My New (Church) Year’s Resolutions

A few days ago I suggested that Advent is a time for a new perspective. As the start of the church year, it is also a great time to plan for what is ahead. While such planning can take many forms, I have chosen to embrace a practice more commonly associated with the changing of calendar years: adopting new year's resolutions. Looking Back As I look back at this blog, I find that I have publicly declared resolutions a few times 2012 - I made several resolutions, but wrote about one: Read More …

Remembering Daniel Berrigan

On Saturday the Rev. Daniel J. Berrigan passed away at the age of 94.  He served as a Jesuit priest for more than 60 years and the author of more than 50 books.  Berrigan is best known for his commitment to non-violence and was, in the words of fellow Jesuit James Martin, a "tireless promoter of peace." Whether or not you knew of his ministry, I encourage you to reflect on a few of his many powerful quotes: "No principle is worth the sacrifice of a single human being." "One is called to Read More …

Most Popular Sermons

We are now almost two weeks into the second half of the year known as 2015.  A few weeks ago I shared my most popular blog posts from the first half of the year.  Today, I offer my most popular sermons from the first half of the year (based on YouTube views) in lieu of new sermon content since I am on vacation and not preaching this morning. Titleless - watch / read - a 13 min. message on humility Surprising Salaries - watch / read - a 12 min. message on the Parable of the Laborers in the Read More …

Sermon: Peace Poles, Candles & People

Sermon Text: Matthew 5:9 Sermon Excerpt Growing up in Texas I learned that bigger is better or, at least, bigger is much more likely to attract attention.  In the late 1990s when creative decorating with candles was booming I saw some very large candles in homes and offices. Even the largest of these – candles nearly as large as I am – look tiny when placed beside the world’s largest candles. We can thank Darrel Brock for constructing the world’s largest candle. Back in 1971 his team Read More …

Still Signing Off Your E-mails?

Matthew Maladay recently suggested the time has come to kill off the e-mail signoff. After twenty years of using e-mail, Maladay has decided to end the practice of concluding his notes with a signoff.  While sharing his own preferred signoff for many years, "my very best," may have been misunderstood by many recipients of his note, his focus is on how the practice is outdated and unhelpful.  As a holdover from an earlier era when notes were written with paper and pen, it is both more formal than Read More …

Nonviolent Civil Disobedience

John Dear, peace activist and the author of over 30 books, recently wrote these challenging words: If we want to follow the nonviolent Jesus, then we’ll want to make the journey from baptism to community, to understanding the Sermon on the Mount, to serving those in need, to working for justice and practicing nonviolence, and eventually, sooner or later, in such a world of war, empire and nuclear weapons, to crossing the line, engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience and risking the cross and Read More …

What Kind of Disciple?

Scot McKnight, renowned New Testament scholar and professor of religious studies at Northpark University, wrote an article entitled "Full Disciple" in the February-March 2011 edition of Neue Magazine exploring the discipleship ministry of local congregations.  McKnight asks his readers, "What kind of disciple is your church producing (p.56)?,"  before suggesting that churches would benefit from aligning their vision with that of Jesus: For Jesus a disciple is someone marked by kingdom holiness Read More …

Research Suggests that Evangelical Christians are UnChristian

"Why Evangelicals Hate Jesus" is the title of a recent Huffington Post article, which seeks to explain the findings of research conducted by the Pew Research Center.  The post was written by two professors: Phil Zuckerman (associate professor of sociology at Pitzer College) and Dan Cady (assistant professor of history at California State - Fresno).  They suggest the research confirms: what social scientists have known for a long time: White Evangelical Christians are the group least likely to Read More …

Interfaith Possibilities

Hundreds of students from around the nation spent this past weekend at Princeton University for the 5th Annual Coming Together Interfaith Conference (CT5).  The conference promoted "the importance of inter-religious engagement and understanding at American universities" and provided  the student participants opportunities  to "discuss how interfaith councils are formed, the role they have on campus and ideas for meaningful programs that promote unity and peace."  Attendees at this "student Read More …

My Thanksgiving Prayer

Over the last several days I have read many blogs and news articles, searched Scripture,  talked with several people and participated in an interfaith worship service all in an effort to better grasp both Thanksgiving and thankfulness.  For some reason, this Thanksgiving what resonates deeply with me are the lyrics to a song: "My Thanksgiving Prayer."  I encourage you to take time to read them, then to hear them sung, and finally to offer them as a prayer. In this time of my thanksgiving as my Read More …