There is a resurrection in generosity, in opening your hand and
unclenching your fist. The daughter of Jarius knew this when Jesus
allowed her father to convince him to come over. Jesus went out of his
way, and the result was a healing.
This week's texts tell the story of deliverance from our many troubles.
They deliver us from the oppression of self-consciousness. They deliver
us from that sinking feeling, that sense that the boat is going down and
that we are beyond the reach of peace. Jesus all but scoffs at fear and
faithlessness: "Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?"
The Incas, at the peak of their civilization, had 150 varieties of corn.
When the Spanish came, they wiped most of these out—even destroying
much of the seed corn, so that a civilization of extraordinary vitality
and diversity became an impoverished one.
We could accuse this week's texts of setting up dichotomies: Romans
wants us to live by the spirit, not the flesh. Nicodemus and Jesus trade
stories about being born from above rather than below. A bush burns and
life changes; unnatural things abound. Everyone knows that when bushes
burn, they are consumed. Everybody knows where babies come from, and
it's not from "up there."
Some of us are in Pentecost graduate school. We're seminary-educated and
steeped in the church. We understand the preacher's dilemma when Easter
comes early, before the earth has warmed up enough to take resurrection
seriously, and we've been there, done that when it comes to the mighty
rushing wind that appears seven weeks after Easter with great
Architect Lewis Mumford argued that the beauty of a particular house
comes from building it on the most challenging feature of the land. If
there is a depression in the land, says Mumford, use it. If a big
boulder lies in the middle of the spot where the kitchen should go, put
the boulder in the kitchen.
In this wonderful small book, Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, head and heart of the Reformed Church in America, gives new meaning to the directive “Be yourself,” or “Be authentic.” Edwin Friedman told us in his seminal book Generation to Generation that leaders need to be self-differentiated, as well as “nonan
If you are a member of one of the thousands of congregations or religious nonprofits that are in the middle of "strategic planning" or "visioning" or "long-term planning," this book is for you. If you have been waiting for a hands-on sequel to Robert Greenleaf's 1977 Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness, wait no longer.
Marva Dawn excels at demonstrating how good worship and good liturgy meet the very needs that drive us to their substitutes. The genuine splendor of worship can free us from our preoccupation with consumerism, our addictive behaviors and our anxieties. At worship one does nothing more nor less than to give oneself fully to God.
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