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Showing posts from January, 2016

What would turn an adoring congregation into a murderous mob?

In Sunday's gospel, Jesus reads some scripture, says a few words, and an adoring crowd suddenly turns into a murderous mob.
What would turn an adoring congregation into an angry mob?
Some of you may remember I shared with you an essay that I had run across, which asks us to think for a moment about mathematical set theory.
You remember in geometry what "sets" are: sets are groups of things that belong together. A "closed set" is defined by a border, a line. Everything that is inside the line, border, or boundary belongs to the set. All that is outside the line, border or boundary does not belong.
An "open set" however, does not have a boundary - it is not defined by a line or a border. Rather, an open set is defined by a thing's relationship with the center. All that is moving toward the center belongs; all that is moving away from the center does not.
In open set theory, you can still determine what belongs in the set and what does not belong to the s…

Surreal Joy

It's a surreal joy to see a review on Amazon.com of my book. Never gets old. And they say reviews help a lot, so if you have read Slaying Your Goliaths: How God Can Help, and liked it, please to to Amazon.com and review it! 


Sex, Episcopalians, Anglicans, and For Christ's Sake Can't We All Just Get Along?

I want to offer some thoughts about the recent controversy that has The Episcopal Church[1] and the Anglican Communion back in the news: the fact that Primates (chief bishops of various provinces/national or regional churches) of the Anglican Communion, gathered in Canterbury, England last week released a report that seeks to place temporary sanctions on The Episcopal Church, mostly because of our stance on gay marriage.

I encourage you to read the report yourself in context, but on the (not certain) assumption the Primates have the authority to do what they did, and their action takes effect, The Episcopal Church will been barred, for a period of three years, from full participation in certain Anglican ecumenical and interfaith bodies, “and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion,” it can’t take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.

At first, I wasn’t going to say or write anything about this recent controversy, bec…

Jesus' baptism, and ours

A sermon preached the First Sunday after the Epiphany: The Baptism of our Lord  (January 10, 2016) The Rev. John Ohmer, Rector The Falls Church Episcopal, Falls Church, Virginia
Today is the day set aside in the church year to remember Jesus’ baptism, and therefore it’s a good chance to think about baptism in general. The gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke all have an account of Jesus’ baptism, and there are subtle but important differences. Today I’d like to look at two differences that jump out at me from Luke’s account of the baptism.
First is how it begins: “the people are filled with expectation and questioning in their hearts whether John (the Baptist) might be the messiah.”
It’s human nature to be filled with expectation and to wonder if someone might be the messiah, the savior, the one who will deliver us from our troubles, fix things, restore things, put things right.
As you know, I don’t often get political in my sermons and I never get partisan. But as the election cycle starts g…

Why I'm not buying a Powerball ticket (but will buy a Mega-million one)

I don't have anything to say about David Bowie, so I thought I'd write about the other event people seem to be captivated by, and that's the billion-dollar Powerball lottery.

After prayerful consideration -- really, I considered it, while praying -- I decided I would NOT buy one.
It's not because I hate standing in lines, or because the odds of winning are so horrible. I believe in miracles. And despite the odds, someone (or now, likely many someones) will eventually win this thing. 
And yes, I do realize that even though the odds are nearly impossible, the only way of guaranteeing one can NOT win is by not buying a ticket. 
And that's exactly why I'm not buying a ticket.

I've decided that I honestly, sincerely, do not want to win that much money.   
Now lest you think I'm some holier-than-thou, Zen-like, Ghandi-esque or Ignatius of Loyola-esque person who is perfectly content with my already richer-than-most life -- someone who doesn't dream of hav…

Slaying Your Goliaths

I'm super excited to say that yesterday (January 7th),  Forward Movement, a publisher best known for Forward Day by Day, a daily devotion providing meditations on scripture readings, has started marketing my first book!
The purpose of the book is to make the Bible -- specifically the David and Goliath story -- real. I wrote it to be a practical, "God-help" book (as opposed to a "self-help" book) that helps readers see how God can help them, like David in his battle with Goliath, overcome their seemingly impossible odds.

Two, while I share, in the book, some of my own my own personal struggles to face and overcome various "Goliaths" in my life, it's also very much a book about the faith community I currently serve as Rector: The Falls Church Episcopal. Almost every chapter features "sidebar" stories about the giants this faith community has faced in its recent history.

When I first started writing the book, I hadn't intended to take t…