Here for a Reason

This sermon was inspired by Ari Berman, a writer for Mother Jones magazine; Wil Gafney, Associate Professor of the Old Testament at Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, TX; and by Chris Hedges, a former writer for The New York Times who is also an author, ordained Presbyterian Minister, visiting lecturer at Princeton University. Hedges,… Read More

Pursuing Peace

The Hebrew word, “Shalom” is hard to translate. Rabbi David Zaslow says this: Contrary to popular opinion the Hebrew word shalom does not mean “peace,” at least not in the English sense of the word. It comes from a Hebrew root-word that means “wholeness.” And what is wholeness? In the Hebraic way of thinking, wholeness… Read More

Boldly Go

This sermon was inspired by Craig Koester, Professor and chair of New Testament at Luther Seminary, Archbishop Oscar Romero, and free soloist mountain climber Alex Honnold. I have often been threatened with death, if they kill me, I shall arise in the Salvadoran people. If the threats come to be fulfilled, from this moment I… Read More

Making Friends with the Habit of Listening

I’ve never been a morning person. My body just does not like to wake up and get out of bed. I’m crabby and no fun to be around. It’s worse in the dark fall and winter seasons. A few months ago, though, I began a new morning habit. I creep downstairs and tend to a… Read More

What Do You Pray For

This sermon was inspired by Margaret Aymer, Professor of the New Testament at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Austin, Texas; Hildegard of Bingen; writers from the Washington Post, and the rapper Kendrick Lamar.             The letter begins like this: July 30 2018 CONFIDENTIAL “Senator Dianne Feinstein Dear Senator Feinstein; I am writing with information relevant… Read More

Chosen Family

A few weeks ago, a young man named Mohammed rang the church doorbell. “I saw your sign,” he said. “Immigrants and refugees, welcome. That’s me. I’m a refugee from Somalia.” He was looking for help with a problem getting his green card. He had taken our banner very literally—thinking it meant we were an agency… Read More


Our family traveled to Ireland and Scotland as part of my sabbatical last summer. One drizzly morning in Belfast, Jen and the kids explored the amazing Titanic Museum while I investigated family history at the PRONI (Public Records Office of Northern Ireland). The amount of information in that place was overwhelming; I was completely lost… Read More

Taste and See

One morning, while in Guatemala, we set out on a pre-breakfast hike. We met our guide, Moises, at 6 a.m., at the gate of our hotel. As we headed through the streets to the far side of town, all was quiet except for the crowing of roosters and the barking of stray dogs. The good… Read More

Discernment Analytics

As a volunteer in the Minnesota Conference of the UCC, I chair a committee with the unwieldy title, “Discernment and Preparation for Authorized Ministry,” lovingly referred to by its members as DPAM. We work with people who are seeking ordination in the United Church of Christ, and the framework we use is (you guessed it)… Read More

Bread That Is More Than Bread

Last week, our family of four returned from a road trip vacation. We logged more than 3,000 miles in our little red Prius. We visited eleven states, plus Ontario and Quebec. We camped for nine nights, pleasantly lacking in mosquitos and mostly dry (only one real deluge). We laid eyes on all five Great Lakes… Read More