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Posts Tagged ‘church’

The societal pressures to change in response to technological advances were nerve-wracking. We think we’ve got pressure with smart phones, social networking, and global economies, but the move from Late Bronze to early Iron was serious. Makes me glad I live now instead of then, but then again, reading 1 Samuel, it seems eerily contemporary. If you were to substitute the phrase “big government” for “monarchy”, you’d think this came out of this year’s campaign cycle.

There are the conservative voices (Samuel, in this case). There are the progressive voices (the elders, whoever they were, exactly). And then, there is the divine voice, failing to validate either human faction, but holding out hope for a whole new, and fresh, direction.

Every now and then, you stumble across an elegant turn of phrase that seems to say it all. This is one of them – free as in beer (coupled, naturally, with its mate, free as in speech). It’s not original with me, of course. I most recently heard it from Landon Whitsitt (author of “Open Source Church“), but it’s been knocking around the open access community for a long time. You take the two together, and you have a pretty fair sense of the distinctive direction God has been leading in forever.

Free, as in Beer

Preached at Mt. Comfort Presbyterian Church on 10 June 2012.

(The file is a Windows Media Audio file – if you have problems, right click and download the file to listen.)

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I have to admit I’ve always had trouble getting into Peter’s sermons. The Peter in Acts is not the good old Peter I’ve come to identify with in the gospel accounts. This Peter cuts right to the chase, eloquently. It’s the eloquent part I find jarring, he was always pretty frank about whatever was on his mind. But when I listened to his sermon this time, in the context of the angst currently churning through our denomination right now, I heard it in a way I’d never heard him before. This sermon was certainly addressed to the troubles “in the family” back in Peter’s day, I don’t doubt that in the least. But the kind of troubles we experience “in the family” don’t, evidently, change all that much. We still can’t resolve the tension between law and grace on our own – but today, I heard a clear voice and simple, straightforward advice: stop, and turn around.

Times of Refreshing Will Come, Acts 3:12-26

Preached at Mt. Comfort Presbyterian Church on 29 April 2012.
(The file is a Windows Media Audio file – if you have problems,
right click and download the file to listen.)

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I’ve been on this mystery jag lately, devouring novels by Ellis Peters as fast as I can check them out of the library. The hero of the series I’m currently reading is a Benedictine sleuth named Brother Cadfael. They’re murder mysteries, but Peters’ descriptions of monastic life and the men who chose to be part of such a fellowship have been fascinating to me. I’m especially intrigued by “the rule” – a practical guide to living out vows of stability, conversion, and obedience. Really? In 2st century America, I’m not sure we even understand what those words are supposed to mean, much less set them up as the measure of a Christian life. And yet, I can’t shake the notion that the only way to have a Christian life is to live the Christian life – study, fellowship, prayer, and the breaking of  bread.

The Fellowship of the Cross, Acts 2:40-47

Preached at Mt. Comfort Presbyterian Church on 15 April 2012.
(The file is a Windows Media Audio file – if you have problems,
right click and download the file to listen.)

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