God is revealed! Now what?

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2018 01 21 TUMC, Embracing Change, Epiphany preaching series

God is Revealed! Now what?

Lectionary Texts: Jonah 3: 1-5, 10 – Jonah speaks and Nineveh responds
Mark 1: 14-20 – Jesus calls his first disciples

Today’s scripture readings are full of surprises and unexpected outcomes. If they are not surprising it might be because they are also pretty well known stories. Fresh from his rescue from the belly of the whale, Jonah finally visits Nineveh, the enemy city. It’s just him against this enormous, powerful and legendarily evil city, and against all odds everyone in the city believes his message, repents of their evil, and seeks God’s forgiveness. Didn’t see that one coming, did you? Continue reading

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A Quieter World

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No pain unanswered
No tear unheard
None who suffer alone
None dying, forgotten.

Injustice is the state
In which justice pends
And heaven and earth bends
To redress the slate.

Sickness is cured by laughter
Handholding, medicines, family,
Walking, talking, merrily
Every ill is a lesson thereafter.

In a quieter world we are deafened by
Joyful playing, birdsong, fire
The voice of God; Redeemer, Healer
Artist, Giver, Lover, Ruler, Friend;
Abiding. In a Quieter World.

2011/2/12 – written to express a realizable vision of heaven, of a ‘perfect’ world that does not suspend the rules of our real world, but perfects them.

15 & Fairness, a hymnble offering

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15 & Fairness, a hymnble offering.
(To the tune of Immortal, Invisible)

Omniscient, impotent, us millennials
With glowing rectangles we scan news portals
In dismay and despair we spend all our days
Then suddenly incredulous that we got a raise!

The wage that is minimal soon shall be tweaked
To lofty fourteen bucks in only six weeks
While businessfolk tremble at salary hikes
We’ll spread avocado for Instagram likes.

Great day that is dawning, when all needs be met
By socialist robots and communist tech
We see it, we build it, we shall not demur
But ’til that day dawneth we’ll be on Tumblr.

Do you want the Good News or the Bad News?

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2017 11 05 Mennonite Fellowship of Montreal

Do You Want the Good News or the Bad News?
Lectionary Texts: Micah 3:5-12 – condemnation of unjust leaders and false prophets
Matthew 23:1-12 – Jesus denounces scribes and the Pharisees and instructs another way.

In the beginning, the universe was created. This has widely been regarded as a bad move and made a lot of people very angry – Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

So – do you want the good news, or the bad news? We used to play an improv game called ‘Good News Bad News’. One person would give a piece of Good News, and the next would point out a flaw. Then the first person would try to find a redeeming feature of the flaw. For example:

  • The good news is you won 1 million.
  • The bad news is that it’s a million potatoes.
  • The good news is you run a fast food franchise.
  • The bad news is that you sell pizza.

And so on. It’s fun, because finding fault is fun, and you can be very imaginative in finding the positives or negatives. Of course – it’s all the same piece of news. It’s news, with good and bad perspectives, depending on where you focus. The ‘Good News Bad News’ game models the process of investigating the truth – going deeper, considering other perspectives. Continue reading

The Quiet in the Land: Adult Education

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I was invited to offer the Adult Education before the service at the Mennonite Fellowship of Montreal. I wanted to talk about the role and calling of the Church, having been invited to talk about ‘The Quiet in the Land’ – the concept of living as a separate community with distinct values and norms in nations like Canada. In the group discussion this was tellingly described as being ‘model non-citizens’.

This post includes a brief outline of the workshop as well as some writing I did in preparation, much of which I did not use directly. I’m therefore categorizing this as Notes/Outline.

I began with an introduction to Christian Peacemaker Teams as a response to the call to the Peace Churches to be as committed to peacemaking (preparation, training, funding) as an army is to war. I suggested that it was a way of offering specific Mennonite gifts and perspectives to the world. I talked as well about Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) and their restorative justice programmes as another way of interpreting nonviolence to a violent system. Continue reading

Ordinary Time: Forgiveness

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2017 09 17 TUMC Sermon

Ordinary Time: Forgiveness
Psalm 103:1-13 – Thanksgiving for God’s Goodness
Matthew 18:21-35 – the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

You may have seen it in a classroom or office – on faded paper, pinned to a board: “The floggings will continue until morale improves.”

If you’re going to cite a verse to describe the worst that people think of Christianity, you could try the conclusion of this parable.

In anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.

Forgiveness is either difficult, or it is unnecessary. Continue reading