Absalom, Absalom! The Original

I wish I were a more literary person.  To my regret and my enduring hope for the future, I have not read the classics, the great works of Shakespeare, or much of the great literature of the 20th century.  I suspect that if I did I could make all kinds of comparisons with the stories of David.  It is an …

I AM Anarchy

(Warning: Some of the video links in this message contain strong language.  It’s okay.  The Apostle Paul did it, too.) The teenage years can be confusing and awkward and mine were no exception.  I made questionable hairstyle choices – some things never change! – and thought that Ronald Reagan was the Messiah – thankfully some things do change!  At the …

SuperJesus

We’ve been in a quasi-series throughout Eastertide, talking about the early Christian communities represented in Acts and 1 John.  In particular, we’ve been looking at the struggle for identity through doctrine and practice.  Unfortunately, that struggle has too often – not just in the early Church, but in every incarnation since – been decided in favor of doctrine, even at …

The Prophetic Act

Last Sunday, we talked about the prophet, Jeremiah, and the circumstances under which the book that bears his name was produced.  I read a lot of history, which means that my mind was packed with a lot of details, which rarely serves me well.  I got into the weeds a bit, so let me see if I can narrow this …

My Understanding of Sin

Because Lent is a time when we tend to talk a lot about sin, I endeavored on Sunday to explain my framework for thinking about sin.  It differs from things we might have heard growing up in a modern American Christian context, whether Catholic or Evangelical.  In the spirit of this church’s emphasis on questioning and conversation, I am not …

And Now for Something Completely Different

Christmas, as I’m sure you know, is, for Christians, a celebration of the birth of Jesus.  He was born a helpless baby, in poverty, on the road, and threatened by an evil empire.  Next Tuesday we will celebrate Epiphany, the day when the Wise Ones arrived with gifts and named Jesus as King.  This is the story that we tell …

Jesus is a Jerk

One of this week’s Scriptures has always troubled me.  In Matthew 15.21-28 Jesus is a jerk – kind of a racist jerk.  This raises a lot of questions. First, we have to wonder if it really happened.  Jesus first ignores the Canaanite woman’s needs and then calls her a dog.  That’s not nice.  Jesus is nice.  We know that from …

It’s a Miracle. Or Not.

As promised, we’re done with the Apostle Paul for a bit.  I hope that we have gained a more generous view of Paul that acknowledges his deep love for a gospel of justice and peace even where his writing can, at times, be problematic.  Now we’re going back to the Gospels, so more stories and less jibber-jabber.  Specifically, we are …

Traveling with Strangers

After Jesus was crucified, Luke (24.13-35) tells us that two disciples were walking to Emmaus when a stranger began to walk alongside them.  They looked sad as they spoke about all that had happened: Jesus’ ministry and judgment, the crucifixion and the resurrection.  The stranger inquired about their conversation, perhaps wondering why they looked sad when their story appeared to …

Looking for Love

What happens when life doesn’t sync up with the seasons? When our world seems filled with joyful laughter and shiny things, and we just don’t feel shiny? Is it possible that the holy can be found both within the holiday mirth, and also within struggle? We are nearing the final week of Advent. Advent is a season of longing, of …