July 15, 2019
As human beings we sure are funny about routine.
If you sit in any public space long enough you'll hear someone complain about the monotony of life.
"Another day, another dollar"
"Same stuff (or some variation of that word), different day"
"I just want one day where I don't have to sit in traffic for an hour"
It makes sense. A lot of our television, movies and books center around ordinary folks being pulled into extraordinary circumstances. We long for aliens to arrive, super powers to be bestowed or portals to another dimension to appear. We want there to be some break in the ordinary and expected outcome of our days to remind us we're still alive.
But how do we (and the characters in TV, film and literature) usually respond when the regular rhythms of life break into a drumroll? We long for the boring! We want to be returned to routine and met expectations. We long for the mundane to remind us that life isn't just wild chance and chaos.
In the midst of these competing desires is a truth to sit with. We need to mourn the loss of our expectations and dreams. We need to observe their passing and sit with the hold they had on our lives.
Whether the things we lost were incredibly painful and really beautiful, there is still a loss. Whether we lost the regular routine of our days or the dreams instantaneous adventure. Life has a way of exposing our expectations and these moments require some reflection and hospitality.
June 25, 2019
One of my least favorite stereotypes is that only Type A personalities like control. Type A personalities might be more inclined to take charge, but they are not any more inclined than the rest of us to be in control.
Most every person is trying to gain control of their circumstances through their tool of choice.
Some use passive-aggressive avoidance
Some use humor
Some use others-focused service
Some use effusive praise.
The desire to be in control is deep within all of us. We live in a wild and unruly reality and attempting to tame it is vital to our survival. It is the desire to control that leads people to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and shelter those living outside. To surrender trying to control the world around us is to surrender to a passive fatalism that is equally problematic.
The error is to believe that we've succeeded. When our desire to control convinces us that we have control, we stop showing up to parts of our own reality. We start eliminating information that demonstrates that we aren't in control and we start surrounding ourselves with people, places and things that support our illusion of control.
All of this is ultimately in service of keeping our fear at arms length. Control feels like the antidote to fear and it works for long stretches of life. But what happens when events like broken relationships, natural disasters or grim doctors consultations occur? We are forced back into a wild and unruly reality we've convinced ourselves doesn't exist.
June 20, 2019
It was Father's Day when this sermon was preached.
For some of us the weekend is a flood of good memories and a happy childhood.
For some of us it is loaded with harsh memories and deep wounds.
For some of us it is a combination of them both.
What's tricky is that the emotions around our fathers gets attached to our picture of God as father. This can become a really helpful pathway to understand and engage with God, or it can become a barrier.
As far as barriers to God, this is one that is really common and entirely unnecessary.
Jesus talks about God as His father. There are parables where Jesus tells about the nature of God through the metaphor of father. There are reasons why we think of God in terms of an older man up in heaven. But what do we lose if we keep the parental metaphor and drop the link to gender? If God is a good and loving parent do we miss something because he's not male? Can we hold space for people who love God as father and for people who love God as mother and for people who connect with a God outside of gender?
May 16, 2019
Listen in to our new liturgical flow in action as we create space for grief, the release of shame and a celebration of joy.
((Some moments of silence have been edited out of the podcast to avoid confusion on if the podcast was still playing))
April 30, 2019
When I started officiating weddings I was shocked to learn that none of what we traditionally associate with weddings are necessary for people to get married.
1 Corinthians 13? Nuh uh.
I do's? You don't.
"I now pronounce you"? Nein.
All that you need to do to make it official is fill out the paperwork with a couple of witnesses. You could wrap it all up at a courthouse in the time it takes any of our bureaucracies to stumble along.
It reminds me of what we do with our church services. We think that they have to look a particular way because of what we have seen or experienced before. While this tradition is helpful in many ways, it can actually keep us from getting to the heart of what we could be doing.
April 23, 2019
Hear this amazing reflection on Good Friday with Leroy and Donna Barber, Mark Charles, Sunia Gibbs, Andru Morgan and Treneil Washington.
April 23, 2019
If you've ever walked through the Home section in a Target then you'll probably recognize the collection wall decals and nick nacks that feature the "true enough" sayings. These are the quotes and sayings that have a sliver of truth in them, but require specific circumstances to be true.
On a number of occasions I've dreamt about hovering 4 feet by the power of my mind off the ground and it's yet to happen.
If how badly you want something is the key to unlocking life, I would have conquered eating an entire sheet cake by now.
There's still truth in both of these statements, so I'm not trying to invalidate the power of dreaming of realities that don't exist yet or the power of eliminating certain desires when I realize how weak the drive behind them is. The problem is that when we consume true enough, we usually end up deeply disappointed in the complexity of life. If we sit with deep wisdom we find truth that can negotiate this complexity.
I think the Jesus story and Easter Sunday is deep wisdom that's been packaged as true enough wisdom. We've been sold calligraphy on a wood pallet and a decal for our wall, when it's always been meant to expose the deepest truths of life, loss, fear and hope.
My hope is that we'll sit with deep truth this Easter Sunday in ways that illuminate the ways we individually and collectively have settled for the good news of true enough.