Lent is all about living in a liminal place, walking in the uncomfortable space between death and life, between an untenable old way and the evergreen way of Christ. It’s hard to recognize life when all you can smell is death. But thank God, we have other senses.
Category Archives: Essays
The Crosses We Bear
As the Lenten season comes to a close and we bear witness to the crucifixion, I can’t help but think of those closest to Jesus at his time of death.
Called Unto Holiness
Rethinking holiness for today and reinvigorating a doctrine of holiness for the Wesleyan tradition is sure to have generative consequences for our churches and our lives. When we begin to rightly equate holiness with love, the idea of holiness as a discipline and practice becomes much more concrete.
Mary, the First Christian: A Commentary on the Annunciation, Luke 1:26-38
When I found out I was pregnant in mid-November, my very first thoughts were of terror. It wore off, but not nearly as fast as I would have expected. I have always been excited about becoming a parent, but the reality of it was far more terrifying than I had ever imagined. While my soon-to-beContinue reading “Mary, the First Christian: A Commentary on the Annunciation, Luke 1:26-38”
Bordering on the Shades of Death: The Choice of Advent
For those of us for whom the early nightfall quickly gets old, or who are exhausted by the dim prospects that we see in our world’s futures, Advent offers us a kindred spirit.
Vocations in Tension: Considering Ordination as a Trans Methodist
Now as an adult trans man, finally at peace with both God and myself, my sense of calling to the Christian pastorate—to preach the gospel, teach discipleship, administer the sacraments, care for the community gathered around Christ, and foster works of justice and mercy in the world—is stronger than ever.
Against Umbrella Methodism
Suddenly, instead of a bright and beautifully called child of God, I was an unrepentant sinner leading others to sin and death…simply because I decided I wasn’t going to live inauthentically. In my first semester of seminary, I met my wife, and the stakes got so much higher.
Justice Was Denied Them: The Ethiopian Eunuch and Hope in Representation
he conversion story of the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:26-40 serves as a tool to address the lack of compassion and respect among many church leaders and pastoral caregivers for transgender and nonbinary youth.
Dear Olympia: Womanhood, Shame, and the Kingdom of God
Our church wants what is best for you—I believe that—but often it doesn’t know how to help its women walk through the story about ourselves that we receive from all angles, because its most overarching story about women is itself based in shame. I fear that, if you ever need consolation from the church in the form of empowerment, you may not find it.
Commodified Gods: A Reflection on Acts 19:23-41
When we create our gods in our own image and then put them up for sale, we lose the gracious reality of being creatures, the beautiful truth that we human beings are closer to the soil than to the heavens. We also lose what I might humbly posit as the spiritual genius of Christianity: that the transcendent and irreducible mystery of the divine nevertheless inhabits fleshy, human existence, joining us here in the soil.
Bias and White Supremacy
Systems of white supremacy have distorted our ability to make sense of reality and even threatened our ability survive as a species. King often said that humans needed to either “learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools,” and current events seem to prove his point, ranging from the climate crisis to the ever present threat of nuclear or biological warfare to the potential collapse of democratic societies across the world.
And Can It Be? Charles Wesley and the Leap of Faith
And Can It Be? is a hymn of astonishment. In light of his powerful religious experience in May 1738, Charles Wesley wrote this hymn from the perspective of someone who is utterly bewildered by the power of God’s love and the shocking events of the Crucifixion. Wesley’s reaction to this is demonstrated in the first two verses.
Advent and the General Deliverance
O Come, thou Dayspring, come and cheerOur spirits by thy justice here;Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,And death’s dark shadows put to flight.Rejoice! Rejoice, Emmanuel shall come to thee,O Israel. —O Come, O Come Emmanuel, originally in Latin, 8th or 9th century I have always said that I have an Advent soul. It is the liturgicalContinue reading “Advent and the General Deliverance”
Waiting for New Life
“’Tis the irrational season, when love blooms bright and wild;if Mary’d been filled with reason, there’d have been no room for the child.” Madeleine L’Engle Twenty-seven years ago, I entered the season of Advent nine months pregnant. That year, 1994, as this, 2021, the lectionary texts that I preached beat a tattooContinue reading “Waiting for New Life”
Advent Against Apocalypse
I remain confident of this:I shall see the goodness of the Lordin the land of the living. Psalm 27:13 (NIV) Happy new year! The season of Advent is upon us, which begins the liturgical year. We light our candles, sing our hymns of preparation, and begin our Advent calendars. We decorate our homes, gather together,Continue reading “Advent Against Apocalypse”
Homesickness is a funny kind of illness. It sort of hurts all over. In your throat when someone asks the wrong question at the wrong time. In your lungs when a reminder of what you’ve lost takes your breath away. In your core when there’s the gut-punch of knowing what you long for may neverContinue reading “Homesick”
Wesleyan Community for the Dispossessed
John Wesley’s contribution to Christian history is not primarily located in any particular doctrine or treatise, though he wrote theologically. Rather, John Wesley’s greatest gift to the Christian churches is perhaps the Wesleyan approach to community formation—with its attention to the whole human being and to every human being, however socially marginalized. Methodism began notContinue reading “Wesleyan Community for the Dispossessed”
Facing The Limitations of Our Bodies: On Embodiment, Disability, and Being Human
As people of faith, we lack the ability to talk constructively about the reality of our mortality and finite bodies. We are uncomfortable confronting the limitations of our embodied experience.
Conversion and Radical Love: The Goal of Christian Antiracist Work
What is the goal of Christian antiracism? Specifically from my own context, I ask: What is the responsibility of churches that contain white people to shape those white people[toward real Christian antiracism?
Self-Love as Holy Reclamation: Using Church Tools to Heal from Church Traumas
Ostensibly though, the collective impact of years with Christian people was that I learned to fear, shame, and hate myself. Here is some context of how that happened.
Experience, Community, and the Earthly Work of the Church
The UMC Book of Discipline says that “Christian experience gives us new eyes to see the living truth in Scripture. It confirms the biblical message for our present. It illumines our understanding of God and creation and motivates us to make sensitive moral judgments.” What that means to me is that what we’re doing here matters.