Based on Deuteronomy 6:1–21; 6:4–9 I was talking with a friend of mine this week. She’s the pastor of a congregation in a situation like many congregations. It’s a congregation in danger of dying. With an aging population, a neighborhood around them where the demographics are completely different than the families who are members of the church, and they have a huge, old building that’s dark and has lots of deferred maintenance hanging over them. They called my friend three years ago, thinking that with her progressive theology and young family, that she’d save the church. The first year was full of hope. The second year,Read More →

Based on Mark 10:17-31 I read an article in Christian Century by Craig Barnes, the President of Princeton Divinity School. In it, he said, “I can still smell the wet canvas and sawdust of my father’s revivals. Like many old-school country preachers, he believed that any self-respecting revival was held in a tent.” Do you remember revivals? In your tradition, I believe you still have them. In fact, your Pastor Aaron told me recently he was preaching one. I remember revivals. Ours didn’t have tents. But they were always in the summer. And I remember what they didn’t have: air conditioning. And they didn’t haveRead More →

Please do not consider this sermon an endorsement of the Urban Dictionary. But have you ever looked up any words in the urban dictionary? On their homepage, they have daily definitions, just to keep you hip. One day this week, it was the phrase, “more issues than Vogue,” as in this conversation: a young woman says, “Oh! Too much homework and errands,” and a young man answers, “You have more issues than Vogue!” to which the young woman replies, “I know right!” You know, it takes a lot of determination to be my age and to still try to stay cool, so cut me someRead More →

On September 11, 2001, I was serving my first church. It was my home church, Southside Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, and I was serving (as women often do just out of seminary) as their secretary. It was my first week of work there. In fact, it was my first Tuesday. I walked into the downstairs entrance into the church, and the receptionist said, “Turn on the radio upstairs. Something has happened.” Instead we found a television. The first building of the World Trade Center had been hit at 7:46 am, when I was driving to work (Birmingham is on central time). At 8:03, minutesRead More →

Based on Genesis 3:4-24 Most of you know I went to a very conservative seminary. It was Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama. I chose it because I friendly support in Birmingham, a church I loved, and a sense of calling to be in the that place. So it was okay. In fact, in some ways it was good. But it had its days… And this text reminds me of one of those days… It was my second year, and I was in my first semester of Hebrew Bible, and we were talking about the cosmic beginnings. By now, I had gotten myRead More →