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“God Hates Religion”

The message of the Bible is that God hates religion. The great Reformed theologian Karl Barth wrote those words. They’re striking. “The message of the Bible is that God hates religion. [What] we must say [of religion] is that it is the one great concern of godless men” (Church Dogmatics, vol. 1). The young Karl…

Three Things

Yesterday I received a cry for help. After only ten months, a marriage had disintegrated. One party was filing. Could I help. Forty-five minutes later I sat down with a couple for a pre-marital session, on our way to a fall wedding. They were sunny and excited and I tried not to bring that phone…

God, Dogs, and Unconditional Love

On the Monday following the terrorist rampage in Orlando, a dozen Golden Retrievers showed up in the Disney city. They were part of the K-9 Comfort Dogs team, a ministry run by Lutheran Church Charities. The dogs had come to give the kind of love and comfort that come only from a furry friend. There…

Orlando and the Banner of Love

Early on Monday morning I walked over to the church and lowered the flag to half mast. It felt good to do something. When we are faced with another horror, it’s easy to turn away. “What can I do, anyway?” I slid the red, white and blue down to a lower station and secured the…

Impeaching Your Inner Judge

“It was in an old box with some pictures,” she said. “My mother found this award certificate from when I was nine years old. From Westwood Library—for 34 books read that summer.” That was nearly fifty summers ago. “I took it to my father and you know what he said? ‘I doubt it.’” I winced,…

I Do Not Believe (and Neither Should You)

Yesterday a woman came to see me about coming back to the church. She had been a member years ago and drifted away. Now she sensed an urgency about coming back to faith, but she had serious reservations. “I’m not sure I can believe it all,” she said. “Believe what?” I asked. “Oh, you know—heaven,…

When Pentecost gets Personal

The ancient Pentecost hymn is Veni Creator Spiritus. “Come Creator Spirit.” We invoke, we implore the Spirit to fall upon us because without her we are lifeless—like Ezekiel’s dry bones. This is the spirit who brooded over the face of the deep, Genesis tells us, and brought forth from the primal elements the whole cosmos….

The Real Mother’s Day

What if Mother’s Day was originally a revolutionary movement? What if the second Sunday in May every year wasn’t just about your kids and your family? I always figured Mother’s Day was the creation of Hallmark. Then my friend Jen sent me the link I’ve included just below. I was surprised–and uplifted!–to discover that the…

Finding Water in Cuba

  A few days ago I drank water from a spigot in Itabo, Cuba. It was the water of life. I don’t know why this is, but almost always we must go to the desert to find water. Of course no one “goes to the desert to find water.” We find ourselves in desert spots,…

Stretch Out Your Hands

Today I changed my father’s diaper. He is mostly helpless, half paralyzed from a stroke and, at 97, weakened. Congestive heart failure and dangerously low blood pressure had already sidelined my father. Now he cannot swallow and must be fed through a peg in his stomach. He has lost 30 pounds. Every bone showing, he…

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