Date: 10 Sep 2002
Time: 08:15:21

Comments

My first thought on the beginning of this passage is that my companions-on-the-walk do question in their own minds (and don't often express)"By what authority did/does Jesus say and do what he did?" Is he of divine origin or of human? And since they are pretty sure that the church's answer is "DIVINE!", they don't express the thought "Human, like us!!?" Only in church is there a presumption that Jesus was divine. In the secular world (OUR world) nobody is divine. Why should Jesus be any different? And what's the matter with human, charismatic authority anyway?

One could get into a long analysis of the two natures of Christ here. May or may not be helpful to the congregation. I'm just confident that we would help some in our parishioners if we opened the door to honestly laboring over the question of whether we, ourselves, see Jesus' authority as something we are ALLOWED to have an opinion about. No opinion is expressed in the story--and that very lack seems to be condemned. Better to have SOME opinion, and bring it forward, than to deny having an opinion.

Better to say Jesus is "just" human and then follow his teachings/actions, than to say he is "divine" and merely applaud from the audience. ???

Maybe too heretical to preach, but may be where some of our people are sitting.

Sara in GR, MI


Date: 11 Sep 2002
Time: 06:52:47

Comments

Having read many of the scholarly observations on this lesson I believe you folks have missed the most basic point. Jesus had (has still and I look forward to hearing Him in Heaven) an incredible sense of humor. Any time he spoke of pigs he was making his listeners laugh. Here he ties the authorities in knots with a question they cannot answer without getting in big trouble. It was a funny question he asked them and he put them in a funny position and His followers would have been laughing. You deep thinkers ought to lighten up and see that Jesus had a great following because His message was true and His style was full of fun and laughter. This is a classic funny scene and few ever mention it. When I get to Heaven I plan to listen for the biggest laughs. That will be Jesus talking and I will go and listen. Don't you think that the perfect man probably had a perfect sense of humor?


Date: 15 Sep 2002
Time: 14:00:37

Comments

The verse that says "the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you" reminds me of a short story with an image like this. I believe it was by Flannery O'Connor but haven't been able to find it; anyone know where this comes from? It was a kind of parade going up into heaven, and it seemed as if all kinds of strange and crazy people were dancing their way in, while the church people were following along behind, embarrassed to be associated with "that kind". It was wonderfully written, and I'd love to use it if someone recognizes this! Thanks! KB in WA


Date: 16 Sep 2002
Time: 09:10:06

Comments

KB in WA Right! It was O"Connor. It was a short story about a pig farmer who fancied herself superior to other people. She had a concrete slab for the pigs and washed it with the hose. It was in the rainbow spray of the hose water that she had the vision of an esclator on which all the people she detested and stuck her nose up at were ascending. Can't recall the title but it was in a collection of her short stories that included the one about the Lawn Jockey. . JW in NY


Date: 17 Sep 2002
Time: 07:13:32

Comments

When I first read the parable of the two sons, my question was: what went on in the minds of the sons in between the time they gave their first answer to their father and when they did the opposite of what they said they were going to do? what was the thought process that went on in each? it was fun putting myself into their heads and doing some impromtue playacting. It is quite revealing.


Date: 17 Sep 2002
Time: 08:11:34

Comments

To KB in Wa and JW in NY: the Flannery O'Connor short story you were talking about is "Revelation". It is in the collection of short stories titled EVERYTHING THAT RISES MUST CONVERGE. Great story and really fits this text to a tee. I am glad you thought of it. Would be great to include or either to inspire a sermon on this text. JML in SC


Date: 20 Sep 2002
Time: 07:10:59

Comments

To whoever made the comment about Jesus speaking about pigs to make his followers laugh. I must admit your statement about pigs in connection with this text about the two sons puzzled me. Then later I wondered if you were connecting Luke's story about two sons in the famous prodigal story to the two sons in Matthews' story in 21:23-32. I found a mention of pigs there in Luke's story. But the story under discussion is Matthew's story of the parable of the two sons which is told in quite a different context. Would you care to clarify? JML in SC


Date: 20 Sep 2002
Time: 09:42:20

Comments

Real life illustration: May be better as an illustration of "the good samaritan," but works pretty well here. Our neighboring church recently hired a new pastor who seems to want to take the community by storm. No problem with that, except that he's "scooped" us with our own ideas several times - including using a modified version of our own "slogan" (but we're smarter now) and in a way I consider tacky - red white and blue helium balloons advertising the "community" 9/11 service that our church had started. Anyways, they've got a fancy calling machine that's telemarketing their church in the community (have to admit I'm a little jealous of their much larger labor pool and of their financial resources). I met the pastor and he praised God and testified and seemed really eager to serve the Lord.

