Worship Piece: Call to Worship

Generally, when selecting a scripture reading for worship, I would leave out phrases like “the end of all things in near.” But when I read 1 Peter 4:7 this week, I decided it should stay in. Because . . . well . . . if you’ve been following the news at all these past few…

The Mennonite Church and Sexual Abuse

If you thought the Mennonite church’s incompetence in discussing issues of sexuality was limited to its “discernment” of LGBTQ inclusion in the church, then you thought wrong. We are also, it would seem, not particularly skilled at discussing questions of accountability in relation to sexual abuse within church communities and institutions. We managed to get…

A Pastoral Letter to MCUSA

Turns out I had some more thoughts on Sunday morning’s shooting. This letter was written in collaboration with some wonderful colleagues and signed by even more wonderful colleagues and was originally posted on the Inclusive Mennonite Pastors web site. “We are dying, and you are killing us.” These are the words Jay Yoder writes to…

Thoughts on a Tragedy

I struggle to know how to respond in the wake of the shooting at Pulse Nightclub. Fifty dead. Over forty hospitalized. Hundreds traumatized. Guns, again. A tragedy followed by anti-Muslim rhetoric, again. Beautiful queer bodies targeted for violence, again. I feel grief. And horror. And despair. And anger. I feel helpless. I feel like I…

On the Trinity

Originally posted on Spacious Faith:
There is a story about the great theologian, Augustine of Hippo. One day after he had been writing about the Trinity for awhile, he decided to take a break and go walk along the beach. He came across a boy who had a bucket.  He would fill up the bucket,…

The Gospel in Translation

People are drawn to the story of God’s mighty acts, the story of Jesus, not simply for the story itself, but because they hear that story in their own native languages. If the apostles had been speaking Greek, everyone would have understood them—Greek was the lingua franca. But the Greek wouldn’t have been compelling. The…

How Not to Apologize

A recent Facebook apology from my teenage son: “I’m sorry but I have nothing to do with that.” And Trump’s apology for posting an unflattering picture of Heidi Cruz: “If I had it to do again, I probably wouldn’t have sent it. I didn’t think it was particularly bad, but I probably wouldn’t have sent…

The Girl Without a Name

Acts 16:16-34 Back in Jesus’ day, Paul’s day, they didn’t label people “mentally ill.” They said that people “had a spirit.” Generally the people Jesus and his followers encounter have “evil spirits,” but the slave girl in this story just has a “spirit.” Actually, it is a pyhtian spirit, associated with the god Apollo who…

Presence in Absence

Some thoughts on this week’s Gospel Lectionary reading: John 14:23-29. After the Last Supper, only in John, we have Jesus’ farewell discourse where Jesus talks to his disciples. And talks. And talks. And talks. For four chapters. John 14:23-29 is from the beginning of this speech. Jesus tells his friends that he will have to…

Wrestling with the Shoulds

Some of you know that less than three years ago I was very excited to move out to the country. I wrote about it a lot and posted pictures. But some of you might not know that less than a year ago we moved back into town. Honestly, it’s a little embarrassing and I didn’t…