Articles by ON Scripture: The Bibleâ„¢
In light of this week's events in Baltimore, MD, several of our ON Scripture writers took a few moments to reflect upon what they would/will be preaching on this Sunday. To continue the conversation, join us on Twitter at #onscripture.
Monday October 02, 2017
The ON Scripture lectionary resource ends as of October 1, 2017. Odyssey Impact president Nick Stuart explains what happens next.
Monday September 25, 2017
We didn’t have dogs in my family””we were cat people””so it was not until I was an adult that I first fell for a dog. Lucy, a Golden Retriever who came to live at my house was the one who changed my heart. She seemed gentler than other dogs I had been around.
Monday September 18, 2017
Every day at 3:00 a.m., the men who have slept on the floor of the Border Farmworkers Center in El Paso rouse themselves from sleep. Soon the busses from the farms growing chiles and peppers in New Mexico will rattle into the parking lot. The overseers will step off the buses and look over the crowd of men hoping to work in the fields. Those who appear young, strong, and able will be summoned to get on the bus, while others will be left behind, hoping that another bus will soon arrive needing laborers.
Monday September 11, 2017
Allow me to begin with a confession. Sometimes I enjoy being trolled online. The pleasure inevitably turns bitter, but before that happens, on a bright morning after a nice cup of coffee, it can be quite pleasurable to indulge in a bit of self-righteousness. What better way to demonstrate to the world my superior patience, love, and care than the easy target of a hateful internet troll?
Tuesday September 05, 2017
When I picture what God looks like, I picture Bertha Hamilton. Mother Bertha as she is known at her church is on staff at the hospital where my mom works. Mrs. Bertha has worked with my mother for some 30 years and was my confirmation mentor. Mrs. Bertha is also a person of color and has deeply influenced the way I look at race and the cost of discipleship.
ON Scripture: Burning Bush to Boston Common: You Are Standing on Holy Ground (Exodus 3:1-15) by Rev. Jim Keat
Monday August 28, 2017
Take off your shoes. No, I really mean it. Right now. Stop what you’re doing. Put down your phone, turn away from your computer screen. Loosen your laces, step out of your sandals, and free your feet from wherever they are currently confined. Shoes off? Ok, now keep reading.
Monday August 21, 2017
I believe we’re called to be Peters in the world. Proclaiming our belief in God. Calling each other to faithful discipleship. Being supportive and loving is what we are called to do. Holding each other up and encouraging one another is part of our job as Jesus followers. Supporting the last, the least, the lost, and the left behind is our mission.
Monday August 14, 2017
If I were Jesus’ public relations expert, I would not have included today’s text in scripture. Jesus does not look good here. Jesus has just told the Pharisees and Scribes that what defiles a person is what comes out of their mouth (Matthew 15: 10-11). And what does he go ahead and do? He says a pretty ethnocentric thing to a woman looking for his help.
Wednesday August 09, 2017
Jonah the Jew was a racist bigot against the Nineveh inhabitants, he happened to also be a prophet called by God to help the very people he despised, and he succeeded. I believe we need to read Jonah’s reasoning to understand the difference in logic.
Monday August 07, 2017
How does Joseph’s divine vindication measure up to those lived realities when God is silent? How do we endure at times when God is silent in our own lives and in the multiple historic events where evil surely has prevailed over justice? Why is Joseph vindicated when others like Job get the combative God of the whirlwind?
Monday July 31, 2017
Just like poverty stunted the lives of the people of Jesus’ day, poverty destroys, hampers, circumscribes the lives of millions of God’s children in our day. 1 in 2 people living in the United States are poor or low-income; 43% of US children live in families that struggle to feed, clothe and house them.
ON Scripture: Kingdom Come (Undone): When the Most Christian States Are Also The Poorest (Matthew 13:31-33,44-52) By Joe Wiinikka-Lydon
Monday July 24, 2017
If you ask Christians in a state like Alabama, which I have, you will hear that Christianity is the solution to most of life’s problems. It is a religion of peace, a religion of love. How can there be such suffering if, as Romans 8:27 argues, 'the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God?'
Monday July 17, 2017
You’ve probably seen it before: GODISNOWHERE. Depending on how you look at this combination of letters, one of two phrases will stand out. In times of distress and despair, bombarded by breaking news and confronted with the chaos of life, our first glance can easily read GOD-IS-NOWHERE. And in moments of safety and solidarity, when we find ourselves connected to something bigger than our own being, we might be able to see GOD-IS-NOW-HERE.
Monday July 10, 2017
For the listeners gathered together with the disciples in Matthew’s Gospel, as well as those who would later receive these testimonies in the seedling of a church community, an agricultural sensibility was part and parcel of their daily lives. It informed their storytelling. As soon as Jesus says the word, 'a sower,' his audience tracks with him.
Monday July 03, 2017
It has been a few weeks since the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) adopted a resolution condemning white supremacy at its annual meeting in Phoenix, AZ. But it wasn’t easy.
Monday June 26, 2017
The writer of Matthew’s gospel knew how to adapt old wisdom to new situations. Jesus translates a prophetic and practical word for all disciples across situations, even across centuries and cultures. His is a message is for everyone: the 'righteous' (for Matthew probably highly esteemed Jesus followers), and even the “little ones” (for Matthew probably your everyday run-of-the-mill Christians who didn’t hold a church office).
Monday June 19, 2017
Every now and then a Bible passage lends itself to radically diverse, if not contradictory, interpretations. I feel that way about our lection of Romans 6:1b-11. I am drawn to this passage because it appeals to my need for inner mystical experience. Paul imagines an inner relationship with Christ, that we are united with him in our baptism, and in fact we are so aligned with Christ that we share in the rhythm of his dying and rising. This means there is nothing outside the realm of the presence of Christ.
Monday June 12, 2017
Compassion. I am not always sure Christians understand the full weight and work of its meaning. I remember growing up hearing the phrase 'moved to compassion' touted in church and family conversations. As my childhood experiences revealed, compassion is often described as a state of being or feeling in which something has occurred to move someone to feel sympathy, empathy, perhaps even pity for someone or something else.
Monday June 05, 2017
American politics have always been a struggle among the powerful. First, it was white male landowners who determined the way, their owning of lands and peoples not just symbols of their powers but validations of it too. But slowly””far too slowly””and unevenly””far too unevenly””the promise (if not the full realities) of democratic power has been shared and expanded first to white women and then to African Americans.
ON Scripture: My Struggle with Pentecost as the Church’s Vacation Home Not its Residence (Acts 2:1-21) By Billy Honor
Monday May 29, 2017
Here we are, 7 weeks after Easter, observing Pentecost (the Christian celebration of the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples of Jesus after his Ascension) once again. But what does Pentecost really mean for us today? And why should it even matter?