A homeless man greeted me on my way in to the office yesterday. I was late, about 10:00 AM, and the man told me he'd stopped by that church but that the pastor was too busy to help him. I gave him my breakfast (a rice crispy bar and diet coke) and found some resources for shelters. The man was obviously a little bit mentally ill, and ended up not calling the resources. He asked for a blanket and it seems that's all he wanted.

My question: while I'm sliding into judgmentalism and jealousy of this other church, I wonder which of us is doing God's work? The other church is able to reach out actively while our church is still trying to get the basics of discipleship down. The other church is growing and has programs and praise music. Our church, if it's not "How Great Thou Art," folks barely sing! Our church is declining.

But ... a human soul in need comes to your doorstep, and you're too busy?

Tell me, which of us is doing Christ's work? It seems we both are and we both arent', in different ways.

rather stay anonymous


Date: 21 Sep 2002
Time: 11:22:03

Comments

Dear anonymous,

Amen and blessings to you and your ministry. Keep your passion. Keep your dedication. Let your frustration be salved by the assurance that you ARE preaching in word and deed.

Yes, the neighboring church may be growing in numbers while yours is declining IN NUMBERS. But if numbers were the only thing, Jesus might have used a fountain to spray holy water for healing on great crowds. Instead, he took time for people one at a time, trusting his followers to reach out in like manner.

Some people "hire" a person to whom they give the title 'pastor,' but that person is more adminstrator than pastor. Keep being pastor in your community. You are needed, especially when others are "too busy." And teach your people how to receive others graciously, and not to be jealous of things that are different, but not any more salvific.

Peace.

Michelle


Date: 21 Sep 2002
Time: 18:56:48

Comments

I posted a story at the end of last week, that I thought might be one you could use anytime... speaking of Grace...

(Sept. 22) The Today Show had a great "sermon illustration about GRACE" last Thursday Sept. 19...

[John Gagliardi] Saint John's University legendary head coach John Gagliardi will celebrate his 50th season as head coach in Collegeville during the 2002 season. Gagliardi will begin his 54th season as a collegiate head football coach. Saint John's University P.O. Box 2000 Collegeville, MN 56321 Tel. (320) 363-2011

His coaching methods have been distilled into a series of "Winning With Nos," some of which are listed below.

* No blocking sleds or dummies * No scholarships * No spring practices * No compulsory weightlifting program * No whistles * No "coach" - players call him John * No "ONE" team captain, 2002 has 25 Team Captains... why? Coach Gagliardi said, "Because it looks good on their resume' * No tackling in practice - players wear shorts or sweats * Short practices - an hour and a half or less

Each year, over 150 students turn out to be part of the Saint John's program. Through his current and former players, his accomplishments on and off the field and his place in the records of NCAA football, John Gagliardi had built a legacy that is unrivaled in college football. http://www.gojohnnies.com/football/jg.html

Contributed by pulpitt in ND


Date: 23 Sep 2002
Time: 05:58:38

Comments

Thank you all for your wonderful postings for last Sunday. There was a richness in them from top to bottom that I hadn't seen before. It made for a wonderful Sunday worship! There must be something about these parables towards the end of Matthew that really brings it home, and we've got several more to go. I look forward to what we all have to say.

Mark in WI


Date: 23 Sep 2002
Time: 10:53:10

Comments

I'm not sure if this is the right place to do this, but don't know another. Is there a pastor from Wichita out there who knows Paul and Carolyn Harrison? lp in CO


Date: 23 Sep 2002
Time: 14:09:45

Comments

Anonymous, I encourage you to get the book called "Wonderful Worship in Small Churches" by David Ray. It does wonders for the small church and their pastor. It will help to lift your heart up! (And no, I don't make any advertising commissions!) :) Pastor Janel


Date: 23 Sep 2002
Time: 16:48:07

Comments

I hope I can find a copy of the story. I think I will park my ladder in the sanctuary so they can visualize it better. My theme this week is mission. I am also showing the mission ad from Igniting ministries. Nancy Wi


