Strange New World

Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost
Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Amos 5:6-7, 10-15
Hebrews 4:12-16

Mark 10:17-31

“What house is it to which the Bible is the door? What sort of country is spread before our eyes when we throw the Bible open?”
-Karl Barth

The Lord God Almighty through the prophet Amos: “Seek me and live…. Seek the Lord and live…. Seek good and not evil, that you may live; and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you.”

Check.

Got it.

Now what? Read more

The Living Gospel

Second Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 40:1-11

Psalm 85

2 Peter 3:8-15a

Mark 1:1-8

Advent has a powerful way of clarifying our vision because it takes us back to what is most basic. This week the gospel is front and center as our texts identify the content and shape of the good news.

Too often, however, we can assume we already know what the gospel is. Namely, the gospel is a static body of knowledge we already possess. Central tenets or creeds, Four Spiritual Laws, Seven Habits, or a political platform consisting of one issue or several—give assent to these things, and you know the gospel. And once possessing the gospel, we move swiftly to implementation.

Such reductionism inevitably leads to deformity.

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One Big Happy Family

Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
Genesis 37:1-28

Typology has gotten a bad rap in modernity, but Scripture isn’t Scripture without it. So both Old Testament passages on offer this week invite theological reflection on a provident God who orders deliverance to and through Jesus of Nazareth. I’ll concentrate on Genesis 37.

“This is the story of the family of Jacob” (37:2)—our story, people of God. It isn’t pretty. Bad reports, preferential loves, internecine hatred, braggadocio followed by “even more” hatred (37:8), conspiracy to kill, deception, and betrayal for 20 pieces of silver. This story of the family of Jacob—our ecclesial story—puts ugly on display. Read more

Still the Crucified

Isaiah 58:1-9a; 1 Corinthians 2:1-16; Matthew 5:13-20

When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

Paul’s description of his preaching is enough to stop any preacher in her or his tracks.
It is certainly enough to stop this one.

What do I regard as essential in my preaching? Do I rely on sounding scholarly or worldly wise? Do I trust in having something new and captivating to say? Read more