This Week!
2007-12-03 by David Howell

Dave, I always remember what Tom Long said...something about if a preacher is going to do out-of-the-ordinary things in the pulpit, like dramatic monologues, etc., then the preacher had better be good at it. So if you are a good crower, it's probably okay, although traditionalists sometimes have difficulty with novelty (still, a solid pastoral relationship with folks overcomes many a pulpit blunder). I bet the young people took notice!

Tom Steagald is our guest blogger. He is pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Stanley, NC, a town near Charlotte trying to re-emerge after the textile bust. He and his wife Jo tend a mostly-empty nest (save for an English Bulldog named Chester). His recent work includes Praying for Dear Life: A Reason to Rise, Strength for the Day, Courage to Face the Night (NavPress, 2006) and Every Disciple's Journey: Following Jesus to a God-focused Faith (NavPress, 2007). Both books are available at your local Christian book store, the occasional Borders, and on line at Amazon or NavPress.com.

Enjoy a cup of Mistletoe Joe this week and the art of The Katherine E. Nash Gallery in the Sermon Feedback Cafe. The Festival of Homiletics will be held in Minneapolis (a city of the arts), May 19-23, 2008.

New recipes are going up in Divine Cuisine. Go to HOMEPAGE and to Share It! Remember to share your recipes, stories, book/movie reviews (click Submit Your Own)

There is a massive amount of material available for subscribers on this site. The current issue of Lectionary Homiletics, plus 17 years of back issues, plus lots of recent sermons and articles.





A Crow and a Question Regarding the Second Coming
2007-12-02 by David von Schlichten

This morning, I preached about keeping awake. Two-thirds of the way through the sermon, I crowed like a rooster as a humorous way of underscoring the message of waking up and keeping awake.

Do you think the crowing was too gimmicky or silly? Any thoughts?

Also, my seventeen-year-old son Michael asked, "How can Jesus, who is God, not know when he will return while the Father does know?" I offered some explanation, but I am wondering how others would respond.  

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





Song Title?
2007-11-30 by Tom Steagald

Like everyone else, I am struggling with the two dimensions of the season--call them eschatological and cultural, prophetic and priestly, declarative and demanding (The King is coming, the church said to the world; to heaven the church said, Would you please COME ON?!).

Liturgically, the church is split between joy and penance, anticipation and dread, the Good News of the Day of the Lord and the very bad news of the Day of the Lord (see especially the three clusters of judgment following the Isaiah lesson for Sunday).

My sermon title (a meditation, as we will celebrate Communion) is "With a Bright Purple and Blue." Get it? Think it would make a good lyric or song title, too?

Me neither.





Hustle and Wait with a Baptist's Will
2007-11-29 by David von Schlichten

I posted my sermon at the cafe. Go back to Homepage, then Share It!, then Sermon Feedback Cafe to order a cranberry muffin and give me feedback. Will you, please? 

Thank you to Bishop Willimon for your statement about preaching on John the Baptist to which many of us can relate. I've only been a pastor for ten years and am finding it hard to get excited about preaching on John the Baptist again. I'd rather preach on Joseph.

John often strikes me as a guy who has wandered into the wrong testament. Then again, the testaments, in some ways, really are not so different. Besides, the Gospels are at the beginning of the New Testament, right at the border, Malachi visible from Matthew's genealogy, and we know how God is about crossing borders and sending people across them.

Maybe here in the hot tub, amid all this warm, bubbly water, we can come up with a new-old word about John.  

Some help may bubble up (sorry; I am a hopeless paranomasiac) from Scott Bryte's entry below about the conjoined-twin-nature of Advent. Please scroll down to read.

Enjoying the tub's masaging jets, I am

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





The Baptist? Again?
2007-11-28 by Will Willimon

One of the pitfalls of being at this for over thirty years is that I've been through the Lectionary about 9 times over.  So that means that I've had at least about 20 opportunities to say everything and anything I had to say about John the Baptist on the First Sunday in Advent. 

So it's only natural for me to sigh, "John the Baptist?  Again?" 

Maybe it's back to topical preaching for me?  Or perhaps that's one of the good things about this communal "sermon hot tub" where preachers like me who have been at this for a long time can get challenged, stimulated, and fired up through the insights of others.

I just don't see how preaching can be done over the long haul without friends and colleagues who can help you presist with the Word and keep at it in preaching.

Will Willimon





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