We pastors are not likely to encounter Jephthah. But we might encounter someone like the young man who sought me out after a stint in jail.
December 31, 2015
I begin sermon preparation by reading through the texts and writing a 200-word summary of the themes I observe in that initial reading. I include this summary in an online publication for the congregation I serve. It's called "Sunday is Coming," a title with an edge for the preacher. When I do this reading I I look for trouble—for the obvious, palpable problems in the text.
September 22, 2014
Ezekiel steps right into the middle of a group of people busy at that most ancient of activities, going back to Eden: the blame game.
September 16, 2014
I find more than a dozen military references in the Pauline corpus. In Philemon, Paul includes in his greetings “Archippus our fellow soldier.” In this week's second reading, Paul advises his readers to stand firm and strive side by side. The former Roman soldiers living in Philippi would have heard a reference to a Roman military formation.
September 15, 2014
The gospel reading for October 31 comes toward the end of what most Lucan scholars call Luke's travel narrative. It begins ten chapters earlier at 9:51, where Luke tells us, "When the days drew near for Jesus to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem." One would expect to follow Jesus' progress on a map—but the coordinates make no geographical sense.
October 25, 2010
Words of judgment are difficult to hear. Actually, I have no trouble hearing how they apply to others. And when the preacher gives a logical explanation of how the law applies to me, I understand it and nod my head in agreement. But it often makes little connection with my heart and even less with the way I live.
October 18, 2010
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A young seminarian could effectively caricature the preaching of his supervising pastor. "Repent!" he would holler at the top of his lungs....
November 3, 1999