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Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

The Bible Archives

Biblical Inerrancy, Sexual Purity and Christian Code Words: What You’re Saying

One thing that keeps me showing up at this intersection between God and life is you and your musings. I hope you’ll keep leaving them here. Here is what some of you have been saying… Saint and sinner Briana from […]

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New Testament Scholars Weigh In On Aslan’s Book “Zealot”

By way of an update to last week’s rant about Aslan and his newly released Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, The Economist published a damning review of the book; and The Chronicle of Higher Education marshaled responses […]

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Jesus the Zealot? A Closer Look at Reza Aslan and His Latest Book

Maybe it’s because at 2 am last night my daughter woke me up and never went back to sleep. Or because at 2:05 am we discovered a bat flying around in the upstairs bedroom, having rather mysteriously snuck in from […]

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“R” Rated Bible…for Kids?

Yesterday in making my rounds as a corporate chaplain, I ran into one man who volunteered that he and his family had recently seen the movie, “The Passion of the Christ,” for the very first time. “How old are your kids?,” […]

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The Unsung Heros Among Us

“There are no ‘heroes’,” an old theology prof used to say. I disagree.  There are no superheroes, yes, despite what Nietsche might claim- but heroes?  They’re around. Some friends and I were discussing the movie, The Hobbit.  One friend said he […]

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God’s Obedient Child: More Musings for Rebels

I’ve been stalling on the subject of obedience: just the term makes me a bit squeamish, and I’m not sure where this discomfort comes from. Maybe my squeamishness is the result of having grown up singing in church one too many […]

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Georgia’s First Female Catholic Priest To Be Ordained Today

It wasn’t supposed to be this way…but then again, nothing worth doing usually ever is.  Today longtime Catholic nun Diane Dougherty is being ordained just miles from my home in Atlanta’s First Metropolitan Community Church.  Doughterty’s ordination will not be […]

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Love and Marriage When You’re Saving the World

Have any of you been following the news around the recent discovery of a fourth-century papyrus fragment that mentions Jesus’  wife?  The veracity of the papyrus is apparently dubious at best; but this hasn’t stopped Harvard professor Karen King from […]

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Our Golden Calves: A Correction to “More Thoughts on Disappearing Mothers”

Fellow saints and sinners, none of you pointed this out (rather surprisingly), but it occurred to me this morning that I had originally written this: “The Bible and my Reformed tradition have taught me that we human beings are capable […]

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Is Rick Warren’s Daniel Plan An Exercise in “Selfish” Bible Reading?

Lately, as I make my way through Rachel Held-Evans’ A Year of Biblical Womanhood- (stay tuned for my upcoming review in the online ecumenical publication, Sermons That Work)- I’ve been obliged to reflect on the nature of “biblical authority.”  This […]

From War to Peace: A Powerful, True Story of Reconciliation

The east African nation of Burundi has witnessed a long, bloody, and tragic history of civil war.  The same ugly tribalism and brutality between Hutus and Tutsis that have swept neighboring Rwanda- (resulting in 1994 in a genocide of more […]

Anger Management 101

Two days ago someone I know who I would prefer not to know made me very angry. I was so angry that when I went grocery shopping, I left all of my purchased bags of groceries in my shopping cart […]

The Uniqueness of Jesus Christ

I’ve recently begun a three month experiment in co-leading a small group of self-described cynics, skeptics and religious misfits engaging our questions at the intersection of life and God.  Tonight we’ll be revisiting what it means that Jesus is “the […]

Can a High Christology Accommodate Genuine Interfaith Dialogue?

Is it possible to take seriously the unique, “once and for all” saving work and person of Jesus Christ, while also respecting the views of friends from other faith traditions and engaging in genuine interfaith dialogue?  Is it feasible to […]

Shaking the Dust

“[Jesus] said to the apostles, ‘If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.’” – Luke 9:3-5 The chaplain was making her usual rounds at one of the […]

What Does It Mean To Pray Boldly?

