Sermon – September 7, 2014

Narrative Lectionary text:  Genesis 6:16-22; 9:8-15 (Flood and Promise)


I have a poorly-kept secret to share:  the Flood story isn’t real.  Didn’t happen.  It’s not a baseline for determining the age of the earth; it’s not a historical record of how God once got so mad at humanity that we got drowned.  Furthermore, it’s not precisely “our” story (in any Judeo-Christian sense), because there are hundreds of versions of it in cultures spanning the globe; in fact, we spent three weeks studying many of those stories last spring.  What we do have is our version of the story—a unique take on the Flood that came from Israel—and make no mistake:  it is unique, especially when compared to its predecessors in the Ancient Near East, that land we now know as the Middle East.  To understand that uniqueness, though, we have to study and know our own version. Continue reading

Sermon – August 24, 2014

Narrative Lectionary text:  Ruth 4


It occurs to me that I inadvertently misspoke last week, when I referenced again what I saw as three ways the story of Ruth is valuable.  The first, again, was of its testimony about the abundance of God versus the scarcity we so often grasp.  The third was the story’s inestimable value as a voice for gender equality in a world and a church where all too often women are still told they are inferior to men.  The second was that it gives us a glimpse into the lineage of David—and it was here that I misspoke, because I said I would not address that.


Continue reading

Sermon – August 17, 2014

Narrative Lectionary text:  Ruth 3

Two weeks ago I offered three perspectives on the value of the book of Ruth. One was that it spoke of abundance and scarcity. Another was that it tells the story of an ancestor of David. The third one is that it is a great story that is one of the only Bible books that focuses on a woman—and more than that, it’s driven by not just one, but two female main characters, Ruth and Naomi. The significance of this last bit cannot be overstated, because the Bible is, fundamentally, an “androcentric” work, meaning that it focuses primarily on men. Of this there can be no doubt. Continue reading

Sermon – August 10, 2014

Narrative Lectionary text:  Ruth 2

There’s a fine line between “coincidence” and “Providence”.  Coincidence is when something happens to you unexpectedly conveniently, like hitting nothing but green lights on a drive through town, or the mailman showing up just as you walk out to check the mail, or the store having an endcap sale for exactly the item you needed but had no idea where to find.  Providence, on the other hand, is coincidence colored by the conviction that God has instigated it.  The fine line comes in discerning when an event is one, and not the other. Continue reading

Sermon – August 3, 2014

Narrative Lectionary text:  Ruth 1

Today we begin a four-week exploration of the book of Ruth, a short story that serves several purposes.  One is to elaborate upon an ancestor of the lineage of King David—notably, a Moabite woman.  Another is to provide a vivid and eminently tellable tale that is driven by not just one, but two prominent female protagonists.  The third, which concerns me the most today, is to speak of the problem of scarcity, and how the God of Israel is fundamentally a God of abundance. Continue reading