Thanks and the Three Cs
2008-10-17 by David von Schlichten

Thank you to Steve, Tom and our guest blogger Buran Phillips for their hydrating blog entries this week. Please scroll down to soak them up.

Also, be sure to offer guidance for Joe the Preacher. See below.

I will be preaching on Cyrus, Caesar and the Christ and the differences among these political leaders. Caesar was out for idolatry and self-aggrandizement; Cyrus, despite not knowing God, still managed to be a messiah; and the Christ is the ruler, the savior, to whom everything ultimately belongs.

I won't tie all this explicitly to the upcoming election; parishioners will do this without me doing it for them. (I generally try not to say from the pulpit what I know people will figure out for themselves.)

Toweling off and typing on, I am

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





Joe the Preacher
2008-10-16 by CJ Teets

A pastor named Joe has a question in the Parish Solution Forum. Preach on the economy, preacher? Go to HomePage and Share It! to give Joe the Preacher some feedback.

Go to HOMEPAGE and Share It! to read Ron Allen's thoughts on preaching during this election season.

Also, check out the new material for All Saints' Day, Veterans' Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Advent in UNLECTIONARY.

 





Now You See Him
2008-10-14 by Steve Schuette

    Sometimes a good deal is made about Jesus needing to ask for a coin suggesting he’s outside of the economic mainstream, living by other values and means.  Probably true.  Strikes me, however (and I’m willing to acknowledge this angle is fraught with modern images projected backward), that it’s a good lead into a magic act.  “Does anyone have a coin?  Now watch closely...”  As the setting is one of entrapment and seeking to kill Jesus it is reminiscent of another story, although from Luke, where his hometown neighbors try to hurl him off the cliff but Jesus magically “passed through the midst of them...”  Now you see it/him, now you don’t...
    But what may appear to the non-believer and the stunned Pharisees to be magic is nothing of the sort.  While those representing party politics are engaged a debate in which deceptive answers variously hide and reveal certain half-truths, Jesus is able to answer, respond, engage, and “teach the way of God in accordance with truth” because he is who he is.  The point isn’t in the coin after all, it’s Jesus.  See him?
    Here is revealed the possibility inherent in the gospel’s affirmation of incarnation, that in the world we can see and know truth that is freeing, liberating, enlightening.   How to live it?  I suspect it has to do with moving in the opposite direction of the Pharisees...rather than scheming to pull a trick it will require looking at our own lives and seeking an authenticity that is grounded in our relationship with God.  So Buran Phillips said below in his comments on Matthew, “What we...get is a call for self-reflection upon our identity as the people of God and what it means to live as God’s people in the world.”  That’s the real magic of Jesus.  See 1 Thes too...




Politicos and their Coins
2008-10-14 by Tom Steagald

I have a new insight (which is to say, new for me) about the very familiar story concerning Jesus and the Herodians and Pharisees' attempt to "entrap" him, which is to say their desire to confine him, marginalize him, isolate him from at least half of those who are following him.

The story is simple. The Pharisees, who were religious, and the Herodians, who most probably were not, conspired together to ask Jesus a "hot-button" political question--whether or not to pay taxes to Caesar--and to our ears the question sounds more practical than political, a matter of degree rather than of conflicting allegiances. But for the Jews of Jesus' time, especially the religious and political, it was an incendiary as questions of homosexual unions or abortion. And whichever way Jesus answers, if he answers either "yes" or "no," he will offend one side or the other among the debaters. The Pharisees and Herodians know that--in fact, they are counting on it.

That Jesus answers differently and better is clear.

But here is the thing. It occurred to me today that whereas our attentions naturally go to the answers, and especially to the more comprehensive, spiritual answer Jesus gives--and most of our preaching deals with those things--it escapes our attention that adversaries and enemies do much the same thing in our own day. That is, they pose questions for us--should gays be ordained? are you in favor of abortion? can one be a Christian and a member of the armed services?--not because they are interested in answers themselves, but because they are trying to divide (in order to marginalize) believers. Either way we answer we offend someone; we are drawn into political squabbles; we find ourselves isolated.

Joseph Bottum has recently argued that the Mainline died when it was irretrievably politicized (not in the sense Buran's professor suggested, but in a partisan way). It is a cliff Jesus avoided in this text, a ledge to which our enemies try to lead us over and over again, in the name of the "common good" or lip-service to faith's role in the court of public opinion. But beneath the innocent query there can be a diabolical agenda, a divide and thereby isolate/conquer tactic that continues to be worth many coins both to Caesar and to religion's self-important detractors.



Our guest preaching blogger this week is
2008-10-13 by CJ Teets

Buran Phillips, the senior pastor of Westminster Presbyterian church in Knoxville, TN.  Married with three children, Buran is originally from Kentucky.  He has degrees from Berea College and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, as well as a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Vanderbilt University.  Outside of his family, he has a passion for running and classic rock music. Check out his first post on the texts below.

Go to HOMEPAGE and Share It! to read Ron Allen's thoughts on preaching during this election season.

Also, check out the new material for All Saints' Day, Veterans' Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Advent in UNLECTIONARY.

 





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