Mary: Prophetic, intelligent, unafraid

Portrayals of Mary tend to the aristocratic, the submissive, the vapid; but the gospel reveals an intelligent young woman who stands in the prophetic tradition. (Listen.)

When you think of Mary, how do you imagine her? I don’t know about you, but I was raised in the Western artistic tradition. When I think of Mary, the first thing that usually comes to mind are images from the Italian Renaissance. That is, I see an elegant, pale woman in a royal blue dress. Continue reading “Mary: Prophetic, intelligent, unafraid”

Need a New Year’s resolution? Read the Bible in a year!

Some of you call me a Bible nerd, and I’m totally fine with that. I love the Bible with all its poetry and promises, stories and visions, frustrations, contradictions and deep weirdness; and I love how, when I read, I so often experience comfort or challenge, guidance or encouragement. This shouldn’t be surprising. We believe that God speaks through scripture, and that, in the words of an old hymn, ‘The Lord has yet more light and truth to break forth from the Word.’ This love and this faith is why I read the Bible cover to cover every year: the good bits, the boring bits, and the bits I’d really rather avoid. In 2022, I invite you to join me! Continue reading “Need a New Year’s resolution? Read the Bible in a year!”

Where God’s word comes

God’s word comes the one who forsakes privilege, lives simply, works for justice … and listens. (Listen.)

Once upon a time, long, long ago, I lived in Washington, DC. We went to a church which was once Harry Truman’s, then Jimmy Carter’s; and while we were there the Clintons came a couple times. Members included presidential advisors, scientists, and journalists; officers in the military and CIA staff; senior bureaucrats and retired diplomats; professors, stockbrokers, and a governor of the Federal Reserve. A lot of power was concentrated at that church, and there were some incredibly committed and godly people. Continue reading “Where God’s word comes”

God gives sleep to the beloved

As the year draws to a close, many of us are engaging in the great December tradition of running harder than ever. Work is crazy-busy, and our calendars are filled with end-of-year deadlines, functions and events – so much so that some of us have already said we won’t be at church until February. As one person said a few years ago, “I barely have time to breathe in Advent, let alone reflect.” Continue reading “God gives sleep to the beloved”

A tender shoot of love and justice

Jesus embodies ancient hopes for justice, nonviolence, and peace between all peoples. As people grafted into this righteous branch, we must embody these qualities, too. (Listen.)

So it’s Advent: a paradoxical time-slip in which we look forward to the coming of the one who was born, and lived, and died, and was raised, and lives among us now. It’s a time of anticipating more than ever God’s kingdom come. It’s a time of hopeful expectation of a world turned rightside up, a world where love and justice reign, and vulnerable people are raised up, and the arrogant are cast down. Continue reading “A tender shoot of love and justice”

Revelation at Armageddon

Military violence never ends, but Jesus’ way leads to true and lasting peace. An insight received one Remembrance Day, while standing at Armageddon. (Listen.)

To get to Armageddon, known in Hebrew as ‘Megiddo’, we drive past an airfield. Our Israeli guide tells us about the Syrian fighter pilot who defected there in 1989. He was flying a Soviet-made MIG-23, which provided Israel with valuable military intelligence—and it feels like nothing ever changes. Continue reading “Revelation at Armageddon”

The little apocalypse

A local retelling of Mark’s little apocalypse, since the apocalyptic tradition is “both profoundly contextual and transferable.” (Ched Myers). (Listen.)

So Joshua and some of his mates caught a train to the little city. They wandered up from the station, and soon found themselves at a crossroads. Here, they saw a magnificent cathedral; there, a church on the hill. “Wow,” said one of his friends, “What incredible buildings! What spires! What stonework! What domination of the streetscape!” Continue reading “The little apocalypse”

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