Reclaiming Jesus

Friends: As you know I’ve been concerned for some time about support for immoral people in high places, particularly when that support comes from Christians. As we approach Holy Week, it is important for Christians to let the world know that Jesus Christ represents another way. So when my friend Jim Wallis convened a number of us to reflect upon our national dilemma, I was eager to participate. The fruit of our prayerful work is found here. Our hope is that this initiates a vigorous conversation among Christians about our responsibilities to witness to the Lordship of Christ.

Read our statement here: Reclaiming Jesus



Goodbye, Rex

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told a national scouting convention, “Will Willimon is one of my favorite writers,” which thrilled me. Then Rex spoiled it by boasting, “I’ve read everything he has written.” No way Rex would have had time to climb to the top of Exxon if he had done that much reading.

Rex was impressed by my confession (when I spoke at the hundredth anniversary of the Boy Scouts) that anything I know about leadership I learned in Scouting. When a District Superintendent told me, “Bishop, there is no way you are going to talk the Conference into reorganization,” I replied, “You clearly don’t know to whom you are talking. I convinced a group of fellow twelve-year-olds—Camp Old Indian, near midnight on a Saturday in January, ten degrees and sleeting, no electricity—to go to the creek and wash the pots and pans from supper. I am a visionary, results-oriented, entrepreneurial, transformative leader!”

   In claiming that the main thing I got out of scouting was leadership, I’m being less than truthful with Rex. The chief training I received in scouting was an advanced course in works righteousness and the cultivation of overweening ambition. Scouting’s constant encouragement to climb the ranks, to accumulate merit badges, and to out shoot, out chop, out learn, out fight everyone else, kept ambitious male adolescents like me busy.

God and Country Award by twelve, Order of the Arrow (Brotherhood rank, no less) by thirteen, Eagle as I was turning fourteen, National Jamboree, I kept my mother busy ripping patches off my uniform and sewing on new ones as I ascended the ranks.

I wasn’t any good at sports (blame my fatherless, rural childhood). If I had had a father and had lived near town, I would have been Jackie Robinson. Scouts was my sole way of climbing, though no junior high school girl has ever gone steady with a boy because he was an Eagle Scout.

Thanks, Rex, for reading my books and thanks for your service to Scouting. Thanks for being a good Boy Scout and not lying or stealing. You were right in what you said about the President. No way your successor, Mike Pompeo, is worthy to lace your boots, sycophantic boot-licker that he is. I’m genuinely sorry that the last truthful person has left the Trump administration.


Pulpit Resource for the Fourth Sunday in Lent

I want to share some of the work we do with Pulpit Resource, to encourage your labors in proclaiming the gospel each week. Pulpit Resource offers weekly reflections on the lectionary readings, focusing on a primary text through short exegesis, additional resources, and a longer proclamation piece to share with you. If you would like to subscribe to this resource, you can do so through Ministry Matters.

As the Fourth Sunday in Lent nears, may you find encouragement in the preaching office in these reflections below: Continue reading