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Showing posts from June, 2018

Review: Sacred Resistance - A Practical Guide to Christian Witness and Dissent by Ginger Gaines-Cirelli

I received a copy of Sacred Resistance: A Practical Guide to Christian Witness and Dissent by Ginger Gaines-Cirelli to review recently. As it turns out, though, I had just purchased the book the week before! So I have a second copy if you're interested! Gaines-Cirelli is the lead pastor at Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, DC, and I recently wrote about her preaching at the Festival of Homiletics.  

Gaines-Cirelli begins by defining sacred resistance. She writes, "Sacred resistance is anything - any word, deed, or stance - that actively counters the forces of hatred, cruelty, selfishness, greed, dehumanization, desolation, and disintegration in God's beloved world. Sacred resistance is nonviolent and seeks the common God. Sacred resistance 'reads the signs of the times' through the lens of biblically a relationally grounded faith to discern how to be actively engaged with the world and to be vigilant against whatever threatens the world's life.&quo…

Sermon, "Saying Yes to God: Yes!" 2 Corinthians 1:12-22

Sermon 6/24/18 2 Corinthians 1:12-22
Saying Yes to God: Yes!

When have you received a “Yes” answer that made your day, or your year, or changed the course of your life? I think about the day of my ordination interviews. I had been serving as a pastor, as what was then called a “probationary member”, a three-year period where pastors were commissioned for ministry but not yet ordained. And I had a long day of interviews, where members of the Board of Ordained Ministry asked candidates question after question about our theology, our understanding of sacraments, our call to ministry, and our practice of ministry. And then we had to wait, and wait, and wait while the Board discussed us - me and the handful of others who were seeking ordination that year. After some 6 hours of waiting, they finally called us in - each into separate rooms, where a team was waiting to share the news with us: a yes, or a no, or a not yet. The chair of the Board was waiting in the classroom for me, along with a c…

Festival of Homiletics: David Lose

Still a few more posts about May's Festival of Homiletics! I think I have two more posts after this one. I don't know if you're tired of them, but they help me to actually retain the content of all the great preachers I heard. Up today: David Lose. Parishioners of mine might recognize his name - he's the source I'm most likely to quote in my sermons. I love his unique and pastoral perspective on the texts, and he brought a unique perspective to the Festival's theme of Preaching and Politics.

Lose lectured and preached. His sermon was titled, "Nothing Comes from Nothing," based on Isaiah 55:1-13 and Matthew 20:1-16.
Isaiah's text starts with "Ho!" Untranslatable in the Hebrew, the word serves as exclamation of delight, joy, surprise, or just to get our attention. It is always emphatic. It says, "Pay attention, this matters!" Isaiah's message is: "Stop looking and start living. It is hard to believe this promise, but liste…

Sermon, "Saying Yes to God: Yes, But," Luke 9:57-62

Sermon 6/17/18 Luke 9:57-62
Saying Yes to God: Yes, But
Someone mentioned to me this week that they enjoyed last Sunday’s sermon, that they felt it was speaking right to them. And I told them that people often respond this way to a sermon when I also feel that way about it - like I’m speaking, preaching to myself. This week is another week like that for me. This is a tough text. Not tough because it is hard to understand, but tough because Jesus’s words cut to my heart with their clarity and urgency, asking for a response. In Luke’s gospel, we find a series of people approaching Jesus, saying that they want to follow him. This seems to us perhaps like it would be great news. Jesus’s message is getting across, and people are interested. But Jesus rebuffs each one. The first approaches and says, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus responds, “Foxes have holes, birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” In other words, “Anywhere also means nowhere, no landing p…

Festival of Homiletics: Jacqui Lewis and M. Craig Barnes

More Festival of Homiletics catch up. Jacqui Lewis preached a sermon titled,
"Identity Politics," based on Matthew 6:9-14, Jesus sharing what we call the Lord's Prayer. I didn't take a ton of notes during worship, but the sermon was excellent. Lewis's style was extremely engaging. We were roaring with laughter, but her points still hit home - there was a lot of poignant truth in the midst of the humor. Lewis spoke about Jesus being born in scandal. "We have let the world whiten up and nicen up that baby, who was brown enough to go undercover in Egypt." Our salvation, Lewis said, is corporate: "We're not saved until everyone is saved." We develop theologies of "it will all get better" in light of our current realities, but Jesus says in his prayer "now." Of God's reign on earth, God's "now," Lewis says she knows what it looks like: It looks like a "die-in" of activists saying "I can't …