This May Not Make It Into My Sermon

Jesus knows a lot. He knows things other people don’t know, even about themselves. He knows things about himself–where he’s from and where he’s going. Maybe one of the keys to understanding the foot-washing episode that unfolds in John chapter 13 is Jesus’ self-understanding. As that story begins, John tells us that Jesus, “knowing . […]

I Wish Jesus Didn’t Know Everything

Jesus’ inability to be surprised is a bit of a hurdle for me. I’m working on a sermon about the foot washing episode in John 13, where the author insists on telling the reader the things Jesus knows that the disciples in the story don’t. Each time the story does that my heart sinks a little. […]

What Is Your Push Up? 

Kiddo went to a new gymnastics class yesterday at a legit gym that has bars and rings and the whole bit. She’s been cartwheeling and handstanding all over the house for six months, stopping only long enough to watch YouTube tutorials and floor routines.  Yesterday her course of self-teaching met it’s first real obstacle: the […]

How Strong Is Your Game Game? 

I’m getting my game document in good working order. Fresh off a weekend youth retreat where this bad boy was ever at my side, I can say that the time it takes to assemble and maintain a collection of games for youth ministry is time we’ll spent. Nothing brings a group of teenagers together quite like a […]

More Journaling, Less Talking

I threw in these 15 minute prompted journaling time blocks for this weekend’s Confirmation retreat. The prompts all related to Brian McLaren’s appendix and built toward a Statement of Faith all the students would be writing.  I expected resistance.  It did not come.  Instead, students asked during the retreat evaluation session for more of that journaling […]

Two Big Things Happening On The Same Day

So here’s a powerful confluence of events. The 8th grade Confirmation class leaves for its spring retreat tonight, the evening of the very day on which many of them will receive letters from the selective admission high schools to which they applied (it’s a Chicago thing). So at the same time that my students will […]

Lent Is Something You Get To Do

One of my first sermons to begin Lent after becoming a pastor made a lot out of these 40 days as something that couldn’t be got ’round. “We have to go through it,” I confidently intoned, drawing on the heart of the Protestant work ethic to face what needs facing. That’s how it rings to […]

I’m Putting Deep Work To Work

The Acer R11 is back in the shop again. Seriously as The Verge might be about the R11 as the best Chromebook you can buy, when your one thing as a computer is web connectivity, you’d better be sure that thing works reliably. So we’re blogging on the phone. I finished Cal Newport’s Deep Work on Monday and started […]

Your Friend Is Not The Exception But The Rule

That one person we know is probably not the exception to the rule. They’re probably the rule, which we could know if we cared enough to find out. “But he’s different” probably means “He’s the only one we actually know.” In the absense of first-hand knowledge, we default to conventional wisdom, which is too bad, because it has […]

I’m So Good At This

Our Confirmation class welcomed a group of 8th graders from the Jewish temple down the street yesterday. Before they arrived I spent about 10 minutes with our students discussing interfaith dialogue–why it matters for Confirmation and for church generally. Lots of nods. Yes, yes, we understand. I’m good at this. Once our guests arrived we all […]