ON Scripture: Moral Injury - the Devil that Looks to Devour (1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11) By Brian Powers
Monday May 22, 2017
In the earliest parts of my military training, I recall being taught that Memorial Day should not be confused with Veterans’ Day because it remembers those who have made 'the ultimate sacrifice,' having died in the service of our country. Veterans’ Day, by contrast, celebrates those who have survived the conflicts and returned to civilian life. Trauma researchers might argue that this line is not as clear as it may seem.
ON Scripture: Mansplaining Jesus: Why Religion Cannot Be Merely Explained (Acts 17:22-31) By David Lewicki
Monday May 15, 2017
Christianity is a way of life, not an idea. It’s neither a philosophical system, nor a coherent constellation of abstract beliefs. Christianity is a pattern of daily actions, a network of vital relationships, a set of practices, an expression of daily desire that mirrors God’s own. Christianity is not theology. It is not words. It cannot be spoken. It’s agape, in human flesh.
Monday May 08, 2017
The news of the world with its conflicts between racial, ethnic and political groups affects us not just on a global level but often on an interpersonal level as we go about our daily living.
Monday May 01, 2017
One of the first things that happened as the Church was born that first Pentecost 2000 years ago… is that they started sharing everything they had. They worshipped in their homes. The Gospel was lived out of dinner tables and living rooms. And just as amazing as speaking in tongues, was this: THEY SHARED.
Monday April 24, 2017
In our Scripture passage, Peter encourages us to live our time here as sojourners with reverent fear, remembering the sacrifice that was made for us. What does it mean to be a sojourner? It means that you are temporarily traveling through a place and as people of faith we must remember that we are temporary residents of our respective countries because we are permanent residents of the Kingdom of God.
ON Scripture: Wounded Resurrection: The Body of Christ for the Body of Earth (John 20:19-31) By William P. Brown
Monday April 17, 2017
The gap continues to widen between liberals and conservatives regarding the distressing reality of climate change. It is perplexing, given that science continues to confirm humanity’s central role in effecting global warming. It is even more perplexing that greater familiarity with science does not guarantee a greater sense of urgency as evidenced in recent research.
Monday April 10, 2017
It’s resurrection Sunday. However, while Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, life out of death, this resurrection isn’t yet a reality for the vast majority of the world.
ON Scripture: Christianity’s First Hate Crime (Isaiah 50:4-9, Philippians 2:5-11 (1-4), Matthew 26, 27) By Wendy Farley
Monday April 03, 2017
The news these days suggests we are experiencing a rebirth – not of freedom – but of hatred and anxiety in our country. God created the world and loves humanity. Nothing, no person, no religion, no race, no ecosystem, no nation, no blade of grass was made without Word, Wisdom, Love. Humanity is all one in the eye of the divine, as a river is one though made of many countless drops of water.
Monday March 27, 2017
As we enter into John’s Gospel, we are standing some way off from the tomb. The air of grief is all around. The family has returned home to a place that looks the same but is empty because their loved one is gone. People are gathered around to grieve, support, console and to say Kaddish. And into this Jesus walks.
Monday March 20, 2017
The history of people with disabilities in the United States follows a similar course. People with both physical and intellectual disabilities have been denied access to health care and education and even spiritual care for centuries. They have experienced physical suffering and social isolation. The general population has suffered the loss of their presence among us, even if we have failed to notice their absence.
ON Scripture: The Nasty Woman Who Persisted: The Samaritan Woman of John 4 (John 4:5-42) By Jaime Clark-Soles
Monday March 13, 2017
This is a story about crossing borders of various kinds. It’s a story about a strong woman (who may not have felt strong) surviving and even thriving in a society that privileged male power. It’s about a woman who lived the International Women’s Day theme-- #BeBoldForChange.
Monday March 06, 2017
It almost seems contrary to consider the transfiguration of Jesus in Matthew 17:1-9 as part of the journey in Lent. How does God’s breaking through time to reveal the prophets of old, Moses and Elijah connect to the solitude of Jesus’s temptation in the wilderness?
ON Scripture: It’s Been 40 Days: How to Resist the Temptation of Injustice and Intolerance (Matthew 4:1-11) By Karyn L Wiseman
Monday February 27, 2017
In our text for this week, Jesus is in the wilderness preparing for the role he is about to undertake through his public ministry. He is alone but is visited by Satan as a three-fold test --which is a more accurate translation than what we understand as temptation.
Monday February 20, 2017
The stories of wicked kings are not hard to find when we turn to scripture. After the Exodus, God creates a covenant with the people to rule as king from above. Moses went up to the mountain to receive God’s law and to establish God’s priestly kingdom with Israel. But it turned out that the people of Israel were not the best followers.
ON Scripture: Are We Safer Now? Security and Mercy in God’s Law (Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18) By Johnny Ramirez-Johnson
Monday February 13, 2017
How would you feel today if you learned that your neighbor is a refugee from Syria? The concerns about security (i.e. the measurements we take to arrive at a place of safety) have become central to our daily life; we (all Americans) have banned Syrian refugees from entering the USA. The Statue of Liberty has nothing for them, they are a threat to our security. Are we safer now? True safety comes from abiding in God not in banning our neighbors in need; do we believe this?
ON Scripture: Saving the Soul of Our Nation (Deuteronomy 30:15-20, Psalm 119:1-8, I Corinthians 3:1-9 and Matthew 5:21-37) By Rev. Dr. James Forbes
Monday February 06, 2017
Our nation has a right to expect faith communities to provide vision, vitality, meaning, purpose, responsibility toward each other, respect and care for our planet, as well as accountability and trust in God who is the creator of us all. Lukewarm and lackluster religion will not be able to address the demands of these troubling times of polarization, destabilization and lightning speed change.
ON Scripture: Too Much Salt or Not Enough? What Jesus Says About Americans and Their Super Bowl (Matt. 5:13-20, Isa. 58:1-9) By Barbara K. Lundblad
Monday January 30, 2017
As we head into Super Bowl weekend, Barbara Lundblad says Jesus chose two images on purpose. To be salt and light means to be shaped by the ancient, life-giving law of God.
Monday January 23, 2017
The prophet Micah lived during a time of political turmoil and transition. Sound familiar?
ON Scripture: Trump’s Inauguration and Conflicted Hope in a Divided Christianity (Isaiah 9:1-4) By The Rev. Billy Honor
Monday January 16, 2017
The nation of Israel was in a time of looming war and destruction, darkness and gloom (Isaiah chapter 8). As a result, the people were divided and uncertain about the future and searching for answers. This was the period of time somewhere around the end of the reign of King Ahaz when the Isaiah prophesied that the coming of a new messiah or divine leader was near.
Monday January 09, 2017
For many Christians, baptism signals a new beginning, and a clean slate for life. It is also entrance into the Christian faith and participation in the work of the community. Likewise, Jesus’ baptism in the River Jordan marked not only the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, but his identity as God’s son.