Date: 23 Sep 2002
Time: 18:09:33

Comments

In just an initial purview of this passage (& the one that follows it -- next week's lectionary passage), it appears that the parables here address each of the concerns of the religious leaders. The parable this week about the 2 sons seems to reflect specifically the concern of how to respond to the divine authority of Jesus. The parable next week about the workers taking advantage of the "absentee landlord" and his eventual punishment of them seems to respond to the concerns of belittling the authority of Jesus, as if it were only of human origin. It would seem there is a possiblity here of a 2-part series on the authority of Jesus. Part One would address our need for obedience based on the divine authority of Christ. Part Two would be the opposite -- responding to Christ as if He were only human and not the Son of God. Just some initial thoughts. Art in KY


Date: 24 Sep 2002
Time: 06:21:28

Comments

What message from this story do our people need to hear? I don't have to do what I say? I can change my mind any time I want? My word isn't worth the breath I use to speak? It seems we live in a society where a person word doesn't mean very much. People schedule appointments and don't show up on time. People pick and choose which person they will follow because he/she is the most popular not for what they say or stand for. It seems God's Word isn't for us....we need a Word that accepts popular opinion polls! How can we help them to see God is faithful to his Word--Jesus? How can we become more in line with Jesus? Lots of stuff working over in my head. John in Iowa


Date: 24 Sep 2002
Time: 06:49:44

Comments

An anonymous and it seems to be quite a few this week is the story about the poor man and the pastor with no time. Reminds me of the story "In His Steps" and also a quick little ditty, a man dirty and in rags went to a church, the pastor seeing him and worrying about what might be said asked him to sit in the rear of the church next week he was back and asked to sit in the entry, next week asked to leave. The man died and in heaven God asked him about his life, he said well as of reecently I have been trying to get into that big church down there. God replied sympathetically so have I. WaynO in NE


Date: 24 Sep 2002
Time: 08:18:15

Comments

I'm interested in the them of power and authority that pervades this passage. The legitimatized authority of the clergy is contrasted with the divine authority of Jesus.

This is appropriate to think about in particular with the troubling (at least to me) use of God to legitimize whatever our government wants to do. We sing the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "God Bless America" as if we know that of course, God approves of whatever we do. "God Bless America" in particular seems like a self-granted divine stamp of approval.

Some may object to infusing this discussion with a political element, but the political is already deeply imbedded in the text.

The reason I see this troubling is because we in the institutionalized church can easily see our mission as preserving our own power rather than following Jesus. We can also easly make a shift from asking God to be present with us to stating that we know that God approves of what we do in the Divine name.

Craig in NY


Date: 24 Sep 2002
Time: 09:18:53

Comments

Hmmm... as I was reading I couldn't help but think about cain and abel... (especially cain) Cain, jealous, knowing abel was God's favorite, so he killed killed him... But Cain couldnt escape the mark of God! ANd I hear 4 Him singing singing half of my blood is Cain's blood in the background...Mad...jealous Cain said no...but remember Cain had half of Adam and Eve's blood...so therefore Cain's blood is running through my veins, our veins... Cain was firstborn...he said no... but we because of the new covenant in Christ can yes "I go" Pastor Mary in OH


Date: 24 Sep 2002
Time: 09:53:57

Comments

lp in CO

Paul and Carolyn Harrison are members of my church. You can contact me directly at bdundas@ehumc.org


Date: 24 Sep 2002
Time: 10:11:52

Comments

Pulpitt in ND, your sharing of the story of John Gagliardi's "winning with nos" philosophy reminds me of Ton Bandy's discussion [in Christian Chaos]of the church explicitly deciding what leadership CANNOT do rather than telling leaders/members what to do, the idea of proscriptive thinking, which then frees up the creativity and resourcefulness of the leader. If they know what they cannot do, then they have the authority to do what they are inspired by God to do as long as they do not do what is proscribed ... I am linking this passage with the lines from the Philippians passage, "work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure ..." So many people are content to blindly accept the authority of what they consider to be the church or the church's teaching, without ever taking the responsibility for their own discipleship or wrestling with its consequences. The young man in the parable who said "I will not" then changed his mind wrestled with his decision then did what he was told. We tend to be content with complacently sitting in our pews, secure in our salvation [after all we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, what else is there to do?]and forget about the whole sticky issue of obedience. The tax collectors and prostitutes get there because they are willing to entertain that God might be speaking to them in a different way [through John] and they are willing to do what they are told. Still musing about all of this --it is early yet. RevRake in MI


Date: 24 Sep 2002
Time: 11:24:53

Comments

Who is giving God 'lip service'?

A New Pastor on the Jersey Shore...


