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The Art of Taking Leave

Depending on how you look at it, this posting is either one day late or two days early.  But either way, it never hurts at this time of year to sit for a bit with the mystery of the Ascension.  I’ve been pondering it a good deal of late because I am preaching for the Sinsinawa Dominican community on Sunday, and in preparation realized that I don’t think I’ve ever really understood this feast and why it has meant so much to Christians from the earliest centuries of the Church.

icon true vine

On Being True Vine

The parable of the True Vine is one of my favorites in all of scripture.  I had no particular connection with it growing up, but then re-discovered it around the age of thirty in my training as a catechist in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd movement and have turned it over in my heart ever since.  I sign up to preach on it almost every year during the Easter season and have given probably 30 talks on the passage.  What’s different about meditating on it anew during 2021? 

overwhelmed lady

Doing Truth Online

Lots of us have not just a personal social media presence, but a more public one.  We manage our parish or school website or Facebook page or Instagram account.  Which means, we deal with comments.  Some from people we know.  Some from people we don’t.  Some appreciative.  Some critical.  Some adding value and insight.  Some, well….

Ford Maddox Brown image

Dirty Jobs with Jesus

The week leading up to Holy Week this year was… well, hard.  I’m in the middle of facilitating a couple of messy conversations right now that sometimes don’t feel particularly “redeemable”.  And if you’ve read any of my stuff, you know how much I like everything to be “redeemable”!  There was a moment last Wednesday when I thought I might pull out every last strand of hair on my head.  I called a colleague who happens to be bald and who reminded me that hair is a good thing and that I should try to keep mine.  He talked me into a better place simply by reminding me I was not alo

bedikat chametz

Joining in the Search for Crumbs

Earlier this month, I had the good fortune of working on another event with colleagues at the Wexner Foundation—an organization that provides leadership development within the Jewish community.  For the first time I learned about the tradition of Bedikat Chametz which many Jewish families around the globe will mark this Thursday night, March 25th as a way of preparing for Passover.  (Thanks Ruthie W!)  Reading up more about this tradition helped me to think of Holy Week this year in a new way.  Curious to find out more?  I talk a bit more about what I discovered

rembrandt prodigal

How Are You Working Right Now?

The Tale of the Prodigal Son is the quintessential Lenten parable—always found right at the midpoint of the season as if to say, “Have you come to your senses yet?  Ready now to make the turn toward your Father?”  In recent years, many have argued it should be titled the Parable of the Loving Father to keep the emphasis on God’s mercy rather than our wrongdoing.  But in studying the parable anew this particular Lenten season, I was struck by a number of commentaries pointing out that it should be read as the Tale of the Elder Son since the plot builds in such a way to focus less

#Rules_of_Engagement Everywhere You Look

#Rules_of_Engagement Everywhere You Look

So here is some great news:  #Rules_of_Engagement has only been out less than a week and already it is so popular that the movie and television rights have been purchased, and a thriller version of the content is now available.  Who could have guessed my book would be so well received so very quickly… like almost before it even hit the shelves… like maybe before it was even written? 

tangled cords

The This-ness of These Days

I want to assure you that no animals were injured in the preparation of this reflection on "The This-ness of These Days" which is more than Jesus can say regarding the gospel episode upon which it is based.  In the story of Jesus’ encounter with the “Gerasene demoniac,” 2000 pigs drown and we are left wondering, “What exactly is the meaning of this odd tale?”  In their reading of it, Augustine and Aquinas both conclude—curiously—that it indicates Christians have no obligations toward animals.  But I suspect they ma

sit mindfully

Time to Talk about Truth?

How do I know for certain the earth is older than six thousand years?  It’s not like I was around at the dawn of creation (though some morning when getting out of bed I feel like it).  How do I know for certain that it wasn’t really Antifa members dressed as Trump supporters?  I wasn’t there.  And even if I was, I could have been fooled by the actor next to me.  How do I know for certain that the election wasn’t fraudulent? I couldn’t personally watch every vote be counted.  

Rique Ray's drawing

As Spacious as the Heavens

My nephew Rique Ray is an amazing artist.  Only 9 years old, he’s already an expert at Garfields, Charlie Browns, and “Ducks with Dice.”  But this drawing—completed just a couple weeks ago, after apparently a few too many days (months?) at home—captures better than anything else I’ve seen the “space” that so many of us are living in right now.  That sense of being squeezed more and more until our true colors begin to bleed out.  For many the squeeze is physical or financial.  For others its more mental or emotional.  Whatever the source, any more pressure and an eyeb