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Sunday
Apr182010

One Wild and Precious Life

We know from today’s reading in Acts, what Saul (who will eventually be renamed “Paul”- the same man who wrote many of the letters in the New Testament) was doing with his “one wild and precious life”. He was going after his brother and sister Jews who were following in the Way of Jesus. He was a Zionist Jew – passionate and forthright that Jesus’ Way – (though Jewish at the time) – was wrong. While a grasshopper is made for leaping through the grass and a bear naturally has fur to keep it warm through harsh winters in the forest – In Saul’s eyes, he was “made” for keeping his religion pure.

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Sunday
Apr112010

Witnessing to the Resurrection

I would bet that every person sitting here today knows the experience of being overwhelmed. I was recently introduced to a book that introduced me to a term (and occurrence) that counselors call “flooding”. Flooding is something that can happen to us when we feel overwhelmed. In our minds, flooding would be like walking into the center of a tornado – in our bodies it can take the form of a panic attack. We might want to cry or throw things. We sometimes end up saying things we later regret.

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Sunday
Apr042010

Every New Beginning

Today's bumper sticker theology: "If going to church makes you a Christian, then going to the garage makes me a car." Any veterans present today? Thank you for your service to our country. Veterans tell great stories; you should ask one of these folks to tell theirs. One of my favorite stories was told by a gay WWII vet: he and a straight friend to whom he was out during the war were in a foxhole on the Western European front, in miserable weather, with short rations, getting shelled to smithereens for days with no end in sight. The straight soldier turned to the gay one and said, "I need to tell you something. I just want you to know, we have got to fire our decorator."

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Sunday
Mar282010

Everybody’s Free to Feel Good

Today’s bumper sticker theology: “Happiness is an inside job.” Today is Palm Sunday, so named because in Gospels other than Luke, people lay down palm branches in front of Jesus’ donkey; cloaks in today’s Gospel reading, but I guess palms stuck. Palm Sunday has many layers of meaning, and even though today is the last Sunday of Lent, when we look at the bodies and the voices of the people in the text, Palm Sunday is a celebration. That’s part of why even though we’re in Lent, the colors in the sanctuary are red instead of purple. Red is the rarest color in worship—it’s used only for times of great cel

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Sunday
Mar212010

Reality Check

Today’s bumper sticker theology: Save the whales! Trade them for valuable prizes. Leaving aside what the text tells us about Judas’ motives, Judas’ question—“why wasn’t this valuable thing sold and the money used to benefit the poor?”—this question is on its surface a fair one. How can we justify extravagance in a world that seems saturated with suffering? A denarius in the Roman empire was a coin equal to a day’s wages, so 300 denarii is almost a year’s wages. Think of what you make in a year—and imagine spending that on a one-shot luxury item. That seems, to our social justice conscience, unjustifiable. But consider: when we’re talking about money here, we’re also talking about value. And how do we decide what is and is not valuable? Who decides? Where do we draw the line between value and waste?

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