Date: 24 Sep 2002
Time: 12:19:16

Comments

Is any one preaching on the alternate text for St Michael and all angels day? Revelation 12:12-17 and Luke 10:17-20. Intern/Vicar C.S.,PA


Date: 24 Sep 2002
Time: 12:31:11

Comments

Several years ago, my seminary class visited the historic cemetery that sat kitty-corner from the school. The caretaker was very proud of the "founding fathers" of the community who were buried there, and noted that the land would remain a cemetery for at least 800 more years. When I asked him how he knew this, he pointed to the framed deed to the land that stated that the land use was restricted for 999 years. I started to laugh, which unnerved the caretaker. "The value of that deed is only as good as those who are in authority are willing to recognize it. Just ask the native people who were here before this deed was written."

The priests' claim to divine authority seems to be based on the people believing that the priests' authority is divine. If the priests don't recognize John's authority as divine (as the people did), then they have abdicated their authority to speak on behalf of the divine, in the eyes of the people. And if the priests recognize John's authority as divine, then they have abdicated their authority to speak on behalf of the divine since they did not believe John's baptism. The authentication of their authority rested with the people -- a dangerous proposition when dealing with something as important as Truth.

Jesus, however, sets up a different scenario for judging authority with his parable. Both sons are commanded to go and work in the vineyard. Lip service, pro and con, doesn't matter -- it's what they do that shows their true response to the owner/father's command. They will know we are Christians by our love, not by our creeds!

OLAS


Date: 24 Sep 2002
Time: 14:02:57

Comments

In a way, this text is good news for those of us who want to preach Christ without preaching. (A man named Cardinal Newman prayed "let me preach thee without preaching.")(And I read, the source I now know not whereof, "Just because her faith is so sure, Mother Teresa has no need to be an evangelist in the old propagandist sense. She preaches Christ every moment of every day by living in and for him.") It is not what we say that is important, it is how we live our lives. However, in a way, this is challenging, even condeming, words, for those of us who aren't all that proud in how far our actions are from our desires and best understandings of God's dream. Preaching in Pincher.


Date: 25 Sep 2002
Time: 09:05:10

Comments

Who is the first son?

Who is the second son?

Is this Matthew's Parable of the Prodigal Son? If so it is upside down - the first son responds finally; the second son declines in the end; yet Jesus calls the tax collectors and sinners the first son; and Israel the second son. What does all this mean? The more you reflect on the Parable the more upside down you become!

tom in ga


Date: 25 Sep 2002
Time: 11:23:30

Comments

In our lectionary discussion, we noticed that this is about politics - that the priests were looking for the "right answers," and knew that there would be problems with any answer they gave. Jesus' parable, then, might point to an accountability of the human tendency to become "talking heads" when we're in a position of authority. The priests, after all, had quite a bit of religious expertise, but they were afraid of both the crowd and Jesus! They were interested in tripping him up, not in doing the will of God.

All the religious talk in the world and all the right (even religious) behavior in the world won't get you to a point of salvation but a changed heart will. Therefore prostitutes have an advantage over priests.

Early thought will be to call it "My word!" and explore whether my word reflects a changed heart and whether my chagned heart reflects my word. I'm thinking of Alice in Wonderland responding to someone's demand "Say what you mean!" She says, "I say what I mean, or at least I mean what I say!" the character (i can't remember who) says, "That's ridiculous! You might as well say, "I see what I eat" is the same as "I eat what I see!"

Where do our hearts need to be changed? Will we really step aside to make way for the prostitutes as religious leaders?

musing along on Wednesday .,..

Sally in GA


Date: 25 Sep 2002
Time: 11:37:57

Comments

This is really a parable about obedience:

To obey is to hear and to do;

not hearing only. It is really a little Gospel of James, lived out in these two boys .. why not girls?

It is better to say "hell no, I wont go" and later have a change of heart;

than to say, "right away, sir" and not go. In modern terms this last one is some what passive-aggressive.

I like very much what Sally in GA says when she speak about a change of "heart."

My on going question is how to preach this without disciplining a congregation which who all too often are represented by the second son, who say they will do something and they don't.

Help is needed, I am getting desperate!

tom in ga


Date: 25 Sep 2002
Time: 13:40:42

Comments

Maybe I am a little dense, or maybe a little too analytical, but it seems to me that the chief priests and elders answered the question wrong.

From where I stand it seems that neither child did the will of the father. To do the will of the father would have been to say "Yes, I'm going." and then to follow through with your word.

Neither son did this. But at least the first one had a change of heart.

Am I stuck in the mud here, or is Jesus pointing out that all of us have sinned and need to change? The ones who admit it, and confess are the ones who come out ahead.

