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[…]


   “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[…]

Forgiving Jesus?

“But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper to fulfill all righteousness.”  The he (John) consented.” –Matthew 3:15 In the wake of Christmas, the lectionary moves quickly from the very spare accounts of Jesus’ early life to the event of his baptism and the advent of his public minstry.  On[…]

Soul Force

“To our most bitter opponents we say: “We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering.    We shall meet your physical force with soul force.  Do to us what you will, and we will continue to love you.  We cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws, because noncooperation with[…]

Freedom in Choice

“Joseph, her husband, was a man of integrity.  Not wanting Mary to be disgraced, he intended to dismiss her quietly.  But while he was thinking about these things . . .” — Matthew 1:19-20 Where is God in the midst of life’s unwanted developments, disruptions, crises?  When we are confronted with that for which we have[…]

The Free(ing) Gift

 This is the irrational season When love blooms bright and wild. Had Mary been filled with reason There’d have been no room for the child.  –“After Annunciation” by Madeleine L’Engle The life of Jesus is God’s gift for us, and the gift is meant to be received.  This season of Advent reminds us of God’s[…]

Our Capacity To Act

‘Without being forgiven, released from the consequences of what we have done, our capacity to act would, as it were, be confined to a single deed from which we would never recover; we would remain victims of its consequences forever.”  –Hannah Arendt

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