Category: Blog Posts

Jesus, Son of Herod

We know the story told by Matthew that Herod, the Roman-appointed king of the Jews, received the Persian Magi looking for the child born to be king of the Jews. Recall Herod’s response to the news of a rival king after the magi excluded him from whatever they learned about Jesus’ location: slaughter all children […]

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Christianity is Poor Social Glue

A former official from the former administration opined a few days ago that America is one nation under God and requires one religion. I’m sure the religion he had in mind was not Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, or any faith other than Christianity. Critics pounced on his statement—rightly so—as outrageously anti-American and anti-Constitutional. Dr. Heather Richardson, […]

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A Future for Christianity in America

Last week, I finished recording the last two lectures for the online, public course I’ve taught (five of the six lectures are available for anyone to view on the seminary’s YouTube page). The course, “Bursting Wineskins,” starts with an accounting of why the Christian-entwined-with-America story is ending, moves through how one might interpret religion/culture/politics, and […]

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The Most Wonderful — and Destructive — Time of the Year

The single most climate-destructive annual event of the year is… Christmas. Christmas is a climate disaster. Now, the Christmas season is my favorite time of the year. I love Christmas—the sounds, the smells, the tastes, the memories, the occasions with family and friends. I listen to religious carols throughout the year when I write (as […]

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A Moment at Lucy’s Therapy Booth

Peanuts, the comic strip written by Charles Schulz from the 1950 until 2000, remains my favorite. I am grateful to my wife who found me a vintage Snoopy-as-professor, my go-to neckwear when recording lectures. In the vast Peanuts collection is classic scene from “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” A melancholy Charlie Brown plops down at therapist […]

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Good Thing We Don’t Essentialize Identity

A woman’s family story claimed the family was 100 percent Irish. The family celebrated all things Irish. But then, through DNA ancestry testing, the woman discovered that her dad, who was adopted, was not Irish at all but Eastern European Jewish. That, and other revelations, led the woman to wonder who she actually was, as […]

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Grace for Clergy

Clergy health and well-being have been career-long interests for me. About 25 years ago, I explored the question as to why so many early Methodist circuit riders died or dropped out of ministry prior to their thirtieth year. I read more than 20 journals of 19th century Methodist itinerant preachers who lived long enough to […]

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Christianity Without Jesus in America

A recent opinion piece in the New York Times highlighted a statement President Biden made after 13 American soldiers, and three-score Afghans, were killed in Kabul. “We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay.” Esau McCaully questioned the morality and theology of that statement, especially the […]

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The Problem of Valuing Freedom More than Love

Love, not freedom, is the highest Christian virtue. We are set free in order to love. We are not supposed to be chiefly in love with freedom. Love is expressed in the twin commandments to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. (Over time, I’ve joined with those theologians who claim that these commandments […]

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Post 9-11 Lessons from my Humbling Garden

We bought our current house seven years ago. We were attracted by the idea of working nearly 2/3 of an acre of yard into gardens of edible delights—for us humans. We started with a Bermuda grass front lawn, a mixed grass backyard, dozens of once-tended plantings that fell on hard times when the previous owner […]

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