GC in IL


Date: 25 Sep 2002
Time: 13:41:41

Comments

Maybe I should say

The ones who admit it, and confess and repent are the ones who come out ahead.

GC in IL


Date: 25 Sep 2002
Time: 18:55:52

Comments

It is true that the Bible does turn things upside down. I never thought I'd say this, but I want to be more like a prostitute.

Not sure how my parishioners are going to understand this though...

A New Pastor on the Jersey Shore...


Date: 25 Sep 2002
Time: 20:33:35

Comments

Last weekend I was at a youth retreat. We had to go into a session. A teen in my group was playing the guitar. I asked him to join us. A few minutes later I asked him to join us again and he said "I'll be there in a minute." Five minuites later I asked him to join us again. He said, again, "I'll be there in a minute." I said, "That's what you said 5 minutes ago." I felt as if I was being nicely lied to, even manipulated. I needed him to act. It is a small example, maybe. Preaching in Pincher.


Date: 25 Sep 2002
Time: 20:51:18

Comments

An overview of the story referred to above can be found at:

http://endeavor.med.nyu.edu/lit-med/lit-med-db/webdocs/webdescrips/o.connor104-des-.html

"As the sun sets, a 'visionary light' comes over her and she has a vision in which the poor blacks and white trash march on the bridge to heaven ahead of good, respectable people like her."


Date: 26 Sep 2002
Time: 07:24:52

Comments

Anonymous: There is a revised parable of the sheep and the goats by Anthony DeMello. When the King said I was sick and hungry and inprisoned and you helped me the one group said your welcome. The King said, I wasn't talking to you.

When you sing your own praises you recieve your own glory and don't get any from heaven.

Plus you just spoke against someone in a public setting on the word of one person whose testimony might be questionable, we don't know.

God loves you and forgives you but you like I are called to follow the will of the Father a difficult road. Arte in Arcadia Forgive me for being so blunt.


Date: 26 Sep 2002
Time: 07:48:27

Comments

Thanks for posting the summary of the O'connor story. I had been struggling with how to condense and runing out of time. You answered my prayers. Nancy-Wi.


Date: 26 Sep 2002
Time: 08:29:58

Comments

Dear KB in WA

Thanks for mentioning the O'Connor story. That reminded me of the song, "Raggedy Band" with its lists of undesirable people marching off to the promised land. "Judge with a hooker for his blushing bride" is one line that comes to mind. I've forgotten the author,though it is likely to be Jim Manley since I learned the song in about 1974. I think I'll get a soloist to sing that on Sunday.

Pam in San Bernardino


Date: 26 Sep 2002
Time: 08:46:50

Comments

I find myself agreeing with Arte in Arcadia. But at the same time, is not this a very issue this text presents. Who has the authority to speak. Whose word do we take?


Date: 26 Sep 2002
Time: 08:47:47

Comments

Sorry, I forgot to sign my last entry about speaking aithority. Kyle in Texas


Date: 26 Sep 2002
Time: 10:32:13

Comments

I reviewed my post and verified that I have all along acknowledged my own sins - judgmentalism and jealousy - of the other church. The incident had just occurred when I wrote it and it was on my mind.This was the wrong forum to bring it up and I apologise to all I have offended.

still anonymous (and stinging)


Date: 26 Sep 2002
Time: 14:02:52

Comments

Anonymous: Not sure who you offended, but it sure wasn't me. I think bringing it up anecdotally is entirely appropriate. Now, perhaps your heart felt a little condemnation by thoughts you had at the time ... and I can relate a little to that. But, I can also relate to the indignation you might have felt at how the other pastor reacted, or apparently failed to act. For some insight, check out this column I penned for The Knoxville (Tenn.) Journal: http://members.aol.com/ripshin/fellow.htm


Date: 26 Sep 2002
Time: 14:05:50

Comments

Hi. I was gone for most of the summer and am missing the postings of Eric in Kansas. Does anyone know what happened to him?

This passage seems to tie in the the OT lesson from Exodus which asks "Is the Lord among us or not?" Things weren't going well for the Israelites in the wilderness and they were wondering if this was one big terrible mistake. The Pharisees were asking a similar question, arising out of skepticism about Jesus. "Is this from God?" I think they thought they already knew the answer, so for them it wasn't exactly a fruitful question. But I think it IS a fruitful question for those today who are wondering about Jesus, especially those outside the church, or new to the church.

How do we know anything is of God? We really DON'T want to be following a religious leader who is not "of God." In the wilderness they got their answer by discovering water. Maybe we know about Jesus by the effect he has on those who believe in him, changed hearts, fruits of the spirit, (or the effect he has on our own lives).