“And this is the boldness we have in [Christ], that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the […]

Why I Don’t Believe Psalm 23

The nineteenth century philosopher and theologian Sören Kierkegaard recognized that every individual must wrestle with the implications of God’s Word for herself.  The “collective,” or, in this case, churches and religious institutions, do violence to this necessarily subjective, deeply personal […]

The World of Biblical Literalism: Men With Short Hair and Women Without Jewelry or Leadership Skills

Fellow saints and sinners have left some interesting comments during the last few days!  Someone with the online name of “Roodness” writes the following in response to my “Coffee with Jesus” lampoon of manliness pastor and cage fighter Mark Driscoll’s […]

The Brain on Faith: Part 3 of a Four-Part Interview

We’re back with Stanford neuroscientist Saskia de Vries in a conversation about neuroscience and faith… I’m curious about how you read Scripture these days, and want to spend some time here.  How do you read the creation story, for instance?  […]

The Brain on Faith: Part 2 of a Four-Part Interview

If you’re just tuning in, we’re continuing our conversation with Stanford neuroscientist Dr. Saskia de Vries, as part of a four-part exploration of the intersection between neuroscience and theology.  Are human beings hard-wired to believe in something, God, etc? This […]

The Truman Show Effect

This afternoon we visited “Seaside,” a rather surreally concocted residential community that sits perched on scenic highway A30 along Florida’s Gulf coast.  The square plots with their perfectly manicured lawns backing up to cookie cutter houses and a speed limit […]

Simone Weil and the Church Uprooted

Some of you know that one of my favorite thinkers is Simone Weil.  Last night I read a short chapter on this twentieth century French philosopher and social activist by another of her admirers, the historian John Lukacs, in Remembering […]

“Earth Day” a.k.a. “Easter”?

We were driving home from school during Holy Week last year when I put the question before my then four-year-old son.  “Do you know what happens this weekend?,” I had asked him- and I’d be lying to say I had […]

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 […]

Desperate Housewife or God’s Dreamer? Station 5

Finally, the sermon that many of you helped me write in encouraging the use of “appropriate” humor even on the darkest day of the church calendar.  Today’s Good Friday service at Mount Zion A.M.E. will be a series of  meditations […]

Good Friday Humor: Bad Taste, or a Witness to the Resurrection?

I’ve been asked to preach at a Good Friday service that lifts up the voices of the various women in the events surrounding Jesus’ death. I got the call yesterday asking if I would preach- apparently the woman originally slated […]

Existential Schizophrenia

Maybe the universal human dilemma can be summed up in the following question: how do I live between the two poles of, on the one hand, my own insignificance and the transitory nature of my finest achievements, and, on the […]

A Dog, A Chicken and An Armchair Theologian

My husband jokes that I cry at road kill, so you might imagine my reaction when yesterday’s stroll turned into a scene from the PBS program, “Predator and Prey.” The scene started out almost bucolic-like. There I was with two […]

“I’d Like to Talk to You About Jesus”

Once again, in the spirit of G.K. Chesteron who said, “the test of a good religion is whether you can joke about it,” here is some fodder for a good laugh (or being offended).  My apologies if you’re in the […]

The “Wheat,” The “Tares,” and Church “Purity”

Apparently conservative theologian and proponent of “masculine Christianity” John Piper is at it again. (Whatever happened to “Christian hedonism,” to borrow Piper’s own term, anyway?  This Piper seemed like a guy I could have a beer with.) Today Piper tweeted […]

“Serenity Now!”: Managing Anxiety

My two-year-old has discovered how to crawl through the ladder rungs of the bunk bed she shares with her brother.  She likes to demonstrate her new-found talent after a drawn-out bedtime routine of bath, books, prayers and hugs.  Until recently […]

“Terminator and Jesus”

This video, which came out some years back, lends some humor to all the Internet buzz around “masculine” versus “feminine” Christianity.  I stumbled on it thanks to David Lumley, who posted it on friend Michael Frost’s FB page.  (Thanks, David!) […]

The Heresy of Masculine Christianity: A Response to John Piper

The other day my son’s pre-K teacher commended him for continuing with his work when the other kids around him were goofing off.  My son had gone on dutifully coloring away with his crayons when he could have been lured […]

“Is he the Messiah or not?”: Jesus Epithets Continued…

“The law, you see, was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus the Messiah.” -John 1:17 “The Messiah”- and here I resort to  consulting trusty exegetical companion N.T. Wright- literally means “anointed one,” and in theory can be […]

Marriage as “Process” or “End” or Both? More Reflections.

