The Pentecost sermon I preached at the Festival of Homiletics

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
5Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,11Cretans and Arabs — in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” 12All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”
14But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning.

-Acts 2

A few years ago a local Lutheran church gifted House for All Sinners and Saints a full set of used paraments.  My church is like every other church’s little sister so we get a lot of hand me downs.  As a group of us went through these beautiful altar cloths we came finally to the red set and found one with an image of a descending dove with completely crazy eyes and claws that looked like talons. Yep.   It was as though the Holy Spirit was a raptor.  “Man, someone said. We can’t use this one it makes The Holy Spirit look dangerous.” That was some completely sound advise.

I hear people describe Pentecost as the birthday of the church…which has always kind of smacked of oversentimentality to me.  Because it’s not exactly a quaint story.  It’s a dangerous one. The story opens with that small group of believers isolating themselves as the text says, all together in one place.   They were perhaps afraid of outsiders so they all stayed together. Had they actually known better they would have been afraid of not dispersing because what was about to happen would have freaked out even the bravest amongst us. They were in danger but not from outsiders – the danger they were in, as they sat all together in one place, was from a God who is about to crash the party and bring in everyone they were trying to avoid.

Things got crazy then with the wind and voices and languages and fire and all that. It can feel like all the crazy stuff that happened that Pentecost day in first century Palestine bares little resemblance to what the church has become in  21st century America.  There were no organs or committees or vacation bible school.  At the so-called birth of the church there were no ushers handing the Parthians a bulletin.   The Medes didn’t have a bake sale after the service.   It can be hard to see any resemblance at all from how we started to what we have become.  ….Well, unless we look at the people.  In which case there is honestly no difference what so ever.

See, we still have fear and isolation in the church. It’s called sectarianism.  So nothing’s changed there.  And those people who did the whole speaking in tongues thing …well, obviously they are the Pentecostals. And that long list of how many different nationalities showed up must have been added by the first UCC’er bragging about their multiculturalism.  Nothing’s changed there.  Then there were those who witnessed this powerful act of God…this Pente-chaos and, in an attempt at intellectualizing it, all they said was “well what does this mean?” So they were like, the first Lutherans.

And the ones who said  “Those people are drunk” were perhaps some Evangelicals focused on the personal morality of others. So that’s not changed a whole lot.   Then finally there’s the nice but completely naive guy who says “O my gosh, there’s no way they can be drunk…it’s only 9 o clock in the morning”  So there we have what we like to call the Methodists.

Nothing’s changed much.  People are people. There are the emotional ones, the judgemental one, the naïve ones, and of course the ones like myself who insist on categorizing and naming everyone as though people can be reduced to a label.  Honestly.

So there we all are even from the beginning.  Flawed, smug, confused, embarrassed and embarrassing…in other words the very people to whom God sends the spirit.

Because see, God hasn’t changed either. Just like that first Pentecost, God still crashes are parties and invites in the people we are trying to avoid. God still says yes to all our polite no thank yous.  This is what is actually so dangerous about the whole thing.  In which case, that red parament with the crazy taloned raptor dove is actually more apt of an image for the Holy Spirit than some soft focus hallmark card dove gently flying in a water color sky. Obviously when speaking of the Holy Spirit we have to revert to all these metaphors of comforter and dove and wind but the thing to remember is that the Holy Spirit….is not a metaphor.  Because she will mess you up.  Metaphors can’t do that.

Because the Spirit, while called the comforter does not bring the warm chocolate chip cookies and a night-night story kind of comfort.  The Spirit brings the comfort of the truth – and if you’ve had any experience of the truth whatsoever you can testify that it’s not exactly cozy.

It sure didn’t feel cozy to me last Summer when my congregation experienced a big demographic shift. Some churches might fear drag queens and homeless folks.  But All of the sudden last Summer, at House for All Sinners and Saints, we had middle aged people driving in from the suburbs.  People who wear Dockers and eat at Applebys. We were a special, DIY kind of church; we made art and sang a capella and we sat in the round.

I started to resent that my precious little indie boutique of a church was turning into a 7-11 and I was terrified that the more edgy, marginalized people who we had always attracted would now come and see a bunch of people who looked like their parents and think wellthis obviously isn’t for me.

So I called a church meeting for us to talk about the growth and demographic changes at House with the hopes that if the people who had been around House from the beginning just said who they are and what the church has always been about then the new people who really don’t belong there would self-select out realizing it’s really not meant for them.  And even while I was planning it, it felt really wrong. Exhibit C:  It’s painful to be a pastor when you’re really not that good of a Christian.

