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Two Snarky Comics and a Sermonette on Science

About two weeks ago, I went on a one-day low-carb diet. It was not out of any affinity for Dr. Atkins or Tim Noakes or my palaeolithic ancestors. Instead, I was intentionally starving my body of carbohydrates so that the next day I could be injected with a radioactive sugar and then lie in a machine that would take three-dimensional internal scans of my body and monitor the gamma-ray emissions from the sugar to detect whether any parts of my body were absorbing it at an inordinate rate, which … [Read More...]


Cut from the Sermon: What Jesus Said About His Coming

This past Sunday, I preached on the Second Coming of the Lord - asking "what is the Second Coming, and what does it mean to me?" Give it a listen. This sermon was a tough one - the first draft was double the length it needed to be, so there was a fair amount of painful cutting. I always find it particularly hard to cut Scripture passages; maybe posting these sections here will help assuage the pain a little. The first section I cut way back was on the Lord's words about His purpose in His first … [Read More...]

Bathsheba's Son Dies

Cut from the Sermon: Feeling Guilty about Being Serene

On Sunday I preached about life going on after death - both for the person who has died, and for the people left behind (click here for sermon audio). In the first draft of my sermon I considered building on comments about a passage from 2 Samuel that our head pastor Malcolm had made in his sermon last week; I ended up cutting it because it took too long to frame and the sermon was long already. The passage recounts what King David said when his infant son died: "I shall go to him, but he shall n … [Read More...]

How Dante cover

Idolatry: Staring at Your Own Finger

A month or so ago I was trying to put Samuel (one and a half) to bed and he was being a complete goofball: swaying from side to side, dancing in circles, and cycling through all his animal sounds in rapid succession. As I lay there on his bed, my primary thought was, "Ugh - do I have time to go get my phone to film this? It's too dark anyway. Shoot! This would be PERFECT to share on Facebook." After several minutes agonising over how I might be able to record this - all the while only half … [Read More...]


The World As It Is, or As It Ought to Be?

Anne and I have identified a fundamental difference in the way we look at the world - a difference that ends up being behind a significant percentage of our disagreements and arguments. In simplest terms, the difference is this: I tend to look at the world as it is, and Anne tends to look at the world as it ought to be. This isn’t to claim I have any special insight into the way the world works. It’s also not to say that Anne is naive, or that I lack visions and ideals. It’s rather a matter of pe … [Read More...]


Abandon Hope: Dante, Swedenborg, and the Eternity of Hell

I’m looking forward to reading Rod Dreher’s upcoming book How Dante Can Save Your Life, about Dreher's life-changing experience reading Dante's Divine Comedy. Inspired partly by Dreher’s blogging and partly by conversations I had last year with a congregant back in western Canada, I finally dove into the Divine Comedy a few weeks ago, and I've made my way with Dante down through the Inferno and on through to the base of Mount Purgatory. I may pause here at the foot of the mountain for a while; I’ … [Read More...]


Why Satisfaction Theory Is So Satisfying (Even Though It’s Wrong)

On his "Glory to God for All Things" blog last week, Orthodox priest Fr. Stephen Freeman posted on the Orthodox perspective on Jesus’ atonement in contrast to the theory of penal substitution (penal substitution is the theory that Jesus died instead of you to take on the punishment due to you from God for your sins). Fr. Stephen argues that even the passages that seem to directly imply “penal substitution” atonement, or at least some form of “satisfaction theory” (i.e. Jesus died as a substitutio … [Read More...]

Cut from the Sermon: Indiana Jones and the Leap of Faith

This past Sunday, I preached on doubt. More specifically, I preached on ways to accept and walk with doubt, rather than trying to shove it away. Near the end of the sermon I spoke about the need to walk in trust (rather than trying to force oneself to believe). I was going to use a scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade to illustrate the point, but I ended up replacing it with a more everyday example. I'm sure the scene has been overused in sermons (I've heard it used before, and Anne says … [Read More...]


Cut from the Sermon: Better than Everyone Else

This week I preached on the final chapter of the Book of Amos. From the first draft to the final draft I cut the sermon in half, so there was plenty to choose from for this week's "Cut from the Sermon" entry, but I was saddest to cut a passage from Arcana Coelestia that I love (mostly because it convicts me every time I read it). In the original sermon I spent more time focusing on the primary sin that Amos was calling out: an attitude of superiority, both in Israel's attitude toward the nations … [Read More...]


Cut from the Sermon: The Grief of Caring

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm starting a series called "Cut from the Sermon" (or, per my wife Anne's suggestion, "Left on the Vestry Floor"), consisting of snippets that I had to cut from my sermons due to length or relevance considerations. Here's the first one, from the sermon I preached on Sunday (part of a series on the book of Amos; you can find earlier sermons in the series here and here.)This excerpt came in the sermon after the suggestion (at about 16 minutes in the sermon … [Read More...]