Apparently my reflections on Lauren Winner and her latest book have generated interest if not controversy about the nature of marriage as a storybook conclusion to the hopes and dreams of single people. In light of this, a few thoughts, […]

Was Jesus a Tea Party Member? Weird Sayings Continued…

“Jesus said to him, ‘What do you think, Simon?  When the kings of the world collect taxes or duties, who do they collect from?  From their own families, or from outsiders?’ ‘From outsiders,’ he replied. ‘Well then,’ said Jesus, ‘that […]

Rachel Held-Evans on “Real Marriage” and Why She’s Right

Mark Driscoll, the founding and preaching pastor of Seattle’s Mars Hill Church, apparently has a new book out titled Real Marriage:  The Truth About Sex, Friendship and Life Together.  I was introduced to Driscoll’s book by a friend (Rachel Held-Evans) […]

Does It Get Any More Kitsch Than This?

I had wondered a few days back whether there can be anything more kitsch at Christmas time than those loud-colored, ceramic nativity scenes, one of which graces our coffee table and has become my two-year-old daughter’s play toy of choice […]

“God is Like a Shitty Girlfriend”

The Old Testament story of Abraham’s near sacrifice of his son, Isaac, (Genesis 22:1-19), has flummoxed many a thinker.  The great nineteenth century theologian, Soren Kierkegaard, wrote Fear and Trembling as a response to this disturbing story, which in turn […]

“Living Water,” Compliments of a High School Boyfriend

It is rare that your ex-boyfriend’s sister becomes your maid of honor.  That is what happened when I married my college sweetheart almost twelve years ago in a little church in New Haven, Connecticut. My friend, Laura, held the train […]

The Minister and The Little, Black Dress

Much has been written about ministry and sex, sexuality, gender and, of most immediate and grave importance here, what to wear when you find yourself young, female and in ordained ministry.  The question has been so well-traversed that it can […]

Backhanded Compliments: Weird Sayings Continued

“I’m telling you the truth: John the Baptist is the greatest mother’s son there ever was.  But even the least significant person in heaven’s kingdom is greater than he is.”  Matthew 11:11 (translation is N.T. Wright, Matthew for Everyone) It can almost […]

Is Jesus Big?: Weird Jesus Sayings Continued

“…unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3,4 “…anyone who will not receive the kingdom […]

Politically Incorrect Jesus: Weird Sayings Continued

“You always have the poor with you, don’t you?  But you won’t always have me.”  Matthew 26:11 It’s a good thing Jesus isn’t running for office, because if he were, he’d probably lose. Can you imagine a political leader saying […]

“Supply-Side Jesus”

Al Franken was more creative than I am this morning.  Besides, the “gospel” in certain politicans’ rhetoric about how to fix America’s unemployment crisis really does resemble this sometimes:  Like the other day when Rick Perry told the New York […]

Walking With A Limp

Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.  When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled […]

Reclaiming Two Bad Words

The other day Anne Graham Lotz spoke with NPR about her journey as a woman who has faced resistance in her vocation. The preacher, author and daughter of the famous evangelist, Billy Graham, says she is privileged to wear the […]

The Spiritual Practice of Getting Lost

“Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be…mistreated four hundred years. But…afterwards they will come out with great possessions.”  Genesis 15:13-14 Have you ever been lost? If not, you […]

Weird Jesus Sayings: A Series of Investigations

The Bible attributes some pretty odd sayings to Jesus.  Over the next days and weeks I will be looking at the strange, sometimes bizarre, often politically incorrect things Jesus reportedly said in the Gospels with a view to understanding a […]

Previous Posts

Being There: A Eulogy to Our Dog Carter
Today our canine companion of 15 years—about the length of our marriage—died. He passed away peacefully at the age of 17 with his closest family around

posted 10:42:39pm Mar. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Author Marilynne Robinson Live: On Soul Vs. Mind and Why It Matters
My favorite contemporary author Marilynne Robinson was in town this week speaking at an event hosted by Emory's University's Carlos Museum. She was speaki

posted 10:26:54pm Mar. 19, 2015 | read full post »

Dying Stanford Neurosurgeon—On Heidegger, Graham Greene and Time
I'm finally emerging from hibernation on my latest book project, this one now definitively titled The Recovery

posted 1:27:02pm Mar. 13, 2015 | read full post »

Writing Sabbatical—and "The Departure of the Prodigal Son"
I'm sorry: my absenteeism at this intersection can be attributed to a number of things lately, the most pressing of which is my forthcoming book with author and Christian addiction specialist Jonathan Benz. The book (Prodigal Church or a version of it) is now officially under deadline and by April 1

posted 10:55:10am Jan. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Restless Soul Hall of Fame: Sister Corita Kent
Since NPR's recent segment, Sister Corita Kent has come to mind a few times this week as someone who d

posted 10:23:30am Jan. 16, 2015 | read full post »

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