Monday January 02, 2017
Every baptism is an image of beauty in the midst of chaos, recalling the chaotic waters of creation and the Spirit of God hovering over the Tehom to call forth beauty in her midst. Every baptism is a reminder of liberation from exile, the waters parting as we walk out of bondage and into hope.
Monday December 26, 2016
Even at Christmas we do well to linger over this poem. We do well to linger over 'days of old' that have been filled with divine fidelity and generosity; we do well to linger over many days filled with recalcitrance.
Tuesday December 20, 2016
John talks of light and darkness””a direct reference to the Hebrew story of creation””a story written down by a company of priests exiting 70 years of Babylonian enslavement and oppression.
Monday December 12, 2016
This week’s three texts – found in Isaiah, Matthew, and Romans – each tell us something true about signs and society. But first, a primer on signs. Like, actual signs.
ON Scripture: Groaning without Grumbling Against One Another (James 5:7-10) By Dr. Christopher T. Holmes
Monday December 05, 2016
Our lectionary text for this third Sunday of Advent may strike some as somewhat jarring. For many, Advent is oriented to the past. We remember God’s decisive arrival on earth in the person of Jesus Christ. Our expectations for Advent are the sorts of things that make up nativity sets: a doting mother covered with light, angels singing in heaven, shepherds and their sheep, foreign travelers with their gifts.
Monday November 28, 2016
John the Baptist, a Jew, 'appears,' almost out of thin air in the wilderness of Judea as one with no material wealth and luxury to his name (Matt 3:4). By all appearances, he is a 'have not' with a public and prophetic message for his Jewish kindred representing a spectrum of social and political outlooks.
Monday November 21, 2016
Hatred is bubbling up among the cracks of division among us. Ideologies many of us had hoped were dormant in our body politic have returned with a roar. And we can’t be sure what comes next. For some of us, the fear we feel is not just uncertainty, but the realization that our bodies continue to be the object of so much vitriol and scapegoating
ON Scripture: On Guard for Wolves in Shepherd’s Clothing (Jeremiah 23:1-6) By Rev. Keith Anderson - UPDATED
Monday November 14, 2016
Much of the focus of the election had been on leadership, temperament, experience, and fitness to lead the country. And already, in the hours and days following the election, political pundits are speculating on what kind of president Trump will be.
Monday November 07, 2016
This election cycle has uncovered the racism, sexism and nativism that has always been present in American society but was hidden under the covers of political correctness and multiculturalism. For many of us Election Day and what happens after fills us with dread and frankly I would categorize this election cycle as one word--chaotic.
Monday October 31, 2016
As we stand on the precipice of a new presidential administration; as the discourse in the public square is mired in vitriol and violence; as the lack of value of the lives of Black folk, immigrant folk, and queer folk is plainly demonstrated by the piling-up of dead bodies...we are asking the prophetic question, 'How long, O God?'
ON Scripture: From A Tree To A Throne: The Story of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10) By Johnny Ramirez-Johnson
Monday October 24, 2016
How would you feel today if you discovered that the credit card and bank account with all the fees involved you have been paying for some time, after all, was not opened by your spouse, it was a fraud committed by employees of Wells Fargo Bank? Experiencing being taken advantage of is not fun, it’s a bummer! In every neighborhood of Palestine they had their local abuser in situ. They were called Tax Collectors.
Monday October 17, 2016
How did we get here? How did we become so callous, so angry, so unable to see each other? How did we become so divided? Who benefits from this division? Into this divided and often vitriolic atmosphere comes the gospel of Luke and the stories of Jesus.
Monday October 10, 2016
Injustice and human misery offend the conviction that God is merciful, loving, and powerful. For a long time, therefore, the patterns of systemic injustice have gnawed at people of faith (even as such people remain complicit in the systems).
Monday October 03, 2016
If Jesus’s words never strike me as strange, if Jesus’s words never cause me some sense of unrest, if Jesus’s words never trouble me, then I can be sure of one thing: I can be sure that I am missing something important.
Monday September 26, 2016
No wonder we don't talk about verses [7-10](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+17:5-10) of this text. Faith the size of a mustard seed. Great. Love it. Tiny seed. Lofty idea. Preachable. Even tweetable.
Monday September 19, 2016
I have watched with dread as a drama plays out in North Dakota. Thousands of Native Americans and their co-conspirators have taken a stand to try to stop the company, ironically named Dakota Access Pipeline, from drilling for crude oil on land sacred to the Standing Rock Sioux nation.
Monday September 12, 2016
The manager in Jesus’ parable from Luke 16 could sympathize with those making their way in today’s economy.
Monday September 05, 2016
Being lost is scary. Being alone and fearful is rough. Feeling lost can bring us to our knees. It can lead to depression and addiction in frightening ways. Today’s text is a parable about being lost. These two stories are vivid and clear. Yes, they are about a lost sheep and a lost coin, but in the end they are also about so much more.
Monday August 29, 2016
We are living in a world with no shortage of trauma each day. From floods to tsunamis, victims of gun violence and terror, refugees seeking to preserve their lives only to find themselves caught in wars and waves, we are constantly bombarded with the reminders of a relentless suffering experienced by God’s children. Where can we turn to find assurance of God’s loving presence in our midst holding us in caring hands?
Monday August 22, 2016
If you just listened to the current presidential candidates talk, you’d think the United States is a nation comprised of only rich and middle class individuals. Almost nothing in their speeches, party platforms and interviews would tell you that approximately 47 million citizens live in poverty in what is clearly the richest nation in the world.
Monday August 15, 2016
Don’t mistake the story about a woman with a debilitating spinal condition as 'just another healing story.' It’s about more than Jesus astounding people with his power and frustrating his adversaries. This is not a story about power embarrassing weakness. It’s not a story about new things replacing the old. At its core, it’s a story about what God intends. It’s about the urgency of seeing God’s intentions brought to pass without delay.
Monday August 08, 2016
Our cultural moment feels ominous. In electoral politics we could scarcely imagine wider dissatisfaction – or greater gaps in perception. Our leading presidential candidates have earned unfavorable polling ratings among the highest ever reported. Partisan animosity runs at historically high levels: Democrats and Republicans regard one another more negatively than they have in twenty-five years. This combustible environment stresses us out.
Monday August 01, 2016
We do not have to automatically fall into the binary position that one group is good and another is bad. We don’t have to support one group of persons over and against another group simply because the powers that be want to force us into that binary.
Monday July 25, 2016
This is an extraordinary poem that dares to take us inside the conflicted interior life of God in order to see that the father has acute 'heart problems' and is torn between emotive rage and self-disciplined fidelity. With this text before us, we should I suggest, sit in silent amazement and ponder the God disclosed to us in this poem.
