Originally posted on Talk With the Preacher:
Kindness Before you know what kindness really is you must lose things, feel the future dissolve in a moment like salt in a weakened broth. What you held in your hand, what you counted and carefully saved, all this must go so you know how desolate the landscape can be between the regions of kindness. How you ride and ride thinking the bus will never…

Yesterday when I pronounced the benediction at the end of worship, I told the congregation to gather all the courage they could muster, turn from the work of worship, and go out to change the world. Honestly, I didn’t think much about how I said it; I try to say something very similar every week because it’s what I believe: being the church should transform us so that we can be agents… Read More

It Starts Now Acts 1:1-11 Ascension Sunday Well, here we are, on the seventh Sunday of Easter, thinking about what it means to build a church.  We’d expected that Diana Butler Bass would be here, however, due to Amtrak tragedies and airline delays, you’re stuck with me today, on ascension Sunday. Today’s passage from Acts is the very beginning of the book, Luke’s starting story.  It invited the first disciples and it… Read More

Blowin’ in the Wind Acts 10:44-48 In these weeks following Easter here at The Riverside Church, we’ve been talking about building a church, reading in the book of Acts about some of the experiences of the very first disciples as they tried to figure out what a gospel community looked like in the wake of resurrection—how they might institutionalize the gospel message in such a way that it would take root in… Read More

Thirst Mary Oliver Another morning and I wake with thirst for the goodness I do not have. I walk out to the pond and all the way God has given us such beautiful lessons. Oh Lord, I was never a quick scholar but sulked and hunched over my books past the hour and the bell; grant me, in your mercy, a little more time. Love for the earth and love for you… Read More

Elevator Speech Acts 4:5-12 Christ is risen! Christ is risen, indeed! Today is the fourth Sunday of the season of Easter, typically known as Good Shepherd Sunday—you’ll notice many of the texts in worship today reference that metaphor for Jesus. But we’re sticking with the assigned texts from the book of Acts for these weeks after Easter, following the adventures of Jesus’ first disciples as they struggled to find their footing in… Read More

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


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