Scripture

After El Paso and Dayton

After El Paso and Dayton

The following is a collection of sermon and prayer responses to our nation’s two most recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. We give thanks for the bold leadership of these pastors and the many others whose work isn’t featured here. Until we reach a day in which these responses are unnecessary…

“God with us, we come to you today a people changed by violence. When O Lord will we be a culture changed by peace? When will we take seriously the work of this table, this bread, this juice? You commanded that we sit and eat together; it is that simple and yet that hard.”

(Rev. Holly Clark-Porter)

A Promise Fulfilled

A Promise Fulfilled

(Photo by Eddie Stigson)

“The crucifiers are transformed by the crucified. Their hearts are changed, and because of that, our world is changed….For those of us who think we know how and when God speaks—let us be surprised when God is revealed in unexpected ways—like in the Roman centurion. For those of us who are weary of waiting, let us hope in the God whose Spirit gradually transforms our hearts, so that when we finally see, we can realize like the apostles— “were not our hearts burning?”

(By Rev. Kate Hanch)

Mary, Joseph, and Appalachia

Mary, Joseph, and Appalachia

(Photo: Emma Frances Logan)

“Dayton, Tennessee, is a place where half the time you fuss about how Walmart took away business from the downtown stores with their dusty merchandise, and the rest of the time you’re grateful for the steady employment Walmart brings to your cousins who otherwise would never have found a real paying job within fifty miles of downtown. Dayton is a place where you can get stuck with your family’s reputation because everyone thinks that apples don’t fall far from the tree.”

(By Rev. Janet James)

Biblical Abundance and Gender

Biblical Abundance and Gender

(Photo by Raphael Rychetsky)

Using a transgender person’s name is a big deal. A recent study published by the Journal of Adolescent Health found that simply using a transgender person’s chosen name can reduce their risk of suicide by 65 percent….Extending the notion of coming out as a process akin to discerning a call, Scripture presents us with abundant evidence of the importance of a name with regard to one’s sense of call. When God promises Abram and Sarai they will be the ancestors of multitudes, God calls them Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 17:5,15). After Jacob wrestles his blessing from the angel, he is no longer Jacob, but Israel (Genesis 32:28)….”

(By Jess Cook)

An Unattainable Path

An Unattainable Path

(Photo by Fischer Twins)

“The way we have told this story of God for a very long time is an utterly unattainable path of perfectionism. The practice of regular church attendance, and studying your Bible every day, and giving the right amount of money to church, and "being Christian = being nice to everyone" not only sets us all up for failure but sets us all up for not telling the truth about our lives.“

(By Rev. Elizabeth Mangham Lott)

A Baptist Meets the Buddha

A Baptist Meets the Buddha

(Photo credit unknown)

“Buddhist meditation, therefore, not only taught me a new way to pray, it also provided a desperately needed detour around an anthropomorphic mode of thinking about the Sacred…. To state it differently, my soul was yearning for a concept and experience of the divine that wasn’t rooted in a theology anchored by a powerful male deity who held sinners in ‘H’is hands over the pits of hell.”

(By Rev. Dr. Marc Boswell)

Prayer for After a Person Comes Out

Prayer for After a Person Comes Out

(Photo Credit Unknown)

“Like Lazarus being called out of the tomb, or Mary Magdalene whose eyes were opened to the resurrected Christ upon hearing her name, we know you have called ___’s name and claimed them as your own. When things get difficult, remind ___ of this community who loves them and has promised to walk through life with them.”

(By Jess Cook, M.Div.)

A Migrant Caravan

A Migrant Caravan

(John Moore/Getty Images)

“Our sacred story tells us of mothers and fathers who grab their babies and children and whatever they can carry on their back because the food has run out and there are no more jobs and people actively want to kill them. Our sacred story tells us to care for and welcome and embrace these people who are fleeing.”

(By Rev. Elizabeth Mangham Lott)

The People We Don't Care About

The People We Don't Care About

(Photo by Walter Bennett)

“Today, the forgotten folks of Appalachia, the rural South, the formerly industrial midwest, need a greater voice to speak for them just as the addicted across the country need folks to move beyond sympathy and towards honest to God care and concern.”

(By Rev. Dr. James McLeod, Jr.)

On Scriptural Interpretation

On Scriptural Interpretation

(Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

“Perhaps, though, winning the day isn't something to realistically be expected. Perhaps vigilance and persistence in liberative readings is the most we can hope for as long as we continue to make this text central to our lives of faith.”

(By Marc Boswell)