ON Scripture: How Long, Oh Lord? Praying without ceasing for Justice (Luke 11:1-13) By Onleilove Alston
Monday July 18, 2016
As I looked through my Facebook newsfeed I saw many of my African-American friends asking, 'How long, oh Lord?' This question is not just one we asked after Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were added to our great cloud of witnesses as the latest victims of racial violence, but this is a question our parents, grandparents and generations have asked as they faced oppression.
Monday July 11, 2016
Things aren’t always what they seem. Like that time God sent Amos a fruit basket. It was a tricky move. Generally speaking, a fruit basket is a wonderful, cheerful gift. Strawberries, blueberries, plums – or in Amos’ case, ripe figs. Everybody loves summer fruit. It reminds us of picnics, and parks, and cookouts with friends. But when God sent Amos a fruit basket, it came with a foreboding little note that proclaimed the end of the world.
Monday July 04, 2016
It happens in every tragedy: something unspeakable happens, people speak up - sometimes competently and compassionately – and after a while, things move back to normal. Of course, it’s never “normal” for the people most affected by the tragedy, but the rest of us seem to forget how much we care about this moment in time that mattered just a few months (weeks?) ago.
Monday June 27, 2016
We cannot get to the healed and whole places God has prepared for us if we are traveling only with those who look and think and worship and dress and live and vote and love like us. Naaman’s healing comes together at the point where the fullness of human experience comes together. He learns to quilt.
Monday June 20, 2016
Over a 1,000 people – men, women, children, and infants – have drowned over the past few weeks in the Mediterranean Sea. And the story has not received even a small amount of attention in the press or in our national psyche. We’re barely aware of it here in the US. But the refugee crisis is enormous.
Tuesday June 14, 2016
In light of the tragic shooting in Orlando, several of our ON Scripture writers took a few moments to reflect on these tragic events.
ON Scripture: Parents and Prophets: Fighting for Future Generations (1 Kings 19: 1-15) By Keith Anderson
Monday June 13, 2016
On this Father’s Day, we remember and give thanks for fathers””and all parents, as well as grandparents, guardians, and mentors that fight the good fight for the sake of their children and future generations. We celebrate the work of father-figures like Brian Osei from Project Return in Milwaukee, which teaches a fatherhood curriculum designed to help fathers become more active in their children’s lives.
Monday June 06, 2016
If we were to go by the titles of books about leadership, we might be tempted to imagine that good leadership is a matter of following the right set of instructions. And this might work if we could all agree what good leadership is. The roiling presidential season just might suggest otherwise.
Monday May 30, 2016
God’s call of Elijah was an invitation to a beautiful divine/human partnership of faithfulness and faithful service. It was based on a three-point contract: HO-GO-LO.
Monday May 23, 2016
On Memorial Day we honor those men and women who have died while in military service for their country. The day also gives us the opportunity to recognize living veterans who continue to struggle with their experience overseas and the hardship of reintegrating into 'normal' life. Vets carry 'deaths' in their hearts and minds. We can find ways to walk with them so they can grow new lives and find peace.
Monday May 16, 2016
This text is one of the loveliest and most important biblical texts that respond to the question: What is the world like? How does it work? The text is framed as a speech by 'wisdom' who is presented as an active agent who has a voice for self-announcement. It is the work of the poet to bring to availability that which remains hidden but is deeply operative in the working of creation.
Monday May 09, 2016
Just a couple of weeks ago, many people were tossed unexpectedly into a spiral of shock and loss. People all over the world found themselves grieving at the same moment as news broke that Prince Rogers Nelson was dead on April 21, 2016. This moment of loss was filled with unified diversity. People of different ethnicities, nations, genders, ages, and religions felt similar feelings of bereavement.
ON Scripture: Exposing a Government's Abuse of Power, and Other Life Hacks (Acts 16:16-40) By Matthew L. Skinner
Monday May 02, 2016
The story in Acts 16 does more than show us how powerful societies -- whether ancient or modern – try to keep a grip on their dominance. While Acts 16 describes a steady stream of self-preservation that issues from the villains in Philippi, the story’s main point is to celebrate a divine victory.
Monday April 25, 2016
John 5 tells the story of Jesus encountering many sick people, who were lying by the pool of Bethesda in hopes of getting healed. The pool, that was opposite Fortress Antonia, had a reputation for healing the sick. According to a tradition, an angel stirs the waters occasionally and the first one to enter the pool after that would be healed.
Monday April 18, 2016
Have you ever read Scripture from an agrarian perspective? We tend to read Scripture with an anthropocentric perspective, but what if we read it with the land and animals in mind first? In her book An Agrarian Approach to Scripture, Ellen Davis invites us to consider reading Scripture with the land and animals at the forefront. Instead of reading Acts 11 with the humans in mind, try reading it with the land in mind.
ON Scripture SPECIAL: Chibok Girls: We Will Not be Quiet - We Will Not Forget By Rev. Adriene Thorne
Friday April 15, 2016
In instances when the Bible addresses harmed women and girls, the story is far from pretty. Tamar is silenced. Queen Esther is commended. Hagar is sent away. 'Be quiet for now,' Absalom instructs his sister. 'Be quiet,' is too often the message now as it was then. It has been two years since 276 Nigerian girls were forcibly taken from their school. We cannot be quiet.
Monday April 11, 2016
This is a vision of hope and abundance, which makes such a vision so much harder to believe in a world threatened by environmental, economic, political, and personal crises. More and more, we live in a world where scarcity is the order of the day, where what we lack looms over us.
ON Scripture: Finding Light in the Dark: Hope Inside Desperate Discourse (John 21: 1-19) By Dr. Karyn L. Wiseman
Monday April 04, 2016
All you have to do is turn on the news to hear desperation, fear, anger, and hatred. We find it in our politics and in our public discourse. We find it in our churches and in our homes. And it happens all the time. But it also happens in the private moments of individuals. Desperation can be found all around us.
Monday March 28, 2016
The truth is: all Christians, no matter what their political leanings might be, have a stake in questions about when people should follow their conscience and resist oppressive edicts. Even when we disagree about what qualifies as an unjust law or an oppressive ruler, still the larger question of 'religious liberty' demands attention from anyone who claims to follow Jesus.
Wednesday March 23, 2016
In light of this week’s terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belgium, several of our ON Scripture writers took a few moments to reflect on these tragic events. To continue the conversation, join us on Twitter at #ONscripture.
Monday March 21, 2016
Baseball and Easter are a perfect match. This year, Opening Day falls just a week after Easter Sunday. But beyond the calendrical coincidence, many people have referred to baseball as a religion. F. Scott Fitzgerald famously called baseball 'the faith of fifty million people.'
