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It’s in every corner of the Bible: God loves the downtrodden

August 10, 2017

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Cross-published on the HuffPost. I couldn’t escape. There was no exit. I longed to crawl into a pitch-black cave between chemotherapy sessions while GOP Senate leaders repeatedly hurled their proposals to cut off my Medicaid. I was all brawl at first, but I felt flattened as the dystopian proposals snaked their way through the House […]

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I killed the dinosaurs, and I feel bad about it

January 6, 2017

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“The Journey of the Magi” (1894) by James Jacques Joseph Tissot (French painter and illustrator, 1836-1902), oil on canvas. I’m an artist at self-accusation and remorse. Accuse me of anything – lust, greed, pride, gluttony, laziness, work a-holism, launching the Vietnam War, bombing Pearl Harbor – and I’ll plead sweat-riddled guilt. It seems this day […]

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Mr. Self-Sufficient confronts his helplessness

May 3, 2016

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Suddenly, I feel encircled by kind introverts in white smocks. They deliver good news, but I find myself enveloped in a peculiar angst, only relieved upon re-reading the story of a storm and a sleeping Messiah. Strange: prospects of healing spawn listlessness. Such are the irrational vicissitudes of the life dominated by mouth cancer, which […]

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Finding light in a dark tunnel

April 30, 2016

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Who would-a thunk it? A potentially fatal illness has spurred me back to life. I’m more like wax and less like clay — a fact I pondered as I arrived home after my third and final 5-day in-hospital chemotherapy stint for mouth cancer on April 3rd, cue-ball bald and talking like Daffy Duck with a Swiss-German […]

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Pentecost and the 21st century

May 27, 2015

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Panic. The sky is falling. Volcanoes are erupting and cities are burning and aphids swarm our gardens. Or maybe not.

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The winter of my contentment

February 23, 2015

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Perhaps I’m experiencing a forgotten brand of gratification drawn from the test, or the trial, or the challenge. Human history testifies to a spark that rattles us out of mere comfort and propels us into arctic adventures.

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The real message of Genesis …

September 1, 2014

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My suspicions have always nagged: Does the creationism-evolutionism debate totally miss the point? Let’s chill. Let’s listen to the message of Genesis 1-3,

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Viewing Good Friday Through Luther, Augustine, and Barth

April 19, 2014

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Perhaps not surprisingly, I find thinkers from previous ages more gripping than the moderns. Three especially shine: Augustine, Martin Luther, and Karl Barth. Each made colossal mistakes – with Luther’s chilling essay against the Jews the most inexcusable – but each understood that theology was a discipline offered to the Church at large, not merely to academia. What’s more, each wrestles with God. They’ve glimpsed transcendence. They’re doing theology on their knees. They’re imperfect because they see things through a glass dimly, but at least they’ve tried. I tried finding what each said about Good Friday. It’s allowed me to gaze at the day through their insights.

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A Maundy Thursday Prayer

April 17, 2014

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I can feel your broken heart, O Lord, as you watched the fingers reach for food in your final Earthly meal with your disciples. You saw the gulf between them and you. Some banally argued over rank and prestige while one tabulated his silver reward. All missed your foot-washing portrait: Brawls over crowns and garlands are for Gentile leaders and would-be CEO’s and partisan kingpins ruled by the latest opinion polls. Such spats are worse than irrelevant. They’re spiritual tear gas. They blind us to your vision of the self-effacing servant with a towel: The first is last and the last is first.

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Finding true mentors: They’re next door and down the street

October 27, 2013

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… they’re given a volatility license because their ministries are bloated and loaded. Hats off to them for drawing those crowds and their indisputable communication and organizational skills, but there’s more to Christian success than fund-raising and reaching a target audience. Otherwise, we’d be scolding Jesus for losing his following as he hung on the cross. Christian success would at least embrace Proverbs 14:17: “A quick-tempered man does foolish things” as well as James 1:19-20: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”

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