Repent, for the End is Near at Hand

In 1976, my parents took me and my brother to the Freedom Train. Amtrak, to celebrate the nation’s bicentennial, launched a rolling museum filled with memorabilia of our nation’s history. I was seven, so I don’t remember a lot of details, except for a lot of red, white, and blue. I remember there were old things, which have always captured …

The Poor You Always Have With You

The poor you always have with you. We are almost 50 years past the first Poor People’s campaign. Still, as the Kairos center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice puts it: We are experiencing unprecedented poverty in the midst of plenty; unnecessary abandonment in spite of unheard abundance. The poor you always have with you. At least 46.5 million people, …

America, We Must Be Born Again

For the homily today, we’ll follow important conversations from three major players: Nicodemus, the Samaritan Woman, and James Baldwin. Nicodemus: The Vulnerability of Rebirth First, Nicodemus. When Jesus tells Nicodemus he must be born again, Nicodemus asks how a grown man can go back into his mother’s womb. More than an Oedipus complex, Nicodemus’s apparent misunderstanding is a rhetorical ploy …

The Gospel or the Gun

I’m sure we are all used to the rhetorical pattern following a mass shooting. Thoughts and prayers are offered, people suggest all kinds of possible causes and explanations, then we do nothing. I’m interested in that middle stage because it might suggest what our mindset is that results in the final moribund stage. The way that we talk about gun …

Prosperity and Virtue

  I wish that I had simply asked the question on Sunday that, it seems to me, must be answered at the beginning of the Poor People’s Campaign’s National Call to Moral Revival: Why is it hard to talk about money? As our friend Wanda pointed out to me, a productive dialog on poverty must include both those who have …

The Bible Says…

I suspect that all Christians would affirm that the broad theme of the Bible is “the Gospel.” I also suspect that, once we drill down into the details, things will fragment substantially. Even so, I suspect that most Christians will affirm, as I would have thirty years ago, that the Gospel is about sin and salvation, heaven and hell, who’s …

The Truth About Ruth

This Eastertide series is ostensibly about resurrection displayed in Scripture other than the Easter story, but it’s turning out to be just as much about ruining our favorite childhood stories from the Bible. This week, we took on Ruth. If you’re like me, you grew up thinking this was one of the great romances of the Bible. Ruth and Boaz …

Myth and Reality

Many of us probably haven’t read the story of Noah’s ark since we were kids. If you read it again, you might find some surprises. I always had this idea that Noah was exhorting the people around him to get on the boat, but they just mocked him as a fool building a boat in the desert. That’s not what …