It’s probably a good thing I didn’t read this article before last Sunday’s sermon.
Early on in her latest post titled Mary, the Magnificat, and an Unsentimental Advent, Rachel Held Evans states “but I’m not feeling sentimental this Advent. I’m feeling angry, restless.” If you’re feeling the same way, I would encourage you to read her post.
NPR has a story about a Bible intended for slaves and published in 1807 that “excludes any portion of text that might inspire rebellion or liberation.” According to an associate curator at the museum where said Bible is on display, “About 90 percent of the Old Testament is missing [and] 50 percent of the New Testament is missing.”  The existence of such a version of the Bible is a reminder that the Bible is a dangerous book. That’s why slave owners insisted that so much of it removed, it’s why so much of it is still ignored today.
 Michel Martin, “Slave Bible From The 1800s Omitted Key Passages That Could Incite Rebellion,” NPR, December 09, 2018, , accessed December 10, 2018, https://n.pr/2QqWiCL.
My mom sent me this link, it’s a clip of a sermon from Bishop Curry (who preached at the most recent royal wedding). I love the way the preacher and congregation collaborate to more effectively proclaim the gospel. My favorite line:
“Love the neighbor you like and the neighbor you don’t like.” — Bishop Michael Curry
Daniel Burke, “Bishop Curry Warns ‘Somebody Woke up Jim Crow’,” CNN, May 25, 2018, accessed May 25, 2018, https://cnn.it/2LwEuzR.
I like John Updike’s poem, “Seven Stanzas at Easter,” so much that I bought the book it was published in. Updike does a great job of emphasizing the importance of the real and concrete nature of the resurrection. (Jesus’s body was the first example of incorruptible physicality—the stuff of the new creation.) Here are a couple of excerpts from the poem:
Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping, transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted
in the faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.
Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.
— John Updike
At present, the entire poem is available online at this link: http://bit.ly/2H7XN0D
John Updike, “Seven Stanzas at Easter.” In Telephone Poles and Other Poems (New York: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 1963), Kindle.
I’ve long said Happy Holidays. As a child I understood it to mean Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, as a pastor, my emphasis has shifted to the twelve days of Christmas (today happens to be the third day of Christmas) and Epiphany (a holy day that was once a larger celebration than Christmas). For that reason, I was fascinated by this article in the L. A. Times titled “The Profane Origins of ‘Merry Christmas'” that details the origins of the term. The article takes “Happy Holidays” as a reference to Advent and Christmas, but in my mind Advent is more of a preparatory season, and Christmas and Epiphany are the Holy Days. Regardless of whether you wish me a “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays,” I’m thankful for your blessing.
Update: Fixed the Links
Ed Stetzer who holds the “Billy Graham Distinguished Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism” at Wheaton College has written a response to those defending Roy Moore by citing scripture. I’m sharing this particular article (as opposed to others) because Stetzer’s evangelical credentials are beyond reproach, he is fully aware that nothing has yet been proven, and the points he makes are irrefutable. We must not let scripture be used to justify child abuse.
My colleague, Rev. Mitch Todd has a great devotion/essay entitled about that often abused and maligned term, “Thoughts and Prayers.” I encourage you to take a look.
I’ve long known that the people called Methodists were behind Mother’s Day, but it turns out we’re behind Father’s Day as well.