A Clash of Worlds: Luke 10:25-37

(This sermon was preached 39 years ago. I was a college professor teaching religion in a Baptist college. Fundamentalists had chosen me as their target in that college with the intention of having me fired. Susan and I decided that we were no longer Baptists. The straw that broke the… Continue reading

Matthew 7: 1-5; Luke 6: 37-38 “Compassionate Judging”

Read the Scripture Perhaps no verse has been quoted by those outside the church to those inside the church more than our passage today: “Judge not lest you be judged.” Do Jesus’ words mean that we are never to make judgements in this life? Do we have no right or… Continue reading

Matthew 9:35-38 “Compassion, Play and Justice”

Read the Scripture The Italian poet Dante is well known for his descriptions of the afterlife. His writings are of course metaphorical. They were never meant to be taken literally. But through his symbolism Dante often exposed his readers to profound truth. For example, he made ice and not fire… Continue reading

When Charity Becomes a Dirty Word

Charity is a word which historically has had many meanings and uses. At one point in history, it defined the kind of self-giving love revealed in Jesus Christ (see the KJV translation of I Corinthians 13:13). Today it can refer to the actions of generous people and worthy organizations seeking… Continue reading

Sabbath as Radical Resistance

Of all the biblical scholars I’ve ever read, Professor Walter Brueggemann has had the greatest influence on my understanding and application of the Scriptures.  He is that rare genius who knows how to plumb the depths of the biblical witness and at the same time make that witness shockingly relevant… Continue reading

Zechariah 9: 9-10; Luke 19:28-40 “The Passion of Palm Sunday”

Read the Scriptures I have a colleague in ministry who has a complaint about the way most Christians observe Holy Week. My friend says that most go from the pomp of the Triumphal Entry of Palm Sunday to the victory of Easter without ever passing through the agony of Gethsemane,… Continue reading

A Secret Kingdom

What we must remember is that there are still people and groups who are seeking to do the best of things in the worst of times. During these stressful and tragic days, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and discouraged by the lies, greed, incompetence, and lack of compassion in the… Continue reading

I John 3:17-18 — A Burned Hand, a Broken Heart

When our daughter was a toddler, she burned her hand on one of the burners of our kitchen stove.  She screamed in agony.  Quickly we put some ice in a plastic bag and placed it in her tiny hand to relieve the pain.  Whenever we had to replace the ice,… Continue reading