Luckily before we were able to be “all together in one place” for that stupid idea of a meeting, the plan changed.  The plan changed because I underwent what I can only describe as a heart transplant.  This is what the prophet Ezekiel describes when God said to him; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

It didn’t feel like a removal though.  Removal is far too pleasant a word. My heart was ripped out.  When my own heart starts to feel bitter and judgy and hard, God says enough. And without anesthesia or a sterile environment God reaches in and rips out my heart of stone and replaces it (yet again) with a heart of flesh.  You’d think that with as often as this particular procedure happens to me I’d have, like a zip-lock or something installed in my chest for easier access but  apparently that’s not how it works.

See, the heart transplant happened when I called my friend Russell who I expected to sympathize with me.  But Russell refused to cooperate.  Yeah. That sucks, he said. You guys are really good at “welcoming the stranger” when it’s a young transgender person.  But Nadia, sometimes “the stranger” looks like your mom and dad. I wanted to hold the phone out in front of me and yell You’re supposed to be my friend! before hanging up.

But I couldn’t.  Because in that moment I could feel actual blood and love pumping through my body for what felt like the first time in weeks.  Russell spoke the truth.    And the truth set me free and that, my friends, is the work of the Holy Spirit.   And I’m here to tell you, it didn’t feel like a chocolate chip cookie or a night night story.

See, if we as preachers really believe that the truth enters our ears as the preached Word…then we simply have to put ourselves in the position of having Truth spoken to us too because that’s how the Holy Spirit works.

So when the meeting day finally arrived, I knew what really needed to happen. The new folks with the Dockers needed to tell us who they were and why they were there, so that the young people with the tattoos who’d been around since the beginning could hear what this church was actually about.

I sucked it up and I told them that horrible thing Russell had said to me about welcoming your parents.

Then Asher speaks up and says As the young transgender kid who was welcomed into this community, I just want to go on the record as saying that I’m really glad there are people at church now who look like my mom and dad.  Because I have a relationship with them that I just can’t with my own parents.

There we all were: flawed, smug, confused, embarrassed and embarrassing…in other words the very people to whom God sends the spirit to mess everything up. The very people God loves enough to send that crazed bird with bared talons and a predatory beak to come and snatch out our stony hearts and replace them with the comfort of God’s own.

Because God hasn’t changed. Just like that first Pentecost God still says yes to all our polite no thank yous.  God still crashes our parties and invites in the people we are trying to avoid. That’s the thing about the Pentecost Spirit of truth: it feels like the truth might crush us. And that is right.  The truth crushes us, but the instant it crushes us it put us back together into something real.  Perhaps for the first time.

Because the radical and mysterious and dangerous thing the Spirit does has always been to form us into the Body of Christ. Sometimes despite us, sometimes against us, but always for us. Because it is only the Spirit who can turn us from a “they” into a “we”.

Amen.

 

Post Script:

We are stronger now as a church.  Now you can look around on any given Sunday and think I am unclear what all these people have in common. Because in one corner of your eye is a homeless guy serving communion to a corporate lawyer and out of the corner of the other is a teenage girl with pink hair holding the baby of a suburban soccer mom.  And there I was a year ago fearing that the weirdness of our church was going to be diluted.

About Nadia Bolz Weber

I am the founding Pastor at House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado. We are an urban liturgical community with a progressive yet deeply rooted theological imagination. Learn more at www.houseforall.org

  • Keli

    Thank you, Nadia. I’m no longer the young, hip, messed up young woman I used to be. I’m now the 50-something “Mom”-like person (though I still feel young and messed up at times). Thank you for welcoming people like me. We want to be a part of this welcoming, wild, wonderful Church filled with the Holy Spirit’s wind, and sometimes the churches we’re “supposed” to belong to have given up on the welcoming and wild part of the equation.

  • Jan

    With so much emphasis being put on the God/Son part of the Trinity- the Holy Spirit doesn’t get a lot of lip service, except on Pentecost. We prefer to ignore those soft whispers and gentle nudges to give, to share, to accept. Thank you for reminding us that we need to open our hearts to let the Holy Wind sweep through and remove the dust from our too comfy faith.

  • eliza jane getman

    amen. thanks for the heart transplant reminder. i’m undergoing a paradigm shift at the moment too. sucks. but so worth it. thank you for your voice and your honesty.

