New Here?

Newborns and the Kingdom of God: Reflections in the Dead of Night

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 18:1-3) Their best guess was […]

QAnon, Faith, and Skepticism

About a month ago, I listened to an NPR story on the growing popularity of the QAnon conspiracy theory among white evangelical Christians. QAnon is actually a hodgepodge of related theories, but the basic idea is that President Trump is waging a secret (?) war against a cabal of satanists/pedophiles/vampires who surreptitiously run the country. […]

The Parable of the Wheat (Beer) and the Weeds: Judgment and Grace

I was talking with a friend the other day about the latest church dramas. We were at an outdoor bar and sat on socially-distanced opposite sides of the table, so I had to shout a bit to be heard. We were assessing the faults of others with pinpoint precision. It was perfectly cordial, but the […]

Longing for Egypt in the COVID Desert

Thankful for this post from Jane Grizzle: Yesterday, NPR ran a story about the shortage of Ball canning goods, namely lids. Apparently everyone who chose gardening as their pandemic drug of choice is now worried about what to do with the bushels of tomatoes and cucumbers overtaking their yards. And Ball, surprised like the rest […]

Losing Our Religion, Finding Good News

This post comes to us from Taylor Mertins:  A clergy colleague told me on the phone last week, “Our online worship numbers have gone down week after week even though I keep telling my people to invite more people, and to pray harder, and to read their Bibles. None of it seems to work … […]

Learning from Jesus’ Wife

Sometimes, the truth is far stranger than fiction. In September of 2012, the world learned that Jesus of Nazareth had a wife named Mary, or so the newspaper headlines read. Harvard Divinity School Professor Karen King announced to a frenzied media that a new ancient text had surfaced in which Jesus speaks of his wife. […]

Settling into the Strangeness: Pandemic Life as Exile

Everyone is born a king, and most people die in exile. – Oscar Wilde With each passing season, the pandemic somehow feels fresh and new as it claims yet another area of life that had been previously untouched. This year’s Easter, lacking its usual fanfare, somberly came and went. Months later, a gloomy Fourth of […]

Review: Reading While Black: African American Biblical Exegesis as an Exercise in Hope

Grateful for this post from Heather Strong Moore: Black people are not dark-skinned white people. This was a mantra used over and over again by the first black man to work in advertising in Chicago. He began his career in 1961 when all advertising was targeted at white consumers. As the field began to realize […]

Go and Sell Everything You Have

Sell everything; without love day to day, insanity’s king – Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia One of the saddest exchanges Jesus has during his earthly ministry is with the acted out parable of the rich young ruler. A close reading of any of the Gospel accounts of the conversation shows lots of emotion in a […]

A Devotional for Tomatoes Growing This Side of Eden

Then Amos answered Amaziah, ‘I am no prophet, nor a prophet’s son; but I am a herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees.’ – Amos 7:14 (NRSV) There’ve been almost no pictures of my vegetable garden in August. The most productive time of the growing season is also its most shabby. The weeds have taken […]

Hopelessly Devoted: Grace for the Broken in Spirit

Grateful for this short reflection from Paul Walker: The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18) Abraham Lincoln was famously gangly and ungainly, but once he started speaking, he won people over. One observer wrote, “His face lighted up as with an inward fire; the whole man was […]

From The New Yorker