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Rev. James Ellis, III
A pastor and writer in Washington, DC, Rev. Ellis is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University, and the University of Maryland. He was a 2013 Guthrie Scholar at Columbia Theological Seminary and 2012-13 Lewis Fellow at Wesley Theological Seminary, a post-graduate, post-ordination leadership development program for clergy under 35. He loves crab cakes and cranberry juice, and hanging out with his wife. His writings can be also be found on Ethics Daily and Day1, who in 2011 selected him as a ‘Young Leader of the Church’.

Entries by Rev. James Ellis, III

Tough Love (a Sermon on 1 John 4:7-12)

(0) Comments | Posted July 6, 2015 | 2:16 AM

In our country recently, a lot's transpired, giving way to an assortment of emotions: jubilation and revelry for some, anger and anxiety for others; frustration, fear, exhaustion. Questions have been answered. Answers have been questioned. And depending on how we see things, many of us have scratched our heads, dazed...

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Freedom Isn't Free

(0) Comments | Posted February 6, 2015 | 9:25 AM

Maybe more than ever the cry for freedom is a common, reoccurring refrain everywhere you go today. We fiercely advocate for sexual freedom, arguing that whatever is done between the sheets is nobody's business. We encourage children to be free to be themselves, find themselves, and express themselves. And we...

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15 More Years: A Sermon on 2 Kings 20:1-7

(0) Comments | Posted November 11, 2014 | 11:58 PM

Perhaps I am alone in often discounting the ticks and tocks of life in the present tense, that which is today, that which we know as now. At times I attempt to make plans for a better, brighter future, whereas in other moments I labor to deconstruct yesterday's whys and...

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Staying Awake With Jesus (a Sermon on Matthew 26:36-46)

(0) Comments | Posted April 16, 2014 | 1:00 PM

Friends. How many of us have them?
Friends. One's we can depend on?
Friends. How many of have them?
Friends. Before we go any further, let's be friends.

This was Whodini's wise counsel to the up-and-coming musical genre of rap in their 1984 album, Escape....

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The Sabbath as a Lesson on Rest and Work (A Sermon on Exodus 20:8-11)

(0) Comments | Posted January 27, 2014 | 5:30 PM

"Here we go again, a message about slowing down when what I really need to do is speed up."

This may not be your first thought upon hearing "The Sabbath as a Lesson on Rest and Work" as the sermon title, but it might be for the neighbor sitting...

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God's Antibiotics

(0) Comments | Posted December 9, 2013 | 4:28 PM

Give me a pill or shot any day and it won't bother me one bit, but try giving me the liquid form of any medicinal relief and you are in for a fight. I absolutely abhor the stuff. Always have, probably always will. Some of my most vivid childhood memories...

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Two Responses to Fear (A Sermon on Exodus 1:10-11, 17)

(0) Comments | Posted October 22, 2013 | 6:11 PM

Each time making sure to highlight my birth in Okinawa, Japan, my sister used tell me that I was adopted. I regret the horror she inflicted on my prized G.I. Joe action figures. After an argument I would at times find their dismembered legs, arms, and other remnants of plastic...

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The Folly of Forgetfulness (A Sermon on Psalm 50:22-23)

(3) Comments | Posted August 12, 2013 | 5:39 PM

Forgetfulness is a destructive phenomenon that slowly gnaws away at life, stunting our growth individually and en masse. We are, and hopefully shall forever be, "the land of the free and the home of the brave." However, quiet as it is kept, our land also has been chalk full of...

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Adults Honoring Their Parents

(2) Comments | Posted June 3, 2013 | 6:27 PM

In certain circles a big fuss is made about the relationship between parents and their children, and rightfully so. Although at times in what I have found to be a cursory way, even in our purportedly postmodern society, we are all too familiar with the biblical imperative of honoring one's...

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Is God a Minimalist?

(13) Comments | Posted May 9, 2013 | 2:14 PM

For a long time now I have deliberated if perchance God is a minimalist, a proponent of the principles of minimalism entrenched in simplicity. Like any other, the concept is taken in different directions by people, but nevertheless in broad terms it is a proactive, provocative clarion call back to...

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Thinking in the 'Stacks'

(1) Comments | Posted May 1, 2013 | 5:30 PM

With their coffee and pastry offerings, and complimentary Wi-Fi, today's newfangled bookstores don't impress me. Their inventories are often too thin for my tastes, full mostly of bestselling works in popular genres that are cookie-cutter commentaries on life. No, I am a diehard supporter of libraries, with an understandable bias...

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Agreeing to Disagree about Homosexuality and Same-Sex Marriage

(466) Comments | Posted February 23, 2013 | 2:18 AM

"You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men." Recounted in Mark 7:8, these are the prophet Isaiah's words, which Jesus repeated to the Pharisees as they challenged him over ceremonial law. Christianity has always been a faith of both freedom...

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Looking Forward to the Past

(1) Comments | Posted January 1, 2013 | 9:17 AM

This letter is part of our "Letters to Our Ancestors" project. In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, we've asked members of our community to share their own letters to our forefathers. With these letters, we hope to look back on the progress our community has made...

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Church Clothes

(4) Comments | Posted June 29, 2012 | 1:22 PM

Church can be awfully intimidating and frustrating, easily more insane asylum than peaceful, grace-filled space of redemptive conversion. For all of the good that it represents -- and to be clear, there is a lot -- church is not devoid of scandal, evil and hurt. Far too often it embodies...

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Get Your Life

(0) Comments | Posted June 4, 2012 | 2:20 PM

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a minimalist, an unapologetic proponent of order who despises clutter with a vengeance. Of course though, I am not dogmatic about it. You won't find me in a deep depression or frozen with frustration upon encountering disorganization, hiding in the corner...

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Money, Money, Money

(0) Comments | Posted May 9, 2012 | 2:57 AM

In the song "Up All Night," which features his friend Nicki Minaj, popular hip-hop artist Drake said this: "I prefer the better things. / People with no money act like money isn't everything. / I'm having a good time. / They just trying to ruin it. / Shout out to...

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Hear My Call

(2) Comments | Posted April 1, 2012 | 11:23 AM

Outside of the shower, whatever vocal ability that I dream to possess fades drastically, so I am careful to keep my illusions of grandeur there. I am fine with preaching, "spoken word" poetry, and other individualized public presentations, but singing is another story altogether. There are countless soloists and choir...

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It's So Not About the Ceremony

(0) Comments | Posted February 6, 2012 | 3:37 PM

Weddings are overrated. Okay, well, not really, but you know what I mean. The way in which many people these days enter into marriage, through the wedding ceremony's excessive glitz and glamour is nauseating. Please, don't call me to officiate your wedding, if this is the sort of thing that...

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Good Times in a Golf Cart

(1) Comments | Posted December 9, 2011 | 6:56 PM

"Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." We know this to be the famously repeated adage of his momma from Tom Hank's endearing character in the 1994 film Forrest Gump. She was right, you know? Life presents us with an assortment of challenges...

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