  • Evan Oakley

    I teach creative writing at a community college. I have often had the experience of looking around at a collection of fledgling romantics: dye-haired, tattooed, pierced, goth-influenced, occassionally homeless, sexually varied, youth. Many of them pattern themselves in a way they think to be edgy and poetic. But in many classes, there is one quiet person in the back, sometimes young, sometimes older, whose dress and demeanor is non-descript. Not only do they appear boringly ordinary, they barely register, as if they might disappear. And they are quite often the very best writers, the most original and strange. Their words make me wonder, “Who are you?” They are the authentic eccentrics. But they are so truly awkward that they can barely make it in the world. They don’t have the inner resources to pose as counter-culture rebels, they can’t afford the luxury of further alienating themselves from society, it is all they can do just to aspire to “normalcy.” It took me somewhile to identify and understand who these strangers were. They were the true solitaries seeking the lone encounter of god and poetry. And you can never tell who they are by their appearance.

    • http://www.sarcasticlutheran.com Nadia Bolz Weber

      i love that. so true. i often tell people: don’t be fooled; my coolness is really only skin deep.

  • Heather Godsey

    Is it strange that this chubby, caucasian, egghead DOC minister wants to figure out how to move to Denver in order to be in a church that looks like this?

  • Susan

    Thank you for this beautiful sermon. We have a Pentecost banner in which the dove’s wings are folded close to its body, and it’s heading straight down. There are marks indicating a downward motion as well. It sort of looks like it is about to dive-bomb someone or something. I now have a whole new perspective on this banner. Perhaps we as a church, and individuals, need an occasional dive-bombing by the Holy Spirit.

  • D.E. Bishop

    Good sermon. Good comments.
    I love the cuddly cozy feelings I sometimes get from dear HS. But most often, she scares the hell out of me! I have no control. She does whatever she wants, when she wants. On the other hand, she’s not just random. There is a point, a purpose, to her dive-bombing. My job is to notice, pay attention, and learn. Unfortunately, it is my history with HS that I require multiple lessons. Damn!

    Still, what else would I do? Walk away? Nah. I get so much more than I give. Hell, I get even when I don’t give at all. Walmart – take notice!

  • Amanda Duerre

    I love the inclusiveness and unity you promote in this sermon. I am curious about how you would answer these questions, if you wouldn’t mind. I sincerely would like to know your response. What, in your mind, is the purpose of the unity? What is the purpose of accepting and loving all people? Why does the Spirit work within us and why are the “messed up” given the privilege of the Spirit?

    • http://nadiabolzweber Sharon Fox Bogen

      Hi Amanda, Interesting questions which seem to have important answers or possibilities:
      1. I can’t think of any relationship that works without unity – marriage, friends, family, work group, schoolmates, and certainly our churches. Been to too many churches who don’t work on unity but use power to get what they themselves or their group wants done. We need more unity and God knew it all along! Can’t be the church without the Holy Spirit.
      2. When I accept and love another person, we are both transformed – renewed, enlightened, changed, more alive. It’s wonderful when given the chance, it’s often difficult and dangerous and requires compromise, give and take; I think the Holy Spirit likes this kind of growth and relishing of someone other than ourselves. It’s really lonely only thinking of yourself. I know as I find myself gazing inward all too often which makes me worried, self-centered, and unaware of life’s fullness. Cool that the Holy Spirit continues Christ’s work of daily sin removal; I could not do it without the dive or the cuddly breast of God! 3. Does that answer the within question, too? I mean really so much is going on in my head and heart and soul, well even my body all the time that I figure that’s where the Holy Spirit better shake, rattle and roll.
      4. Now for the “messed up” given the privilege of the Spirit….that’s easy….there are no other people to choose from. God’s so full of love that God can’t help but loving every single one of us….I can’t do that, although being a parent I have a notion of how to give undeserved love. I’m grateful for the Spirit in any way I might hear her….diving, talons, wind-like, breath-like, winged protection, or even in the vastness of water, sky, or stars…if I listen carefully and notice, I am often blessed every time I gather with people of God – even when they are boring, theologically incorrect,offensive and sing off key. My church is not as cool as I would like; I am not as cool as I would like, but the Spirit could care less….my church and I are loved just as we are…I can hardly believe it…even that the Holy Spirit helps me with. Thank God!

