“Follow Me:” On Being a Disciple in a Secular Age


Jan. 26, 2020 Matthew 4:12-23   I wonder if today’s gospel passage has a way of working against itself for modern readers, preventing us from really hearing it.  First, there’s this image of fishing and its connection to evangelism (which for some in and of itself is a questionable word.)  Whether you fish or not […]

Are We Capable of Epiphanies?

Jan. 5, 2019 Matthew 2:1-12   I’m not sure if this is a trend among UCC clergy or not, but I’ve heard it twice recently as if it were a matter of fact: it’s the notion that Jesus was a teacher and his sole intent was to be a teacher.  This was his calling and […]

Facebook and the Wilderness

Dec. 8, 2019 Matthew 3:1-12   As we come to the second week of Advent, which always features John the Baptist in all his eccentricity out in the barren, disordered, vulnerability of the wilderness calling for repentance, it comes to mind that in some ways Christianity as a whole is really in a state of […]

“Advent 1: The Second Coming”

Dec. 1, 2019 Isaiah 2:1-5 Matthew 24:36-44   Each year the theme of the first week of Advent is wakefulness – being aware, being alert, being ready.  But, being ready for what?  That’s where we run into trouble because what Matthew tells his church some 50 years after Christ’s death and resurrection is that they […]

“How to Experience God”


Oct. 27, 2019 Luke 18:9-14   I’m pretty sure that we cannot think our way into God encounters.  We can think our way into the type of God we want to encounter, but that’s not the same as an actual encounter.  We cannot work our way into these encounters either, as the Pharisee in our […]

“The Christian Life as a Response to Grace”

Oct. 13, 2019 2 Timothy 2:8-15 Luke 17:11-19   I had a New Testament professor in seminary who often gave these very rousing and inspired lectures during class.  On multiple occasions class ended with standing ovations.  I had never seen such a thing.  The professor wasn’t new at his job; in fact, he had been […]

“The Life that is in Christ Jesus”

Oct. 6, 2019 Luke 17:5-10 2 Timothy 1:1-14   A few weeks ago the Jesus whom Luke presents to us tells us to sell all of our possessions.  Last week it was a weird parable about Lazarus and the rich man.  Before that it was the dishonest manager and the confusing instructions that we “make […]

“The Most Confusing Parable, and What it is Calling us to Do”

Sept. 22, 2019 Luke 16:1-13 Jeremiah 8:18-9:1   One of my commentaries on today’s gospel text begins, “So what do you think: is it ever okay to tell the congregation that you really have no idea what a passage means?”[1]  Honestly, I read those words with some sense of relief.  This guy was a preaching […]

“A Compassionate Being-With”

Aug. 25, 2019 Jer. 1:4-10 Luke 13:10-17   To my surprise, the grits were a popular choice at Thursday night’s Feel the Warmth Community Supper with Nourish Bridgeport. Ed, the guy I sat with at dinner told me that he was something of an expert on grits. He makes them every morning for the homebound […]

“Immanent Frame”

Aug. 11, 2019 Isaiah 1:1, 10-20 Luke 12:32-40   A conversation I had at General Synod has been playing in my mind lately and especially in light of the latest mass shootings that our country has suffered.  The woman’s name was January, and I confess that I’m not even sure if she would identify as […]

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