Tuesday, August 8, 2017


Genesis 32:22-31; Psalm 17:1-7, 15; Matthew 14:13-21

Recently, I have become preoccupied by a particular kind of music: the Disney song.

Months ago, my daughter Abby learned a few songs from the Disney film Moana as part of a “Music Together” program. She loved the songs, even though she hadn’t seen the movie. So, about a week ago, we watched Moana together and I found myself quietly tearing up.

I was so moved that I spent some time reading about the making of the movie. Eventually, I read an interview with the man who wrote the lyrics to most of the songs. His name is Lin-Manuel Miranda, and he is most famously known for writing the Broadway musical Hamilton, which adapts the story of Alexander Hamilton, one of the founders of the United States, through a mixture of hip-hop and traditional Broadway music.

In the interview with Lin-Manuel Miranda, he talks a little bit about one of the most well-known songs from Moana, “How Far I’ll Go.” The interviewer brings up the fact that serious fans of Disney films have a specific name for the kind of song that “How Far I’ll Go” represents. They call them “I want” songs.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

In the Midst - Psalm 23


A couple of years ago, I was helping to teach a class about prayer. We were teaching lectio divina, which means “sacred reading.” In lectio divina, a short selection of scripture is read several times. Each time the scripture is read, those who are praying dive deeper into prayer. They choose a word or a phrase and chew on it, slowly turning it over in their hearts and minds. Sometimes, lectio divina leads into what is known as Imaginative Prayer. In imaginative prayer, the participants imagine themselves having a conversation with Jesus. They imagine not only what they would say to Jesus, which is what we often do in prayer, but also how Jesus would reply.

That day, as I was praying, I imagined that I was on a boat. I realized that I was imagining Matthew chapter 8, when Jesus and the disciples are out on the water and Jesus is asleep in the bottom of the boat. Suddenly, a terrible storm arises. The disciples are doing everything in their power to keep the boat from sinking. And Jesus keeps sleeping. There is a terrible storm, and Jesus is sleeping! The waves are crashing, the thunder is rolling, and Jesus is sleeping! The disciples wake Jesus up and ask him to help. Jesus gets up and says to his disciples, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then, he calms the storm.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Way of Love

1500 years ago, Christians began to celebrate the life of a priest. This priest had died as a martyr, that is, a witness to Christ. He had died sometime in the 300s CE.

Many stories were told about this saint. Some said he married Christian women and men in secret, in the days when it wasn't popular to follow Christ. Others claimed that he healed a blind girl, with whom he later exchanged letters. Still others recount that his martyrdom came about because he tried to convince Emperor Claudius II to follow Christ. Claudius, furious over what he considered an exploitation of their burgeoning friendship, had this priest beaten with clubs and stoned outside of Rome. 

Friday, February 12, 2016


This post is part of a Lenten series on bell hooks' TEACHING COMMUNITY. You can find an index of posts here.


The first thing to love about bell hooks is her passion for education. It bleeds through every page, trickles out of every word. It is her passion for pedagogy that leads her to write:

"There are certainly moments in the classroom where I do not excel in the art of teaching. However, it is crucial that we challenge any feeling of shame or embarrassment that teachers who do their job well might be tempted to indulge when praising ourselves or being praised by others for excellent teaching. For when we hide our light we collude in the overall cultural devaluation of our teaching vocation." (xi)

I know that, all too often, I am tempted to undercut the love and passion that I have for teaching and to undervalue what I do well in service to an idol of false humility and a (normally generative but sometimes destructive) self-critique.


I've been wanting to blog read a book during Lent, like I did last year with James Cone's CROSS AND THE LYNCHING TREE. Here's this year's choice:


Here's the reading schedule:

Friday, Feb. 12 - Preface

Tuesday, Feb. 16 – Teach 1 and 2

Friday, Feb. 19 – Teach 3

Tuesday, Feb. 23 – Teach 4

Friday, Feb. 26 – Teach 5

Tuesday, Mar. 1 – Teach 6

Friday, Mar. 4 – Teach 7 and 8

Tuesday, Mar. 8 – Teach 9

Friday, Mar. 11 – Teach 10 and 11

Tuesday, Mar. 15 – Teach 12

Friday, Mar. 18 – Teach 13 and 14

Tuesday, Mar. 22 – Teach 15

Friday, Mar. 25 – Teach 16

I've read select chapters from this book before and I am going to be engaging with some of hooks' writing for my dissertation. I have a feeling that this book is vital not just for me, but for our time. hooks is very readable, but that does not mean the reading will be easy. She continually challenges me. This is a good thing.

Join me!