Reposting this beautiful reflection for Lent.  It was written by Barbara Cawthorne Crafton in her book, Living Lent and I blatantly stole the idea of using the reflection in worship from my friends at Lake Shore Baptist Church in Waco, Texas. We didn’t even know what moderation was. What it felt like. We didn’t just work: we inhaled our jobs, sucked them in, became them. Stayed late, brought work home—it was never… Read More

When God is Silent Mark 1:12-13 Imagine a man left for more than a month in a remote desert, parched landscape all that surrounds him. He has suddenly been taken away from his friends, his family, the comforts of his home. Unlike any time in this man’s life previous to this experience, he is now engaged in trying to survive—scrounging for food where it does not exist, living off whatever he can… Read More

You know, it’s funny.  I do this for a living, and it still surprises me.  It happened this afternoon in Midtown.  People brushing past on the sidewalks, standing in line beside you at the counter, waiting for coffee. I feel startled when I see their smudgy foreheads.  Have you had the same compulsion I have?  To lean over and whisper . . . “you know, you’ve got a smudge or something right… Read More

It seems a little strange that a small pile of dirt gives me such comfort, but it happens to me every single year. Baptists don’t generally do the Ash Wednesday thing, and I didn’t grow up in a tradition where Ash Wednesday was familiar, so the first time I experienced Ash Wednesday I felt transported into a particularly holy and sacred space. Even now, after years of practicing the tradition and even… Read More

Dazzled Mark 9:2-9 It’s good to be back with you today! As you can see, I’m preaching one-armed this morning, as I’m recovering for a few more weeks from shoulder surgery. My colleagues have been giving me a hard time, sure that I can’t, in fact, preach with one hand, (probably because of my well-known pulpit-pounding, fire and brimstone preaching style). Thank you for all your prayers and expressions of care and… Read More

Last week I spent a few days teaching a class called The Vulnerable Leader, with doctor of ministry students at Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Shawnee, Kansas. This was the second year I have had the privilege of spending this kind of intense time with other practical theologians considering the challenges of effective leadership for the future of the church, and I found the experience this year similarly enriching. In developing the class,… Read More

I spent a a few days last week teaching a wonderful group of Doctor of Ministry students at Central Baptist Theological Seminary.  The class was called The Vulnerable Leader, and as part of our work I asked my colleagues in the class to choose a passage of scripture that illustrates vulnerable leadership as we had come to define it, then write a short homily to deliver to the class. Here’s the definition… Read More

I had the great pleasure of spending a few days last week at the New Baptist Covenant meeting in Atlanta. We gathered to talk about congregations making covenants with each other, committing to the work of healing the world while building relationships with people whom they might not encounter otherwise. It was a hope-filled Baptist meeting, unusual in my experience of Baptist meetings, if only for the diversity represented. I also saw… Read More

Relentless Jonah 3:1-5, 10 Mark 1:14-20 Today we find ourselves making our way through the season after Epiphany, leaning toward any light we can see, trying, along with Jesus’ first disciples, to understand what it means to be people who live in a world of darkness insisting that there’s enough light for at least one more step toward wholeness, reconciliation, hope. That’s who we are; that’s what we’re called to do…which all… Read More

The following are remarks I shared at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Service at The Riverside Church on January 18, 2015.  As you will see, Dr. King had a strong connection to this congregation; it was an honor to celebrate his legacy here.  Special thanks to church archivist Ricki Moskowitz, who helped unearth historical details. Today we gather to recall Dr. King’s personal reach to this congregation and his greater reach… Read More

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