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  • William Munney

    This is probably not going to be a popular thing to say here, but it needs to be said. I hope you take it in the light(and salt) with which it is intended.
    It is one thing to be tolerant and inclusive, but you can not and should not be “all inclusive” or tolerant of everything, without also preaching the consequences of a person’s action(sin). What good is it to welcome a person and get him going in the Christian faith without helping him/her with putting on the WHOLE armor of God? It is like helping a person get on a plane with low fuel and not giving them a parachute when they learn they are going to crash.
    I hope you inform the people who may be in self-destructive lifestyles that there is a way out, and that way is through Christ. Jesus was not just about love, love, love. He also preached that people need to turn away from their sin, and yes that includes sin that in man’s world might not be considered sin by some(woe to those who call good evil, and evil good). But who should you listen to, the world or God? You should know the answer to that.
    When you are truly in Christ, you find you don’t want to do the things in the worldly fashion. Do we do it anyway sometimes in small ways(or sometimes big ways)? Yes, of course. Because we live in a fallen world, but the blood of Christ has washed away our guilt. We are blameless. But does that give us license to get away with anything that might displease God? Of course not, but as I said in the first sentence of this paragraph, you don’t want to do them.

    I also noticed you referred to the Holy Spirit as “she”. Maybe that was a typo or a remnant of a worldly feminist attitude, but you do know that God always refers to Himself(the Trinity) as male. That is not chauvinistic, just fact. You will not find one place in the Bible which states otherwise.

    Now, with all that said. I don’t know alot about your church except what I read here. But I would urge you, if you don’t already, to preach the truth of Christ’s love AND His reproof, for remember, we are to SALT and light. Sometimes salt can sting in a wound.
    Proverbs 5:12
    12 And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof

    • John Pfeiffer

      Jesus taps the irony of the well-meaning mind of the merely religious person when he says to teachers of the Law, “Judge not, in order that you be not judged”. Those who were among the merely religious were, ironically, the very ones responsible for his crucifixion. They, for the sake of dogma, forever plot to place Law on equal footing with the Gospel. The fact that it is the Good News of God’s Love and Forgiveness which leads to deepest convictions of sin, and spiritual motivation for change (and not the other way around), seems forever beyond the grasp of the religious mind!

      One of the most persuasive ironies of the merely religious spirit is that it loves most its ability to base its argument on unassailable authority, whether Scriptural, or otherwise. Metaphor is another concept the religious mind is most reluctant to consider, let alone employ. (God and/or Holy Spirit Male? Of course!)

      I have had one of the best of Biblical and theological Christian educations. They taught me how to be impeccably religious, and teach others. After retirement from the church, I realize I have often been among the merely religious, and now I deservedly get hung up when I pray, “Forgive my sins, as I forgive….”. I used to be comfortable with many dogmas. Now, they all seem to bite, and I am increasingly reluctant to pet any of them.

    • J.D. Pfeiffer

      Careful!
      When I first let the Holy Spirit drive my karma, I was really upset when She hit my favorite dogma, and now all the others are nowhere to be found!

    • Rosa Lee Harden

      You might want to do just the tiniest bit of research about that thing of God never ever ever ever being referred to as feminine in scripture and ALWAYS begin referred to as masculine. You might find a bit of instruction in a deeper look.

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  • Tim Chastain

    I loved it as always. You bring a gentle and loving touch that is needed in our time. I am 60 and a life-long believer raised as a fundamentalist; I am sure I could be a grandfather to some of your constituents. If I lived closer, I would want to come to your church.

  • becky nielsen

    I really like this sermon, love what inspired it. The comments by Evan Oakley are terrific – how many times do we size people up and then have them surprise the heck out of us – with their depth, their vision, their ability to turn things upside down? And the image of the dove with talons – fabulous! Off to the drawing board!

  • Janet L. Bohren

    Nadia, I loved and was moved by your sermon, really appreciate the use of “she” for the Holy Spirit, your honesty, and the story of your church’s and your being changed by the Holy Spirit as you all grow and change. I have followed your blogs for a couple of years now, have used the New Media Project ethnographic study of your church in my recently completed thesis on social media and the church, and have just generally found my spirit fed by following your church’s story through your sermons and blog posts. I pray Ashar ad his folks can some day reconnect, but am so glad some of the people in your church (of his parent’s age) are there for him, if he wants it. Your church also seems to know how to have a lot of fun together and how to take care of each other. I look forward to the continuing saga of life at HFASS and hope you will write a book about it someday soon!
    Janet L. Bohren

  • Darlene Fletcher

    Absolutely RIGHT ON!!! Thanks, for the great message for Pentecost…..I only wish that we lived closer to your “uncommon” church. We would be one of those “looks like Mom and Dad”…….attending to hear your thought provoking sermons and sharing the spirit!

