Duane Beck, a retired Mennonite pastor, says that when he started his first pastorate right out of seminary, he preached repeatedly on the theme of discipleship. He discovered that the members of his congregation were committed Christians who had every intention of deepening their life of discipleship, but they didn’t or couldn’t for some reason. […]
Some of you may know the name John Dear—no, not the green tractors that used to go put-put—but John Dear [D-e-a-r], a Catholic priest and peace activist from CA. Early in his career John Dear felt obligated to support an inmate on death row, since he opposed the death penalty. He contacted an inmate in […]
Twice in my life I’ve had to face my mortality: At 15 I was in a serious car accident in which I could well have been killed. Then, at the ripe age of 50 I had open heart surgery. After this last incident I had a need to talk about my mortality, but I had […]
What word, phrase, image or experience comes to mind when I say the word gospel? What does that word—gospel—conjure up for you? Gospel may well be the most used word in the Christian vocabulary. But it is usually left undefined. People use it assuming others know what is meant by the word.
“What is patriotism but the love of the food you ate as a child?” so asked a 20th-century Chinese philosopher named Lin Yutang. If patriotism is love of the foods I ate as a child, then I’m very patriotic: shoo-fly pie, chocolate shakes, meatloaf, graham cracker pudding, egg and olive salad, chocolate chip cookies, potato […]
There are four post-resurrection stories in this, the last chapter of Luke. This morning’s text is the next-to-last one. It immediately follows the account of the two disciples walking on the Emmaus road who didn’t recognize Jesus until he broke bread, blessed it, and gave it to them. Three things interest me about this morning’s […]
I was probably in elementary school when my family took a trip through the mountains of PA. My dad was driving and as he rounded a curve a rattle snake slithered across the road. My dad, being my dad, stopped the car alongside the road and with his camera followed the snake into the woods […]
“In consolation, remember desolation. In desolation, remember consolation.” A great paradox; and this too sounds as though it is from Eccl., although it’s not. Ecclesiastes is full of paradox, contradictions, ambiguities that have long left readers puzzled. The writer seeks wisdom, knowing it is better to be wise than foolish, yet the wise and the […]