O God, who grace feels abundant in our sunshine, but far removed in our shadows: We have come today to bear witness to Jesus’ suffering and death upon a cross. We are appalled at the injustice and inhumanity — not only of his last day, but of days in our lives when we hear about greed, corruption, discrimination, hatred, violence, and death.read more
I am a big proponent of gratitude.
Acknowledging that I am in favor of gratitude seems silly. Who isn’t in favor of gratitude? In case you were wondering, I also like fresh air, holding sleeping babies in my arms, and freshly-made pie. Of course I am a proponent of gratitude! Gratitude is the basis of every spiritual practice. I have written, made videos, and talked about gratitude for years.
Science can demonstrate positive correlations between gratitude and academic performance. And there are studies that show a link between gratitude and higher levels of immunity.read more
Nicodemus has understandable cynicism about the realistic expectation that an adult can really make any substantial chance, any more than that an adult could enter his or her mother’s womb a second time. This sermon takes that very real and practical question at face value. Beyond any concerns about life after death, can we, as adults, make a conscious decision to make substantive correction in the course of our lives? And if we can’t, why would anyone bother with religious faith at all?read more
We got bells! We got arches! Well, really now . . . Arches ‘n Bells is a skit, play, dialogue, monologue, reader’s theater, and litany provider for churches and faith communities. Our writers focus on producing high-quality resources from a progressive, grace-centered angle. All the stuff is downloadable for you to print and use. Oh . . . and we’re about fun too. Anybody going to the site should be able to see that. What’s more is that these works are intergenerational—they work with kids, teens, adults, and various subsections of a faith community’s demographics.read more
A recent University of Michigan study looked into the curious fact that most people do not change their prejudices when confronted with contrary facts but rather double down on their mistaken beliefs. It seems that John uses blindness as a metaphor for choosing not to see in the account of the man born blind. Both then and now courageous faith asks us to love truth enough to reject prejudice, propaganda, and political lies.read more
As we seek to move beyond the tired binaries of Left and Right, let’s find ourselves in the fusion coalition that invites us to reconsider our prejudices and find common cause with our neighbors as we move forward together in doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with our God.read more
Each spring break, I lead a group of University of Southern California students down to “baja Arizona” for a week to experience the humanitarian realities along the US side of the border with Mexico. We meet with progressive Christian activists – many of whom have been working for decades to prevent migrant deaths, assist migrants with practical help and legal representation, and advocate for legislative and administrative reform of our broken US immigration system.read more
In honor of Black History Month, I’ve asked a number of friends and colleagues to contribute guests posts sharing their wisdom about how to live in a world where so much is shifting, and so much stays exactly the same. I encourage you to let these words sink in. – Mikeread more
Hold on to what is good,
Even if it’s a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe,
Even if it’s a tree that stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do,
Even if it’s a long way from here.
~Pueblo Prayerread more
Realize that each of us is stumbling across our own bridge. That this world is not for the faint-hearted, and it might not be the one we’d choose, but it is the world we are in. Say I love you. Say I’m sorry. Say I survived.read more
How gracious can you be to someone while standing firm in the belief that their orientation is a sin? That’s how I was to my recollection. I wasn’t incensed or abrasive, I even pointed out that I wasn’t the type of Christian to ever stand with the signs that said God hated him (as if that would make me look better). When asked what my beliefs were about him being gay, I made all the standard arguments there were, while being as kind and respectful as I could. And at some point, I said I believed that if he prayed and sought God fervently that the feelings of same-sex attraction he had could go away.read more
Back when I was 12, there was no preventative or after-care treatment for survivors of human trafficking. January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and it does my heart good to be a survivor leader helping to make that change today. My greatest strengths are the closeness I have with my survivor sisters and, honestly, my husband. They always told me, “I believe in you. I think you can do this. You are worthy.” My proudest moment was walking across the stage to receive my master’s. I was able to say, “Fuck everyone who said I wasn’t worth it. I did this. Not my body — me.”read more
“Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” (Carrie Fisher). Although the other person won’t die, resentment does poison Good. Yet we guard our resentments against a touch of forgiveness as if our lives depended upon it! In a state of resentment all forgiveness retreats to a mental blank spot. But forgiving is the only way to fully recover from the effects of toxic resentment. Through doctrines and teachings all major faiths advocate for forgiveness as essential for faith fulfillment. In secular life too forgiveness is recognized as necessary for well-being. But forgiveness has not always meant what it does today.read more
Rereading this sermon from 2014, I am struck by the power of Jesus, Gandhi, and MLK’s saltiness to address our current need for seasoning! In the wake of the tragedy at the Islamic Cultural Centre in …read more