  • thomas rhodes

    Clearly Peter was Presbyterian, as he read from the minutes of the previous Pentecost meeting (Joel 2:28-32.

  • Larry Nelson

    Maybe that corporate lawyer knows that he is as needful of a place to be accepted as the homeless guy, not because of what he manages to accomplish for his bosses day in and day out, but because of what God in Jesus has already accomplished. And maybe that soccer mom finds at HFASS that the questions she’s afraid even to ponder are far less scary when she’s around a bunch of folks that don’t look like they fit in either. Personal experience has taught me that we’re all not very far away from not fitting in, and it’s very rare to find a Christian community where it’s demonstrably OK to be a “misfit”.

    • Robin Owen

      All this reminds me of my favorite song from Lost and Found (www.speedwood.com). Sorry for the shouting… blame the band! But this song brings me to tears for all the babies in the world, whatever their outward appearances, who need us to tell them they are deeply loved by God.

      BABY

      © 1992 LIMB RECORDS/LOST AND FOUND, BOX 305 LEWISTON, NY, 14092. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      HER SHAVED HEAD AND HER PIERCED NOSE, HER BIG ROTWEILLERS AND HER TIE-DYED CLOTHES. HER DR. MAARTENS WITH HER BIKER TIGHTS, HER LONG BLACK LEGGINGS ON A HOT SUMMER NIGHT.

      AND NOBODY CALLS HER BABY, NOBODY SAYS, “I LOVE YOU SO.” NOBODY CALLS HER BABY I GUESS SHE’LL NEVER KNOW.

      HIS WORKING BOOTS AND FLANNEL SHIRTS, HIS SYMPATHIES BURIED AS DEEP AS HIS HURTS, LONG LONELY WALKS WITH NOWHERE TO GO AND HIS ONLY APPOINTMENT IS WITH A TV SHOW.

      EIGHTY POUNDS SHE’S HARDLY WHOLE, LOSING HER BODY TO GAIN SOME CONTROL. HOURS ALONE IN SOME TANNING SALON, TRYING A SMALLER AND SMALLER SIZE ON.

      HIS PIN-STRIPED SUITS AND HIS WING-TIPPED SHOES, HIS LAP-TOP COMPUTER AND HIS WALL STREET NEWS, HE MAKES HIS PLANE AND KEEPS HIS PACE. HE HIDES HIS PAIN BEHIND A POKER FACE.

      BUT SOMEBODY LOVES THOSE BABIES. SOMEBODY LOVES WHAT WE CAN’T SEE. AND IF SOMEBODY TOLD THEM MAYBE THOSE BABIES WOULD BE FREE.

  • michaEL

    Who is it that says, “Lord”, Lord”!?!

    by michaEL

    Mat 7:22 “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
    Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart… from me, ye that work iniquity.”

    Who is it that calls Jesus “Lord”? Hindus? No. Zoroastrians? No. Muslims? No. Buddhist? No. CHRISTIANS? YES!
    So Jesus/Yeshua is speaking to professing Christians “that work iniquity.”
    Now, what is “iniquity” (G458/ἀνομία/anomia) ?

    From Thayer’s Greek Definitions:
    ANOMIA
    1) the condition of without law
    1a) because ignorant of it
    1b) because of violating it
    2) contempt and violation of law, iniquity, wickedness

    The Septuagint/LXX (Greek translation of the Hebrew Tanach/OT) translates the Hebrew word “Torah” as “Nomos” (G3551/νόμος/nomos) which is defined by Thayer’s Greek Definitions as:
    NOMOS
    1) anything established, anything received by usage, a custom, a law, a command
    1a) of any law whatsoever
    1a1) a law or rule producing a state approved of God
    1a1a) by the observance of which is approved of God
    1a2) a precept or injunction
    1a3) the rule of action prescribed by reason
    1b) of the Mosaic law, and referring, acc. to the context. either to the volume of the law or to its contents
    1c) the Christian religion: the law demanding faith, the moral instruction given by Christ, especially the precept concerning love
    1d) the name of the more important part (the Pentateuch), is put for the entire collection of the sacred books of the OT

