Creative Tension

“I must confess that I am not afraid of the word ‘tension’.”–Martin Luther King, Jr. Forty nine years ago, in the wake of Easter Sunday, Martin Luther King, Jr. was composing a pastoral letter from the bowels of the Birmingham City Jail. It was in the midst of Project “C”,  a nonviolent direct action campaign[…]


Father, Forgive Them

“Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing (Luke 23:34).” Jesus’ intercession for his murderers, made as life flowed from his body, has long been problematic.  There is something about our Lord invoking the promise of forgiveness for his crucifiers that vividly brings home the unbounded expanse of God’s love. If you[…]


Four Who Carried Me To Jesus

“Then some people came, bringing to Jesus a paralyzed man, carried by four of them.”  –Mark 2:3 In his widely shared essay, “Pilgrimage to Nonviolence,” Martin Luther King, Jr., acknowledged the limits he had once perceived in the gospel’s message of liberation.  Key teachings in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount were only effective, King had[…]


Divine Image-ination

“The leaders said back to Jesus, “What sign are you going to show us, since you’re doing these things?”  Jesus answered, “Destroy this temple, and I’ll raise it back up in three days.” But Jesus was talking about the temple of his body.”  –John 2:18-19, 21 Jesus comes to the great Temple in Jerusalem at[…]


Surprised by Forgiveness

“How’d lunch go?”  That was what one of our folks wanted to ask Simon the Pharisee, host of the social gathering Jesus is invited to  in Luke 7:36-50.  What a great question!  Simon’s life has turned upside down in a rush of God’s for-giving power.  Grace has been realized in the deep humanity of a[…]


Happy Birthday, John Lewis!

Today is the 72nd birthday of civil rights pioneer John Lewis.  His is a story is deeply woven into liberation history in the United States.  A son of rural Alabama, Lewis grew up on a small farm without plumbing or electricity in the Jim Crow south.    He wanted to be a preacher.  When he was a teenager,  he heard[…]


Unparalyzed

   “And the man got up, picked up his stretcher at once, and walked out in front of everyone.”  –Mark 2:12 “Are there ways, other than physical injury, that people become paralyzed?,” I asked the assembled group. “Fear paralyzes,” said one person assertively.  There were a number of knowing nods in the room.  “So can anger,”[…]


Reflections on Self-Forgiveness

“How about how to forgive ourselves?,” my friend suggested as a topic for this blog.  It’s a subject that comes up often in workshops and discussions.  My initial response is to ask the person what they are hoping to be able to do, or what they are seeking to have happen.  Their perceptions are vital.[…]


The Role of the Church

“Perhaps the anthropological role of the Christian church in human history might be oversimplified as follows:  To undermine structures of sacred violence by making it impossible to forget how Jesus died and to show the world how to live without such structures by making it impossible to forget how Jesus lived.”  –Gil Bailie in Violence Unveiled


Making It Real

“Interestingly, forgiveness can only occur because we have been given the gift of the ability to make choices.  We have the choice to forgive or not to forgive and no one can force us to do either.  Conversely, if we want to forgive someone no one can stop us no matter how poorly they may[…]


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