• An Incensed Pacifist and the story of the Chickens

    Another guest post today from Tarah Van De Wiele, an amazing theologian and Biblical scholar living as an ex-pat in England.  You can read more about her and her adventures and her adventures living outside the U.S. at ever popular blog: 2 People, 2 Dogs & 10 Bags.  I am a pacifist. But historically I am an incensed one. This is why it has finally become dire that I expend the energy built up inside me from the endless culture wars that inform our language, plague our dinner tables, and crawl across the TV screen like some bug you can’t seem to swat away. Are you pro or anti? Red…

  • End of the Story: Most of the truths we live by are things we cannot prove. Beauty is just one of them. (Faith for Reasons)

    We live in a moment in history in which truth is only found in this fairly new thing we reinvented called a ‘fact.’    “This is a table,” we say.  It is a fact that the thing I just set my cup on is a “table.”   Ta-da!  End of story…    It is an idea that seems pretty hard to argue with until all of a sudden I take that same table  apart and plan to build a flower bed out of it.   Fairly quickly it becomes lumber.  So it is now not a table after all.   Er… right?  That is the case until I decide without making any changes to the pile,…

  • The Impossible Will Take A Little While.

    It is harder than it looks to know how to take Easter. On the one hand it feels like an easy home run, a touchdown, a triumphal entry.   But those were the kinds of thing we were celebrating last week. How then is this week different?   For one thing it amazes how few people  to whom Jesus appeared after the resurrection. One would think he would be taking out billboards all over town that said, “I told you so!”  but he doesn’t.    The first to see Jesus would be the last we would expect.   It was not the disciples, not even his family, but one of the…

  • “Unless our Hopes Fall to the Ground and Die” — We have some grieving to do, but not for Jesus.

    The Gospel of Mark is my favorite.  I especifically  love the eighth chapter.   It is hysterical.  I still find myself being caught off guard and LOL-ing sometimes. The disciples are dolts.  They have the hardest time learning the most obvious lessons.  Jesus goes and feeds several thousand, gets on a boat with them, and suddenly they are afraid Jesus will be mad because the didn’t pack a lunch.  Zheesh.  In that same chapter Jesus heals this man in a most unusual way and he has to do it twice.  Either Jesus is losing his touch or Mark is writing to try to be be obvious: We don’t see clearly…

  • Ashes, Ashes. We all Fall Down.

    For some time it has been rumored that the children’s rhyme, “Ring around the Rosie,” was a creepy rhyme born during the era of the Black Plague.   That may be more the stuff of legend than of history, but it also makes a little sense.   For when faced when imminent and pervasive death, humans, and children in particular, have interesting ways of coping.    These little mechanisms also shine  a little light on why it is such good news to have an Ash Wednesday to take pervasive death and darkness and turn it on its head.

  • How to be a Valentine: A Note on Martyrdom.

    Today is a feast, a gift and remembrance, of an occasion I have yet see Hallmark really nail with one of its watercolored limericks:  there once was a man so in love with God that he was beheaded for performing marriages in opposition to war.   In defense of hallmark, that is a very hard picture to paint with water colors… In the third century, Emperor Claudius had declared marriage illegal in order to encourage more young men to volunteer to be soldiers.  Valentine, a celibate priest, opposed both the aggressive violence of the empire as well as the notion that the state alone held the reins of marriage.  …

  • On the eve of hope, into such a world.

      Today I listened to even more stories hard to hear, Stories that were never meant to have to be told. I am reminded there are places where life is still taken from the young, children are unwanted or used, and innocence can be traded for cigarettes and bags of chips. It is this very world into which every child is born. This life, with all of its risks and violence, is where every human body has to live. We like to think we do our best. Not everyone does. Some tearthrough the landscape of life like a wildfire out of control. This is the world into which every baby…

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