“Why would anyone run 26.2 miles unless somebody is chasing you?”

It has something to do with love and death.

The day after running a marathon, hobbling around, draining fluid from my swollen toe, and popping naproxen to calm down all the inflammation in my knees and hips, I ask myself again, “Why am I doing this?” While friends and family members may leaf through the mental health diagnostic manual to point me toward the answer, I hand them a list of reasons. I’m too tired to recite them, so I have written them down.

It’s a good way to raise money for good causes.

There are other ways to raise money. That doesn’t really explain why someone would train for and run a 26.2 mile race.

It’s also a good outlet for my competitive instincts. There are parts of my natural personality that I have to hold in check in my role as pastor. Winning theological arguments may be a contact sport in academic circles, but in a church board meeting, throwing an opponent to the floor and doing a moonwalk victory dance, Continue reading

What Makes For A Good Public Funeral?

August 19, 2014

Listening to sound clips of the funerals of James Foley and Michael Brown this week, I have been thinking about the purpose of public funerals and how we who are called upon to lead them can help both the family and the wider community through liturgy and proclamation.

Is there any benefit to broadcasting the funerals of James Foley, who was executed by a terrorist, and Michael Brown, who was shot by a police officer in an incident that sparked both peaceful protests and violent riots over the past two weeks?

I believe there is a great benefit to broadcasting them when they are done well.

From a family systems perspective, we can watch or participate Continue reading