Sometimes Jesus just seems cranky, like during this road trip through Samaria (Luke 9:51-62). Someone offers to follow him, and Jesus encourages him to reconsider. You’ll have no place ever again to call home, Jesus tells him, no place even to rest (vv. 57-58). Jesus invites another, who wants to honor his father, and tells […]

Have you been saved? I remember the last time someone asked me that question. It was during my undergraduate years when I was working at a funeral home – an oddly appropriate place to ask the question, don’t you think – and someone whom I vaguely knew came up to me and asked with all […]

If you recall 1975’s pet rock fad, you won’t be surprised to learn of the fellow – Larry was his name – who lived alone with a stone he was trying to teach to talk. He rescued the palm-size oval stone from a beach and kept it on a shelf, covered it with a piece […]

Celebrating Walt Whitman’s 200th birthday, 31 May 2019 — In a quotation that photographer Dorothea Lange took as her credo and that I could very well take as mine, Francis Bacon (1561-1626) wrote, “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitute or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than […]

Every Christian, and every congregation that professes to be part of the body of Christ, is ultimately concerned with two things. There are many other particular concerns, but I believe it’s absolutely necessary to be able to make a direct connection between each one of those other concerns and the first two. If we cannot […]

The mystical presence of God was celebrated by the earliest Christians. Saint Paul knew God as the One in whom “we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28), there being nothing that is not of God. Jesus said the kingdom of God is spread upon the earth and we don’t see it (Gosp. […]

The folks at Paul Masson wineries used to say, “We will sell no wine before it’s time.” It was their assurance that they were offering the real deal: a high-quality wine, not a cheap imitation pretending to be wine. It takes time to create a fine wine or anything else of value, especially good ministry […]

Today, 31 May 2019, is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Walt Whitman. Since there’s hardly anything I might add to what has already been written or spoken about him that would be an improvement, I’ll show my appreciation for his mind and spirit, his vision of life, by letting him speak for himself […]

We are hungry, and we live among hungry people in a hungry world. Most people in the world are hungry for food in ways I have never known, though one day I may, but that’s not the kind of hunger I’m thinking of. I’m thinking of a deeper hunger, the hunger of the heart for […]

There’s plenty of reason to think the social-political landscape that I wake up to every morning and go to sleep in every night is bleak and empty of promise. (My home state of Missouri has joined the list of those with antiabortion laws more restrictive than I thought we’d ever see again in this country, […]