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Showing posts from September, 2011

Sermon for Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost, God Values: Authority, Year A, Matthew 21:23-32

Sermon 9/25/11 Matthew 21:23-32
God Values: Authority

The process of becoming an ordained pastor is pretty long and involved. From start to finish, it took me nine years before the bishop laid hands on me and said, ʺtake thou authority.ʺ But before a candidate is allowed to get too far along in the process of becoming a pastor, she must undergo a battery of psychological tests, including a review of the results of these tests with the conference psychologist. The tests involve hundreds of questions as specific as whether you preferred President Washington or President Lincoln, and as vague as whether you hear “voices” – always a tricky question for those answering a call from God! I’ll admit I was suspicious of the testing process – wondering what some of these questions could possibly tell anyone about me, and frankly, not wanting someone to feel like theyknew me so well because of some multiple choice test I filled out rather than because they actually took the time to get to know me. …

Sermon for Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A - God Values: That’s Not Fair!

Sermon 9/18/11 Matthew 20:1-16
God Values: That’sNot Fair!

            A couple weeks ago, I told you all that I had a lot more to say to you about God and fairness. Well, today is that lucky day! Let me tell you a little story from my childhood. I am blessed to have a family that is well-educated. My mother, working as a nurse, always had a job, if not two, and by the time I was say, in junior high and high school, my family had a fairly stable middle class financial situation. But it took us a long time to get there. My early years were spent in the small country village of Westernville, and my father was out of work off and on from the time I was two until I was in fifth grade or so. That is another story to tell, but the point is, we were a poor family. We used food stamps, we received help from my grandparents, and we received one of the food baskets we helped put together at church. Westernville was too small for its own elementary school – we were bused to Rome for school, and as …

Sermon for Pentecost 13A, “God Values: Forgiveness”

Sermon 9/11/11 Matthew 18:21-35
God Values: Forgiveness
Where were you when it happened? That is a question you might have been asked this week. Where were you on 9-11-01 when you head the news? I was in seminary. I had just started my internship at our United Methodist interfaith agency, located in the Upper West Side of Manhattan – I worked on Mondays and Fridays, and had put in just two days before September 11th. I was feeling pretty brave about going to work in the big city, riding the trains and the subway, being part of the commuter crowd. Thankfully, I was not in Manhattan on 9-11. I had been the day before.             On the morning of the 11th, I, not surprisingly to those of you who know me well, was still asleep when the first plane hit the towers. Soon after, I was up and at the bookstore, when I heard a radio report saying something about a plane and a building, but I didn’t pay it much attention. I then went to the library, where I overheard a woman telling a work-study s…