All posts filed under: Uncategorized

Proclaiming God’s Obnoxious Holiness

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.” The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” – Isaiah 6:1-5 I love feeling close to God. Maybe you know it, that cozy feeling of intimacy, when in prayer or worship you feel so happy and at peace that it’s like God is giving you a big hug. I believe that …

Why Conviction Matters

I was recently privileged to deliver a version of the below remarks at the first New York Yearly Meeting Quaker Exploration and Discourse (QuED) Day. QuED is a day of talks, fellowship and discussion taking place once a month aimed at connecting young adult Friends with Friends of diverse experiences from around the yearly meeting. You can watch the morning’s talks, including Q+A, here.  Objectivity has had a bad run recently. University professors are being criticized for encouraging debate rather than comforting their students. Great Britain is exiting the EU based largely on a campaign of xenophobic fear-mongering. Our recent presidential election was marked by lies, half-truths and exaggerations which, even when debunked, had no discernible negative impact on those spreading them. Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year was “post-truth,” an adjective “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” In this environment, it is important to stand for facts, accuracy and fairness and against the swell of emotion that can blind us …

Complacency and Self-Delusion

I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. For you say, ‘I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.’ You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich; and white robes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen; and salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. I reprove and discipline those whom I love. Be earnest, therefore, and repent. Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me. To the one who conquers I will give a place with me on my throne, just as I myself conquered …

Let Earth Receive Her King

The electors have cast their ballots. The long-shot “anyone but Trump” campaign has met its end. Barring catastrophe, Donald J. Trump will be the 45th president of the United States of America. As he steps into that role, he will have at his fingertips the largest and most powerful military arsenal in the history of the world. He will have at his disposal an intelligence network that can penetrate ever more deeply into the private lives of individuals domestically and abroad. He will have decades of relationships with the wealthy and powerful the world over, relationships that are unlikely to substantially change simply because Mr. Trump is moving his primary office to Pennsylvania Avenue. With Republican majorities in both houses of Congress, the power to fill a Supreme Court vacancy, and two-thirds of state governorships in Republican hands, Mr. Trump will likely face the weakest opposition in modern history. Between the political dynamics currently in force and the power of the executive branch at a peak due to policies pioneered by President Bush in the …

The Christian’s Ultimate Allegiance

I, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to you who are in America, Grace be unto you, and peace from God our Father, through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ… I am impelled to write you concerning the responsibilities laid upon you to live as Christians in the midst of an unChristian world. That is what I had to do. That is what every Christian has to do. But I understand that there are many Christians in America who give their ultimate allegiance to man-made systems and customs. They are afraid to be different. Their great concern is to be accepted socially. They live by some such principle as this: “everybody is doing it, so it must be alright.” For so many of you Morality is merely group consensus. In your modern sociological lingo, the mores are accepted as the right ways. You have unconsciously come to believe that right is discovered by taking a sort of Gallup poll of the majority opinion. How many are giving their ultimate allegiance to …