But then we have the perennial question of those who pray for water and don't get it, or those who pray to Jesus and still feel alone. ARe there times when signs of God's presence are absent? Or are we just blind?

Still trying to figure out the questions my people may bring to this, and what to say...

DGinNYC


Date: 26 Sep 2002
Time: 15:18:39

Comments

tom in Ga, I think it is not only okay, but imcumbent upon us to not necessarily chastise, but to teach and to admonish our congregations. We must first hear our words in our own ears. We must also teach and admonish with the deepest and most sincere love of Jesus. lp in CO


Date: 26 Sep 2002
Time: 15:21:38

Comments

To Anonymous and Stinging: There is no need for you to apologize. Perhaps you simply keyed in what several feel. These are difficult times for those of us who are in small membership churches. We look around at the churches with all the equipment for high tech worship and we barely pay the gas bills. I believe that the large church is called to ministry in a way totally different than the small membership churhes. Both needed. Both valued. lp in CO


Date: 26 Sep 2002
Time: 15:28:52

Comments

This, like most parables, is the story of grace. It is also a story about the gift of our free will. We can give lip service. We are free to do that. We can also experience that warmth of the grace of God that allows us to say, "Oops, that was so wrong." Someone on this site talked about that change of heart. This is also a parable about never writing another person or group of persons off. Until that last breath, we can say "Yes, Lord." I think that a sermon around the times that we have had conversions or a need to have conversion experiences is fitting. lp in CO


Date: 26 Sep 2002
Time: 17:25:24

Comments

I think we can look into this passage to see authority from another side. We Christians are used to "doing Church" and "doing mission" and "doing Good" and living our lives as we see fit based on the authority of God's Word - in scripture and incarnate in Jesus Christ. We act as recipients, thankful but perhaps passive often times. But this wise reply of Jesus reminds us that the authority we claim and use also has demands on us. This is not so obvious, but it is true. We may not be comfortable with it, but we are called not just to act and be as WE think we should - but to be and do what God needs us to be and do. We are more used to deciding how we will live, how much we will "give " to the church, how much we will help others - and often fit these things into our perceived needs and schedules. But if we say God is our authority, then we must admit God can have demands on us, a mission, a purpose. The demand on Jesus himself was to not use his "authority" for self gain or even self preservation, but to go all the way, give all of himself even to the cross (good tie in with the Philippians passage). A sermon this week may be a call to embrace the authority that not only loves us, saves us, strengthens us, comforts us - as if we were consumers or beneficiaries, - but also makes a loving demand on us to live in full trust and joyful obedience. Jim in CT.


Date: 26 Sep 2002
Time: 22:01:46

Comments

Does anyone know who said, "Preach always. Use words when you have to."? I heard it recently and thought it might work well in this sermon. But I dont' know who said it.

Happy sermon writing, kbw


Date: 27 Sep 2002
Time: 01:50:56

Comments

To anonymous. . . I understand where you're coming from. I struggle with a neighbouring colleague and can relate to your feelings of anger. I too struggle to love my colleague. I would hope that others would be understanding that you needed to share your thoughts and feelings in a safe place. No one was hurt by what you said. . .you shared anonymously. You did not name the other pastor. I am coming to realise that I have to focus on what God has called me to do - not on what others are doing. I'm also challenged by Paul in Philippians when he speaks of those who are trying to undermine his own credibility. All that mattered to Paul was that Christ was preached, whether from false or true motives. You are not alone. . .I'm praying for love and grace in my own heart the above mentioned colleague. A Canadian in Scotland.


Date: 27 Sep 2002
Time: 03:26:28

Comments

Also, thanks for bringing to mind Mrs. Turpin. It is an excellent modern parable of what Jesus was teaching. If you have a copy of Brennan Manning's 'The Raggamuffin Gospel, you will find an excellent summary of the O'Flannery's short story on p. 43. Thanks again for the inspiration for my desperation. A Canadian in Scotland.


Date: 27 Sep 2002
Time: 18:40:13

Comments

Hello all,

Didn't know where to put this... so, thought I'd share it here...

