Book Club
2007-10-04 by Dee Dee Haines

What makes a good book even better?  Talking about it with someone else!  Sharing thoughts, opinions, and ponderings with other readers can crack open new insights and profound concepts that may only be unearthed by reading between the lines! Interested?  Help us choose our first reading for the Book Club (See Share It!) by selecting one of the suggestions from below, all published in 2007! 

Mandate to Difference:  An Invitation to the Contemporary Church, Walter Brueggemann 

A peek inside:  1st chapter:  “The Good News of Regime Change” 

Preaching as Testimony.  Anna Carter Florence 

A peek inside:  Part One:  “Waking Up the Details: Stories of Testimony” 

The Mystery of the Child, Martin A. Marty 

A peek inside:  4th Chapter:  “The Child as Mystery” 

Choose the book that is of most interest to you! Email: Dee Dee Haines preciouscayman@yahoo.com with your choice. We will let you know on October 11 the book most requested and look for the first comments at the Book Club (See Share It!) after that!  Hope to see you there sharing your reactions and comments!

At some point, we hope to have the author visit the Book Club to interact with us. 



Divine Cuisine
2007-10-04 by David Howell

Check out the growing number of recipes in Divine Cuisine (see Share It!). Will Willimon has promised us a recipe. Check it out often.



God has View, World Communion Sunday, Slaves, Seeds, Theodicy
2007-10-04 by David von Schlichten

The sermon is slow growing this week, but there's time. The Holy Spirit provides.

World Communion Sunday is a crucial theme to draw attention to, especially given the divisiveness of the Church and the world.

One possibility is to connect the Gospel to Christian unity. Christ does not call us to deleterious competition and hostility but to, according to Luke 17:1-10:

1. Forgiveness (verses 1-4)

2. Slavehood, obeying the master, not for a reward, but because that is what we are to do; part of slavehood is being quick to forgive; remember, it is God alone who "has View" (scroll down for Jim Somerville's blog entry on L'Engle's understanding of God having View)

Imagine if we all focused on slavehood instead of yelling insults and then stomping out of the room over homosexuality and other issues.

3. The faith the Spirit has sown in our souls will help us to forgive and be slaves; even the tiniest faith is amazingly powerful.

Then there's Habakkuk, where our first lesson comes from in my denomination (ELCA). Habakkuk deals with the perennial theodicy issue, always an important topic. Maybe, however, the Spirit wants me to save that for another Sunday.

I don't know, but I do know I need to get dressed so I can attend our monthly, inter-denominational ministerium meeting at 9:30.

We are a rainbow of ministers, ranging from very liberal to very conservative, divided on many issues, including profound ones. Nevertheless, we still can agree on some things, like that the hungry need food. Thanks be to God.

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, poedifier





What does it mean to remember?
2007-10-04 by Jim Somerville

Thursday is my day off.  It’s the day I let the playful exegesis of Monday and the careful study of Tuesday and the thoughtful questioning of Wednesday ferment and begin to bubble. Sometimes, when I am running among the tall trees in Rock Creek Park or sailing on the Potomac River a bubble will pop—a happy little “Aha!” moment that  moves me one step closer to Sunday’s sermon.

Today, although it’s still early, I’m thinking about World Communion Sunday and Jesus’ insistence that his disciples remember him.  I’m wondering what would happen if we thought of remembering not so much as the opposite of forgetting, but as the opposite of dismembering. If we are the body of Christ, and Christ’s body was broken in his suffering and death, is communion a way of putting it back together again?  Is World Communion Sunday a way of re-membering the body of Christ scattered around the globe? 

I’ll let you think about that one. It’s my day off. I’m going to go out and play. 

_______________ 

Jim Somerville is pastor of the First Baptist Church of the City of Washington, DC; adjunct professor of preaching at the John Leland Center for Theological Studies; and one-time host of the Festival of Homiletics.

 





God Has View
2007-10-03 by Jim Somerville

Sometimes lectionary preachers are accused of being irrelevant, of digging around in ancient texts in search of archaeological treasures they can show off on Sunday morning to the few people who are interested in such things.  “What does any of that have to do with this?” our accusers say, holding up the morning newspaper. But I remember Sunday, September 16, 2001, when the morning newspaper was still in shock from the September 11 attacks, and my associate stepped to the lectern, opened the ancient book of Lamentations, and began to read the opening lines of this Sunday’s lection:

How lonely sits the city that once was full of people! How like a widow she has become, she that was great among the nations!”  I remember the gasp that went up from the congregation. It was so clearly a reference to New York!  But how could Jeremiah have known, all those years ago, what would happen in America on September 11, 2001?

I have nothing against topical preachers. In fact, some of my most respected colleagues begin their weekly preparation with the “Today” show, Time magazine, and the morning newspaper. They think about current events, listen for the word on the street, and then dig around in the Bible to see what God might have to say about sexual harassment lawsuits, for example, or the situation in Burma. I stand in awe of their ability to weave those current events and the eternal word together. But I also think that what the lectionary gives us—and what we desperately need—is the perspective of the centuries and not just this morning’s op-ed piece. I like to imagine that the occasional reading of a passage like this one from Lamentations would prepare our hearts for something like September 11, even before we knew what it was they were being prepared for.

In 2004 I spent two minutes on a CNN talk show responding to a question about a minister in California who had told the members of his congregation that they would go to Hell if they voted for John Kerry. My response was that we serve a God who has watched over the rise and fall of empires for millennia now, and that a single presidential election in the United States of America might not carry as much eternal significance as that minister imagined.

I like what Madeline L’Engle has said, and what the lectionary helps me remember: “I have a point of view, you have a point of view—God has view.”
_______________

Jim Somerville is pastor of the First Baptist Church of the City of Washington, DC; adjunct professor of preaching at the John Leland Center for Theological Studies; and one-time host of the Festival of Homiletics.

 





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