenzy: Our culture has gotten to the point where we cannot take even one day to stop accumulating more and more things, and simply take the time to be grateful for what we already have. And it’s true. I frequently lament the…

Talking About, Talking With

Our nation made many political gains toward equality and justice for sexual minorities last week. Among them was the election of the first openly gay Senator–Tammy Baldwin, from Wisconsin. In a National Public Radio report, I heard these words from Baldwin: “If you are not in the room, the conversation is about you. If you’re…

A Pacifist’s Dilemma on Veterans’ Day

I wrote this post in 2010, and it seemed appropriate to re-post this weekend. * * * I hate war. But I do not hate soldiers. I believe engaging in armed combat goes against the teachings of Jesus. But I respect the fact that war veterans have made incredible sacrifices for causes they believed to…

For Election Day Communion

For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In…

A Few Thoughts on All Souls Day

I had a lot of fun trick-or-treating with Grace downtown on Halloween. We were harmless aliens. Nothing scary. But there were plenty of fierce werewolves and bloody vampires and creepy ghosts wandering around. Plenty of costumes to remind me that Halloween is not really about candy; it’s about death–it’s particularly about our fear of death.…