Luke 18:9-14, Being Before God and Letting Go of Our Past

[October 23, 2016] Here is another familiar parable. Let us look at it again and be careful to not let it say more than it says so that we can hear as much as it says. In other words, it might be easy to confuse the message of this parable with the cheap . . . → Read More: Luke 18:9-14, Being Before God and Letting Go of Our Past

Luke 16, 19-31, The Fate of Those Who Love Money

[September 25, 2016] Way back in chapter 14 of Luke’s gospel, the WAY of Jesus’ apostolate came under the scrutiny of some Pharisees and Jesus was kind enough to explain to them what he was doing and why, and how their way was not only wrong but was going to get them humiliated . . . → Read More: Luke 16, 19-31, The Fate of Those Who Love Money

Luke 14:25-35, The Cost of Discipleship

[September 4, 2016] The outline of the sermon I gave at the First Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) of Passaic, NJ:

Recalling how chapter 14 of Luke’s gospel began …

In verses 1-6 … When Jesus healed the man with edema on the Sabbath, the kingdom of God had come into their midst. – The . . . → Read More: Luke 14:25-35, The Cost of Discipleship

Luke 14:1, 7-14, Becoming the Least for the Sake of the Lesser

[August 28, 2016] In Luke 14:1—17:19 two things are set in contrast:

The way of the self-righteous Pharisees and the way of Jesus and those whom he sends.

In this section Jesus demonstrates by word and deed that he has been sent and anointed by God in the way of God’s . . . → Read More: Luke 14:1, 7-14, Becoming the Least for the Sake of the Lesser

Romans 1:26-27, Does This Passage Refer to Homosexuality?

[June 20, 2016] People often refer to this passage to “prove” that God condemns same-sex orientation and sexuality. It is a bad idea to interpret any passage of Paul in isolation from its context, so let us try not to make that mistake here. Paul is a great expounder of the Jewish Scriptures . . . → Read More: Romans 1:26-27, Does This Passage Refer to Homosexuality?

The Name into Which We Are Baptized Is the Form of Our Life

14-year-old Cecile, martyred in 177 C.E.

[May 22, 2016] Today is Trinity Sunday. On Easter Sunday Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to the Father, after which his human nature became glorified; he then met with his gathered disciples and breathed into them his own breath, that is, the breath of . . . → Read More: The Name into Which We Are Baptized Is the Form of Our Life

John 17:20-26, The Conclusion of Jesus’ Priestly Prayer

[May 8, 2016] Today is the Seventh Sunday of Easter, the last of the Easter Season. This past Thursday was the Ascension and in one week we will come to the Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the church in order that Christ may continue the apostolate that . . . → Read More: John 17:20-26, The Conclusion of Jesus’ Priestly Prayer

Prayers, and the Problem of God’s Existence

Someone wrote to me and I gave them a quick though unsatisfactory answer. This is what I wrote:

About the word “agnostic,” I know what you mean. Can I believe in some personal entity that is supposed to be all powerful, all knowing, etc., who is also paying close attention to . . . → Read More: Prayers, and the Problem of God’s Existence

Palm Sunday

[March 20, 2016, on Facebook] Today is Palm Sunday, though the churches have ruined it by making it also Passion Sunday. Sermons are usually off-topic anyway, and even when they’re not, they’re usually vacant, especially since they lost their function of helping us “recognize” Christ in the gospel (and in the whole of . . . → Read More: Palm Sunday

Ephesians 1:3-6, 15-19 (January 3, 2016)

Part One

“Blessed be the God and Father OF our Lord Jesus Christ …”

Paul praises God, not as a supreme deity or a philosophical abstraction but, as the “Father OF our Lord Jesus Christ.” Everything that he says after this is premised on this, that the divinity to which he . . . → Read More: Ephesians 1:3-6, 15-19 (January 3, 2016)