Category: Sermons

The Wholeness of the Forgotten Ones

Part of healing from fundamentalism is staring straight in the face the kinds of things I used to say to other people as an obnoxious evangelical. It’s not the easiest of tasks. Actually, it’s more like trying to cleanse an open, blistering sunburn with rubbing alcohol. The sting is excruciating in the midst of being exposed over and over again…

Black and white close up of white girl's eyes; her face covered all around by a wooden scarf, light reflecting in her eyes.

What Are We Seeking?

When the pain of the world filters through my vision all at once, I easily focus on what I’m seeing rather than what I’m seeking. Without thinking about it, what I’m seeing then determines what I seek. And I can seek cynicism, fear, and distraction with the best of them. I feel entitled to my cynicism. And to my fear.…

Epiphany: The Showing of God in the Most Unlikely

It’s not so far-fetched, you know. The Magi. Them being occultic astrologers, I mean. Jesus’ entire life is predicated on learning from and uplifting voices of the unlikely. The presence of pagan strangers with expensive taste simply falls within this odd norm, along with foul-smelling shepherds and pregnant virgins. Technically, they aren’t even classified as ‘wise folks’ in Matthew’s account.…

Christmas in the Lightness & the Darkness

For much of my life, I was raised in a culture that venerated moving from darkness into the Light during Advent, culminating in celebrating the Light on Christmas morning. It’s not terribly surprising. I do live in a country that has its shortest days of the year around this season. I wake up in the dark, I go to work…

Permission for Holy Rest

It’s odd that we so often need to hear permission for what we so desperately need. Rest is one such hellish need. Sometimes rest seems far too much like a luxury. It’s afforded to those of us who finish our to-do lists or who have salaries that cover expenses every month. Even when we have very little to do, our…

Angels & Demons: Do We Still Need to Believe in the Supernatural?

This past Sunday was the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels or Michaelmas (Michael’s Mass). In some countries in the northern hemisphere, it’s a Christian version of celebrating the equinox. For Lutherans, it’s one of the only feasts to commemorate supernatural forces in the world. It was a strange movement coming from evangelical worlds that took supernatural entities literally…

When the Powers are Wrong

This week’s pericope is one that has troubled Christians for millennia. Jesus utters horrifying words like “no one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” For those of us raised in conservative traditions, flashbacks of discipleship Sundays, altar calls, and long sermons about unwavering loyalty to the King of Kings…

When Healing Make Life Complicated

When I skimmed this week’s gospel reading from the lectionary, I rolled my eyes a little bit (my mother would be so pleased, quite possibly declaring I was looking for my brains). Jesus heals the man at the pool. Lovely. It was an optional reading, but avoiding difficult texts is a sure-fire way for any clergy person to dive headlong…

A Mothering Jesus

This week’s pericope was a long one — John 21:1-19. The disciples are fishing all night long, Jesus waits for them on the beach, there’s a miraculous catch of fish, breakfast, and suddenly we stop talking about the fish and start talking about sheep instead. I needed to whittle down the text to a perspective often glossed over — a…

Photo of the front of an old church, front wall blown out, and view of a meadow at sunset. Text reads: "And with God-the-Father absent...or somehow remaining invisible ..., God-the-Mother must bear witness.", Erin Thomas

Women of the Crucifixion: The Sound of God

I’ve done it since I was young. Focus on the absence of God, I mean. Not that any one group has any precise, theological understanding of exactly what happened the day Jesus was crucified. No one was actually there — in Palestine or in heaven. If that’s where God-the-Father resides. Which I’ve come to have dubious suspicions about. We’ve fought…