Faith

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Shameless Prayer

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Who changed the Lord’s Prayer? That’s a question that many people ask pastors when they get us alone. At first, it used to confuse me. But I think, nowadays, I have some sense of what they mean. Most of us grew up saying the Lord’s Prayer in one particular form, with all the archaic verbs […]

The Book of Nature

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On a summer night just before the first grade, my mother woke me up and led me downstairs. My younger brothers and my sister must have joined us, but I don’t remember. I do remember that my father had made cream puffs, my favorite dessert, but that on this particular might he insisted that we […]

The Counterinsurgency Paradox

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Ol’ Blue Eyes, Mr. Francis Albert Sinatra, was a good friend of Mr. Jack Daniels. Nor was he unacquainted with the occasional martini. He renewed these friendships on regular occasions in barrooms nationwide — gallivanting with the Rat Pack, drinking until all hours. Sinatra was such a beloved regular, in fact, that he had his […]

Love Comes to Life

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I was in talking to an atheist the other day. (Pastors meet more atheists than you might imagine.) This fellow had a question – “What should I expect, as an unbeliever, if I go to a church for the first time?” Without saying it directly, he was a little apprehensive. He was afraid, I think, […]

I Am a Lutheran

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Testimony for Reformation Sunday, October 27-28, 2018 Jeremiah 31:31-34; Psalm 46; Romans 3:19-28; John 8:31-36 I am a Lutheran, but I wasn’t always a Lutheran. I started off as a devout Southern Baptist, raised to love God, trusting that I was a part of God’s family, the church, because I had decided to follow Jesus. […]

A Scary Place – Easter Sunday, 2018

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My life, I sometimes think, really began when I was twenty-three years old. I was working a desk job in the city, living a life of quiet desperation. One day I quit, stuffed some clothes into a backpack and flew to the Caribbean. Not one of the nice islands, either. I went to Haiti, the […]

Upside Down – Palm Sunday, 2018

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There was a game that people used to play, back in the Middle Ages. On certain days, they would reverse their roles. Kings might dress up like peasants, and vice-versa. One version of this game was called “The Boy Bishop.” On the Feast of the Holy Innocents, in some places, a choirboy would be chosen […]

Quilts, a Cup of Cold Water, and a Community of Love

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Sermon for the 18th Sunday after Pentecost/Lectionary 26/Proper 21, Year B; September 26-27, 2015 “Blessing of the Quilts” Weekend Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29; Psalm 19:7-14; James 5:13-20; Mark 9:38-50   Wow! It is an amazing treat to come to worship on this particular weekend each year! I mean, when else do we see the place […]