Infinity, it seems, can be spoken without words.

When God created the visible (and invisible) universe he spoke words — ”let there be light” — and things that were not in one moment began to exist in the next. Stars. Planets. Oceans. Mountains. Trees. Animals. Flowers.

All these things and more were breathed into existence by God. When the Father began to make all things, our wisdom tells us that it was the Son by whom the Father spoke all things into being; Christ spoke the things that were not as though they were and they were so. Orchid. Zebra. Maple. Everest. Atlantic. Jupiter. Andromeda. And so on.


Pondering the neglected, yet indispensable end of the story of God with us.

Against our attempts to make the resurrection a ghost party, like a wisp of fog on hot tea, Jesus appears among us with “real wounds,” shows us that resurrection is a matter of flesh and bones, of broiled fish and honeycomb.

His wounded body, a body that yet eats, a body of flesh and bones — flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone — now ascends into what it means to be God in eternity, forever taking with his embodied self all the good and hard memories of what it means to be human.

Artist: Khrystyna Kvyk

He remembers comfort from…


The life of the human God is our measure of right from wrong.

I frequently run into the argument that God can do whatever he wants because he is God.

Partnered with this assertion is often an accusation that human “sensibilities” about what is right and wrong are not the same as God’s — that his ways are higher than our ways — as a defense for God behaving in ways that we would otherwise call sociopathic in humans.

Christians believe we know what we know about evil because of what is revealed about God in Jesus Christ and by what is inherent in humanity, owing to our being fashioned in the image…


Are we the early church? And does the end we imagine for the body of Christ match the human story of her powerless Lord?

If the human story continues another 8000 years, when humans look back to our time they will talk about the last 2000 years as but the beginning of Christianity. What if, contra so much speculation of the last century and more, the gospel is just starting to convert the world?

Enabled by the Spirit, what are we doing today to lay the groundwork for human thriving, ecological stability, and the future of human culture in imitation of our crucified human God in the third and fourth millenniums, beyond even that? How would such a disposition change us?

My orientation on…


Time for the church’s leaders to dispel lies and protect life.

Time for some honesty. For five years the President has said and done things that I felt we should not tolerate in a leader of the nation.

I used to be quite vocal about it but there was always a pattern in response: that’s not what he said (though I heard him say it), that’s not what he meant (when his meaning was unambiguous), that’s not what he did (but I’m watching the video and, well, that’s what he did).

Samuel Corum | Getty Images

At some point I brought these things up less because the price for bringing them up was too high in…


I owe a deep love of language to black women teachers.

My first teachers were women of color. My first, second, and third grade teachers, and the librarian at my elementary school were all black.

Each of them in their own way taught me to love words — to read them, to write them, to let my imagination enter without reservation the worlds that words make.

fugitive library, North Carolina, circa late 1950s/early 1960s

Their love of language, forged in the unimaginable circumstances of their lives, made constant demands on them, and they lovingly passed on to me the joyful vocation of careful word choice and articulation. They taught me that every word mattered.

I read whole biographies in…


A continuing reflection on the death of my father.

As elements grow cold their atoms slow down in that invisible world where particles dwell, until at the coldest possible temperature—absolute zero—all motion ceases.

A satellite photograph of a street I lived on fifty years ago fills one window of my laptop. This landscape is frozen in time, not by the desperate cold of space where the photo was taken but by the satellite’s power to capture sunlight as it played upon this spot of the world some bright, clear day who knows how long ago.

Image from Google Maps.

Streaked by shadows from the early morning sun, the old street runs east to…


Resisting ideology as we ponder a return to gathered worship.

Churches do not need anyone to tell us when to reopen or when to remain closed, when to gather again as congregations and when to stay apart.

The vast majority of ordained and lay leaders in the churches are listening first to the Spirit, who is the Spirit of Christ and not another Spirit, who tells us to love our neighbors.

This selfsame Spirit compelled centuries of the first Christians to put themselves in harm’s way for the sick, the widow and orphan, the prisoner, the hungry, and the stranger, because they are where Christ told us we would encounter…


The Gospel is public information—not hidden, not secret—and that’s why Christians should be immune from closeted delusions.

Conspiracy theories are a lot like Gnosticism.

They claim that only an enlightened few know what is actually going on in the world and what almost everyone else knows is a lie; that the knowledge available to the average person on the street is unreliable.

The true believer who spreads these conspiracies is like the member of a mystery cult: in the “know” no matter how disconnected from important events he or she may be, no matter how unreal their imagined scenarios are in the face of realities.

And by implication, most people trying to make their way in the…


A final mediation on the Way of the Cross for our friends at Parish LB in California.

Every human hopes to be remembered, even the human who is God.

We heard his words at the supper last night, “Remember me.”

The truly awful thing is that eventually no one remembers most of the humans who have ever lived.

Time and distance wipes the fingerprints, scatters the ashes, and absconds with any evidence of our having been here.

As soon as our family and close friends and acquaintances are also dead and gone, there is no living human memory of us.

There may be recordings, photos, perhaps even some of our words in a book or carved into…

Kenneth Tanner

Pastor | Writer | Contributor: Mockingbird, Christianity Today, Sojourners, Huffington Post, Clarion Journal | Theologian

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