What I Shared in Minnesota

What a pleasure to be at Hennepin Ave UMC, Wayzata Community Church, and the Festival of Homiletics last week.


Here are slides from my talks. You should be able to get audio soon at their websites -

At Festival of Homiletics ...

preaching as science fictionFoH

Scaring the Hell Out of Rich Folk


At Hennepin Ave UMC

faith to save the planet


At Wayzata Community Church

great spiritual migration


I'm grateful to all the hosts and folks who came out. An encouraging week!

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From America’s greatest theologian (in my opinion) –

One of my favorite quotes, from Howard Thurman:


From Commencement Speech, Spelman College, 1980

There is something in every one of you that waits, listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself and if you cannot hear it, you will never find whatever it is for which you are searching and if you hear it and then do not follow it, it was better that you had never been born…

You are the only you that has ever lived; your idiom is the only idiom of its kind in all of existence and if you cannot hear the sound of the genuine in you, you will all of your life spend your days on the ends of strings that somebody else pulls…


The sound of the genuine is flowing through you. Don’t be deceived and thrown off by all the noises that are a part even of your dreams, your ambitions, so that you don’t hear the sound of the genuine in you, because that is the only true guide that you will ever have, and if you don’t have that you don’t have a thing.

You may be famous. You may be whatever the other ideals are which are a part of this generation, but you know you don’t have the foggiest notion of who you are, where you are going, what you want. Cultivate the discipline of listening to the sound of the genuine in yourself

Now there is something in everybody that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in other people… I must wait and listen for the sound of the genuine in you. I must wait. For if I cannot hear it, then in my scheme of things, you are not even present. And everybody wants to feel that everybody else knows that  she is there.

There is in you something that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself and sometimes there is so much traffic going on in your minds, so many different kinds of signals, so many vast impulses floating through your organism that go back thousands of generations, long before you were even a thought in the mind of creation, and you are buffeted by these, and in the midst of all of this you have got to find out what your name is. Who are you? How does the sound of the genuine come through to you…


I want to feel that I am thoroughly and completely understood so that now and then I can take my guard down and look out around me and not feel that I will be destroyed with my defenses down. I want to feel completely vulnerable, completely naked, completely exposed and absolutely secure.… that I can run the risk of radical exposure and know that the eye that beholds my vulnerability will not step on me. That I can feel secure in my awareness of the active presence of my own idiom in me.

So as I live my life then, this is what I am trying to fulfill. It doesn’t matter whether I become a doctor, lawyer, housewife. I’m secure because I hear the sound of the genuine in myself and having learned to listen to that, I can become quiet enough, still enough, to hear the sound of the genuine in you.

Now if I hear the sound of the genuine in me, and if you hear the sound of the genuine in you, it is possible for me to go down in me and come up in you. So that when I look at myself through your eyes having made that pilgrimage, I see in me what you see in me and the wall that separates and divides will disappear and we will become one because the sound of the genuine makes the same music.


Here's a song that I think is the perfect complement to Thurman's insight, from the ever-gifted Andy Gullahorn:




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What I Shared in Madison

It was great being with the good people of Madison last weekend, as a guest of First UMC and as lecturer for theLyons Lecture Series. My topic was Saving Religion from the Fundamentalists.

Here are slides from my presentations:

saving religion from the fundamentalists

You can hear my sermon from Sunday May 5 here, "It's Not Easy but It's Worth It":   http://firstunitedmethodistmadison.org/worship/sermons/5-5-19-sunday-service-live-stream/

Near the end of the sermon, I reflect briefly on the death of beloved Rachel Held Evans, who had just died the day before.

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A Story and a Song

I heard recently from songwriter/pastor Candace Chellew-Hodge that this song had been inspired by some of my work several years ago.


I realized that the message she heard then (and captures so beautifully in this song) - eventually turned into Cory and the Seventh Story -

Thanks, Candace - I can imagine churches around the country singing your song!


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I’m honored to be part of this new documentary …


You'll find a trailer and information here:



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