Sermon for 2/19/17: The Other Stuff in Leviticus

Leviticus 19 1-2, 9-18, Psalm 119:33-40, Matthew 5:38-48

Israel 2000

Israel 2000

He proclaimed the Gospel by being the Gospel. “And greater things than I do shall you do,” he said. It is not enough to heal the sick. Heal the systems that make them sick. It is not enough to visit the prisoners. Question that structures that imprison people.
— Verna J. Dozier in The Authority of the Laity

Sermon Notes

This week after writing and delivering my sermon, I stumbled on Verna Dozier's pamphlet on the laity.  Turns out my words are but a mere echo of her words some number of years ago.  Her main concern is how church people have abdicated their authority to the professional pastors.  It's a great read.  Also by way of notes, I reference Shane Claiborne in my sermon. I'm not a proselyte of his by any stretch, mostly because he's gotten a lot of attention for saying stuff we mainliners have been saying for ages.  But you can't beat his way with words.  This quote came in a Krista Tippet forum on Christians and Government, all evangelicals by the way.  Fascinating stuff with multiple perspectives.  Listen here!

Sermon for 1/29/17: Keeping Focus In Times of Turmoil

Micah 6:1-8, 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, Matthew 5:1-12

For Dick Blomquist: A veteran of WWII and a tender prophet for us now.   Jerusalem, May 2000

For Dick Blomquist: A veteran of WWII and a tender prophet for us now. 

Jerusalem, May 2000

Outside, the freezing desert night.
This other night inside grows warm, kindling.
Let the landscape be covered with thorny crust.
We have a soft garden in here.
The continents blasted,
cities and little towns, everything
become a scorched, blackened ball.

The news we hear is full of grief for that future,
but the real news inside here
is there’s no news at all.
— Rumi -- Translated by Coleman Barks

Sermon for 3/13/16: You Have What You Need -- Lessons from the Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 7:13-29

Scripture readings follow the alternative lectionary posed by Brian McLaren in his book, We Make the Road by Walking (reference and library).

African Daisies, Cambria 2016

African Daisies, Cambria 2016

Sermon Notes

I spent a whole lotta time thinking about this interview of Dr. Jerry Weichman by Dr. Drew Pinsky.  He covers many issues related to mental health in adolescence.  I found that much of what he says about life in those years still applies to adults and his vision of the healthy person seems to resonate with much of the words Jesus offers in the Sermon on the Mount albeit, a very different context. If you have a teenager in your life, this interview at the following link is worth listening to and learning more.

Questions of the Week

What verses do you struggle with in the Sermon on the Mount?  How do you make sense out of Jesus' no nonsense spiritual admonitions in these final verses? 

Sermon for 3/6/16: Anxiety Interrupted

Matthew 6:19-7:12

Suggested Scripture readings follow Brian McLaren's alternative lectionary in We Make the Road by walking (reference and library).

The Purple Challenge continues after the rain                             Cambria 2016

The Purple Challenge continues after the rain                             Cambria 2016

Sermon  Notes
This week we visit the issue of anxiety...not just a mental health thicket, but apparently a spiritual quandry Jesus deigns worth addressing.  I suppose any kind of thicket in our lives is a spiritual one.  

Maria Popova on her amazing website Brainpickings.org wrote a reflection on Sarah Manguso's work Ongoingness: The End of a Diary (reference and library).  It was there, she posted a thoughtful quote on the root of anxiety --  the entry into my sermon. Subscribe to her weekly newsletter.  Totally worth it.  Follow this link to her article and so much more:

Yet again, another interview by Krista Tippett to feed the spiritual imagination.  I found Brother David Steindl-Rast's words on anxiety thought provoking.  Have a listen:

Questions to Ponder this Week

When you find yourself worrying, what do you do to soothe yourself? Healthy habits? Unhealthy? Are you aware when you feel anxious or do you notice later...after the house is clean, after the punishing exercise routine, after the lost sleep, after you run out of antacids, etc.,etc.etc?