Monday March 14, 2016
The story of Jesus’ passion and death has stirred my imagination since I was a child. In an act of profound mystery, Jesus walks towards the conflict swirling around him. Jesus accepts his arrest and does not raise his voice. His willingness to embrace the consequences of truth telling leaves him silent in the face of his accusers. His judges repeatedly say they can find no fault in this man, but the people want more. They want someone to blame.
ON Scripture: Jesus, Justice-Fatigue, and Why Being Black Is Exhausting (John 12:1-8) By Billy Honor
Monday March 07, 2016
These days persons like myself (that is, black and involved in fighting social injustice) are almost constantly giving explanation for the continued contested existence of black life in America and quite frankly, this can be extremely exhausting. Moreover, I contend that given all of the pervasive injustices that continue to threaten black life in America it can be said that simply the act of being black is an exercise of exhaustion.
ON Scripture: Dismantle the Prison of Political Polarization (Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32 & 2 Corinthians 5:16-21) By Rev. Keith Anderson
Monday February 29, 2016
In his two letters to the church in Corinth, Paul addresses a notoriously contentious community, which frequently divided its people by class, ethnicity, and the perceived value of their spiritual giftedness. They even infamously divided people out at the Eucharist (1 Cor 11). In response, Paul urges those believers to engage in a 'ministry of reconciliation.'
ON Scripture: A Covenant of Neighborly Justice: Break the Chains of Quid Pro Quo (Isaiah 55:1-9) By Walter Brueggemann
Monday February 22, 2016
In this season of Lent, this text of summons may be a sobering one for us. In this election season amid shrill or buoyant rhetoric, we may not notice that there real choices to be made, even as Jews in ancient Babylon were confronted with real choices of a most elemental kind.
Monday February 15, 2016
At the heart of the story Americans tell themselves is a close link between progress and material goods. Work is to be valued, and work leads to money. With money we can buy things””'goods'””we call them. And in these things we seek to find comfort. But it’s a lie, of course.
ON Scripture: Revolutionary Love: Dismantling Hierarchy and Pushing Boundaries (Romans 10:8b-13) By Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis
Monday February 08, 2016
I must confess that I am an African-American woman, a Christian woman, a woman who believes there is more than one path to God. Working in the Black Lives Matter movement with people of many faiths, I get a little fidgety when I hear the words 'confess that Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised him from the dead.'
ON Scripture: Transfiguration: Encouragement for Faithfulness Unto Death (Luke 9:28-36) By James Forbes
Monday February 01, 2016
The gospel account of the transfiguration of Jesus comes at a time when we desperately need its powerful message of encouragement. Our nation is in the midst of an epidemic of what I call 'a degenerative discouragement syndrome'. The news cycle enumerates a list of issues and concerns which seem to resist remediation or repair.
Monday January 25, 2016
Lots of our public conversations these days relate to boundaries. In a presidential election year, with seemingly countless candidates and endless debates, it’s hard to avoid the angry voices and fierce scowls.
Monday January 18, 2016
This week's ON Scripture Lectionary Resource
Monday January 11, 2016
This week's ON Scripture Lectionary Resource
Monday January 04, 2016
In our scripture this week, Luke 3:15-17, 21-22, we are reminded of life’s key piece through the story of Jesus’ baptism. The moment Jesus emerges from the water, a voice descends from heaven and declares: “You are my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased.” Such beautiful words. And yet, perhaps more powerful than the words themselves is their timing.
Monday January 04, 2016
This week's ON Scripture Lectionary Resource
Monday December 28, 2015
This week's ON Scripture Lectionary Resource
Monday December 21, 2015
You’ll always find what you’re looking for. Unless, of course, you’re Mary and Joseph, looking for your preteen son on your road trip home from the Passover festival in Jerusalem.
Sunday December 13, 2015
National Geographic magazine recently named Mary, the mother of Jesus, 'the most powerful woman in the world' as an appraisal of her ongoing influence and popularity. But do Mary’s words and example have a prayer of being heard and effecting change in this time of war?
ON Scripture SPECIAL: The Challenge of Jonah: Countering Radicalization through Radical Inclusion by Frances Flannery
Saturday December 12, 2015
This Special Edition from ON Scripture invites a pause in the middle of the storm. Frances Flannery, Director of the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Terrorism and Peace and Professor of Hebrew Bible at James Madison University considers the current climate through the lens of Biblical story Jonah.
Monday December 07, 2015
John the Baptist is an irritant in the midst of Advent. In the Gospel reading for this week in Luke 3:7-18, he is in the wilderness excoriating the crowds who came seeking baptism and repentance and deliverance.
Monday November 30, 2015
This passage from Luke for the Second Sunday of Advent points to competing worldviews. The opening verses are deceptively subversive. Into the religious reigns and imperial kingdoms of the first century C.E., the word of God comes.
ON Scripture: Black Friday: Can’t Buy Love (Jeremiah 33:14-16 and Luke 21:25-36) By Karyn L. Wiseman
Monday November 23, 2015
As we enter into the season of busyness, family responsibilities, lots of eating, and rampant consumerism I am reminded that this really is supposed to be a season of anticipation and hope. Many of us have voids in our lives and I believe that filling them with 'stuff' is simply not the answer. The voids we have in our lives cannot be filled up with gadgets and gizmos.
ON Scripture: Radical Hospitality: Building Bridges, Respecting Differences (Revelation 1:4b-8) By Jim Kast-Keat
Monday November 16, 2015
Whether you find yourself sitting on a dock eating ice cream, accepting a sandwich from a coworker you considered your enemy, or protesting your alma mater with dozens of new friends, remember that it is the love of God in Christ Jesus that frees us and makes it possible for us and our world to change.
Monday November 16, 2015
In light of last week’s events in Paris, France several of our ON Scripture writers took a few moments to reflect upon what they would/will be preaching on Sunday.
Monday November 09, 2015
It is so easy to read Mark and think of war as far off””especially if you are someone living in a neighborhood or region that has a semblance of peaceful times. For non-military families and organizations it is easy to miss that 'wars and rumors of wars' mean families, perhaps right next door to us, are bracing for the possibility that parents or children may be leaving soon.
Monday November 02, 2015
When children treated like they are not important, told they not smart enough or good enough, valued more for their accomplishments than for the unique individuals they are, treated like they only have value if they have money, or abused emotionally, physically or sexually, the impact of those feelings never goes away.
Monday October 26, 2015
The biblical Book of Ruth contains an ancient and powerful story about two women who faced an uncertain future and decided to walk together in creating new possibilities for them and for their communities.
Monday October 19, 2015
We could talk about ISIS in Syria, the slaughter of Syrian Christians, and the Syrian refugee crisis that urgently demands a global response from all people of good will, whatever their faith tradition. Global migration patterns due to a variety of factors, including religious conflict, make it a concrete fact that a plurality of religious traditions in society is here to stay. Period.