My wife and I have some good friends, they have three boys... 7, 5 and 6 mos. We went to supper with them last night at Culvers... hamburger shop.... the 5 year old, out of the blue, punched his brother in the stomach... when his dad said, "Son, why did you do that?" He responded... "Well, he was going to HIT ME!"... I walked away from that thinking... "Isn't that what our President has been telling us about Sadam? Only he couches it with "ADULT" words like Pre-emptive strike! It sounds so childish when you hear it from a child. I wonder if he's been listening to too much CNN.

pulpitt in ND


Date: 27 Sep 2002
Time: 19:10:05

Comments

Would the Ragamuffin story be the same one someone so thoughtfully posted earlier this year. Anybody remember when? Thanks you all, I am getting ready for charge conference and the week is a bit of a blur. Nancy-Wi


Date: 27 Sep 2002
Time: 19:33:25

Comments

kbw, St. Francis of Assisi, "Preach the Gospel always, when necessary use words."


Date: 27 Sep 2002
Time: 19:40:43

Comments

Nancy-Wi, I s this the post? Deke in TX - Pace e Bene Date: March 30, 2002 Time: 06:08 AM Comment I have the Ragman illustraion by Walter Wangerin. It's a wonderful story and goes well The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. I used it last Easter...and would be glad to send the illustration to anyone who asks. (it's kind of long to post here I think) What are Ragamuffins? Manning, in the Ragamuffin Gospel says that “ Jesus spent a disproportionate amount of time with people described in the gospels as; the poor, the blind, the lame, the lepers, the hungry, sinners, prostitutes, tax collectors, the persecuted, the downtrodden, the captives, those possessed by unclean spirits, all who labor and are heavy burdened, the rabble who know nothing of the law, the crowds, the little ones, the least, the last and the lost sheep of the house of Israel. In short, Jesus hung out with ragamuffins.” The illustration by Wangerin fits in well! If you would like it just send me an email at bayberry3@aol.com. Pastor Deb in MA


Date: 28 Sep 2002
Time: 06:34:10

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I'm still back on the thought that we (preachers) are WORDY people.

The Gospel parable says, "DEEDS not words." The two sons are judged by their actions, not what they promised. We church folk get so consumed by talking and writing, and going to committee meetings about "Getting it into the right words". We're all pretty clear on what our denomination thinks are the right WORDS that people have to use to join our membership. What if we had an annual DEED checkup? Like going in for ther annual physical with the doctor.... your spiritual check up might include something about worship/prayer life, and study, but the main category would be "What have you been DOING?" and "What is your plan for ACTION?"

The Ezekiel passage says that God will judge us on what we have CHANGED in our lives. Not what we did in our youth, and not what our parents did. Again, the "proof" is the ACTIONS we take.

Deeds, not creeds. "If Christianity was a criminal activity, could you be convicted?"

Dare we say that we would rather our parishioners spent an hour a week teaching elementary school kids how to read -- than that they spend an hour at a church committee meeting? Which is the "work in the vineyard"?

Sara in GR, MI


Date: 28 Sep 2002
Time: 08:07:59

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Psychological Inquiry: The Two Sons

The First Born: Has a prominent sense of responsibility and stability within the family unit, tends to uphold law and order, allegorically tries to return to his original state of the first years of infancy when he was king, sitting alone on the lap of his parent’s affections.

The Second Born: At birth he is immediately confronted with a rival who is one or two years older. Always there is this pace setter ahead of him who is able to talk and walk and do many things. Inferiority is held before him continuously. May seize upon a special realm of activity in which he can better his elder brother.

Now if these psychological truths apply, what do you think of this possible explanation:

The first son responded “no” and later he went. That is to say that after giving the request some more thought, he felt the burden of responsibiility and did what he was asked.

The second son responded “yes” and later did not go. That is to say that he saw this as an opportunity to do something his brother declined to do, thus getting in the good graces of his parents, but later decided that, like his older brother, he would not go. He did not know that his brother had changed his mind!

tom in ga


Date: 28 Sep 2002
Time: 10:52:37

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To Happy Sermon Writing, kbw

The Answer to you question: Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary,;use words. is Attributed to Francis of Assisi


Date: 28 Sep 2002
Time: 10:52:59

Comments

To Happy Sermon Writing, kbw

The Answer to you question: Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary,;use words. is Attributed to Francis of Assisi


Date: 28 Sep 2002
Time: 10:53:20

Comments

To Happy Sermon Writing, kbw

The Answer to you question: Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary,;use words. is Attributed to Francis of Assisi


Date: 28 Sep 2002
Time: 11:03:38

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To Sara in GR., MI

Right on!

