Lent Reflection – Are my things in my way?

Today continues my series of reflections for Lent. I’m reading through I’m reading through pastor Brian Zahnd‘s Lent devotional The Unvarnished Jesus. As a practice of my own, I’ll be posting daily (or near daily) short reflections on the scriptures chosen. Today is the 2nd day of Lent, and the scripture is Mark 10:17-31.

Lent Reflection – Is my mind set on human things?

Today is Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday after 5 days without power. After 11 months of various levels of COVID-19 social distancing, stay-at-home orders, and even quarantine. In some ways it feels like we’re already on the world’s longest Lent. And yet, with the weight of this past year, and the fragmented mind I’ve experienced, I […]

No, Love Does Not Require Unity.

In this challenging time, what we need is unity. We need to come together. We need to “reach across the aisle.” We need to focus on where we agree. Unity is how we’ll move forward. These and other phrases like them are impossible to avoid these days. You’ve heard them, right? I know that unity […]

We are being gathered. (Unexpected encouragement amidst the hate mail.)

Well, this past week has been a crazy emotional ride! Last week I sent out an email update. As always, the email included a link to my latest blog and podcast. It also started with an open letter to folks who follow my writing online. I thought I’d get hate mail. (Or, maybe more accurately, […]

76% (And why that number guts me).

In the days following the recent election, I saw a graph that stunned me. I cannot get it out of my head. It showed a statistical breakdown of who voted for which candidate from exit poll data, suggesting that 76% of this particular group voted to re-elect the incumbent. 76%. Numbers that high mean that […]

Jeremiah’s words for Christians in 2020.

The circumstances we find ourselves in are not what we would have chosen. COVID is still killing more than a thousand people in the U.S. each day, and there seems to be no coherent plan on the horizon to address this. Protests against police brutality have continued—in Portland, we’ve passed 130 consecutive days—and yet there […]

Are we listening to false prophets?

Imagine two preachers coming to blows right in front of the congregation. The first preacher said hard words. The second preacher disagreed! He was so offended he kicked the podium over and took a swing. Crazy picture? Unlikely? Well, that’s about what happened between Jeremiah and Hananiah, sometime around 580 BC. Even more strange? This […]

Do we have the courage to stop racial injustice?

Sitting in my home just outside of Portland, Oregon, I am only nine miles from the small square of blocks outside the Justice Center that has seen 90 nights straight of protesting that began in response to the police killing George Floyd. I’m also about 46 miles and 176 years away from where the Oregon […]

A Prayer & Process for Remaining Grounded in a Chaotic World

Emotions are running high. Uncertainty is growing. The future seems less clear than ever before. With the never-ending stream of news and social media, we are now more aware of the struggles faced by people around the world. It’s all overwheming. We need an anchor.

Building Hope When We Feel Hopeless

Are you feeling the need for hope? I sure am. The pandemic, protests, and generational pain from ignored racial injustice have given rise to anger and uncertainty. The incessant machinery of news & social media amplifies this into outrage and anxiety.  After four months of COVID-19 with no end in sight, we’re starting to realize […]

Pentecost, Breathing & George Floyd

Note: This is the text of my Pentecost sermon from 5/31/2020. In this particular moment in American history, it seems essential for white Christians to speak up, if only because our silence has spoken for us for too long.  I am not an expert in this topic, but I am listening and learning, and have […]

It’s OK to Miss Your People!

Both my daughter and wife had birthdays this week. In normal years, this week overflows with events and gatherings celebrating these two wondrous humans. This year? Not so much. As I’m writing this, our county and state are no longer in full shelter-in-place mode, but also not fully into the first stage of slowly re-opening. […]

A Psalm for when COVID-19 upends your life.

At the beginning of April, I moved into my new planner for the 2nd quarter of this year. I browsed back through past appointments, projects, to-dos both completed and left undone. I was stunned at how quickly things can change. Four months ago, life looked one way. And now? Completely different. Then I’d never heard […]

When Normal breaks, what do you learn about yourself?

All of a sudden, it becomes clear exactly how fragile “normal” is. The routines, expectations, and plans we all depend on to keep our days moving forward have all been upended by an implacable, invisible enemy. For many of us, this all feels so unexpected. We’re seeing in unarguable ways exactly how little control we […]

An open letter in a time of increasing fear among Christians

My dearest Christian siblings, I’ve been noticing us, seeing our white knuckles and increasingly strident declarations. Some among us are spending a lot of time defining and announcing who the one true Christians are. Some are shouting about liberal slippery slopes. Others are equally angry about conservative gate-keepers. An awfully large contingent is certain that […]