Monday October 12, 2015
The emotional, physical, and spiritual violence that we inflict on one other is a sign that something is amiss in our world. The statistics from the World Health Organization on sex work and disease , paint the terrible truth that sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse are on the rise across the globe.
ON Scripture: Pope Francis US Visit: Love and Joy Trump Rules (Mark 10: 2-18) By Sr. Simone Campbell
Monday October 05, 2015
The Mark 10 text is a challenging gospel in our society that has a high divorce rate. But I have a hunch that there is a deeper truth that Jesus was trying to get at.
Monday September 28, 2015
Through this lens, it might not be a coincidence that directly following the teaching about marriage and divorce (vv.2-12) is a short story about how Jesus blesses children (vv.13-16). We can’t avoid this literary connection that points to existential realities. Children are affected by divorce, not just the partners.
ON Scripture: Pope Francis Visits US: Greed is Your Fatal Flaw (Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22) By Amy Erickson
Monday September 21, 2015
During his visit to Bolivia in July, the Pope addressed an audience of farmers, trash-pickers, craftspeople, and un-unionized workers. He expressed his compassion for the poor and the marginalized and advocated passionately for them, but he did not stop there. As he did in his encyclical on climate change, the Pope identified and condemned the systemic and structural causes of their suffering: the global idolization of capital and the pursuit of wealth.
Monday September 14, 2015
Since 2011, more than 200,000 Syrians died in the civil war. Close to 12 million, one-half of the Syrian population of 23 million, have been forced from their homes. More than 4 million have fled.
ON Scripture: Free Speech: A License to Destroy or A Responsibility to Build Up (James 3:1-12) By Walter Brueggemann
Monday September 07, 2015
Many countries in the global community do not have the right to free speech. In the US, our right to speak out is protected under the constitution. How well do we live up to the responsibility granted with that freedom?
ON Scripture SPECIAL: 500 Days Wondering: Where Is God? On the abduction of the Chibok girls by Marcia Fingal
Wednesday September 02, 2015
Five hundred days in captivity is a long time for anyone, let alone teen girls, but this is exactly the case for 219 students kidnapped and still missing. Under the cover of darkness on April 14, 2014, the terrorist group Boko Haram, dressed as military soldiers, abducted 276 female students from the Government Secondary School in Chibok, Nigeria. They plundered and burned the school to the ground and forced the young girls into large trucks. A total of 57 girls escaped on their own, but 219 grieving families still await news of their daughters' fate.
Monday August 31, 2015
Throughout history – both in the Bible and in other places – women have been silenced or put "in their place." That is what this passage feels like. It feels like a woman is told to get back in her place.
Monday August 24, 2015
The Epistle of James insists that hearing the word of God necessarily entails living it out: Be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves (1:22, NRSV). Some contemporary Christians excel in works of justice and mercy, while others seek moral purity. James recognizes no such distinction.
Monday August 17, 2015
The 2016 presidential election season has brought increased attention to the topic of immigration in recent weeks. In the coming sixteen months(!), the American public can expect the different presidential candidates to navigate through immigration issues in order to win voters, whether through shocking opening salvos designed for media attention, or strategically guarded statements intended to repel as few voters as possible.
Monday August 10, 2015
Solomon is essentially asking God, 'Give your servant and understanding mind to govern your people able to discern that which protects, serves, and cultivates the relationships of your people to you, to themselves, to each other, to the earth, to the systems of governance, and to our surrounding nations! And show me what is evil””what destroys, threatens, corrupts any of these relationships.' This is wisdom.
Monday August 03, 2015
What happens when, in spite of our best efforts, we are overcome by human frailty, we are assaulted by the reality of the sins of humankind, and it appears there is nothing we can do that will overcome the tragic pain of our fractured lives? Such are the questions that come upon us when we read of the tortured life of King David.
ON Scripture: Theological Trackstanding: A User’s Guide to Unity in Church and Society (Ephesians 4:1-16) By Jacob D. Myers
Monday July 27, 2015
Nearly every issue of national concern””from prison to education to tax reform, from healthcare to LGBT rights””has become so polarizing that otherwise civil, intelligent human beings often digress to the level of obdurate toddlers staring down a bowl of broccoli.
ON Scripture SPECIAL: American Disabled Act: Working Toward Welcome and Dignity for All By Lisa M. Cataldo, Ph.D.
Monday July 20, 2015
This week marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA is responsible for the wheelchair icon in the convenient parking spaces, for the Braille numbers in the elevator, for the accommodations made for students with learning differences in the classroom, and for closed captioning on television. It has provided people with all kinds of physical and mental disabilities access to places and experiences that the majority of people in America take for granted.
Monday July 20, 2015
It has been intriguing to watch the mixed reaction to the nuclear accord with Iran that can help the United States avoid another major war. The last major war the U.S. fought””the 2003 Iraq war””cost the taxpayers nearly two trillion dollars and about half a trillion in benefits still owed to veterans.
Monday July 13, 2015
Weariness is the constant companion of those who seek justice. A year punctuated with tragedies around racial inequalities culminated in a burst of hateful violence during a Wednesday evening Bible study at the Mother Emanuel church. And as these nine faithful souls have been laid to rest, I have been struck by a refrain that many of my friends have been voicing.
Monday July 06, 2015
In these past weeks, I have reflected and been moved to tears about the U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act in the midst of what has come to be known as 'the 10 days in June’'. These 10 days also included the SCOTUS ruling on national marriage equality, and the murders and arsons of black churches. As I have reflected on this intense moment of our history I have thought a lot about the covenants that formed this nation – covenants to be a family.
ON Scripture: Freedom: For Everyone or Just People Like Us? (2 Corinthians 12:2-10) By Rev. Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder, Ph.D.
Monday June 29, 2015
The United States celebrates Independence Day this weekend. Through the lens of fireworks, barbeque, political speeches and red, white and blue, many will cavort over the freedom this country affords. For almost 230 years America has danced to its own independent music. For many it is song filled with ear-pleasing melodies and harmony. Others lift tunes of tragedy and cacophony. Some are free to join the American chorus, but not all are welcome.
Saturday June 27, 2015
Can a faithful Christian support the court’s decision? What can we say in response to questions voiced by some Christian people?
ON Scripture: Pope Francis on Climate Change: Hearing the Cries of Earth and the Poor by Keith Anderson (2 Corinthians 8:7-15)
Tuesday June 23, 2015
Last week Pope Francis issued a blockbuster papal encyclical on the environment called 'Praised Be.' It is the Pope’s clarion call to address what he describes as an urgent global environmental crisis. Sweeping in scope, it addresses the many dimensions of environmental degradation and the devastating toll it is taking on people, communities, and nations.
