Sanctified Gossip

The story of the woman at the well from John Chapter 4 is a story I used to find annoying. I think, because it was an overdone story about Jesus being Jesus. It gets overused as a salvation story for a way of life that is no longer feels like an issue. Women, in general,Continue reading “Sanctified Gossip”

It bears repeating…

One thing rural communities rely on is repetition. Repetition creates consistency, memory, and tradition. This repetition matters, whether it is football of Fridays in the fall, the festival on the first weekend of May, or knowing who to call when someone in the community dies to get the prayer and meal train going. I’ve learnedContinue reading “It bears repeating…”

A Can of Soup

My wife’s Valentine’s Day gift to me was a trip to our local art museum. They just opened an exhibit titled “The Works of Warhol.” For years, Andy Warhol has been my favorite artist. If I am ever in a city and they have an art museum, I always check to see if they haveContinue reading “A Can of Soup”

Holy Week Fragments: 30 Seconds at a Time

Here’s a link to today’s lectionary text – John 13:1-17, 31-35 The commentaries for today’s scripture remind us of a couple things. 1) There is a meal in John, but it is not the Lord’s Supper in the traditional sense but it connects to it. 2) The foot washing is something crucial to community toContinue reading “Holy Week Fragments: 30 Seconds at a Time”

Holy Week Fragments: Wednesday

Here is a link to the lectionary reading for today, John 13:21-32 Today’s scripture bothered me. I didn’t want to focus too much on Satan, betrayal and over explaining this. However, since, I’m not alone in my study of scripture, I turn again to commentators. Francis Moloney suggests that the thing we should look towardContinue reading “Holy Week Fragments: Wednesday”

Holy Week Fragments: Monday

Today’s Scripture is John 12:1-11. Click here for the link. Mary pours a jar of perfume onto Jesus’ feet and washes his feet with her hair. Judas Iscariot (and likely other disciples) respond that they could have sold the perfume and given it to the poor. Jesus rebukes them and tell them the poor withContinue reading “Holy Week Fragments: Monday”

Holy Week Fragments: Palm Sunday

As the Scholar in Residence at First UMC, Newton, I challenged the congregation to read the gospel lectionary text for each day of Holy Week and to sit with it. Of course, I am doing this too. I wanted to provide my first thoughts on Holy Week from a rural theologian and Christian educator. HereContinue reading “Holy Week Fragments: Palm Sunday”

Can these Porch Lights Still Glow?

There’s a saying from that annals of rural southern mythology that goes something like “If the porch light’s on, come on in.” I think this statement is designed to promote the idea or heritage of rural hospitality. The idea that country folk will welcome anyone in need need into their homes. I can, with someContinue reading “Can these Porch Lights Still Glow?”

Learning to “Sit Watch”

This pile of used surgical masks is my reminder that in the past month, I’ve clocked more hours in hospitals than in my office. A family health issue—one that I won’t go into too much detail here because of privacy and the reality that it is still ongoing—has me coming and going from a 5Continue reading “Learning to “Sit Watch””

Honest Hope: A Lens for Viewing the Future

One thing I see rural (and not so rural) church folk struggle with in this pandemic is the fear that when church life emerges post-pandemic, they won’t recognize their church anymore. Many sources will tell you that rural churches are anchor institutions in communities that regularly experience seasonal, industrial, and cultural shifts. The church buildingContinue reading “Honest Hope: A Lens for Viewing the Future”