Our guest preaching blogger this week is
2008-08-25 by CJ Teets

Caroline Smallwood: "I have been a pastor for ten years and was ordained an Elder in the United Methodist Church in June of 2007. This is my fifth year serving the Sergeantsville United Methodist Church in Sergeantsville, New Jersey. This is my fourth small country church that I have served over the last 10 years. Sergeantsville is an active congregation reaching out to the community in a multitude of ways. I am especially interested in the Lay Speaking Ministry of the church and we are blessed to have 15 Lay Speakers at Sergeantsville. I believe developing and empowering the congregation is critical for the spiritual growth of the members. Also I am a member of the Order of St. Luke, which is dedicated to sacramental and liturgical scholarship, teaching, and practice. The Order of St. Luke is a group of dispersed women and men, lay and clergy, from many different denominations, seeking to live the sacramental life. Being a pastor is a second career for me, my first career was as an educator in the Department of Corrections in New Jersey. I graduated from New Brunswick Theological Seminary with an M.Div, Rutgers the State University with a M.Ed.,and Ohio Wesleyan University with a B.A."



Tom, Rosemary, and "Lectionary Homiletics" Highlights
2008-08-22 by David von Schlichten

Thank you to guest blogger Tom Steagald for bobbing in the tub. Scroll down to read his gold-medal thoughts on these week's readings, as well as a contribution from Rosemary Beales.

Below are highlights from some of the articles for this week in Lectionary Homiletics.

Pastoral Implications”

Carol J. Cook writes of the importance of names, averring that naming, according to Genesis, is “an extension of creation itself” (p.35). Carol recalls Erik Homberger renaming himself Erikson, meaning “son of himself.” Names are intimate with identity and, the Bible teaches, even grants access to one's power. Cook adds the point that Christ, in a sense, gives the disciples the power to “name” him.

Sermon Reviews”

Brandy H. Mullins summarizes a sermon by John Jewell that lifts up the following about Jesus: that he has physical stamina, that he has emotional vitality, and that he has spiritual passion. Who is Jesus? Jewell's sermon sparkles with some of Jesus' facets.

Preaching the Lesson”

Anna Carter Florence asks, “How do make the move from what people say . . . to what you say about Jesus?” (p.39).

A Sermon”

Scott Cowdell underlines in his sermon “No Christ without His Church” that the Church needs Christ to survive. “We never really get the one free of the other,” he writes, adding, “Today's Gospel links the Church's life to Jesus' life [ . . . ]” (pp.39, 40).

My sermon is at the cafe. I hope you'll drink it and offer your review.

Wishing I were Eric Liddell, I am

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





I think you are right
2008-08-22 by Tom Steagald

Kathleen Norris says something to the effect that God is not obliged to appear when we call, but the least we can do is put ourselves in position should God decide to show-up. I think--though you would know better than I--that this corresponds to a Puritan idea, "getting in the way of holiness," or something like that.

It might be worth discussing as to whether "by the renewing of your minds" is active or passive... that is, if transformation is God's work while "renewing" is ours, that by--as I said maybe in the first blog--"thinking on these things," or doing the spiritual practices to "fit us" for the holiness that only God can make happen. Jesus, for his part, went up the mountain, which is an allusion to Sinai, of course, and a metaphor for us of doing what we need to do to approach God (in hopes God will do that generative or regenerative work of displacing us!).

 Tom





Trouble Preaching Passive Transfiguration
2008-08-22 by David von Schlichten

Tom,

 Perhaps the way we preach transformation is that we say that God causes the transformation but that we yield to God's transforming power rather than resisting it.

?

Dave





midwifing ideas
2008-08-21 by Tom Steagald

thanks to David and Rosemary for chiming in. My head does not feel quite so empty and the echoes are not quite so loud!

I am still thinking about displacement, which is its own way a kind of generativity, I think. What is interesting is in the Exodus text is the  midwives' defiance of Pharaoh, itself an act of generativity, of course, and born, as it were, of their own sense of displacement--they are strangers in a strange land but will serve their God over against the wishes of the local god. 

What I am struggling with in my own life and congregation is the ways we are not defiant enough, do not choose to defy the local gods. We do not help birth liberators or build Pharaoh's tomb. Which is to say we lack generativity--perhaps because we do not know we are in slavery. We feel entirely to "in place," or as Lewis would say, we are far too easily pleased.

David, your point is interesting. The difficulty,  of course, is that both transfigurings are in fact passive--something we cannot effect on our own. How do we preach, then, for "transformation," as it were?





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