A sermon based on Mark 3:20–35 ‘Jesus Accused by His Family and by Teachers of the Law’
When I was 17 years old, I disowned half of my family. Yes, “disown” is an awful term. I mean, I never owned them in the first place. But you get it.
Also, I won’t take you too deep into the weeds here. I’ll spare you the long backstory and nitty-gritty details. I have family. You have family. You know how it can go.
But just to give you a little bit of context to address the elephant in the room — why…
I think that the term ‘sin’ is better put (in our modern context) as ‘separation.’ It is our separation from God, our ground of being. And therefore, it is separation from life itself.
Sin/separation consists of…
- Separation from self
- Separation from others
- Separation from the created world
- Separation from God
As our minds develop after we are born, separation becomes our default state. We aren’t even conscious of it. We become lost in this separation. We become steeped in it.
When we’re steeped in separation, it’s impossible to believe that we are beloved by anyone, let…
What a cool time to be alive... After over a year of being isolated to our very small social bubble, it seems that humans are gathering again.
We got both doses of the vaccine a couple of months ago. And the other night, we had our first dose of live music in quite some time.
For our family, live music serves as bookends to the pandemic. Last year, we had a bundle of tickets for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (student discounts are awesome — one benefit to seminary). …
Just a simple note of encouragement for you this fine Saturday evening…
No matter how religious or spiritual you are or aren’t. No matter how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ you’ve tried to be. Whether you know it or not… God is, always was, and will always be working through your life.
And not just when you are consciously ‘doing good things’ (which always have selfish motivations — but I digress…). God doesn’t just work through your life when you’re doing racial reconciliation work, writing letters to armed service members, or feeding the hungry.
God was working through your life when you…
In my past life, when I was a club pro at golf courses, I once worked with this guy named Steve. He’d come in twice a week and fix golf clubs. He’d put in maybe 4–5 hours of work per day. And then he’d leave.
But the thing is, he drove a brand new $60,000 Yukon (this was ten years ago when $60k was a lot). I asked him straight-up one day how he could work 10 hours a week (not even having to talk to self-important golfer customers, btw) and drive a Yukon.
“Oh, dude, I’m a trust fund…
It’s interesting… The human mind seems to naturally carry an ideal of perfection as God. Even if we don’t call it ‘God’, this ideal image rules us.
The Christian faith sees God’s “Law” operating from this place. The 10 Commandments are an outline of a perfect life. Not just a good life. A PERFECT one. Like, impossibly perfect. Universally so.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus upped the ante even more from ‘thou shalt not kill’ to ‘thou shalt not even THINK of killing.’
It’s impossible. I kill people in my mind all day. I worship the gods of…
Sometimes, I pop over to Twitter. Since I’m in the “weird clergy” algorithm, I find myself scrolling through endless tweets of clergyfolk taking potshots at other clergyfolk for being ‘heretical’.
As a fairly recent returnee to the Christian faith, and an aspiring cleric myself, this is intimidating as hell. Heretic hunters seem to have infinite digital silver bullets to dispense towards the theologically untoward on social media. What if they come after me?! I’d better mind my theological p’s and q’s!
I think we’re all prone to heretic hunting. I know I am. Maybe it’s not religion for you. Maybe…
We went on a little vacation over spring break/Holy Week that I’ve titled The Great California Road Trip. We left the Sierra Valley on a Friday, spent one night in Yosemite, two nights in Joshua Tree, two nights in Santa Barbara, two nights in San Francisco, and then came home. If I did the math right, we covered about 2,000 miles. Not bad.
Yes, it was a lot of fun. Quality time is my Love Language (yes, I know you were wondering) and there was plenty of it. We didn’t really log on to email and I gave up social…
At age 41, I must admit, I feel strange for not feeling a sense of “home” geographically. We live in Northern California now, and though I was born in this state and feel a deep connection here, I don’t know if I feel like it’s necessarily “home.” (It’s growing on me, so we’ll see.)
I’ve been to a lot of fantastic places and there are many more that I’d love to go to. But I just don’t know, especially at this point in my midlife, if any single locale will be “home” to me.
It’s unsettling. I’m envious of people…
And because God’s love is restless
like the surging of the sea,
we are pulled by heaven’s dynamic
to become, not just to be.
- Celtic Prayer ‘Iona Abbey Worship book’
I think we all have proverbial carrots that we dangle out in front of ourselves that point to a sense of completion…
Once I get that job, I’ll be set.
Once I get x amount into the savings account, I can relax.
Once our kid is a little older, I can sleep better (btw, not true).
Once I do x amount for y person/people, our relationship will be healed.