Pastor Chris, AR


Date: 28 Sep 2002
Time: 11:34:00

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Found an abstract of the story, REVELATION, by Flannery O'Connor. Great reading... couldn't find the full text. Find it if and when you can. It is wonderful stuff! Jane in WMA

http://endeavor.med.nyu.edu/lit-med/lit-med-db/webdocs/webdescrips/o.connor104-des-.html


Date: 28 Sep 2002
Time: 17:03:02

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Intern/Vicar C.S.,PA I didn't see the St. Michael link at the beginning of the week and just now checked DPS to discover the discussion was possible! Sigh. I posted what I have come across so far on the DPS St. Michael pages. Would welcome the desperate dialogue of any others on St.Michael! Aslanclan


Date: 28 Sep 2002
Time: 17:22:48

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A call to action: Friends, I also pastor a declining small-membership congregation. In my work as a chaplain at a psychiatric hospital, I am well aware of the problems with homeless and mentally ill people. The hospital is chronically overcrowded mostly due to lack of decent housing in the community. WHAT IF every small church with a low self-esteem took on the very manageable ministry of befriending ONE person with mental illness (either inpatient or outpatient)? Contact your local community mental health center and ask about COMPEER program and let's let the rubber hit the road! mhc in pa


Date: 28 Sep 2002
Time: 19:56:45

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To Anonymous & Stinging:

Add me to those who appreciated the candor of your several posts -- I assumed from the beginning that part of your desire to remain anonymous was precisely to avoid allowing the "other" church and pastor to be identified. And your initial post was open to the possibility (even probability) that your own response was flawed.

We need to hear the real musings of real people struggling with the texts in this discussion -- if what we get is going to be sanitized and edited for appropriate publication, I'll log off and simply dig into the commentaries.

Having said that, for all those of us (including Anonymous and Stinging) who reacted strongly to the criticism of the original post -- we probably should take a breath as well. After all, the reaction the initial post prompted was also open, honest and largely unedited. Ill-considered? Perhaps. But we should get to do that once in a while as well.

MDWELPIS in Washington State


Date: 28 Sep 2002
Time: 21:14:56

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Thus sayeth DGinNYC: "Hi. I was gone for most of the summer and am missing the postings of Eric in Kansas. Does anyone know what happened to him?"

He is ... that is, I am still around. Just terribly, terribly busy! Today, 9/28, I spent the entire day coordinating the first ever place-ranked-judged high school marching band competition in the state of Kansas. I left the house at 7 a.m. and returned home at 11:00 p.m. and was on my feet nearly all day. This is what I get for agreeing to be president of the band-parent-boosters organization for my daughter's high school band (it was also my son's band and my wife and I have been active parents for six years).

It was a delightful, and exhausting day.

And I've not done one thing about a sermon for tomorrow.

We will be using the Michaelmas propers rather than the propers for Ordinary Time. Why? Because Michaelmas is my birthday and I like celebrating it that way. Tomorrow I will be 50 years old; interestingly enough, the time of the sermon at our later service will be almost exactly 50 years since my birth as it will be about 10:30 a.m. Central Time and I was born at 8:30 Pacific time.

So ... my sermon is probably going to have something to do with ageing, but more it will have to do with how privileged we humans are to age and change in comparison to the angels who, though they are mighty beings of spiritual power, do not enjoy the privilege of growing old.

Anyway, y'all have a good Sunday. See you next week.

Blessings, Eric in KS


Date: 29 Sep 2002
Time: 03:23:15

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Anonymous,

I don't know about you, but I have to keep working at being the disciple and pastor that God calls me to be. In particular, around those pesky human feelings that continually trip me up!

In my humanity I worry about being a successful pastor. About being liked and well thought of by people. How I measure up to others.

When I'm where God wants me to be I focus on whether I'm being faithful. Am I earning God's commendation "well done, good and faithful servant" regardless of the results? I've served a church for the last 8 years. For the first five we decline by 30 percent in attendance. In the last 3 our attendance has doubled. My faithfulness has been consistent over those eight years, even while the outward results have varied.

Good medicine for jealously would be to pray daily for God's blessing on the other pastor and the church.

I see no need to apologize for being a human who is struggling to be like Christ and for allowing brothers and sisters to offer encourage you.

In Him, Dale Proulx


Date: 29 Sep 2002
Time: 05:44:10

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Happy half century, Eric, may God bless you with another. Deke in TX (gotch by 2) Pace e Bene


Date: 29 Sep 2002
Time: 06:01:57

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rather stay annonymous, Thanks. I could have written those same words, and I certainly ask the same questions.Pastor Rick in FL


Date: 10/18/2004
Time: 5:25:12 PM

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I love these verses because they tell so much about what God did and how he helped people!!!