Cloud of Witnesses

Sermon for Sunday, August 18, 2019 || Proper 15C || Hebrews 11:29–12:2

One of the great honors of my profession as an ordained pastor is the opportunity to preside at funerals. As a matter of fact, we had one here yesterday for longtime parishioner Bill Everett. Some funerals carry the weight of incredible sorrow; others buzz with palpable celebration. Most hold both sorrow and celebration in tandem, as the two are not enemies but rather both are sincere expressions of love. As I prepare for a funeral, and especially as I write the homily, I find my thoughts drawn to the eternal nature of the love of God, which God made tangible and so very present in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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Thoughts and Prayers

Sermon for Sunday, August 11, 2019 || Proper 14C || Isaiah 1:1, 10-20

It is so good to be standing here behind this lectern again. I haven’t preached a sermon since Easter Sunday, so I hope I remember how to do it. I have so many things I want to share with you from my time on sabbatical. Many I will share during the adult forum hour throughout the upcoming school year. Some things will surely influence my sermons. But today is not the day to begin that sharing. A week ago two more mass shootings, both perhaps spurred by the scourge of white nationalist terrorism, devastated the cities of El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. The events were still breaking at the time of last week’s Sunday services, so there was no time to formulate more than just an anguished response – a prayer of lamentation: “How many more, O Lord?”

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Sabbatical Notes, Week 12: The End

Yesterday was my final day of sabbatical time: twelve long weeks set apart from (at least some of) my normal rhythms. I spent a good chunk of it in my basement. The parts I didn’t spend in my basement I spent in Alabama, North Carolina, and Israel-Palestine. I also visited my spiritual director three times, and her insights were (as always) helpful, inspired, compassionate, and kind.

I went into this sabbatical time with four written goals and one unwritten goal. The unwritten one was not to be so bound to my four written goals that I didn’t move where the Holy Spirit was leading me. The four written goals were:

  1. Integrate through personal writing much of the reading I’ve done about racism and white supremacy.
  2. Prepare myself for pilgrimage to the Holy Land and make the most out of that opportunity.
  3. Rest, rejuvenate, and step back to see the proverbial forest instead of the trees.
  4. Begin habituating a spiritual practice of silence and Christian meditation into my daily life.

Because of the unwritten goal, I am striving not to quantify “how well” I achieved the four written ones. Rather, here are a few observations about each one. Continue reading “Sabbatical Notes, Week 12: The End”

Announcing Adam’s New Novel: The Halfling Contagion


A new novel of high fantasy and adventure from author Adam Thomas.


Plague strikes the state of Felmire.
The queen and prince fall victim.
The princess seeks a cure.

Princess Rynliana Caris Feldonsire survived the plague, but no one else has. Halfling midwife Liralee Broderil believes she knows why. Could it be the result of a secret elixir she gave Ryn when the princess was a newborn baby struggling to breathe? If so, the eternal lotus might hold the cure to the contagion destroying the human population of Felmire. But the mysterious plant blooms only one day a year, and only a Lotusborn like Ryn can find it. Will she be in time to save her people?

Mourning for his dead wife and son, Ryn’s father Tarion sinks deeper into grief and retreats from his duty as monarch of Felmire. His younger brother Reave takes it upon himself to discover a cure for the plague. Reave seeks help from the upstart healer and arcanist Victus Graves who has noticed something strange about the halfling immigrants to Felmire. None of them has contracted the illness. Are the halflings the key to curing the contagion? Or are they the cause?


Adam Thomas, writer of wherethewind.com, presents the second stand-alone novel set in Sularil, his own Tolkien-esque fantasy world. A lover of works of high fantasy ever since reading The Hobbit and Redwall way back in middle school, Adam brings his new offering to the genre with a pair of strong female heroes and a story about walking through grief and about how we treat refugees among us. (For ages 14 and up.)

For a brief excerpt of The Halfling Contagion, please click here.


Click here to purchase The Halfling Contagion
on Amazon in paperback or kindle edition.

And check out Adam’s other fantasy offerings:
The Storm Curtain
Torniel
The Jeweled City