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Showing posts from September, 2014

A Simple Way to Avoid Religious Hypocrisy

In Sunday’s gospel, we hear Jesus’ story, or parable, about a man who has two sons . The man approaches his first son and says, “Go work in the vineyard today.” That son rudely tells his father “no” – he’s not going to do it. Says he won’t work. Refuses. But later, he changes his mind and goes. He actually does go work in the vineyard. The father goes to his second son and says the same thing: “Go work in the vineyard today.” The second son is very polite, and agreeable. He says “yes, sir!” But he doesn’t do what he’d been told to do.  He doesn’t actually go do anything.   Then Jesus – the one telling the story, asks – “so, what do you think? Which of these two did the will of the father?” The answer, of course is the son who actually did what he’d been told to do . The person who is obedient is not the one who says all the right things, believes all the right things, or has all the right intentions. According to Jesus, the person who is obedient to God the Fath

You've Won the Forgiveness Lottery. Now What?

Based on the g ospel passages that have been assigned the past couple weeks, I've been saying that "when it comes to forgiveness, we have hit the lottery." Last week's gospel in particular reinforced this point: Jesus giving us a parable about what the Kingdom of Heaven is like, and saying it's like someone (and that someone is you) who owes 6 billion dollars begs for mercy and not only gets mercy, but has it all forgiven.  So why would that someone (you), when running into someone else who owes a 6 thousand dollar "debt" (offense, sin) refuse to forgive that relatively smaller amount? You're a freakin' billionaire, many times over, when it comes to your own being forgiven, but you're keeping tabs, refusing to forgive a relatively small amount owed you?!? You've won the forgiveness lottery.  Be abundantly generous with forgiveness, just as God is and has been abundantly generous with it toward you.

Intimacy and Transcendence. And Ministry Fairs.

Every once in a while, the cosmic roulette wheel of “what I happen to be reading” lines up with the ball drop of “what I happen to be wrestling with.”   Like this past week: What I happened to be reading was a selection of readings taken from Eugene Peterson’s Subversive Spirituality , and it lined up with what I happened to be wrestling with, which was this Sunday’s annual Ministry Fair.   Peterson writes that unfortunately, American culture has all but been reduced to thing and function . “Typically,” he writes, “at the outset, people are delighted to find themselves living in such a culture.  It is wonderful to have all these things coming our way, without having to worry about their nature or purpose.  And it is wonderful to have this incredible freedom to do so much, without bothering about relationships or meaning.  But after a few years of this, our delight diminishes as we find ourselves lonely among the things and bored with our freedom. Our first response is