8-Tracks and Cassettes

  It’s important for you to know that early in this sermon I will briefly mention the topic of suicide a couple of times. The emergency room at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in the heart of downtown Chicago is a 24/7 beehive of activity. It is the only Level 1 trauma center in the city center,… Read More


In fifth grade, I went to bible camp. In many ways it was like any other camp. We sang, did crafts, swam and played games. I especially remember endless hours of fun on a giant slip and slide set up on the camp lawn. The bible stories we learned were ones I had heard before…. Read More

Shut It Down

“Shut it down!” is a frequent protest chant. Often “it” is a street or highway. Turns out that on the day of the Super Bowl “it” was a light rail train. In today’s reading from the Gospel of John, “it” was the temple. People traveled to Jerusalem from far and wide at Passover time. Their… Read More

Deeply Flawed and Deeply Loved

Last week we heard Jane’s sermon based on an inspiring story from the movie, Moana. We’re going to go in an altogether different direction today. This sermon owes credit to Chicago journalist Sam Charles, author and UCC Pastor, Barbara Essex, and an acquaintance of mine named Gerardo. I’d like to tell you a part of… Read More

“Heart Space”

As the movie “Moana” begins, Moana’s grandmother is telling the children of the village an old legend. The goddess, Te Fiti, she explains, is their mother island; she is creator of all the islands. Long ago, Maui, a power hungry demi-god, stole the mother island’s heart. Without her heart, Te Fiti cannot sustain her creation…. Read More

A Prayer for Relief

Most of you recall that I’m originally from Rifle, Colorado, a town that is 190 miles west of Denver on the banks of the Colorado River, which means the town itself sits in a beautiful mountain valley. As a boy, I spent as much time as I could outdoors—deer hunting, trout fishing, mountain climbing, river… Read More

Malcolm and Jesus

Howard Thurman once said: “There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself.” A few months ago, I finished reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X and turned to the brief essay by Ossie Davis that closes the book. Yes, I thought, Malcolm was a… Read More

Living Toward Belovedness

Every few weeks, I carry the baptismal bowl to the kitchen. I dump out the water that’s grown stagnant and cloudy. I scrub away the rings of filmy residue. I refill the bowl with fresh water from our tap—water that is both sacred and ordinary, water that gives life, water that is life. Then I… Read More

The Stable Is Our Heart

The darkness was warm and inviting. People sat shoulder to shoulder in the pews. Dozens more lay on the floor of the chancel. Projectors splashed the night sky onto the ceiling. Music, readings and visual art immersed us in the mysteries of the cosmos. This event, at Hope Lutheran and called “Night Songs,” reveled in… Read More

Control, Alt, Delete

This has been a very difficult week. Weeks like this can leave us wondering which wildfire to put out. In fact, the last 11 months has felt as if we’re being chased by wind-blown flames. Of all the international and local crises, which deserves our time and attention the most? The season of Advent prepares… Read More