Monday June 22, 2015
In light of last week’s shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC, several of our ON Scripture writers took a few moments to reflect upon what they would/will be preaching on Sunday. To continue the conversation, join us on Twitter at #ONScripture.
Monday June 15, 2015
We must remember that when David was gathering those stones, the giant was still standing, still sucking in the air that those on the other side of the valley were desperately trying to breathe. We live in a time when too many giants are still standing. Poverty. Racism. Discrimination. Oppression. Inequality.
Monday June 08, 2015
How does a social movement begin? How does frustration meet courage and conviction to bring a people together to engage in transformative work? What seeds do we plant to change a nation?
Monday June 01, 2015
Leaders disappoint. Leaders let us down. All of them and not just the ones with a different political label than we hold. In 1 Samuel 8, the Bible recounts an ill-fated political decision....
Monday May 25, 2015
One person who has been making a difference in this troubled 21st century is Jean Vanier, a man who started a movement by simply inviting mentally disabled friends to share his home. Vanier was recently awarded the 2015 Templeton Prize for what began as a simple gesture of welcome.
ON Scripture SPECIAL: Death Penalty for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev: A Call for Radical Mercy by Shane Claiborne
Tuesday May 19, 2015
It’s hard to have mercy for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. It was Jesus who said, 'Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.' And he certainly demonstrates that mercy on the cross as he forgives the people nailing him to it. But as a follower of Christ, mercy seems like an audacious thing to ask of us.
ON Scripture: Sorry, Presidential Candidates: Hope Resides in Groans, not in Your Rhetoric (Romans 8:22-27) By Matthew L. Skinner
Monday May 18, 2015
We rely on hope as a force to inch us forward. No one wants to believe that our best days as individuals or as societies are behind us. Everyone wants to be a hopeful person. Or, at least, there are plenty of people out there eager to make sure everyone feels hopeful.
Monday May 11, 2015
If you ask Jesus to pray the table prayer, you need to be ready to keep your eyes closed for a long time; at least if he prays like he did in John 17. Jesus’ table prayer goes on for twenty-six verses! This isn’t 'God is great. God is good. Let us thank God for our food. Amen. Let’s eat.' Besides, when Jesus prays in John 17, they’ve already eaten the meal!
Monday May 04, 2015
The Biblical story recounted in Acts 10:44-48 is also a story of transformation and relational border crossing between people who, though not at all strangers, were practiced at holding each other at a distance. It is a story of surprise and joy, and lives transformed by new relationships and new understandings of self and other forged by the Spirit. It is an old story with an important word for a new day.
Wednesday April 29, 2015
In light of this week's events in Baltimore, MD, several of our ON Scripture writers took a few moments to reflect upon what they would/will be preaching on this Sunday. To continue the conversation, join us on Twitter at #onscripture.
Monday April 27, 2015
One of the hot button topics in America today is same sex marriage. This issue has been in the news often due to same sex marriage bans being struck down in state after state and on the minds of many after the controversial 'religious freedom' law passed in Indiana (and similar ones already enacted in other states). And it has been in the hearts of many gay and lesbian couples faced with the possibility of being denied access to services because of who they are and who they love.
ON Scripture: Exhaling Judgment: A Personal Journey Toward Radical Welcome (John 10:11-18) By The Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis
Monday April 20, 2015
Jesus is the ideal shepherd, the model shepherd, the best kind of shepherd; the one who makes the promises of God available to all of God’s people by laying down his life for the sheep. This loving Shepherd has a huge and diverse flock.
Monday April 13, 2015
In this week’s lectionary passage, a man crippled from birth wanted 'change.' Actually, he wanted coins or any alms that Peter and John could offer (Acts 3:1-11). To this man, the two disciples were in better shape than he was. From his view, he could surely benefit from whatever they had to offer. Yet, Peter exposes their impecunious state: 'Look on us. We don’t have a nickel to our names.'
Monday April 06, 2015
Inequality is a relentless blight. The hopelessness too often engendered when a lack of resources aligns with insufficient educational access, the easy prejudice of one's neighbors, and the ubiquity of oppression is dehumanizing and crushing.
Saturday April 04, 2015
During the church’s highest holy season, Indiana’s religious freedom bill has captured our public conversation. Nuclear negotiations with Iran, a presidential election in war-torn Nigeria, and outrageous violence in Kenya notwithstanding, we can’t take our eyes off the Hoosier State and its Religious Freedom Restoration Act. For Christians, the controversy raises a pressing question: does religious liberty authorize Christians
Monday March 30, 2015
The author of Mark was a minimalist. We get an empty tomb, a promise, and frightened disciples who stay silent when they’re invited to share the news. Finis. Roll credits.
Monday March 23, 2015
Who is God in Holy Week? Did God require Jesus to go to the cross as a sacrifice for our sins? Was everything neatly planned out – the donkey exactly where Jesus told the disciples it would be? Did Jesus have no choice but to do God’s bidding? Do we hear the crowds singing glorious praise or will we hear 'Hosanna!' for what it means: 'Save us?' On this first day of Holy Week our question is not only 'Who is Jesus?' but also 'Who is God?'
Monday March 16, 2015
Lent is our season of honesty. It is a time when we may break out of our illusions to face the reality of our life in preparation for Easter, a radical new beginning. When, through this illusion breaking homework, we connect with reality we see that in our society the fabric of human community is almost totally broken and one glaring evidence of such brokenness is the current unrelieved tension between police and citizens in Ferguson, Missouri.
Monday March 09, 2015
Psalm 107 nudges us from our backyards to imagine the hearts and lives of those in transit – the refugee, the wayfarer, the pilgrim, the immigrant, the sojourner, the alien, the wanderer – all of those en route to the cross from the four compass points of the north, the south, the east and the west.
Monday March 02, 2015
On any given Saturday, people join Habitat for Humanity teams and commit to work to help eradicate poverty housing. The individual volunteers give of their time, energy and physical ability because they want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Similarly, in the HBO TV drama “Game of Thrones,” individuals from the fictional continents of Westeros and Essos volunteer to serve as The Night’s Watch.
Monday February 23, 2015
The new names mark God’s covenant with Abraham and Sarah. They have been blessed. Their names remind them of their destiny as God’s beloved forever. This is not to say Abraham and Sarah were perfect people. Even so, God Almighty used them for God’s divine purposes.
Monday February 16, 2015
These days ISIS, more than any other global power, evokes the specter of violence and death. Boko Haram kidnaps girls by the thousands. The Soviets – I mean, the Russians acting like Soviets – impose their violent will on the Ukraine. Terror abounds all over the globe. In depicting the psychic harm war inflicts upon our souls, American Sniper breaks its own box office records; meanwhile, Americans learn that we’re about to go to war again. It’s ISIS that makes us shudder.
