“Costly Truth, Costly Forgiveness” (A Progressive Christian Lectionary Commentary on Matt 18 for Sept 4, 2011)

I. Anne Taylor’s Saint Maybe, part oneChristian ethicist Stanley Hauerwas has made the important connection that we can learn a lot about the Christian practice of forgiveness from the character Ian Bedloe in Anne Taylor’s novel Saint Maybe.As the story goes, one day a plate glass window attracts Ian’s attention as he walks down the street. The window reads, “The Church of the Second Chance.” He can hear a hymn being sung by inside. He almost keeps walking, but instead quietly ent … [Read more...]

Lectionary Commentary: “Progressive Christianity on Ascension Sunday”

The book of Acts reports that Jesus ascended to heaven forty days after the Resurrection.  Accordingly, a tradition developed of celebrating Ascension Day forty days after Easter Sunday.  That means Ascension Day is always celebrated on a Thursday.  But many churches that gather for worship only once a week, move this festival to the following Sunday — celebrating “Ascension Sunday” instead of “Ascension Day.”  So, for most Christians Ascension Day itself is usually “just another Thursday” with t … [Read more...]

Lectionary Commentary: “Practicing Transfiguration”

What can we do beyond merely admiring Jesus’ Transfiguration? Said differently, what could it mean to practice Transfiguration? I owe my title to a 2010 sermon of the same name by one of my mentors, Dr. Bruce Epperly. His angle of approach reminds me of Wendell Berry's injunction to "practice Resurrection" from one of my favorite poems "The Mad Farmer's Liberation Front" -- although I could also credit Harry Potter for an entirely different meaning of practicing transfiguration!Before pro … [Read more...]