Be a Poet for the New Year

Earlier this month many of us joined a gym, bought exercise clothes, and stocked the pantry with quinoa. We decided to de-clutter our lives once and for all. We planned to try Marie Kondo’s method of picking up every object we own and giving away whatever does not bring us joy.

Connections 09.18.2016: Getting Personal

Speaking in generalities is one thing. Getting down to specifics is another. Generally speaking, believing that God runs the universe is easy, but trusting God to take care of you is hard.

Formations 08.07.2016: Obadiah

The truth is that we don’t know who Obadiah was. Some people even think his name, meaning “servant of the Lord,” was just a title. Whoever he was, he came from a world that was falling apart.

Connections 06.12.2016: Them and Us

Judgment is real and necessary, but it’s nothing to be happy about.
God’s not happy about it. We shouldn’t be happy about it.

Crossroads: Holy, Holy, Holy

God is different from everything else in our universe. He is the Creator, and the only One who is holy. I am most reminded of God’s holiness during communion and during Holy week.

An Invitation to Joy

If we relied on Mark, we would have to stretch to get a story worth a Christmas carol. Mark has no shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night, no Mary, no Joseph, no manger, no wise men, no Herod.

Crossroads: The Candle of Prophecy/Hope

Welcome to the first week of Advent! Advent is a time of preparation, when we wait and prepare for the Christ child. Each week you will light a new candle as we recognize the things that Christ brings to this world.

Uniform 08.30.2015: Because I Have Been Given Much

“Humans of New York” is a popular photoblog with more than 14,500,000 followers on Facebook. The author, photographer Brandon Stanton, “decided to move to New York City and take portraits of strangers on the street” (Humans of New York, “Photographer”).

Uniform 08.23.2015: God Demands Justice

For centuries they preached that worship rituals were invalid unless accompanied by proper concern for other people, and especially for the most vulnerable in the society.

Uniform 08.16.2015: Life or Death?

Have you ever taken one of those quizzes meant to determine your personality through a few (often weird) questions? Your collective answers then assign you either some label or some reward.

Uniform 07.26.2015: The Last Word is “Grace”

Most of Micah’s message is about justice and judgment; as God’s prophet, he hammers away at the need for the people of eighth century Israel to acknowledge and repent of their sins.

Uniform 06.28.2015: No Rest for the Greedy or the Needy

One reason that Israel was commanded to keep the Sabbath was out of a sense of empathy for those who were most tied to their labor, who were most dependent on those who were wealthier than they were.

Uniform 06.14.2015: God Is Not Fooled

It occurred to me that we may never make much progress toward effectively addressing our social problems until we are interested in the causes as much as or more than we are in the results.

Crossroads: Clay in the Potter’s Hands – Jeremiah

Have you ever tried to make something out of clay? I remember when I was in elementary school, we were given an art assignment to make a piece of pottery out of a lump of clay.

Formations 01.04.2015: An Unlikely Benefactor

January 6 and the Feast of Epiphany marks the end of the Christmas season. Does this mean, however, the end of our annual heightened consciousness of needs in our community?

Uniform 11.30.2014: Gratitude and Hope

This week marks the start of a new season on the church calendar. It is Advent, the time when Christians wait with hopeful expectation for the coming of Christ. As it so often does, this first Sunday of Advent—when we light the candle of hope on our wreaths—falls just a few days after Thanksgiving.

Crossroads: Habakkuk – Praising God when Hungry

“Mom, how much longer until supper’s ready? I’m starving!” Have you ever said something like this to your mom or dad? I remember one time when I was young and my grandparents came to visit.

Crossroads: Amos – Praying for Others

A missionary came to our church when I was a child in the missions program. The missionary told us wonderful stories about his work for God. He told us how he had started a church from a very small group of people.

Uniform 11.02.2014: If You Build It, God Will Come

In the iconic 1989 film, Field of Dreams, Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella is moved by a mysterious voice to plow under most of his cornfield and build a baseball field. “If you build it, he will come,” the voice whispers.

Uniform 09.28.2014: The Gift of Restoration

When my paternal grandmother, “Mom,” was a young girl, her father left the family. He stayed in touch, but he was no longer a part of her life. As a child hearing this story, I imagined what it was like for Mom not to know her daddy.