October 25, 2016

Continuing in our series about the Common Life we hope to live alongside one another, we talked about the need for our church community to be good neighbors. It was especially fun in this one to have some voices from within aMS respond to some pre-sent questions.

October 10, 2016

Time spent in liturgy reflecting on the value we all experience in liturgy was time well spent. Thoughts from Andrew Sullivan, Richard Foster, and a number of regulars in our church community help carry the sermon along.

September 30, 2016

Part two of a little mini series meant to prepare us to think this fall about how we would be a church oriented around our Common Life — a shared rule of life we are taking on in the coming liturgical year.

September 25, 2016

How much fun to have my friend, and first guest, J.R. Briggs be the first repeat guest on Sermonsmith. J.R. shared what he has been learning about sermon prep from the writings of one of the most famous of history’s preachers: Charles Spurgeon.

September 24, 2016

“I heard birdsong for the first time in years. Well, of course, I had always heard it, but it had been so long since I listened.”

So many articles have been written on unhealthy habits of online living and social media. Somehow, though, this one seems a little more true. Maybe I was more due for it. Maybe we all are.

September 20, 2016


Last week, working alongside the Sidedoor Studio, we launched this new website for the San Francisco Education Fund. There’s a lot of satisfaction that comes when a new website goes live, especially when it is for an organization like this that is offering so much to the common good. I hope it serves them well for years to come.

September 19, 2016

Some sermons feel like they are more fun than others. Some feel like they are more important than others. This one felt like both.

September 19, 2016

One of my favorite parts of doing Sermonsmith interviews is how rapport quickly comes with someone I don’t know when we talk about a shared passion. I certainly felt that in this interview with Jeremy. Our processes don’t look much alike, but our hearts align.

September 14, 2016

A little behind on posting this, but we wrapped up our summer in the parables with the one that gave us our name. We talk about this parable often in other settings, but I was surprised to discover this was the first time we’d covered it since starting our weekly liturgy.

August 23, 2016 9:21 am

Politics still needs meetings that are meetings. It still needs conversations that require listening, conversations in which you are prepared to learn that a situation is more complex than you thought. You might want to change your mind. This is what our current political landscape discourages. There is a lot of conversation—both online and off—in which opponents broadcast prepared sound bites. There is a lot of staged conversation.


August 17, 2016 8:39 am

Settled into a helpful groove with my portable Microsoft keyboard (mentioned in my Puny iPad Mini Utopia). When I’m reading on my iPad, I can switch over the keyboard to pair with my phone which I leave sitting next out next to me. As thoughts come to mind, whether tasks or ideas, I can quickly type them into Drafts on the phone without leaving the book I’m reading on the iPad. Helps me stay on track with what I’m reading knowing I have a reliable way to shove distracting thoughts into a safe place for later handling.

August 17, 2016 8:32 am

The multitasking life puts us into a state similar to vigilance, one of continual alert. In that condition, we can follow only the most rudimentary arguments. So multitasking encourages brevity and simplicity, even when more is called for.

August 14, 2016

Tim Conder co-wrote a book called Free For All, with a subtitle of “Discovering the Bible in Community.” After reading his book, I knew he would have a different perspective on sermon prep, so I was glad to have him as a guest on Sermonsmith.

August 14, 2016

A week after my sermon on The Good Samaritan, we took a second pass at this famous parable in our liturgy. I interviewed Esther Kim, an attender of aMS and a PhD student in the education department at UT. I asked her to talk about how she is using The Good Samaritan as a text to teach Evangelical high school students about critical theory and liberation theology. You know…the usual stuff.

July 26, 2016

Thoughts on my experiences as a 19 year old looking for pretty girls and petty arguments at the Balboa Fun Zone, stories of human bones strewn in sacred temples, and words of wisdom from Dallas Willard, Thomas Keating and Jesus.

iPad, meet Scrivener

You too, iPhone

July 20, 2016 | 1 Comment

In February of 2010, the iPad was newly introduced. I was full of curiosity, intrigue and yearning. They weren’t available yet, but I was concocting all the reasons I needed one worked into our limited budget.

My first round of self (and spousal) convincing led to this post: Ten Mac Apps That Would Give Me iPad Lust. What a silly title. First off, I already had lust and I had it bad. Second off, two of the apps were iPhone apps, not Mac apps. I was blinded by the carnal desire of my youth.

Here we are, 2360 days later (thanks Siri!), and lust has matured into to a meaningful and caring relationship. My iPad mini and I are rarely more than a room apart. Nine out of those ten apps have been in use for most of that time. Some of them do exactly what I hoped for. Some now serve as ancestors to apps that now accomplish far more than I hoped for then.

But you did see that I said 9 out of 10…yeah?

Today, the very first app I had on the list is finally here. Scrivener for iOS dropped in the App Store today. It’s a good day.

My use of Scrivener has ebbed and flowed the last 2360 days. In the last 18ish months though, it’s been more of a flow. Scrivener’s ability to capture, sort and work with ideas has become the nucleus of my sermon prep.

I was giddy this winter to get an email invite to beta test Scrivener for iOS. I’ve used it multiple times a week ever since. Using split view with Scrivener alongside Logos or Safari has allowed me to research and cogitate the contours of a sermon in coffee shops, waiting rooms, and passenger seats.

Scrivener ipad

I don’t use the deepest contours of all that Scrivener can offer, but everything I’ve tried to do with iOS is in there. Sync is via Dropbox and I’ve only had the occasional sync conflict which preserved both versions with nothing lost..

If you do any kind of work that involves moving words from concepts to compositions, you should join my iPad in meeting Scrivener. Heck, you’re probably already acquainted. It’s time your iOS device is acquainted too.

July 19, 2016

I’ve read 3 or 4 of Parker Palmer’s books, and each was deeply shaping for me. This may be the first time I’ve run across an interview of him, on a podcast. It’s a good intro to the kinds of things he has to say and a peek into why his is a voice worth hearing.

July 18, 2016

I chose to do a sermon on the wise and foolish bridesmaids early this summer. I wasn’t all that excited to do so, because it’s a harder topic to work through compared to many of the other parables of Jesus. It turned out to be well timed though, in light of the events in the week before.

July 18, 2016

One of the fun things about the Sermonsmith podcast is finding an excuse to continue conversations. I met Kevin years ago, only talked for a little while at a conference, but had a lot of respect for what he had to say. I’m glad I could invite others along when we continued that conversation on the Sermonsmith podcast.

June 28, 2016

I first contact Laura about a year ago after she was recommended for the podcast. Took some doing for us to get the schedule worked out, but I’m glad we finally did. She was an energetic and thoughtful interview with much to share from her experience preaching in urban Chicago.