#45 / Jonestown Theology: Lenten Explorations in the Valley of Death

Wikimedia / Nancy Wong

God is never lost. In the midst of great evil, God is there. I have long wondered how Jonestown fits into such ideas. In the 1970s, Rev. Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple founded the settlement in the jungles of Guyana. After a few years of communal living, Jones led his followers to commit a […]

Fear is Our Only God


  I’ve long wondered what happened to our boldness. Our faith was once defined by courage. In their earthly existence, all the early disciples had to look forward to was a gruesome execution. In spite of the consequences, they still followed. If persecution hit our churches, I have no doubt that people would renounce their […]

The Absurdity of Time and The Resurrection of Jesus Christ


  A few years ago, I was studying history at the University of Mississippi. I was in a class on Latin American history. As we discussed ancient history, I made the observation that we couldn’t prove any of this happened. “Time is a relative construct.” Immediately, I took it a step further and further declared, […]

Lenten Remix 8: The Dying God.


  “God comes to die with us.”   In the original version of Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” When I engage the Gospels, I read something different. Jesus comes to be with us so that he might die with us. I think such knowledge makes this verse […]

Joseph Sheldon Hutcheson Dies in the Custody of the Dallas Sheriff


Joseph Sheldon Hutcheson Dies in the Custody of the Dallas Sheriff   Desperate for help, Joseph Sheldon Hutcheson parked his truck on the curb of the Lew Sterrett Justice Center in Dallas and ran inside. Upon entering, Hutcheson screamed, “Don’t hurt me, I just need some help.” The deputies tackled him. As Hutcheson screamed that […]

The Murder in Grapevine

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  The images haunt me. The sounds reverberate in my ears. The video plays over and over in my head.   While investigating a false burglar alarm, Grapevine Police Officer Robert Clark came across Rubén García sitting in his parked car. Perhaps due to some combination of his undocumented immigration status, intoxication and standard fear […]

The Cold Dead Jesus: A Plea for a Post-Easter Resurrection


*Easter Message Delivered in Denton, Texas   Let’s begin with the excluded God. What does it mean for God to be left out? My mind immediately conjures up a situation at the church I attend, the Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ. Our church was founded to be the ultimate space of inclusion for […]

Lenten Reflections from the Executed: #504 Robert Gaza / September 19, 2013


*These reflections are taken from pieces of the last words of the last 40 persons executed in Texas. Robert Gaza- “It’s not easy, this is a release.” Sometimes the most freeing things are the most difficult to endure. In the hardest of moments, Robert Gaza pointed to the the release that was upon him. I believe Gaza […]

A Prayer from the Execution of Robert Ladd


  God. Why? Why do I have to keep coming down here? Why was Robert Ladd born with intellectual disabilities? Why were people murdered? Why are we about to murder Robert Ladd? Why? Do you care? Are you here? Is there a reason why you don’t stop this? Are you addicted to death and suffering? […]

Jesus is Dead and So Are We: Eric Garner is Our Only Hope for Resurrection


On July 17, 2014, Jesus was standing on a corner. Officers confronted Jesus. After a brief conversation, Jesus was placed into a chokehold and slammed to the ground. The last words of Jesus were, “I can’t breathe.” I don’t believe that Eric Garner lived his life as Jesus. I don’t believe any of us do. […]