A sermon based on Hosea 11. A friend asked in a coffee shop recently: How do you reconcile the idea of a loving God with all that happens in the world? It’s the oldest question in the world. And when we look at the stark horror of what has happened this week in Paris, in Beirut, in southern Japan, in the Bosso district of Niger, and in Baghdad It’s hard to start anyplace but disbelief and sorrow. How can we reconcile the idea of a loving God with all that has happened in the world? This is the question, I believe, that the book ofRead More →

A sermon based on 1 Kings 18. I wonder if you all know the composer, Arvo Pärt. He was born in Estonia in 1935. He is a rather prolific composer, which includes choral pieces and orchestral pieces. My favorite is a piece called Spiegel im Spiegel, or Mirror in Mirror, which was written for a piano and violin. In a recent Guardian article Gunter Atteln said, “In order to understand Pärt, one needs to know that he is a religious person. You don’t need to be religious to feel his music, just as you don’t need to be religious to feel the music of Bach.”Read More →

In the new book, Accidental Saints, Finding God in All the Wrong People, Nadia Bolz-Weber, the tattoo-having, curse-word-saying pastor of the Church of All Saints and Sinners, tells of seeking a new saint, one she could model her life after as she began a new church. She found Alma White, who planted a church in 1901. Alma Bridwell White was the founder and a bishop of the Pillar of Fire Church and in 1918, she became the first female bishop in the United States. She was noted for her feminism and “her association with [wait for it…] the Ku Klux Klan, her anti-Catholicism, anti-Semitism, anti-Pentecostalism,Read More →

Based on 2 Samuel 5:1-6, 6:1-5 I’ve been wondering how to define the word “church.” The dictionary definition is “a building used for Christian worship.” Or “a particular Christian organization, typically one with its own clergy, buildings, and distinctive doctrine.” And the Urban Dictionary, my favorite, says that church means, “to strongly agree, as if it is law.” As in, “Wake Forest Baptist Church is awesome!” to which the reply is “Church!” The Bible defines an ecclesia, or assembly, first, as the body of Christ, and it is often defined as a local assembly or group of believers. It is also referred to as theRead More →

Based on Ruth 1:1-24 The book of Ruth is found just after the Book of Judges. In the first sentences, the book of Ruth places itself in the time of judges during a time of famine. Naomi, her husband and sons, move to Moab, where the sons marry. Then the father dies, the sons die, and Naomi, Ruth and Orpah are left together. You know, many people believe that the Hebrew people of our Bible were not an evangelizing group. That there was a matrilineal aspect of Judaism that could not be circumvented. But they’d be wrong. There are lots of examples of just theRead More →