    I think that we can pretty much rule out definitions 1 and 1a (above), as they could both include Sharia “law” or the “law” that governs a soccer game. And I would want to qualify what is meant by the “Christian religion” (1c), as much of what the “church” has inherited came much later that the time that Yeshua/Jesus taught his talmidim/disciples. And 1a2 and 1a3 could both be used, but they are a little vague. So let’s draw our attention to 1a1,1a1a,1b, and especially 1d when using the definition of “nomos”. Afterall, when Yeshua/Jesus spoke concerning the Torah, the Greek word used is “nomos”, as when Yeshua/Jesus emphatically stated in Mt.5:17 to “Think not that I am come to destroy the law …” it is obvious He was referring to the TORAH.

    So let’s now look at Thayer’s Greek Definition of “nomos” using it’s Hebrew counterpart “Torah”.
    1a1) The TORAH or rule producing a state approved of God
    1a1a) by the observance of [TORAH] which is approved of God
    1b) of the Mosaic TORAH, and referring, acc. to the context. either to the volume of the TORAH or to its contents
    1d) the name of the more important part (the TORAH or in Greek, the Pentateuch), is put for the entire collection of the sacred books of the OT

    Now, in the Greek, when you put an “a” in front of a word, such as nomos, it means to be in opposition to or in place of something. Thus, anomia is in opposition to nomos/Torah or replaces nomos/Torah with something else.

    Using all that we gleaned thus far, let’s look at Thayer’s Greek Definition of “anomia”:
    ANOMIA
    1) the condition of without TORAH
    1a) because ignorant of it [TORAH]
    1b) because of violating it [TORAH]
    2) contempt and violation of TORAH, iniquity, wickedness

    So when Yeshua says, “Many [Christians] will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
    And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work TORAHlessness.”

    I know many of you may find this hard to swallow, but doesn’t the Christian “church” (Greek: “kurikee”, a word that is NOT in any Greek manuscript of the NT) fit the defintion of “anomia” to a “T”:
    1) the condition of without TORAH
    1a) because ignorant of it [TORAH]
    1b) because of violating it [TORAH]
    2) contempt and violation of TORAH, iniquity, wickedness

    I will leave it up to you to prayerfully consider your relationship with our Jewish Messiah who lived and taught according to His own “leaven-free” Torah. Will He say to you “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work TORAHlessness.”?

  • http://rottenqueerchristian.blogspot.com/ RQC

    I learned a long time ago that the Holy Spirit brings no attention to himself, the spotlight is always on Christ. I’m always leery when people claim to know the Holy Spirit only to be talking about something else with God having nothing to do with it, that’s not the case here.
    Blessings.

  • Jon Spangler

    As Nadia wrote: “The truth crushes us, but the instant it crushes us it put us back together into something real. perhaps for the first time. Because the radical and mysterious and dangerous thing the Spirit does has always been to form us into the Body of Christ. Sometimes despite us, sometimes against us, but always for us. Because it is only the Spirit who can turn us from a “they” into a “we”.”

    If we aren’t getting a “heart transplant” like the ones Nadia describes on a regular basis, we are in the wrong church or we are not paying attention. The Holy Spirit (sometimes identified as the Wisdom of God, which is characterized as feminine in the OT) is a disruptor, turning us inside out and upside down, realigning our minds and thoughts and words all the time if we merely let Her in the door a bit. And that uncomfortable Comforter and Companion is the agent that makes the “we” possible. I need to open the door a crack to that disruptive Force more often, and reading Nadia’s words is helping unlock that door for me–or break it down…

    Thank you all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/drbtdavis Bruce T Davis

    Nadia thank for your inspiration for our ongoing Pentecost in the burbs of Philly, where all the doves look like Eagles to us.

  • Laura

    I am so glad you posted this. I didn’t get to go to the Festival of Homiletics and I particularly wanted to go because you would be there. I love this sermon. Thank you.

  • KingGeorge

    I thought the reference to the Holy Spirit as a she was just a typo. But then I think I read one other blog where the preacher refers to God as a she. And one of the comments below make reference to this also. So… maybe this is not a typo. The problem…..the Bible never refers to the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit in feminine terms. Folks, read your Bible and confirm that what the preacher says is in line with it. The only common bond you have with the preacher is the source of the truth you share – the Bible. If the preachers words don’t match up with what the bible says, you or the preacher is in trouble. Verify the words that are spoken by the preacher actually match the Bible.


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