Luke 1:26 38 “Those Blasted Angels”

What do you think of when you hear the word “angel”? Chubby babies with little, tiny wings? Effeminate men in bright robes washed in heavenly light with impressive wings? (Have you ever wondered how they sit or sleep at night?) Many of our images of angels come from European paintings,… Continue reading

“Where is Peace?” Ephesians 2:13-15 II Peter 3: 8-15a (An Advent Sermon)

In anticipation of the Messiah’s birth, there was a word from the prophet Isaiah: He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9) Zechariah, the father of John the Baptizer, spoke these words about the birth of his own son: He will give light… Continue reading

Colossians 1: 15-20 “The Full Circle of Grace”

For years Native Americans, like the natives of many other lands, were told that they must embrace the perspective and customs of Western civilization if they were to be truly Christian. Native American children were severely punished in their schools if they spoke Native American languages. In many cases, children were taken from the parents and raised in white-operated orphanages and forbidden to demonstrate anything about their native cultures. Some Native Americans surrendered to such pressure and entered into despair and hopelessness as they saw their roots ripped from their souls. But others refused to become white in order to become Christian. And today there are Native American Christians who are writing theology from their perspective and experience. They are learning how to be Christian without surrendering their roots. Continue reading

Matthew 31:1-12 “Preparing the Way of the Lord”

The first week of Advent is usually associated with John the Baptizer. According to the Gospels, John was chosen by God to prepare for the coming of the Messiah. So, he is especially helpful as we approach this season of preparation and expectation.  John was certainly a strange religious figure,… Continue reading

Psalm 100 Thanksgiving: Receiving and Taking

“Receive is a freedom word. Take is not. To receive is to accept what the divine largess provides for us. To take is to plunder whatever is not nailed down. To receive is to do what children do in the family. To take is to do what pirates do on… Continue reading

Matthew 16:13-20 “The Rocky Church”

“Whom do YOU say that I am?” Jesus asked his disciples. And Simon answers, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” “The good confession” we Disciples call it. And then Jesus sternly ordered the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ. Why? Why this… Continue reading

Matthew 12:22-32 “What is the Unpardonable Sin?”

We have all heard the phrase “the unpardonable sin.” Some people worry a great deal about committing such a sin. Others simply ignore this passage, hoping it will go away. When I was a college professor, I was surprised at how many students were plagued by the fear that they… Continue reading

Luke 12:49-56 “Does Anyone Know What Time It Is?”

These words certainly dispel the popular image of Jesus in our culture and, if we are honest, in our churches. Somewhere in time the image of Jesus as a meek and mild, soft spoken, non threatening, harmony-producing, tranquility seeking doormat has taken root in the minds and expectations of Christians… Continue reading

Mighty Mouse Theology

(Based in part on Rob Bell’s Nooma DVD Series) Rob Bell begins an insightful analysis of God recounting a conversation he heard some years ago. Someone was telling about a dramatic moment in his life and summarized the event by saying with excitement and joy in his voice, “and then… Continue reading