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Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

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Mental Health Break— “Sea Song” and Lisa Hannigan

This week the theme of the sea put to music especially touched me as our family grieves the loss of my granddad.  My granddad was a lifelong sailor and lover of the sea, and we will scatter some of his […]

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The Golden Chair

Hi again. I’ve missed you all. This past week, thoughts of meeting again at this intersection between life and God have crossed my mind between writing deadlines, bedside conversations with dying patients and funeral planning. (Last week was full in […]

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The Vatican Diaries: A Review

Sex. Money. Power. Corruption. Controversy. Scandal. Since the 1980’s Catholic News Service reporter John Thavis has been covering all of it and more—not from a post in Las Vegas or the nation’s Capitol but from (of all places) the Vatican. […]

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Apostolic Obsessive Compulsive Disorder…Seriously?

The other day I read an article by a fellow hospice chaplain, Emma Churchman, reflecting on ministry to the sick and the dying. The job of chaplain, as Churchman puts it so beautifully, is primarily that of “midwifing the Holy.” […]

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Mental Health Break: Awkward Pregnancy Photos

It’s been a tough week and I’m processing some raw emotions right now. (More later about this when I’ve had more time to regroup.) These pregnancy shots are helping to lighten the doldrums a bit. Check them out here. If […]

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The Good Enough Mother and Her Perfect Ballerina

Just before Christmas, our four-year-old daughter donned a green sequin costume with the rest of her ballet class and performed a dance routine for a packed auditorium of proud, swooning parents. The day before we had rushed in late to […]

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Holy Space 4: Jericho

To many Jericho may appear to be just another bustling Arab town. However, a few words into its history and one becomes aware of a rich gem.  Though a well-established city today, it was only about 50 acres during the […]

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Mental Health Break—Forte on “America’s Got Talent”

This really is like the start of a joke: three guys walk into a bar, a New Yorker, a Korean and a Puerto Rican….and then sing the following lyrics in Latin for “America’s Got Talent”: Loving Jesus, Lamb of God, […]

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Bat-O-Mania

I’ve missed you at this intersection between life and God. Friday our family had to evacuate our house. That is when Rid-A-Critter announced we probably had more like 150 bats in our attic and that we really should leave…for a […]

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Leaving Church, or, a Church That Doesn’t Leave People?

These days reading Barbara Brown Taylor’s Leaving Church has become a bedtime ritual. The “central revelation” behind this spiritual memoir about a minister who leaves her clerical post to fall more deeply in love with God is this: “that the […]

“The Word in this World”

One of the things I love about blogging is meeting new people. Kurt Johansen, who pastors a church in Dallas, Texas and teaches homiletics, recently wrote to say he had edited a book of two sermons by Karl Barth, and […]

From Scarcity to Abundance: Learning to Live in God’s Economy

Lent is about abundance, God’s abundance.  When we abstain from certain things, be they caffeine or sweets or a compulsion to fix or control things, we make ourselves open to God’s provision. That’s the counter-intuitive, take-home point of James Alison’s […]

Pinocchio’s Nose and The Truth That Frees

Yesterday’s post contained an untruth. Last night I went back and read a sentence that claimed a previous unfamiliarity with the reality that God can meet us everywhere, when in actuality I’ve always known intellectually that God can meet us anywhere and everywhere.  […]

The Year in Review

It has been a very full year here at this intersection between God and life, for anyone converted, unconverted or under conversion- and, I might add, the very first full year here!  Here are the highlights, looking back: In January: […]

Royalty in God’s Warehouse: A Christmas Story

Every year the president of a large, nationwide trucking company makes a visit to every affiliate in cities across America. It’s always a couple weeks before Christmas. One of the men who works in the warehouse told me.  He’s always […]

“The Whisper Test”

Theologian Jürgen Moltmann calls the church a story-telling fellowship, as Tom Long notes in The Witness of Preaching.  The church does not tell just any old story.   The church tells “the story of Christ, and its own story with that story, because […]

The Happy Marriage of Evangelicals and Republicans Endures

My suspicions, per yesterday’s post, appear correct: evangelicals remain by and large much in love with the Republican party.  In fact, they voted for a Mormon candidate, Romney, at the same, high levels of enthusiastic support that they showed in […]

The Blessing Attendant: A Lesson in Gratitude

Every week, as I pull out of the parking garage at one of the client companies I serve as a corporate chaplain, she is there in the little booth at the exit taking tickets, dispensing change, smiling and engaging in […]

Zombie Batman and The Divided Self

My son’s request to be a “zombie batman” tonight qualifies as most creative Halloween aspiration thus far- not to mention a tough act to carry off.  Somehow the two identities seem galaxies apart.  I mean, an animated corpse in a Batman […]

“Hope of the Earth”?

“This nation is the hope of the earth,” Republican candidate Mitt Romney said in passionate closing remarks at last night’s third and final presidential debate. The statement for a moment filled me with great pride, and maybe I’m not alone. […]

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 […]

Vatican “Nunsense”: Why Old “Habits” Die Hard

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers…” – Genesis 3:15 “But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.” – Luke 24:11 I’ve been following with […]

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 […]

Women Body Builders: Why The Church Needs More of Them

What few of her parishioners know, or are only now beginning to discover, is that on one Sunday morning eight years ago Rev. Dr. Amy Richter of St. Anne’s Parish in Annapolis, Maryland took second in the Wisconsin State Fair’s […]

How I First Met the Invisible Children

The “invisible children” performed a praise song for us on the day we visited their makeshift home.  We had pulled in to this cluster of refugee huts at Uganda’s border with Sudan for an afternoon of worship together, while the […]

The Gospel According to Joe

The other day the blog, “Real People, Real Lives, Real Spirituality,” asked where I feel most “spiritually connected.”  (You can find the interview and others of ordinary people trying to make sense of life at the intersection with God here: http://blog.spiritualbookclub.com/). […]

Join “Fellowship of Saints and Sinners” on Facebook

This is to invite you to “like” our new official Facebook page and to invite your ideas on a more appropriate profile picture than the goofy one currently up (of me).  I’m all ears on ideas- just send your graphics to me […]

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 […]

Telling Secrets, a.k.a. “Confession”

Almost ten years ago, I, at the time a seminary student preparing for ministry in the Presbyterian church, confessed my sins to a Catholic priest and received the sacrament of reconciliation:  I cried tears of repentance, received absolution for my […]

The Advent Conspiracy: Weird Jesus Sayings Continued

“Foxes have their dens and the birds in the air have their nests.  But the son of man has nowhere he can lay his head.”  Matthew 8:20 “Black Friday” has come and gone, but the staggering figures remain.  Americans spent […]

Reader Poll: You Vote On Our Next Series

Over the next few weeks we are finishing up our series, “Weird Sayings of Jesus.”  Which means we’ll be embarking on another series not too long from now!   What follows are some ideas, and I need your vote.  As […]

Freedom of a Christian

The sixteenth century father of Protestantism, Martin Luther, knew that human beings simultaneously crave and rebel against freedom. We find it difficult to be free even when freedom is the very thing we are in search of: we enslave ourselves and […]

“Get Behind Me, Satan!”

“But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. ‘Get behind me, Satan!,’ he said.  ‘You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” (Mark 8:33) The bumper sticker at the […]

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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