Learning to Say Thank You Matthew 20:1-16 A sermon delivered at The Riverside Church September 21, 2014.  Watch or listen here.   Over the next several weeks in worship, we’ll be taking a tour through some of the parables of Jesus found in the gospel of Matthew. As you know, Jesus often told stories to try to illustrate what he called the Kingdom of God, or the Kingdom of Heaven.  What he… Read More

Looking back over my life I realize I’ve traveled a winding road as it relates to the spiritual practice of prayer. Lately I’ve turned another corner, and this week I’ve been thinking a lot about that journey. My earliest memories of prayer are memories of kneeling bedside with my parents before bedtime. Every night we’d review the day, express concerns and gratitude for the gifts of the day and pray for people… Read More

Some beautiful photos from yesterday’s Homecoming Sunday at The Riverside Church.  What a warm welcome this congregation extended to me!

Forward Genesis 50:15-21 A sermon delivered at The Riverside Church September 14, 2014.  Watch or listen here.   Good morning, friends! Well, here we are.  What a road we have traveled already to get to this week, officially beginning our journey together.  I want to say thank you to so many of you who have reached out to welcome me—your notes and calls and invitations and flowers have eased my transition to… Read More

Sonnets To Orpheus, Part Two, XII By Rainer Maria Rilke Translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy Want the change. Be inspired by the flame where everything shines as it disappears. The artist, when sketching, loves nothing so much as the curve of the body as it turns away. What locks itself in sameness has congealed. Is it safer to be gray and numb? What turns hard becomes rigid and is easily… Read More

Last Sunday all over the world lectionary preachers were handed a challenging text from Matthew’s Gospel. The text was that little part of chapter 15, where Jesus is busy just doing his thing: using gardening metaphors to see if he can get anywhere with his hardheaded disciples and generally trying his best to manage the increasing demands of publicly saying things people find distasteful.  You know, the usual. The way Matthew tells… Read More

Reaction Genesis 37:1-4; 12-28 I confess I was not the world’s greatest science student, but reading our story from the book of Genesis today reminds me of something I learned in physics class. Or maybe was it chemistry? The teacher called it Newton’s third law of motion: “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” It’s a scientific law but it’s also all I could think about as I read… Read More

These thoughts appeared first this week over at ABP/Religious Herald. Lately I’ve had occasion to think a little more deeply than usual about churches and mission/social justice programming. It seems to me that collaborative efforts to heal the world are critical parts of life together in Christian community. And that’s not just because we claim to be followers of Jesus, who was pretty clear about the transformative nature of his message. It’s… Read More

Here’s what I’ve been thinking lately, shared first at ABP/Religious Herald: You know, I’ve always thought that one of the principle practices of a good pastor is connecting people. But I’ve now come to believe that one of the principle practices of being a good human being is connecting people. Because the worst thing about walking through a hard time is feeling that you are all alone. The truth is that we need… Read More

You’ll also find this column over at Associated Baptist Press/Religious Herald.  where it first appeared earlier today.     I recently found myself asked to take a step back from leadership in worship. The pastor in charge was apologetic and very polite, but the public leadership of women in the church is not biblical, he explained, and as a pastor who believes in the Bible it was important to him to draw… Read More


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