Recently I was telling a pastoral colleague that I have no idea how people become preachers without having first been stand-up comics. In the early 1990s when I was getting clean and sober, I worked for a few years as a stand-up comic; getting paid to be caustic on stage was cheaper than paying for therapy and had much the same result.
In Jesus’ day—as in ours--redefining the family is a provocative act with far-reaching social, political, moral and spiritual implications. If we were to isolate Jesus in Mark 3 from the moments in the other gospels in which Jesus interacts with his family, we might conclude this story with George Aichele’s sharply worded assertion, “Mark’s Jesus is no supporter of family values!”
My church's adult Sunday school class ended up doing a six-week study of one of John Ortberg’s inspirational and easy-to-read books. A member of the class loved the book and wanted to share and teach it—and who can argue with six weeks off as a teacher?
Before that, we’d been through many of N.T. Wright’s “For Everyone” study guides, and we'd organized a successful unit on Islam and Christianity, taught well by an instructor from our county college. We’ve read Adam Hamilton; we've added online conversation to our Lenten study. Now what?
Martin Boehm was a key player in founding the United Brethren in Christ denomination, one of the precursors of the United Methodist Church. More than 240 years ago, Boehm was excommunicated after having a Wesleyan-type spiritual awakening that led to his preaching to people outside of his Mennonite church. Pennsylvania Mennonites recently denounced “the small-mindedness of religious thinking” that led to Boehm’s ouster, restored his Mennonite credentials, and asked local United Methodists forgiveness for their spiritual forebears’ narrowness (UMNS, June 27).