Monday February 09, 2015
In a time when renewed engagement is desperately needed, it is difficult to have dialogue when a vast majority of whites cannot empathize with the experience of communities of color, or, in some cases, acknowledge that there is a problem at all.
ON Scripture: Gatekeepers of Redemption: Conservative Evangelicals on the Death Penalty (1 Corinthians 9:16-23) By Shanell T. Smith
Monday February 02, 2015
Paul knew that everyone had imperfections; he had his own (as noted above). I would venture to say that no one would be considered innocent in terms of sin according to Paul; however, this is also what would make everyone a candidate for redemption. For Paul, belief in Christ is an alternative to the death penalty – eternal death, that is. Another welcomed and progressively changing prospective, however, is that it is not the only one.
ON Scripture: The Super Bowl and the Church in a Culture of Dominance (1 Corinthians 8:1-13) By Matthew L. Skinner
Monday January 26, 2015
Americans enjoy football because, to a degree, football reflects the values of strength, courage, strategy, self-discipline, teamwork, and celebrity that American culture holds dear.... The problem develops when we let football (or other sports, or a military, or corporations, or other forces) define strength in terms of dominance.
Monday January 19, 2015
The Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris last week was an act of absolute evil. The fact that people sitting down for a simple editorial meeting at their work site could be killed due to hate is disturbing beyond words.... But free speech is an interesting and complicated thing. The question is often about the limits of free speech.
Monday January 12, 2015
Where is the new Samuel who will, when awakened, disturb the church from its rest? Who will speak when this new era so critically needs a new Martin Luther King? Who is there who is prepared to fill his shoes? What preacher in all our churches is ready to fill the void of leadership? What preacher stands to preach without fear on Sunday morning that he will be eviscerated for telling the truth?
ON Scripture: In the Beginning & In the End: Christians & Climate Change (Genesis 1:1-5) By Eric D. Barreto
Monday January 05, 2015
This week's ON Scripture: The Bible Lectionary Resource from Odyssey Networks.
Monday December 29, 2014
Optimism tends to accompany a new year. But we leave 2014 somewhat broken and disappointed. The online magazine Slate has christened 2014 'The Year of Outrage.' I bet the name sticks. Slate’s snappy multi-media calendar links the most outrageous news story for every day of the past year. What was so outrageous, and who found themselves offended?
Monday December 22, 2014
While every year is filled with its triumphs and its terrors, 2014 has been a year that has felt particularly fraught. It is not because this is a year where evil and terror appeared from nowhere, surprising us in our general euphoria or mundane lives.
ON Scripture: The Self-Righteous System and the Prophetic Task (2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16) by Brennan Breed
Monday December 15, 2014
Raising awareness, organizing protest and economic pressure, ideological critique, and lobbying for legislation: these echo the prophetic options available to the biblical prophets, and they remain the options that seem to hold the possibility for positive change. What if these do not bring about change?
Monday December 08, 2014
You don’t want God to ask you to be a prophet. You really don’t. When God calls you to some holy task, you might expect a contemplative path, a quiet life of service and love of neighbor. You might expect a comfortable life of piety and hopefulness, grace and caring. But true prophets know better.
ON Scripture: Voices Crying Out: Comfort and Transformation in an Age of Mass Incarceration (Isaiah 40:1-11) By David Garber
Monday December 01, 2014
The topic of exile often gives pause to mainline Christians. While many might draw personal analogies to the experience of exile””through individual traumas such as illness, the loss of a family member, or the break-up of a relationship””most of us have not experienced forced migration to a land that is not our own, stealing our personal freedom and thwarting our economic opportunity. The words in Isaiah 40:1-6 address just such a loss of communal freedom.
ON Scripture SPECIAL: Release. Repair. Restore: Thoughts Beyond Ferguson Toward Racial Healing by Dr. Jacqueline J. Lewis
Friday November 28, 2014
I suppose if Ferguson was an isolated context or if Michael Brown’s death was an anomaly, congregations this Sunday might simply pray for the families, for the burning buildings, for the broken glass in the streets and the broken hearts in Ferguson and around the nation. But neither is true.
Monday November 24, 2014
We know it will soon be the end of November and the end of Thanksgiving weekend. In the Christian calendar, it’s the beginning of Advent, the season leading up to Christmas. For many people, the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is a tough time to get through.
ON Scripture: Jesus, Poor People and the Underside of Thanksgiving (Matthew 25: 31-46) by Billy Honor
Monday November 17, 2014
I love Thanksgiving. I love the food, the fellowship, the friends and family, the football and did I mention that I love the food. Unashamedly it might very well be my favorite holiday. Yet, despite all my warm feelings about Thanksgiving, I am not blind to its historical shortcomings.
ON Scripture: Should Christians be Afraid of Ebola or Climate Change or ISIS or…? (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11) by Eric D. Barreto
Monday November 10, 2014
Fear is in the air. Ebola. War. Conflict. Economic turmoil. Political victories. Political losses. This is the stuff of the nightly news. And everywhere we look we have a new villain to worry about, a new threat against which we ought to brace, a new sense of hopelessness. This is nothing new, of course. The world has always been a scary place.
ON Scripture: Since We Have to Wait, We’d Better Get to Work (Matthew 25:1-13) by Matthew L. Skinner
Monday November 03, 2014
What does the Christian life consist of? What does God expect from us? Here’s Jesus’ answer, according to Matthew’s Gospel: 'Wait faithfully. Together. Or else.' Sure, that isn’t an exact quotation, but it sums up -- again, according to Matthew -- what Jesus says to his followers when he instructs them about how they should live after he has departed from this earth.
Monday October 27, 2014
We have Ebola on the brain. Amid so much anxiety, we turn to All Saints’ Day in the church’s calendar. All Saints’ Day usually recalls our communion with of our spiritual ancestors throughout the centuries, celebrating our unity with saints as far away as North Africa in the fourth century and as close as our deceased relatives. But All Saints’ Day also reminds us of our bond with all believers in the here and now.
Monday October 20, 2014
Every system, every culture, every community risks succumbing to the temptation of shutting borders and protecting an identity. We are quickly seduced into the illusion of absolute control and power.
Monday October 13, 2014
Whatever Americans think about the fairness of having to pay federal taxes, first-century residents of Judea certainly had more reason to gripe. An occupying army of Roman soldiers had invaded the country with much bloodshed and cultural upheaval, and taxes were not paid to demonstrate good citizenship so much as to stay alive.
ON Scripture: What’s so “Domestic” About Violence? (Philippians 4:1-9) by Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder
Monday October 06, 2014
In his letter to the church at Philippi, the writer Paul admonishes the believers to guard their thinking. They are to 'fill their minds and meditate on things true, noble…the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse' (Philippians 4:8-9/MSG). The church in this city was full of drama, and the people were up in arms about many internal matters. Even the church leaders were at odds with one another.