Psalm 109: A Problematic Prayer

(Based on the exegesis of Walter Brueggemann in Tenacious Solidarity: Biblical Provocations on Race, Religion, Climate, and the Economy, pp. 369-373) Read Psalm 109 For a few moments I want you to think back on your life to those times when you have been wronged, mistreated, betrayed, abused, used, hurt,… Continue reading

Psalm 32 “Deepening Our Spirituality Through Confession”

Read Psalm 32 (Based in large part on Brian D. McLaren’s book entitled Naked Spirituality: A Life with God in 12 Simple Words) A wise spiritual leader once said, “A secret to the spiritual life is desiring to actually be more spiritual than you appear to be. The secret to… Continue reading

Luke 14:25-33 “The Cost Analysis of Following Jesus”

Read the scripture. Kirby Hill Lawrence, a Presbyterian pastor in Georgia, imagines Jesus receiving the following letter:  Dear Rabbi,  It is rare when I am critical of someone of your stature, but I hope you will take my comments with the understanding that I am a great admirer of yours…. Continue reading

“Bread, Bread, and Bread” Luke 4:1-13; 11:1-4

(Read the biblical passages.) We harbor the notion that the closer one is to God, the freer one is from temptation. But Scripture throws us a curve. “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness where for forty days… Continue reading

The Cross as a Mnemonic Device for Ash Wednesday

The observance of Ash Wednesday in many churches includes the placing of ashes on the foreheads of worshipers in the form of a cross. As this is done, the priest or minster says the following words: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” These words come… Continue reading

Psalm 51:1-12 “Are We Moderns Too Sophisticated for Sin and Guilt?”

Psalm 51 is one of the seven penitential psalms of the Hebrew Scriptures and is among the profoundest of prayers in the history of religion. It is also historically one of the most important passages of Scripture during the Lenten season. But there is something about this psalm which jars… Continue reading

Mark 2:18-22 “Kingdom, Church, and Sacred Cows”

The context Mark provides for Jesus’ teaching is a dispute over fasting. His critics ask why his disciples do not fast as John’s disciples do. Jesus responds that with him there is a new age–the age of the bridegroom–the Kingdom time of a perpetual wedding when the appropriate response is… Continue reading

What Keeps Us from Wonder? Part One

Wonder is the reason we seek to know any reality whatsoever. (Nicholas of Cusa) Nicholas of Cusa (1400-1464 CE) was a cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church who served in Greece. Because of the prominence of the Greek Eastern Orthodox Church in that part of the world, Nicholas was in… Continue reading