Today in Chicago I had the honor of delivering the closing talk at Faith Forward 2015, an amazing gathering of progressive Christians who care about the spiritual development of children and youth.  Here are the thoughts I shared: I know you all are jealous, as I know I would be were I you, of the person who gets to be the final speaker here at Faith Forward, you know, to attempt a deeply… Read More

“From the sublime to the ridiculous is but a step.” I’m pretty sure James Joyce wasn’t thinking of the minister’s experience of Holy Week when he wrote that sentence filled with deep and resounding truth, but any minister who has made it, breathing, to the other side of Holy Week will tell you: these words could have been penned for us. This year, for example, it was my full intention that anyone… Read More

Changing Our Minds Acts 3:12-19 Christ is risen! Christ is risen, indeed! Good morning, and welcome to the third Sunday of Easter.  Though many of us grew up with the idea that Easter was one day, in truth the calendar of the church year gives us a whole season of Easter…and it’s a good thing, because getting our minds around resurrection is going to take awhile, isn’t it? You may have noticed… Read More

Yesterday I had the incredible opportunity to offer the opening prayer at the White House Easter Prayer Breakfast.   Loving and gracious God, we come here today with gratitude for your way of love, a love that death could not destroy and a tomb could not contain.  With that acknowledgment, we also confess that we struggle with the brokenness of our world and the responsibilities we bear. You came to proclaim Good… Read More

The Rest of the Story Mark 16:1-8 Easter Sunday I’ll bet it felt a little like sleep-walking, or, maybe like making your way through water with heavy weights strapped to your hands and feet. The Sabbath was over, and three of the women who had followed Jesus for years and who had walked with him all the way to the cross, who had supervised his burial, needed to return to the tomb… Read More

What we’ve done tonight as we’ve listened to Rev. Janka read the gospel text from Mark’s gospel is, in effect, peered into the dynamics of a family dinner. You know those, right? They are the dinners where, from the outside the scene can easily be described objectively, like that famous Norman Rockwell painting of Thanksgiving dinner.  Everyone is leaning in over the table glancing happily at each other.  The mother is proudly… Read More

Conflicted Mark 11:1-11 Today is the final Sunday in the season of Lent, the last time we’ll be together for Sunday worship in this place this year before we celebrate Easter. For weeks now we’ve been engaging in holy conversations about our lives, about our faith, about how our faith is lived out in the world. And part of the practice of Lent has been to confess, repent, reassess our lives for… Read More

I spent last week in Chicago, part of which was spent working on a book proposal.  This experience was much more labor and emotion intensive than I’d anticipated.  Several questions floated on the periphery of my consciousness all week, questions like: If I write about my life, what is the consistent thread running through the story? And, so many crazy/amazing/ridiculous things have happened to me–which of those things have resonance for that… Read More

Cliché John 3:14-21 Welcome to the fourth Sunday of Lent and to this season where we’ve been invited again and again into holy conversations, with the text, with each other, and with God. I hope as you’ve been navigating this season of reflection, confession, repentance…that you’ve found opportunities for a holy conversation or two, and that you’ve taken the risk of sharing the truth about your life. It’s funny that our theme… Read More

Last week I had the opportunity to visit Yale Divinity School and share some thoughts on vocation with new friends there.  Here’s a reflection on Matthew 4:1-11 that I offered in chapel while I was there. I grew up on the island of Oahu in the state of Hawaii. Every summer when we’d pack our suitcases and get on an airplane for the long trip to visit Grandma and Grandpa in Chicago…. Read More

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