All posts by Wess

A papa, Quaker minister, Phd in Intercultural Studies from Fuller, & prof. Contributor to Antioch Sessions. Angelic troublemaker & #sketchnote preacher. Enjoys #remix, liberation theology, bourbon & a wool vest.

Resurrection: Hope on a Tightrope (Matthew 28:1-10)


“After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.” (Matthew 28:1)

A Little Hope

I don’t know about you but I am in need of some hope this week. I have had enough death to last me awhile. I’ve had it with bad news, sickness, and sadness we continue to experience.

We need a day to celebrate new life, and resurrection couldn’t come at a better time. And just like today, Jesus’ resurrection happened in the midst of a lot of death, destruction and disappointment.

Resurrection Sunday brings with it mixed feelings, fear and joy are both present. We rarely know where hope will take us. Or if hope will ever present itself. Continue reading

Cornel West – Hope on a Tightrope


“The vocation of the intellectual is to turn easy answers into critical questions and to put those critical questions to people with power.”

“The quest for truth, the quest for the good, the quest for the beautiful, all require us to let suffering speak, let victims be visible, and demand that social misery be put on the agenda of those with power. So to me, pursuing the life of the mind is inextricably linked with he struggle of those on the margins of society who have been dehumanized.” -Dr. Cornel West in Hope on a Tightrope

You can find more quotes from the book on this blog.

Palm Sunday: Rivalry Encased in Death (Matthew 26:20-27:26)

Flickr Credit Ricardo Cuppino

“So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” Then the people as a whole answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” So he released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.” (Matthew 27:24–26)

The Story is not rigged

One of the ways we have heard these last events taught is that it all had to happen this way, but I want to raise the possibility that the game wasn’t rigged for Jesus. That these final events weren’t “destiny” as we often suppose, but rather the outworking of certain mechanism within human society that Jesus sought to unmask.** Continue reading

Death By Bread & Clothes Alone (Matthew 6:25-34)

Flickr Image Ken Pitts
Flickr credits – Ken Pitts

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.”
(Matthew 6:25–29 NRSV)

We have a tendency when we hear Jesus’ teachings to do one of two things:

  1. We Over-Spiritualize what he says and take it extremely literally.

So if I am in this camp and I read this text then quite honestly it becomes an excuse to be irresponsible, “Hey, I know we don’t have enough to take care of the bills, but we always squeak through some way. I know we don’t really have the money for it but doesn’t it say that God takes care of us, let’s just do it and trust that God will helps us out.” Continue reading

On God & Money: Who and What is in Service to Whom? (Matthew 6)


“No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” (Matthew 6:23–24)

The Splitting Apart

This past week news broke that the Joel Osteen’s mega-church called “Lakewood Church” in Houston Texas was robbed of $600,000 in offerings. These were the offerings they collected from their services on Saturday and Sunday. Each weekend there is about 40,000 people who attend Osteen’s church. If you’re not familiar with Osteen, he is considered to be one of today’s most popular “Health and Wealth” televangelists. His bestseller “Your Best Life Now” has sold more than $4 copies. He reportedly takes no salary from the church but makes about $55 million a year from book sales and lives in a mansion valued at almost $11 million. Continue reading

Whose Desire is Going to Run Us? Matthew 6:1-18

Left hands

We All Desire Another’s Desire

Like many kids growing up, I worked hard to gain the approval of my parents, teachers, friends and pastors.

One year in college when I ran for class president, I did it on a whim. I thought it would be funny to see if I could win (real noble cause). My hair was pretty big and bushy back then so I kind of stood out like a sore thumb with my bushy, curly hair. For my campaign slogans I hand drew pictures of a smiley face with curly hair that said “Give the Curly Head a Try” and I made flyers in a kind of ransom style that promised to withhold Dino Nuggets for ransom – a favorite in the cafeteria – unless I was delivered a victory. I even had one of my friends run up on stage after the college president spoke during a school assembly and yes into the microphone – “Vote for Wess Daniels class president!” He then ran off before he was caught.

And yes, I won and was class president for two years. I learned how to feed into certain desires of my friends and classmates, and they delivered back to me the reward I wanted – a victory in the election despite the fact that I may not have been the best candidate for it.

Wanting approval is pretty much a universal so far as I can tell. We all know we are wanted and loved. We all want to be recognized and known by another. Most of us would enjoy winning an election or a popularity contest if we could.

But what is approval and how does it shape us? Continue reading