"Unapologetic Theology: A Christian Voice in a Pluralistic Conversation" is the title of a book by my beloved theology professor and friend, the late William C. Placher. It is also now the title of this blog, a place where I hope to add a Christian voice -- God knows, not "the" Christian voice, but "a" Christian voice and not just any old voice, but a distinctly Christian voice -- to the pluralistic conversation going on about just about everything.
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God's Desire for us Human Beings
This Sunday's gospel is a healing story from the Gospel of
Mark. It's one of at least eight healing stories in the Gospel of Mark.
Miracle stories like this one - a healing story - plus
miraculous deliverances from foul spirits, resuscitations, and miracles
involving nature - comprise over 200 verses in Mark's gospel.
That's more verses than the passion narrative -- the stories of
Jesus' betrayal, trial, crucifixion, and death -- combined.
Let that fact sink in for a second.
Consider the fact that miracle stories are the subject matter of
almost half the gospel prior to Jesus' arrival in Jerusalem.*
That points to a truth we often miss: God's desire for us human
beings is for healing, wholeness, forgiveness, and joy.
Healing, wholeness, forgiveness, joy is what the author John
Eldredge refers to as the "major theme" of the gospel. As opposed to
the "minor theme" of the gospel which is sickness, brokenness, sin,
Yet Christianity has, by and large, made the minor theme the major theme.
Jesus said (John 10:10) that the thief comes to kill and destroy, but that he came so we might have
life, and have it abundantly.
God's will for our life is not quiet stoic suffering, but an expectation
of miraculous transformation and an abundance of joy and gratitude spilling
over into concrete acts of service. *(Gospel of Mark, Donahue and Harrigan, Sacra
Pagina, page 85.)
A sermon preached June 19, 2016
The Rev. John Ohmer, Rector
The Falls Church Episcopal, Falls Church, Virginia
(“Dear Lord: Carry your word into the most protected parts of our hearts.”)
Today I don’t have a traditional sermon. I certainly don’t have a sermon about Father’s Day, but now that I’ve mentioned it, happy Father’s Day. Today, instead of a traditional sermon, I feel led to share some things that have been on my heart this past week.
I’ve been your Rector here since August of 2012. Those of you who have been here a long time know that my preaching style is almost always “expository,” a fancy word that simply means you take a passage of scripture, and having studied it during the week, you show – or expose – its meaning and relevance as best you can, and then you sit down, trusting Holy Spirit will be hard at work simultaneously translating for each of you what you need to hear on any given Sunday.
One of the implications of this style of preaching is I tend not to preach “to…
A sermon preached January 29, 2017 The Rev. John Ohmer, Rector The Falls Church Episcopal
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the p…