“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘I know your works; you have a name of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God.’” - Revelation 3:1-2 (NRSV)
Some of our churches, as Revelation puts it, have a name of being alive, but they are dead. Or rather, in the words of Miracle Max from The Princess Bride: they are only “mostly dead. Mostly dead is s
The Anarchist’s coming is all Satan’s work. All his power and signs and miracles are fake, evil sleight of hand that plays to the gallery of those who hate the truth that could save them. - 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 (MSG)
In the days following the passing of civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis, one op-ed shared that “John Lewis taught us to tell uncomfortable truths” and charged readers to this same truth-telling:
“As we honor Congressman Lewis upon his passing, we must
So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them. - Exodus 2:25 (NIV)
Many Americans celebrated the lives and mourned the passing of three human rights champions, in the persons of the Reverend Cordy Tindell Vivian, the Reverend Doctor Joseph Lowery, and Congressman John Lewis.
Condolences and heartfelt expressions of concern for the families of these Civil Rights icons have been conveyed from governmental agencies and from people around the nation. In tribute
Now while Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment, and she poured it on his head as he sat at the table. - Matthew 26:6-7 (NRSV)
When my Cousin Norma died, she left me some old-fashioned furniture, a locket, and a vase. My mother collected the small items, but before the furniture could be distributed, Norma’s sister-in-law challenged the will. Very pregnant, I was excused from traveling to the
God has filled them with skill to do every sort of work done by an engraver or by a designer or by an embroiderer in blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, or by a weaver – by any sort of workman or skilled designer. - Exodus 35:35 (ESV)
God says we are already filled with the skills of artists and artisans and makers. The argument is that we are all designers. Who knew? Maybe we are not Picasso or Beyoncé but we are still artists. We are all creative and
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. - 1 Corinthians 13:11 (NRSV)
As a young doctor, Stuart Brown was doing research into murderers who otherwise had no criminal history. He discovered something amazing, a common thread in 90% of their stories: as children, their play was severely restricted.
Play, Brown said, is any activity that is purposeless, dissolves ego boun
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me. - Psalm 138:7 (KJV)
I don’t often read, much less quote, the King James Version of the Bible. The language is too archaic, the images of God and human beings too exclusive, and sometimes the translations are simply wrong. (In Acts 12:4, for example, the KJV translates the word for “Passover” as “Easter.”) What can you expect from a translation written by committee five hundred years ago?
Yet sometimes this transl
Jacob charged them, saying, “Bury me with my ancestors – in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite, in the cave in the field at Machpelah, near Mamre, in the land of Canaan, in the field that Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite as a burial site. There Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried; there Isaac and his wife Rebekah were buried; and there I buried Leah.” - Genesis 49:29-31 (NRSV)
One of the more awkward things about our faith is how firmly tied it is to the c
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. - Psalm 51:17 (NIV)
Pre-Covid, I walked into a bar eager to go to a storytelling event, where people volunteer to tell their most personal stories to strangers.
This wasn't just any storytelling event. This was a storytelling church service.
Next to the doorway, there was an invitation to write mini-stories that emcees would read during the program. The white slivers of pape
Out of the depths I cry to you, God;
God, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.
If you, God, kept a record of sins,
who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
I wait for God, my whole being waits,
and in God’s word I put my hope.
- Psalm 130:1-5 (NIV, adapted)
Thanks to the Me Too movement and the movement for Black Lives, it’s common now to say that people or organizations that do terrib