Category Archives: Faith Journeys

Shalom Near and Far

The first time I stepped into a sukkah hut, I was a new student enrolled at an ecumenical divinity school across the street from a Jewish theological seminary where we could cross-register for classes. Although my school was avowedly Christian, it prided itself on graduating students who were Jewishly literate, and our neighbors across the street were often enlisted to assist us in this endeavor. They had generously served as consultants on this particular sukkah I beheld with outsized admiration. Here was a lovely little hut where we Gentiles could join in celebrating Sukkot, the Jewish festival of thanksgiving. Continue reading

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Angels: A Retraction

Like many a minister, I’ve preached some very fine sermons that I can no longer recall and some roundly mediocre ones that I cannot seem to forget. Yet there is only one I truly regret delivering, not because it was rotten or wordy or diffuse but rather, because it was just wrong. I remember this sermon often, with a curious admixture of mortification and gratitude. Certain kinds of mistakes can be real gifts, if we receive them in the right spirit. Continue reading

A Little Less of Them

A few things that seem self-evident about me – that I was raised Roman Catholic; that I left the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church as a young adult; and that I remain as culturally Catholic today as I was when I wore a plaid jumper to St. Catherine’s parochial school – are not equally obvious to everyone else. I learned this most vividly when I was a seminarian at an interdenominational divinity school, in a conversation with two Episcopalians in the theological library, one of whom was known to me and another of whom was unknown. I said something off-handed about my “clearly” being a former Catholic and was startled by the unknown Episcopalian’s response. “Why clearly?” he asked. Continue reading