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Showing posts from February, 2017

Sermon, "Us and Them: Should Christians Be Involved in Politics?" Jeremiah 29:1-14

Sermon 2/26/17 Jeremiah 29:1-14 Us and Them: Should Christians Be Involved in Politics?             Today we’re diving in to a somewhat controversial question. Should Christians – should churches – should pastors – should we be involved in politics? When we think about “politics,” many of us jump right to relentless election cycles and negative campaigns and name-calling and corruption, and a gut response is: Let’s get as far away from that as possible! Of course we shouldn’t get mixed up in politics! I think, though, for us to answer our question – should we be involved in politics? – we have to start by understanding what politics is, or at least what it is meant to be. The word “politics” has many connotations today, but its origin is more simple and straightforward. It comes from the Greek root word polis , which means “city.” Politics simply meant “the affairs of the city.” In other words, politics meant, means things that are related to the concerns of the places wh

Sermon, "Us and Them: Agreeing and Disagreeing," 1 Corinthians 1:10-18

Sermon 2/19/17 1 Corinthians 1:10-18 Us and Them: Agreeing and Disagreeing             I was visiting with a parishioner yesterday, and she was telling me how she mostly watches sport on TV because she doesn’t think there’s anything else on worth watching. She said, “I thought it would be better once the election is over, but…” and she let her sentence trail off. I’m sure we can easily fill in the rest for her. We thought tensions would ebb – but there is so much fear, so much anger, so much pain, so much hurt, so much division. I have strong political views, and I’m sure many of you do as well, but I’ve found myself wanting to disengage lately, even where I’m passionate about issues, because the level of meanness is exhausting. I’ve noticed that a handful of my friends have quit facebook altogether lately. Somehow we think that our words and actions online don’t count, and people seem free to be hurtful online in a way they remember not to in “real life.” I’m not giving

Sermon, "Us and Them: The Dividing Wall," Ephesians 2:11-22

Sermon 2/12/17 Ephesians 2:11-22 Us and Them: The Dividing Wall One of my favorite poems is Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall,” written in 1914. “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” it begins. The poem describes two farmers – the narrator and another farmer who are neighbors. After winter, they find both set out to repair the wall between their properties, which has cracks and gaps after the weather of the season. As they’re walking the line together, the narrator asks his neighbor why they even need a wall, since the narrator has apple trees and the neighbor has pine trees, and it is clear which part belongs to each. The neighbor responds, “Good fences make good neighbors.” But the narrator persists: “‘Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it Where there are cows? But here there are no cows. Before I built a wall I’d ask to know What I was walling in or walling out, And to whom I was like to give offence. Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, That wants it down

Sermon, "How Will You Measure Your Life? By Who and How You Serve," Mark 10:35-45

Sermon 1/29 & 2/5/17 Mark 10:35-45 How Will You Measure Your Life? By Who and How You Serve                         We’ve been spending the last couple of weeks thinking about how we measure our lives: How the world asks us to measure ourselves, how we think of ourselves, how God measures us. One of the ways we measure “success” is by how much power we have. We think about how much power we have over others and how much power others have over us. We use phrases like power suit and power walking and power lunches and power foods. Many of us might have an initial impulse to say that we don’t have any power. But we all have power. Power is the ability to do things, the ability to control things or people, the ability to direct or influence things. We all have some spheres in our lives where we exercise power. And we also have a deep desire to not being under the power of others. It’s a part of our national identity, in fact. We want to be self-determined people, in contro