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Showing posts from March, 2014

Sermon for March 23, 2014 / Lent 3

“Lent: Giving Up Expectations”
John 3:1-17

Do we take the Bible literally, or do we take the Bible seriously? You can do both, of course. But what about those who choose not to read the Bible as the literal, word-for-word voice of God? What about those of us who struggle to understand it in its context – those who doubt and ask tough questions and seek to live faithful lives? Can we still take the Bible seriously?

Biblical literalism goes something like this: “In this text, the Bible says X, therefore we must believe and/or do Y." It’s usually selective literalism with clobber verses. Clobber verses are the preferred scriptures some people use as the raw material to fashion weapons. Those in the majority pick a set of verses that least affect them and then “clobber” those on the margins. Some people brandish today’s scripture reading as a clobber verse. John 3:16 has provided motivation for some of the most destructive impulses of those who take the name Christian. "For God so …

Sermon for March 16, 2014 / Lent 2

Lent: Giving Up Control
Listen to audio here
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread." But he answered, "It is written, 'One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, 'He will command his angels concerning you,' and 'On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.'" Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'" Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world an…

Sermon for Sunday, March 9 / Lent 1

Lent: Giving Up Superiority
John 4:5-42

Jai Stone is a blogger and entrepreneur who has a passion for creating paths to authentic joy and healthy relationships, especially in the Black Community. Jai also writes about her decision to leave her parents church, along with the disappointment of her Southern-bred, church-going parents. She writes, “I don’t have a problem with the institution of church itself; it’s primarily the people at church that have always given me the Georgia Blues. That, coupled with the fact that I’ve never truly found healing in church environments, has led me to seek a relationship with God in other ways. I suppose I should slingshot back a few years to give you some background here. Initially when I distanced myself from church, it was because I had been plagued by emotional duress and other mistreatments by people affiliated with ‘the church.’ It didn’t matter what city I lived in or what denomination of church I attended, it always ended the same way—with me h…