Pentecost 5 Racist? Who me?

The second reading for the Fifth Sunday of Pentecost is Romans 7.15-25a

 

 

When I hear people of color today cry out against systemic racism, I want to reply, “I’m not racist.” I want to object that this country has come so far from the days of slavery and the sins of the Confederacy, that surely we […]

Pentecost 2: Sheep into the Midst of Wolves

Gospel for Proper 6 (Pentecost 2) Series A

Matthew 9:35–10:8 (10:9–23)

 

This is the year of Matthew in the Revised Common Lectionary. But this is the Sunday we get our first real introduction to what it means to be Christ-followers—what it means to be a genuine part of the church.

 

And it isn’t pretty! And it is not […]

Trinity Sunday: Put Things (Back) in Order

Things Fall Apart is the title of the powerful 1958 book by the late Nigerian author Chinua Achebe. It tells of the tragic life of a young man, trying to find respect for himself and his family by overcoming what he considers the failed and ignominious legacy of his father. It also tells of the arrival […]

Pentecost, the Spirit, and the Murder of George Floyd

This coming Sunday is Pentecost. One possible First Reading is Numbers 11.24-30 which relates the one-time, special, but official outpouring of the Spirit of God on a select group of elders of the Hebrew people. Two men, Eldad and Medad, were supposed to gather with the special group of elders, but somehow didn’t make it. […]

Nicodemus and Us

This is my second “blog in a time of pandemic.” And it fits also in my ongoing series of reflections on the Sunday readings. (I rely greatly in these comments on the scholarship of the late Raymond E. Brown, and I love his idea that “eternal life” that is featured so much in the Fourth Gospel is “the life […]

Jesus Calls All Religions to Repent and Reform

If Christians understood Jesus as he came to us, as the One who calls all religions to reform and repentance, we would listen to and respect, and not ignore or hate, the voices of all other faiths.

Concerned citizens gathered this past week at the Islamic Center of DeKalb, Illinois, to share grief, hope, and shared […]

The Banquet of the Blessed and Unblessed

Reflections on the readings for the Fourth Sunday in Lent

 

Amy-Jill Levine has a nice Youtube presentation on Jesus’ parables of the Lost Coin, the Lost Sheep and the Prodigal Son (the Gospel for this Sunday in Luke 15. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIxpPZvqGdI&t=6s

Levine would rather call them the parables of the Frantic Woman, the Frantic Shepherd, and the Frantic […]

Try Being Less Spiritual and More Decent

“What then should we do?”

That was the cry of the crowds who were touched by John the Baptist’s message in the region of the Jordan, that God’s ax was laid at the root of the trees, and those that produced no good fruit would be cut down (Luke 3:9).

What are those good fruits? What are […]

Mary Magdalene: The Easter Angel

The Easter Gospel: John 20:1-18

Very often, my wife, Connie, will see me growing cranky looking for something. She says, “What are you looking for?” And no sooner than I name the elusive thing, she finds it. And often it had been hiding in plain sight, right in front of my nose.

Mary Magdalene pulls the same […]

Reflections on Lessons Pentecost 23 A

We had a spirited discussion today in our weekly Bible study of area pastors of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). It was fed by a feeling of dread about recent signs of sickness in our society. One of our number put it something like this. “Why is it that we are Christians, and […]