Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Blogging Towards Sunday, April 3, 2011

This story of a healing encounter with Jesus is filled with irony.  Only the blind man is able to see Jesus.  And yet he recognizes him not first by sight but rather through hearing his voice.  Once healed, the community, that has known this man his whole life, cannot recognize one of their own.  The religious community, rather than celebrate this miraculous sign and wondrous man, wants to paint him as the bad-guy and the problem creator.  What would seem logical, isn't what happens.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Would Anyone Hire Jesus?
Singles Men Unhireable as Evangelical Pastors

In a conversation with a merchant near the church I serve as pastor told me about a recent article in the New York Times [Single and Evangelical?  Good Luck Finding A Job].  The article basically asserts that single pastors, in particular male ones, in the evangelical church network are at the bottom of the hiring heap.  Single women would be too, but I assume that they're not included in the article because the author focused on communities that only ordain men.  They're usually not hired because their is an unspoken assumption that they're either predators, or gay, or something else.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Blogging Towards Sunday, March 27, 2010

How do we understand God's presence as Jesus and in Jesus in the world?  Is he still in the world?  Or is that presence over?  John begins his gospel with a remarkable introduction laced with irony:  Jesus is the word and yet the world did not know him or recognize him?  [John 1, v. 10 and 14].  Is this because Jesus isn't really who is said he was?  Or who his first followers claimed he was?  Or who we struggle to experience him as today in the midst of modern technologically filled and quantified life, in the shadow of the revolutions across the Middle East, the natural and man-created disasters in Japan and our continuing economic pain?  Is Jesus really with us?  And if so, what the deal?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Blogging Towards Sunday, March 20th

What is faith?  Is it about God or is it about us?  In Genesis 12 we hear the foundational story of faith as being about a journey not the destination.  Abraham and Sarah set out on a risky journey, leaving behind the safety of their familiar and established social network and safety net in order to hope for something bigger, better and God-given.  Their story of faith is one of journeying, walking, adventuring.  For them, faith is not the memorization of doctrine, nor the confession of established tenants, but the open road of being challenged in terms of their expectations and preconceived ideas, the limits they put on what is a "good life" and what the passion and purpose that gives breath to their life is.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Bumper Sticker of the Week

Blogging Towards Sunday, March 13th

This peculiar passage about Jesus occurs at the onset of his public speaking and presence.  It seems peculiar as there is no other encounter story in the gospel between Satan (the divider) and Jesus (the great uniter).  Is it a test?  Is it him beating the devil?  It is theological?; metaphorical?; historical?  And how does such a story apply to our lives?

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Blogging Towards Ash Wednesday

I find that the hardest part of faith and living a life of faith is not the "believing" part, but more often the life in community part.  It's hard to strive to be faithful and to put into practice the teachings of Jesus when we feel like others we journey with aren't following through, being authentic or integrating faith into all of their lives.  In our current society it's often that those outside the church look and criticize a seemingly naive piety that is disconnected either from the way in which Christians actually live or the way in which the world is.  Ash Wednesday is a celebration of our call to faithful discipleship which is based first and foremost on the confrontation of our mortality - our limits as part of the human condition - and also our recognition of our sinfulness - that we often don't live out what we desire to, or that we stray from the life path of goodness, mutuality, justice-doing, community-building, spiritual awareness and God-centeredness that the Divine One longs for us.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Bumper Sticker of the Week

Blogging Towards Sunday, March 6
Fear - Katy Perry - Westboro Baptist Church

My kids sing the song "Firework" by Katy Perry often these past weeks.  A current pop music hit, the words resonate with me as I reflect upon the scriptures proposed for this week:

Ruby Bridges: links

Last week I told the story of Ruby Bridges in my sermon on Isaiah 49:8-16 & Matthew 6:24-34, using this painting of Norman Rockwell as the bulletin cover.  Her remarkable story, poignant in terms of the paradoxical way in which our nation - in particular followers of Jesus - has dialoged about race, inclusion and community.  Hers is a story pregnant with possibility.  Her example still proclaims courageous and risky hope in a different future than what we see outside our doors when we leave in the morning.  Here are two videos that can lead you to know more about 6 year old Ruby as a societal and world-changer.

A short documentary clip

A video clip to the song "Ruby's Shoes" by Lori McKenna. [site]