“Lifted Up” (Sermon on Luke 1:46b-55) #pittsfield #berkshires

When I read the Song of Mary from the Gospel of Luke, I can’t help but think about Malala Yousafzai. Many of you already know her story, but at some point, after the taliban took over Afghanistan, the taliban began dismantling the rights of women and girls. One way they did this was to forbid women and girls from being educated, and this approach included blowing up schools that educated girls. Imagine this here; A few blocks away, guards standing outside Conte Elementary, Pittsfield Highschool, or Berkshire Community College and preventing female teachers and students from walking through the doors … Continue reading “Lifted Up” (Sermon on Luke 1:46b-55) #pittsfield #berkshires

Season of Wonder (An Advent Reflection) #pittsfield #berkshires

There is one particular moment that I’ve come to look forward to the last few Christmases. We’re walking down the street or coming around a corner in our car when a display of lights catches our child’s eye. I might not notice it until I hear him whisper, “Oh wow….” That’s the moment the Christmas season begins for me now. That’s the moment I join our son in a season of wonder. I don’t know when calling Advent and Christmas “the Season of Wonder” began, but it makes sense. For me, feelings of wonder keep me in a moment of … Continue reading Season of Wonder (An Advent Reflection) #pittsfield #berkshires

Peace among the Pieces (Sermon reflection on Isaiah 11:1-10 and Psalm 72) #pittsfield #berkshires

In our weekly newsletter, Worshipful Thoughts, I brought up a French philosopher named René Girard. Girard expansively wrote about many things, but some of his most influential work was on how leadership functioned. Two ideas, in particular, have significantly influenced theologians and those who think about how leadership works.  In case you didn’t read this week’s newsletter, I will mention these two ideas again. First, Girard developed this idea called “memetic desire.” The word “mimetic” is related to the word mimic. It’s basically about mimicking a pattern or design. When Girard combined memetic and desire, he introduced a term that … Continue reading Peace among the Pieces (Sermon reflection on Isaiah 11:1-10 and Psalm 72) #pittsfield #berkshires

“Traditional” 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 12-17

2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 12-17 I need you to allow me a little bit of a church geek moment this Sunday. It’s about the lectionary. If you already know a lot about the lectionary, go ahead and take a nap for about 5 minutes but if it helps you, like me, to know a bit more or remember a few things, stay tuned for just a bit longer… For a long time, there has been a practice in the Jewish community for specific scriptural readings to be read on certain days and at certain times. Early Christian communities adopted some of … Continue reading “Traditional” 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 12-17

“Vision and High Places” A sermon on Luke 19:1-10 and Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4

Luke 19:1-10 and Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4 I did part of my growing up in a church parsonage in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. We shared a driveway with the church next door, where my Dad was the minister. Across the street was the library where my sister and I spent many, many hours. Down the street, just a few houses away, was the elementary school my sister and I went to and where my mom eventually taught. We knew some of our neighbors better than others, but, as I remember it, few people seemed like strangers there. Even if we didn’t know … Continue reading “Vision and High Places” A sermon on Luke 19:1-10 and Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4

“Help” (sermon on Luke 18:1-8)

October 16th, 2022 Sermon Luke 18:1-8 Michael was one of the most effective fundraisers and service providers I’ve ever known. I met him when I was living in Boulder, Colorado. To get by, I was working three different jobs that all had some sort of interaction with Michael. During the week, I was on a Parks and Recreation Crew that had the task of maintaining a street that had been closed, bricked up, landscaped, and turned into a beautiful outdoor mall area. On the weekends, I worked as the custodian for a downtown church, and, finally, off and on, I … Continue reading “Help” (sermon on Luke 18:1-8)

“Tenous and Tedious” (Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15)

September 25th, 2022 Sermon @ South Congregational Church UCC Pittsfield, MA Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15 (I started by placing a brick on the pulpit. Yep. A plain old brick.) On a scale of 1-10 (1 being the lowest and ten being the highest), how would you rate how exciting this brick is? Hold that thought…. The book of Jeremiah is filled with a lot of prophetic poetry and wisdom, but it all emerges from a horrifying time. One of the reasons Jeremiah is sometimes lifted is because he saw a clear connection between the structural violence against those who were poor … Continue reading “Tenous and Tedious” (Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15)

What Are You Doing Here?

(This was my candidating sermon [6-19-22] for South Congregational Church in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Following the sermon, they invited me to be their pastor! I’ll leave my position with the Pacific Northwest Conference in the middle of September and join South Church soon afterward.) 1 Kings 19:1-15 (NRSVUE)  I always appreciate the legal disclaimer at the beginning of a video or book that says something like, “This story is based on actual events. In certain cases incidents, characters and timelines have been changed for dramatic purposes. Certain characters may be composites, or entirely fictitious.” It gives you a fair heads up … Continue reading What Are You Doing Here?


(Sermon shared with Taiwanese Christian Church 5/29/22) Acts 16:16-34 (NRSV)  Today’s text from Acts is an odd one. Paul and Silas are followed by a slave girl possessed by a spirit that allows her to tell the future and see hidden things that others cannot see. During this time and place, being possessed by such a spirit wasn’t seen in the same way as being possessed by a demon. A demon was an entity motivated to spiritual destruction and harm for the one who possessed and those the demon-possessed person encountered. The kind of spirit that possessed this girl was more … Continue reading Unpossessed

Hope Is Built

(I’m catching up on some posts, today. This is my April ’22 address to the Pacific Northwest Conference of the UCC’s Annual Meeting) I’ve struggled more with this particular message than any other I’ve ever shared with you. When developing the theme for this meeting, the idea that emerged was around hope, recognizing the exhaustion of almost everyone.  It’s entirely the right theme, and I was looking forward to hearing from someone else about it. I’m struggling with staying hopeful, too. On the one hand, the idea that I might have anything to say about hope feels almost ludicrous when … Continue reading Hope Is Built