Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Suffering Archives

Faith from the Underside

Faith turned over to the side that doesn’t capture the light: the underbelly of trust in God—or is it distrust?—so often not shown.  At first glance, Barbara Brown Taylor’s latest book, Learning To Walk in the Dark, seems an exercise […]

Grace Sticks…Even In Church

Sometimes God shows up in unlikely places. Take church for example. This past Sunday during the prayers of the people, a beautiful couple stood up to ask the congregation to agree with them in faith that their little boy would […]

God of the Gaps: Survey Finds Americans Pray More in Disasters

It’s another week of hermitic writing, I’m afraid, so you’ll be hearing less from me as I push through edits from a second revision. But this morning I stumbled upon a report from Religion Today which I found interesting in […]

Why I Need a God Who Wears a Cross: A Meditation for Holy Week

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.  This final victory lap of the book; the last touches on a manuscript that I now a bit bashfully would let other eyes see for the very first time: they were supposed to […]

“A Brief for the Defense”

  My favorite poem from the recent series by Andrew Sullivan (The Dish), Poems from the Year, contains refrains from the Old Testament, especially Ecclesiastes.  Even today’s reading from Nehemiah 8, where “the joy of the Lord is my strength,” […]

A Child’s Prayer of Lament

We were driving home from school yesterday when the NPR reports came on.  Another horrific mass killing.  This time at a school.  28 dead, 20 of them children. The sound of gun shots on the school’s loudspeakers were in the […]

The Problem of Athlete’s Foot

Yesterday’s pool excursion with my son, Cameron, may have been a big divine hint that I need to do more preparation for Sunday’s small group discussion on the nature of evil.  My son, afterall, unlike me or my esteemed cohorts, […]

Nature and Grace

If you read yesterday’s sermon, you may have caught some refrains on this theme. The picture I mentioned of the leopard snuggling with a baby antelope might almost pass as a Hallmark card, were it not for the fact that […]

“The Stewardship of Pain”

It was a warm summer day in Vermont when friend and fellow saint and sinner Molly Collins introduced me to Frederick Buechner at his longtime home.  That was some seven years ago. I remember at the time being struck by […]

Faith When the GPS Breaks

By faith, Abraham when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.  -Hebrews 11:8 Every once in a while I spend my […]

Previous Posts

Jesus and the Rich Man: A Sermon on the "Hitler" of Passages.
It's rare that I find myself thinking about Sunday's sermon midweek. This Sunday our pastor Drew Ditzel preached on the familiar story of Jesus and the rich man (Mark 10). The rich man, who says he has kept all the commandments perfectly and has lived a righteous life, comes to Jesus asking what mor

posted 10:40:08am Sep. 17, 2014 | read full post »

The Lie of Invulnerability
This last week has been insane. Family sickness, repairs, car issues, multiple calls from school nurses, including one in which the nurse expressed concern my 7-year-old son had been bitten by a brown recluse spider...and just when I thought it couldn't get worse...viral pinkeye. Two puffy, leaky, r

posted 11:00:49am Sep. 09, 2014 | read full post »

Humor Relief for Religious Extremism
Once again, humor and satire are coming to my aid this morning, this time in response to the twisted and evil extensions of religion that seeks to coerce and control with violence and worldly forms of power (best embodied these days in the form of ISIS and its affiliates). The Palestinian televis

posted 10:36:57am Sep. 03, 2014 | read full post »

"AA" Recovery Groups—Spirituality for the Non-Religious, Hope for the Church?
[caption id="attachment_5326" align="alignleft" width="271"] Bill Wilson co-founded Alcoholics Anonymous with Dr. Bob Smith in 1935. Their affectionately called "Big Book" is one of the best-selling books of all time, having sold more than 30 million copies since its publication. (Photo credit: Haze

posted 11:27:26am Sep. 02, 2014 | read full post »

Thoughtful Christians—They're Around, Via Fare Forward
The cover story from the latest (July/August) issue of Christianity Today offers a refreshing antidote to all the gloom and doom that often accom

posted 2:39:15am Aug. 27, 2014 | read full post »


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