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Forward Day By Day – July 18, 2018

Having come to New Orleans for spring break, my four students and I were assigned to a larger group from another university to gut houses all around the city. Hurricane Katrina had hit roughly seven months before, but it might as well have been yesterday, given the...

Why pray?

“The trouble with being a god is that you’ve got no one to pray to.” Small Gods, Terry Pratchett   Does God need our prayers? It is foolishness to Greeks, with their ideal sufficiency. It is a stumbling block to our proud humility, and yet isn’t it the nature of Love...

Forward Day By Day – July 17, 2018

There I was, dangling from a rope, rappelling down the face of a 60-foot cliff. The rush was incredible. What precipitated this experience was a simple invitation: “Wanna try it, Ms. Hanson?” My student looked more like a surfer dude than the ex-Marine he was. Zac had...

Blink…Blink

Sometimes you blink your eyes and a whole year has passed.   Last year at this time my family and I were waiting. Summer in full swing, the heat stifling, and a baby about to be born. We woke up each morning and went to sleep every night wondering: will this be the...

I Do Not Know You

The parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins (Mt. 25: 1-13) always bothered me.  It was the refusal to share oil on the part of the Wise Virgins. That isn’t very Christian, is it? What happened to share everything?  Be poor and meek? Too bad you forgot your oil. Go see...

Forward Day By Day – July 16, 2018

Getting ready for a hurricane was something I grew up knowing how to do. My first was Carla in 1961, but even before that one, my family kept an annual hurricane map on the refrigerator door and marked the progress of every storm. We stocked up on batteries and bread,...

Dancing!

2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19   I had the great good fortune to have been raised and educated by Southern Baptists. They taught me everything from higher maths to the importance of spending quiet time with God every day. The thing they didn’t teach me, though, is how to...

Forward Day By Day – July 15, 2018

Oh, what a tangled web. Because John dared to condemn Herod’s adultery with his former sister-in-law and now wife, Herodias, he was both hated and feared. Add Herod’s lust for his step-daughter, Salome, to the backdrop of a probably drunken birthday celebration, and...

Forward Day By Day – July 14, 2018

It’s an old joke that we still see on bumper stickers and T-shirts: “Jesus is coming. Look busy.”Earlier in this chapter of Matthew, the disciples come to Jesus, asking him to tell them exactly when the temple will be destroyed and when the world will end. Some...

When Moses Died

Deuteronomy 34:1-12 (RSV) Every life has to defining moments — that of birth at one end, death at the other. Whether one is a Queen or the poorest of the poor, life is bordered by those two events. Of course, there are other milestones in each life lying at various...

Gathered In

Today the Daily Office reading that caught my attention was from the Old Testament. In Deuteronomy 31 we have reached the point in the story where Moses must hand over power to Josuha as God has made it clear that Moses will not live to cross the Jordan into the...

Forward Day By Day – July 13, 2018

In her classic book Mysticism, Evelyn Underhill describes five types of prayer. Whether vocal petitions or silent expressions of gratitude or desire, Underhill says these prayers are acts of the will: We’re reaching out to God. “None can produce it of themselves,”...

Speaking of God

Matthew 24:1-14   When I was a therapist some of my clients were people who had suffered unspeakable horrors at some stage as they were growing up.  They had been locked in closets or cages, deprived of warmth, food, or light, and had been physically or sexually...

Forward Day By Day – July 12, 2018

Even now, more than fifteen years after it happened, I can feel the suffocating weight of water pressing me down and down, robbing me of air. “So this is what it’s like to die,” I remember thinking. Then a voice somewhere inside my head told me to quit trying to hold...

Boundary-less Belonging

Jesus knew what it meant to be pigeon-holed. His town of Nazareth had a population of just a few hundred people, and most of his ministry took place around the Sea of Galilee, just 19 miles from his hometown. Beyond that, many of the gospel stories take place around...