8 Ways to Preach About Charlottesville, White Supremacy, and Racial Justice

Did you preach about Charlottesville and racial hatred this past Sunday?  No?  Then this Sunday is your chance. The KKK/Nazi rally with white people carrying torches and threatening clergy and counter-protesters resulted in numerous injuries and one death by vehicular homicide.  Now is the time for clergy to speak about the justice issues surrounding the white nationalist events in Charlottesville and across our nation.  Here are 8 ways to preach about Charlottesville by crafting a sermon that confronts the realities of... Read more

9 Reasons You Need to Preach about Charlottesville and White Supremacy

Last evening I met with some of my students at Lexington Theological Seminary in an online conversation about race, preaching, and the church’s response to the events in Charlottesville, Virginia.  The KKK/Nazi rally with white people carrying torches and threatening clergy and counter-protesters resulted in numerous injuries and one death by vehicular homicide.  I asked my students how many of their pastors were willing preach about Charlottesville or acknowledge what had happened in some way – either in the prayers,... Read more

The Harp Sermon: A Response to Charlottesville and Racial Hatred

In addition to being a preaching professor, I am also a harpist.  I was guest preaching at my home congregation, Gethsemane Lutheran in Lexington, Kentucky, on the Sunday after the deadly Nazi/KKK rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.  In this ‘Harp Sermon,’ I draw on St. Paul’s analogy of the body and compare it to the instrument of the harp to talk about the sin of white supremacy. This is the time for all clergy to firmly proclaim God’s intention for diversity... Read more

7 Ways Your Church Can Support Your Female Pastor

On July 31, 2017, I posted a piece entitled “Top Ten Things Never to Say to Your Female Pastor.”  Within 48 hours the post had over 10,000 hits and generated a wide ranging discussion across social media among both female and male clergy and laity alike. Female pastors shared other demeaning, hurtful, and subtly sexist or chauvinistic remarks said to them over the course of their ministries.  Some of them raised issues I had not named in my original list... Read more

Top 10 Things Never to Say to Your Female Pastor

So your church has a pastor – who just happens to be female.  Congratulations!  Given that many denominations and individual churches still do not allow females to be ordained clergy, the fact that your church has accepted a female pastor is cause for celebration. Inadvertent sexism But despite your best efforts to be supportive of your female pastor, it’s likely that some in your church (and maybe even you yourself) have said or done things that have been hurtful, undermined... Read more

Book Review: Preaching the Women of the Old Testament

Preaching the Women of the Old Testament: Who They Were and Why They Matter.  By Lynn Japinga. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2017. 221 pages. This book is a gift to the church Lynn Japinga has given the church a tremendous gift in this book that covers 40 women of the Old Testament with equal measures of insight, wit, and grace.  She has a talent for unearthing the hidden treasures of women’s stories, asking just the right questions of... Read more

Sermon: Finding the Mustard Seed in the Arboretum of Faith

A sermon for the stately cedar, the young sapling, the wild bush, and even the tiniest mustard seed. Texts:  1 Kings 3:5-12, Psalm 119:129-136, Romans 8:26-39; Matt. 13:31-33, 44-52 Our readings today are all about growth, taking us on a tour in an arboretum of faith.  From the deep roots of our elders, to the new branches and buds visible in our very youngest members, the Church is meant to be a place where every type of plant, and every... Read more

Watching ‘Blade Runner’ in the Age of Black Lives Matter

Blade Runner is my favorite movie of all time.  And I am super-excited to see the sequel, Blade Runner 2049. But I’ve come to realize that the movie takes on a different meaning in the age of Black Lives Matter. “More human than human” Released in 1982 and directed by Ridley Scott, the dystopian sci-fi movie Blade Runner is set in 2019 Los Angeles where the rain never ceases and the sun is always shrouded by a thick curtain of... Read more

Do You Like Our Owl? ‘Blade Runner’ and Climate Change

Like other Blade Runner geeks, I am eagerly awaiting the sequel to the dystopian sci-fi movie slated for this coming October. But when I recently re-watched the original film, I suddenly realized that climate change was written all over it. I was 11 when Blade Runner was released in 1982. Over the years I have studied all aspects of the movie, from the lush synthetic music by Vangelis, to the tightly-written script, to the behind-the-scenes documentary.  The film, loosely based... Read more

Book Review: Eco-Reformation – Grace and Hope for a Planet in Peril

Eco-Reformation: Grace and Hope for a Planet in Peril Edited by Lisa E. Dahill and James B. Martin-Schramm. Cascade Books, Wipf and Stock Publishers, 283 pp., $36.00 If sixteen Lutheran scholars write a book about the need for an ecological reformation to mark the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s posting of the 95 Theses, should anyone but Lutherans read it?  Non-Lutherans may be tempted to bypass this volume assuming that the essays within are nothing more than an echo chamber... Read more
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