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Showing posts from August, 2018

Sermon, "Racism and People of Faith: Crumbs," Matthew 15:21-28

Sermon 8/26/18 Matthew 15:21-28 Racism and People of Faith: Crumbs Today we’re continuing the hard work of thinking and talking about racism and our life of faith. It isn’t easy, but you’re already doing something meaningful to address racism: you’re here today. I’m not kidding - unless you weren’t here last week, and didn’t know what we’d be talking about today, you’ve already made a choice that’s important: you’re here again, while we engage in this conversation about racism. Last week was hard! Talking about racism can be hard. But you came back! That has meaning, and I’m thankful that however you’re feeling, you were willing to come and be here again. I had a clear sense of where I wanted to start last week. And I have some clear ideas about what I want to say next Sunday. But for this Sunday, I’ve been struggling. I imagined that I might share with you some statistics or comments about racism today. I was looking up facts to share with you - like how people of color a

Review: God vs. Money: Winning Strategies in the Combat Zone by J. Clif Christopher

I recently received a copy of J. Clif Christopher's God vs. Money to review.  Earlier this year I read another of Christopher's books, Not Your Parents' Offering Plate , because it was recommended in another book I was reading with my church's leadership team. I found myself furiously scribbling in the margins my disagreement with Christopher. Not in everything, of course - he has some practical ideas for stewardship and the ministry of finances in the life of a congregation. But as a whole, I was left with a bad taste in my mouth. I worked in the alumni records office during my college years, and although I loved my supervisor and the staff there, I was off put by the way the school targeted potential givers, something with which I had no prior experience. I saw the file folders (everything was paper!) tracking the children of alums for years and years, so that the school was ready and waiting to target potential legacy students, and the corresponding potential fo

Sermon, "Racism and People of Faith: Clothed with Christ," Genesis 1:26-27, Colossians 3:9-17

Sermon 8/19/18 Colossians 3:9-17, Genesis 1:26-27 Racism and People of Faith: Clothed with Christ I grew up, as many of you know, in Rome, NY. Rome, at the time, was home to Griffiss Air Force Base, and so the community as a whole was a little more racially and ethnically diverse than it might have been otherwise. But my own personal childhood experiences didn’t really reflect this. Though I went to Rome schools, I actually lived in Westernville, a tiny two-street town, surrounded by farms. Population about 500. Westernville was not a racially or ethnically diverse community. And Rome had lots of elementary schools - eleven at the time - and so the small group of us from Westernville were bused to Rome to a school that encompassed students from a small sliver of Rome that was home mostly to wealthy, white families. In my whole elementary school, I remember there being one African-American family - the family of the pastor of the Pentecostal church in Rome. But when I was in

Sermon, "Parables of Jesus: Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard," Matthew 20:1-16

Sermon 8/5/18 Matthew 20:1-16 Parables of Jesus: Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard When I was little, I noticed that there were a lot of people who called my Grandpa Grandpa even though he wasn’t their grandpa. This included some of my second cousins, who were so close to us growing up that it was natural to call Grandma and Grandpa just that, and that was ok. But there were also some of my peers - other young girls at church - who called my Grandpa Grandpa . I have to admit, my heart was not very generous. He was my Grandpa. I understood why they wished he was theirs - my Grandpa was one of the best people I have ever known. But he wasn’t theirs. He was mine . I never said anything. My Grandpa certainly didn’t seem to mind. But I was resentful in my young heart that they thought they could lay claim to my Grandpa. It was a lot later - I won’t say how much later, but I will admit that it was too much later - that I began to realize a few things. First, there were