In January 2021, I decided to take on a unique reading project in which I would choose twelve narrative works of fiction that I found had influence in my adolescence. That is, I re-read twelve novels that guided, channeled, disposed, and otherwise began to shape my spiritual, moral, and theological self in adolescence (between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five). Needless to say, this was a deeply formative period of exploration, growth, and expectation that coincided with intense schooling that included high school, undergraduate university, and, for me, the first years of seminary training. This was, indeed, a time in which I was becoming more autonomous in my spiritual journey, more cognizant of my moral personhood, and very aware of a newly beloved theological acumen. … More Stories That Had Meaning: A 2021 Reading Project
“Blessed are you!” Blessed are you who embrace the poverty of Jesus, a poverty which allowed him to pour out everything for those he loved. Blessed are you poor who immigrate to find a better life and blessed are you who embrace their poverty in welcoming and friendship. Blessed are you when you hunger for righteousness, justice, and peace. Blessed are you who hunger for equality and just systems, and blessed are you whose hunger leads you to act to end racism, misogyny, and prejudice. Blessed are you when you weep over the suffering of a friend. Blessed are you when you weep over violence between nations. Blessed are you when you weep over the lack of welcome for the stranger or the refugee, when you weep for the injustice that masquerades as “life in the real world.” Blessed are you when people hate you because of who you stand for and what you stand for. Blessed are you when people hate you because you stand with the Prince of Peace and the Just Judge. Blessed are you when people know that you follow Jesus not just because of your words but through your deeds. … More The Makarios
Every day something new is coming to us, and we had better be ready! That’s the promise of new life, the gift contained in our deeper desire found through the deeper water. Let’s not miss it. Let’s stay awake and alert, expectant, and hopeful. I don’t want to miss it and I don’t want you to either.
So, let’s “put out into the deep water” of our lives and “let down [our] nets for a catch.” … More In the Deep Water of Our Deeper Desire
And here, as a little bit more midrash, I can’t help but wonder if we might not sometimes act like the hometown crowd in the synagogue that day. Do we see ourselves as Jesus’ favorites? Don’t we assume some privileged status when it comes to Jesus, expecting Jesus to always choose our nation, our party, our side, our church? Frankly, this leaves us in danger of being passed over because when we assume our privilege we fail to recognize our own brokenness and our hurt. And then we rage! We rage to avoid, to disguise, and to compensate for what hurts us. We rage to avoid the emptiness and hunger within and when our privilege is threatened. We rage so we do not have to face ourselves but behind our rage is brokenness, and who here doesn’t know what that’s like? … More What’s Behind the Rage?
Jesus’ mission continues today through each of us and all who are baptized into his mystical body. Jesus strives still to live out the mission: bringing good news to those who don’t have any, setting free those chained in captivity, opening blind eyes, helping the oppressed find a life, and announcing the year of God’s favor. … More The Spirit of the Lord is upon US!
May it be our prayer today that Christ will more closely unite not only with the whole church but specifically with each congregation and each individual. In such a prayer we will seek an unbreakable connection of mutual love – love that not only will show us clearly what God is like but also will lead us to the fullness of Christ. We will seek in our hearts and souls to enter into the new, abundant life of our Lord Christ.
… More God of Gracious, Abundant, Extravagance