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And the Sea Was No More: A Theology of Natural Disaster

  In the wake of Harvey, and on the eve of Irma–not to mention dozens of wildfires in the west and an earthquake in Mexico City–the question of God’s involvement in nature could not be more palpable. I offer here a few halting answers to what I think are the most pressing theological questions. 1) […]

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The Ache of a Place

The bland Hebrew word is maqom–place. A man on the run named Jacob–running because he treated his family like dirt and so was getting out of Dodge–encountered God “in a certain maqom” (Genesis 28. 10-22). It was in this place, unnamed because it was seemingly insignificant, that Jacob dreams a world-changing dream in which he sees a stairway to […]

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The Bible as Cookbook

Of course the title of Mark Bittman’s cookbook is ridiculous: How to Cook Everything. Everything? Everything is a pretty expansive category. What is behind this claim? Hubris? Hyperbole? I love this cookbook. It was a wedding present, and it has been an ever-present help in the six different kitchens of my nearly 18 year old marriage. Its cover […]

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Death Imposing: An Ash Wednesday Reflection

Did it catch you off guard yesterday? That black smudge on a forehead, probably sometime after the noon hour? Your first impulse was to tell the coworker or stranger or friend that there was something on their forehead. Maybe you did say that, or maybe you remembered–Ash Wednesday. That black smudge was actually a cross, […]

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Molly

In Memory: Molly Houck Gorrell Molly. Mols. Mouck. That last one, only I called you. And only you called me Waffle. Buried somewhere in my parents’ basement is a painting of yours, oil on canvas, Pollock-esque, with the letters W = M. Waffle = Mouck. It was our silly equation, marking our silly, and not so […]

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“The Mountains Are My Church”: A Reflection

So, I’ve heard this line a lot: “The mountains are my church.” I’ve perhaps heard it more than most, as I’m a pastor, and people often volunteer a description of their spirituality to me, and also because I currently live in Boulder, Colorado, filled with Mountain Lovers such as myself. Part of me responds to this […]

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Say it Sooner: I Love You

Dear People Who Read My Blog, I remember the pickles. The first time I had lunch with Jack and Vivian, the pickles were served in their own separate dish. It wasn’t just a cereal bowl, either, but a small serving dish, designed for pickles or relish, decorated with roses or some such flourish, probably passed down […]

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Not Sharing: A Virtue to Consider

The trout rose to my fly on my last cast, which only sweetened the thrill and beauty of it all. I had an hour to kill, and Boulder Creek was right there in all of its fall glory–dappled cottonwood leaves in the eddies; the creek seemingly putting itself to sleep before the winter, its flow […]

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One Marriage, Two Careers

There’s a verse in the Bible which is cool even if you’re not into the Bible. It comes from this strange little book called Ruth, the story of a woman of that name whose life becomes intertwined with that of Israel through her mother-in-law Naomi. Ruth’s husband has died, and his brother and father, and Naomi is planning on […]

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If You Build It, They Will Come: 3 Ways to Counter the Worst Line Ever for the Church

This line comes, of course, from Field of Dreams, the 1989 film with Kevin Costner. Great line, good movie, horrible model for the church. The line, and this line of thinking, infected the church (in North America) in the late 80’s. The problem then was that it worked. Buildings were built, programs were programmed, and they […]

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