"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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Salt and Light: "Accountability is not about watching what you are doing. It is about being on fire."
There's a definition of "accountability" I heard some time ago, one I shared last Sunday during our Adult Forum's exploration of the Sermon on the Mount.
"Accountability is not about watching what you are doing. It is about being on fire."
That seems to be the point Jesus is making when he tells his followers that they - we - are "the salt of the earth" and "the light of the world."
There is a great scene a in the movie Walk the Line, the movie about Johnny Cash, that makes this same point:
It's where Johnny Cash is first auditioning, when he and two of his buddies are singing a gospel song to the famous producer Sam Phillips.
Sam interrupts them and tells them he can't sell gospel, not the way they were singing it, because when he was singing it, he didn't believe him.Johnny Cash is offended and says, "are you saying I don't believe in God?"
Sam Phillips says, "You know exactly what I'm telling you. We've already heard that song a hundred times. Just like that. Just... like... how... you... sing it.
"Bring... bring it home? All right, let's bring it home. If you was hit by a truck and you was lying out there in that gutter dying, and you had time to sing ONE song. Huh?
"One song that people would remember before you're dirt. One song that would let God know how you felt about your time here on Earth. One song that would sum you up.
"You tellin' me that's the song you'd sing?
"That same Jimmy Davis tune we hear on the radio all day, about your 'peace within,' and how it's real, and how you're gonna shout it?
"Or... would you sing somethin' different. Somethin' real. Somethin' YOU felt.
"Cause I'm telling you right now, that's the kind of song people want to hear. That's the kind of song that truly saves people."
That's when Johnny Cash tells him he does have a couple other songs that he hadn't thought about sharing...
...and he rips into Folsom Prison Blues.
And launches an astonishing career.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ: accountability is not about watching what you are doing. It's about being on fire; seasoning those around you with your unique salt, being and bringing the Light that you uniquely were put on the face of this earth to bring.
If you don't be that salt you are meant to be, or bring the Light that you are meant to bring - if you yield to the easy but soul- and joy-killing temptation to live someone else's life or the life someone else thinks you should be living, you'll go to your grave having deprived the world of some of the reasons God put you here.
So let's be -- and help one another be -- accountable: on fire.
One of the joys of my ministry is leading children's chapel for our Day School every other Wednesday (Rev. Cathy and I take turns). About 11:30 each Wednesday, the children - about a 190 of them, ranging in age from 18 months to five years of age - file in with their teachers, take their places in the pews in the Historic Church, and wait for Mrs. Thomas, the Day School Director, to start us. The service is simple: Mrs. Thomas welcomes everyone, brings us to order with a short prayer, and introduces Rev. Cathy or me. We give a short message based on the theme of the week ("David the Shepherd," "Mary and Joseph Go to Bethlehem," "Jesus is Born," "Jesus as a Little Boy" and so on.) After the homily, we stand and say what's called "The Children's Creed." I believe in God above, I believe in Jesus' love. I believe His Spirit too, comes to tell me what to do. I believe that I can be kind and good, dear Lord, like Thee.
A Church and a Christianity people and want to be part of Sermon preached November 22, 2020 Interim Dean John Ohmer All Souls Cathedral, Asheville, NC Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus said, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you
Farewell, The Falls Church Episcopal The Rev. John Ohmer, Rector The Falls Church Episcopal October 27, 2019 Well I’ll name the elephant in the living room up front, which is that this is my last service here with you as your Rector, and therefore this is my final sermon. I don’t have anything new to say to you this morning. But, I hope, I’ve never had anything new to say to you - I hope I have spent seven years and two months reminding you of old truths, ancient truths, lasting truths. Seven years and two months: that's roughly 366 Sundays, and while of course I’ve only preached on slightly more than half of those Sundays, most Sundays we preach twice, and so roughly speaking, I figure I’ve preached over 350 times here. And in all those sermons I’ve really only been trying to make three points. One, you are the Body of Christ and individually members of it. Two, when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, he said “love the Lord your