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August 29th, 2016

Truthing in Love

Nobody develops relationships close enough for ‘truthing in love’ while sitting in rows.

Ephesians 4:11-16

 

Fumblerules

I want to begin by explaining my sermon title. In seminary I took a writing course during which the professor introduced us to William Safire’s Fumblerules – self-contradictory, and therefore sometimes amusing – rules for writing and speaking. If you are not a grammar nut, you might have little appreciation for fumblerules like these:

  • Don’t use no double negatives.
  • Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
  • Never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
  • (My favorite) Never use a big word when a diminutive one will do.

Read more »

August 27th, 2016

Aubrey and Aaka, thank you for allowing Pastor Paul and me the joy of sharing this day with you.  I pray we will have the privilege of being part of your lives for a long time to come.

The theme for my wedding meditation came to me last night during the rehearsal when we spoke about the three candles.  You told me the two brass candle holders on the outside had belonged to Aubrey’s maternal grandmother, and the candle holder in the middle was a gift from Aaka’s grandmother in Nepal.

Most couples blow out the outside candles after they light the middle one, but you have chosen to keep them lit because you are still two individuals.  Rather than 1+1=1, your symbolism is that 1+1=3. I’ve been thinking about the many threes connected to your wedding. Read more »

August 23rd, 2016

In Memory of Shirley Holsclaw Logan

(June 5, 1927 – August 19, 1916)

When Pastor Lori and I met with Shirley’s family yesterday to plan this service, Cindy pulled out some folders and envelopes and said something like, “You’re going to hate me.”  I don’t hate you, Cindy, but when I started digging through all of that today I understood more what you meant.  Cindy said her Mom was one of the most organized people she ever met.  Part of Shirley’s organization was this collection of paper.

But this manila envelope collection is not just about organization.  It’s about planning – specifically planning for this moment, for this service.  Every time Shirley thought of something she wanted included in her funeral service – Scripture, a poem, a hymn, a quote – anything at all, she put it in this manila envelope.  If you have until about 10:00 we’ll use it all.  Best I can tell, eight hymns and well over 200 verses of Scripture.  There were also poems and other scrap notes – clippings, sayings, things she wrote in her own handwriting.  Read more »

August 21st, 2016

Holy Ground

We have to talk about sex or our talk about grace means nothing.

1 Corinthians 6:12-20

Why?

When I say that today’s sermon is about sex, I wonder what your first reaction is. “Yay!”? “Oh, no!”? “Uh-oh!”? If your first reaction is that in a sex-saturated world you wish we didn’t have to drag this topic into church, you and I are on the same page.

I grew up in a world where sex was taboo in public or polite conversation. I remind my Confirmands that the root of the word “profanity” is “profane,” which means “common.” Profanity is taking words that should be sacred or private and using them profanely. I weary of making sex profane.

Why do we need to talk about sex in church at all? Because if we don’t, people who come to church might make one of two false assumptions.  Read more »

August 14th, 2016

Jesus wants you to love your family, but that’s not even close to his top concern.

Luke 14:25-35

 

His top concern

Bob: Sometimes the Bible seems to throw you a curve ball. In last week’s Scripture text, the Apostle Paul told husbands to love their wives (Ephesians 5:25-33). This Sunday, Jesus tells a crowd they are disqualified from discipleship if they don’t hate their wives (Luke 14:26), and everyone else closest to them – their children, parents, and siblings. I can think of two wrong ways to read this text. The first is to validate the resentment you feel toward your own family: “Jesus said it’s OK to hate you.” The second misuse is to soften it: “Jesus didn’t really mean it. We need to explain this better or we’re going to turn off a lot of people.” Jesus intended to turn off a lot of people. Read more »