From the Statue, Learn Its Lesson

In the wake of the Freeh report, there are renewed calls for Penn State University to remove the seven-foot statue of Joe Paterno at Beaver Stadium. An article in Thursday’s  Philadelphia Inquirer, “Joe Paterno Statue a Lightning Rod,” highlights the range of emotions swirling around whether the university should take down the statue, and other[…]


The Conspiracy of Goodness

“How could the Nazis ever get to the end of the resources of such a people?” –Pastor Andre Trocme On a Saturday afternoon in late summer of 1942, police in Nazi- occupied France arrived in the southern French town of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon with several empty buses.  They demanded that the pastor of the town’s French[…]


Still Time to Rise

“After this Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” —John 21:19 Peter and six of the other disciples have gone back home to Galilee.  They go fishing and catch nothing, a metaphor for returning to life as they have previously known it, even in the wake of resurrection.   In Jerusalem, Jesus had come to them[…]


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,”[…]


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