The Beatitudes are Like Yogurt

[This is adapted from a sermon I preached Jan. 29]

There is an awful lot that needs to be said about Donald Trump, but I don’t want to begin there. I want to approach American politics via Jesus. And yogurt. So I begin with the Beatitudes. Many Christians think of the Beatitudes as “the New Testament Ten Commandments,” but I prefer to think of them more like “yogurt.” The Ten Commandments are, as it happens, commands. What the Beatitudes and yogurt have in common is that they are both not commands. Continue reading

The Small Mercies of Winter

When people come into the office complaining about how terrible the weather is, I’m always tempted to say “Why do you complain about the weather? You can’t by your own will make one hair on your head turn white or black.” It is, in its own way, a pastoral response. But technicalities and modern dyes aside, I hate complaints about the weather. Sorry God didn’t acquiesce to your wishes with this sunrise; what are you going to do, let it ruin your day? I am unsympathetic. I love seasons.

The turning of seasons always makes me a little nostalgic (self-righteous?), and as the days get longer (if not warmer), I don’t mind the longness of winter. It’s been such a flurry of snow and chaos and social activity–from Christmas into the New Year into MLK and Superbowl season, births and funerals and the daily activities around them. There is always so much to do! Sometimes, pastoring requires you to be a professional socialite, flitting from gatherings to fundraisers to dinners. There is always someone to catch up with.

As a millennial who has mastered the art of million-tasking, I love winter for the ability to do one thing at a time. To practice every day the art of looking out of windows at the weather. Continue reading