Amazing Jesus

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost
Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

2 Corinthians 12: 2-10
Mark 6: 1-13

Things move quickly in the gospel of Mark. There is hardly enough time to even grab a bite to eat (3:20, 6:31). Reading from Mark now, with its piling up of events one upon the other, is perhaps counter-intuitive to our summer in the Northern Hemisphere when we try to slow our lives down to take advantage of the (hopefully) more pleasant weather. Read more


The Encounter More Than the Cure

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Wisdom 1:13-15, 2:23-24 OR 2 Samuel 1:1,17-27
Psalm 30 OR Psalm 130
2 Cor 8:7,9,13-15
Mark 5:21-43

Last year, the British Humanist Association (which lately has become, among other things, a cheer squad for Richard Dawkins) began an ad campaign on city buses in UK with signs declaring, “There probably is no God, so relax and enjoy your life.” This led, as the BHA no doubt intended, to a torrent of unhelpful comments from an array of sources – pro, con, and otherwise – claiming to have special insight on the matter. One observation, however, stuck with me: namely that signs about relaxing and enjoying one’s life were somewhat more persuasive on a bus in London, the wealthy capital of a military-industrial nation state, than they might be on a bus in the slums of Calcutta or Port au Prince.

Vic Chesnutt, the late singer-songwriter from Athens, Georgia, made a much more interesting atheist than Dawkins or his BHA public relations team ever will. Read more

david and goliath

Preaching the Terrors (and Wonders)

I Samuel 17:32-49
Psalm 9:9-20
Mark 4:35-41

Barbara Brown Taylor says there comes the “time in every preacher’s life when the queasy-making parts of the Bible can no longer be ignored, when it is time to admit that the Bible is not a book about admirable people or even about a conventionally admirable God. It is instead a book about a sovereign God’s covenant with a chosen people.” The Bible, she claims, “is as full of holy terrors as it is of holy wonders,” and while we’d like “to approach the terrors as stray bullets outside God’s plan,” the fact is that we cannot avoid either the terrors or the wonders without avoiding part of the truth Read more


Eyes to See

Third Sunday after Pentecost
Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

1 Samuel 15:34-16:13
2 Corinthians 5:6-17
Mark 4:26-34

In an era with a six billion dollar election cycle and more than 90% of elections won by the candidate with the most money, these understated stories of anointed shepherd kings and mustard shrub kingdoms make little sense to our calloused senses. The prophet Isaiah warned, and Mark quotes just prior to the telling of these parables, that people would “look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand” (Mark 4:12). Read more

Paul and Jesus

And So We Speak

2nd Sunday After Pentecost
1 Samuel 8:4-11, (12-15), 16-20
Psalm 138
2 Corinthians 4:13 – 5:1
Mark 3: 20-35

We are in the after season now, after the great cycle of Jesus’ anticipation, life, death, resurrection and the birth of his church, after Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent and Holy Week, Easter and Pentecost. In the light of our travel once again around the life of the Son that gives us life, we pick up the continuous reading through of our Scriptures.

And we find Paul speaking. Read more