Welcome, Laurie McKnight!
2010-08-16 by David Howell

I am a second career pastor, in my late 40’s and only beginning my 4th year of preaching.  I am in my 2nd call – now in Kentucky.  I am originally from the Northeast (preaching most recently in upstate New York), so I find I need to work on being sensitive to Southern cultural differences, manners and time schedules.  I am a little less direct, a little less rushed, perhaps a little kinder and gentler.  I’m still learning.  My Kentucky congregation is largely college-educated, and a bit more progressive than my New York congregations (yoked) were, being mostly retired dairy farmers.  I am divorced after 26 years of marriage, and I am mother to two daughters – one in college and one still at home.


Rina Terry
2010-08-14 by David von Schlichten

Thank you to Rina Terry for being our guest blogger. She has provided many helpful posts.

(Rina, I stopped by your church in Cape May but missed you. I left my card. I hope you found it.)

I will be preaching on Ecclesiastes, actually. I am departing from the lectionary. I am preaching how many of us, like the voice in Ecclesiastes, feel like life is pointless. Ecclesiastes empathizes with us, while that book and the Bible as a whole give us hope, point us beyond the pointlessness to the Point.

Back from vacation, I am

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator

Decide For Yourself What Is Right
2010-08-14 by Rina Terry

Well, my exegetical process does include some commentary time.  My favorite is Sacra Pagina.  Luke Timothy Johnson is the author of the volume The Gospel of Luke.  In his interpretation of Luke 12:49-59, he focuses on it as “A Call for Decision.” 


Ultimately, my sermon title became “Decide For Yourself What Is Right.”  That is the daily challenge isn’t it—a constant series of decisions. 

            Shall I hit the snooze button and doze ten more minutes?

            What should I wear today?

            What should I have for breakfast or should I just get going?

            Which of the tasks before me should be my priority?

            Should I put off that call to a family member one more day or do it now?

            Is that visit to Mabel essential today or should I spend a bit more time

              preparing that report for the Church Conference?

            Can I skip that meeting tonight and spend some time with my own family?


We make our decisions; we deal with the consequences—favorable and not so favorable.

We become so caught up in the press of daily decisions before us that often we do not realize that the attention we give them distracts us from the most important decision before us:


I have a personal decision to make concerning to whom and to what I will commit myself.  My decision will divide me from others, perhaps even my own family members.

Johnson says, “The division is created by the diverse decisions made in response to the prophet himself and his message about he kingdom of God.  Is he, are his works of healing, the signal from God that a rule more powerful than that of Satan has come to free humans?  Or is he a minion of Satan, a charlatan, a deceiver of the people?  Those who see him must not have blinders, so that ‘the light in them turns to darkness’ (11:35); those who hear him must ‘watch how they hear’ (8:18).  They must discern the signs and decide.”


The larger decision before me on Sunday morning is:

Will I make the decision to preach with the fire that divides or will I give the people what they want?

Will I challenge God’s people to take off their blinders and unstop their ears or will I IPod their ears with the  familiar, pre-programmed platitudes that comfort?

Will I ease toward retirement, for which I admit I have begun to yearn, and schedule more visitations which will endear me to the people, or will wear out my shoes walking in my community and “try to make things up with him while still on the road?”

Rejoice in your proclamation tomorrow!


An Insatiable Desire For Dejavu
2010-08-13 by Rina Terry

This is the title of my friend, Bebe Cook's first collection of poetry:  An Insatiable Desire For Dejavu.   I fell in love with the title.  I love the way the words roll around in my mouth.  I love the provocative nudge toward memory.  I love the back-of-the-neck prickle that comes with ghost-like wisps of dejavu. 


Today, I concentrated on the Psalter (Psalm 80:1-2, 8-19) and Bebe’s title surged ashore.  Christian witness is a rehearsal of God’s faithfulness, goodness, might and grace.  It is a powerful testimony and exciting to hear.  In its most essential and lasting effect, for me, I have those dejavu spiritual moments born of a life of experiencing God’s presence.


In times of tragedy, loss, fear, despair—we get that insatiable desire for dejavu.  Ah, yes, we feel it; we hear it; we see it.  I’ve been here before, experienced this before, known this before, beheld your Spirit in just this way before.   If you journal, you have recorded such moments.  If you are a daydreamer, you have encountered them in your reverie.  If you are a lamenter, they have come to relieve you.  If you are one who cried out, “Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.”  Remember the one who is “enthroned upon the cherubim,” and your vine will not wither.  You will feel that insatiable desire for dejavu as the vine is restored. 

 (If you would like a copy of Bebe’s book, you can contact her at girlnixon@gmail.com)

By Faith
2010-08-12 by Rina Terry

Each Christmas morning, during my years in prison ministry, it became the tradition that I would rap at the close of the worship service.  No one outside the wall seemed to understand why I would spend Christmas morning doing worship services when I was not required to work that day.  Actually, it was my gift from God and I unwrapped it, admired it, savored it, was humbled by it and felt incredibly thankful for it. 


There were always new men who had not had the dubious pleasure of hearing that “old white lady preacher” rap.  So, each year, it was a well circulated secret and the chapel was packed on Christmas morning.  The tradition began because I wanted the men to leave the chapel laughing and have something to distract them their gloom on Christmas morning.  I tried to make it something fun and with a message but really didn’t take it too seriously that first year.  The praise band rolled their eyes, looked at one another with that OH NO look when I told them  and said, “Come on, Rev, you can’t rap.” 


Undaunted, I wrote the lyrics—there was a Christian message at the end, revised and perfected, and then the praise band put music to it and we rehearsed until we had it down.

They were a bit embarrassed, I think, but I was the boss.  The first year, we were waiting for the hoots, the laughs, the head shakes, but God had a different plan.  I got through the first few phrases and suddenly, the entire 150+ inmates were on their feet, moving to the music, and chanting, “Go Rev, Go Rev, Go Rev.”  I turned around and looked incredulously at the men in the praise band, and they were lovin’ it.  “Keep going,” they yelled; “just keep going!”  Who knows why this became such a powerful thing. 

 God calls us to people and places and situations for which no seminary education can prepare us.  God equips us for those callings.  By faith, the people passed through….By faith the walls fell….by faith a prostitute does not perish….And what more should I say?By faith, Rina rapped.

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