Wager: It Matters (MHU Commencement Address)

This morning, I make, and elaborate on, a simple but contestable claim: It matters. It matters: your life, their lives, and the life of the earth; who you are and who you become; what you do and what you leave undone. It matters how you spend or waste time; how you...

Journey and 25 Years of CBFNC

Yesterday, at First Baptist Church of Greensboro, I shared these reflections on the theme of “journey,” as the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina celebrated 25 years: We are on a journey from birth to death to life, from the home we’ve known...

Five Years In: My Journey with Cancer

I don’t usually write about my experiences with Multiple Myeloma and its treatment on this site. Most often, I post those kinds of updates and reflections on my CaringBridge site. Recently, though, I had the opportunity to speak with a blood cancer support group...

I Don’t Know . . . and I Know

I don’t know how best to respond to the divisions and alienations of our common life, whether in the public square, faith-communities, or families. What do embodying love and working for peace look, sound, and feel like in our troubled and tumultuous times? How can...

Recovering the Questions

About four years ago, my tenure as pastor of a remarkable and challenging congregation ended. It was time. For a year, I’d undergone extensive treatment for cancer, and there were more drugs, pain, and fatigue to come. I couldn’t do the work of pastoral ministry in...

Tuning-in Again and at Last

Given my work—writing, teaching, and preaching—I do a lot of talking, either on paper, on a screen, in a classroom, or in a worship space. A lot of talking. Last fall, I spent 13 hours a week in class, preached every week, and taught occasional classes or seminars for...

Ministry and the Gifts of Christmas

Among the myriad gifts of Christmas are: Assurance that God is with us—“Emmanuel.” God is not aloof from us or disinterested in us—not, as Bette Midler once sang, merely “watching us from a distance.” God is among us and for us. Clarity about the character of God. God...

The Gift of Music and the Illusion of Independence

As always happens during Advent and Christmas, I’m giving thanks for the remarkable gift of music, a gift as necessary for my spirit as breath is for my body and nearly as impossible for me to make. Other than singing hymns in church, with Bruce Springsteen in the...