The Pastoral Is Political: Will We or Won’t We?

The pressure is on. The State of North Carolina implemented Phase 1 of its reopen plan on May 8, 2020. Some businesses can reopen with caveats: social distancing must be in place, extra cleaning must happen. State parks can reopen, but with limits on the number of people who can gather. Churches were to be… Read More

Narrative Lectionary: The Challenge of Conflict (Acts 18:1-4; 1 Corinthians 1:10-18)

I once knew a man with a 1942 Indian motorcycle—an antique beauty of industrial design. He was invited to bring his motorcycle to a Vogue photo shoot in a stately home, on a gorgeous oriental rug. The nervous homeowner asked, “It doesn’t leak does it?” Without batting an eye, the man with the motorcycle answered,… Read More

Narrative Lectionary: Look Towards Resurrection (Mark 16:1-8)

This Sunday’s text can be found at Mark 16:1-8, and the commentary from WorkingPreacher here. On the day Jesus died, the state-run newspaper ran the headline “Fringe Group Leader Executed.” The Religious Daily News posted “Temple Cloths Torn by Invisible Hand.” The local radical weekly posted “Disciples Denied while Doyen Crucified.” Over the weekend, the… Read More

Narrative Lectionary: Super Bowl Half Time Show (Mark 6:1-29)

I don’t watch SportsBall. So I missed the Super Bowl 2020 halftime show, even though I have loved Shakira since the 1990s. After reading some reviews, I decided to watch it myself. And as a “woman of a certain age,” I was impressed with the 43-year-old Shakira and the 50-year-old JLo. If I’m to be… Read More

Narrative Lectionary: Healing for Liberation and Confrontation (Mark 2:1-22)

Every time I consider Jesus’ miracle stories I think someone in the congregation is thinking, “Yeah. That’s Jesus. I can’t do that.” Because we can’t, can we? Jesus performs miracle after miracle, and I have to tell you, I’ve never performed one single miracle! But reading Ched Myers (Binding the Strong Man and “Say to… Read More

Narrative Lectionary: Comfort, Comfort (Isaiah 40:1-11)

When I think about this peculiar preaching profession, I always consider my time in the pulpit as pastoral care. I know there are other models, other types of preaching, but pastoral care is my go-to. There’s hardly a better passage to think about pastoral care than this week’s Narrative Lectionary text, Isaiah 40:1-11. Check out… Read More

The Pastoral is Political: Getting Thanksgiving Right

Thanksgiving. The compound word strikes fear in my mortal heart. But this year, it’s not just the decision between cornbread or bread dressing. It’s not just dread over Uncle John’s belligerence at the table. And it’s not just the divide between the blue family and the red family. This year, we have to do better… Read More

Narrative Lectionary: The Law and the Shema (Deut 5:1-21 and 6:4-9)

This Sunday’s text is the second telling of the Ten Commandments, the telling of the commandments just before the Israelites enter the land of milk and honey. So this is not the generation that left Egypt, most of them are dead, but the next generation, the ones who will inherit the land. You can find… Read More