Repost: We Can’t Be Friends

First off, welcome to all the new visitors who saw my post on Freshly Pressed. Below is a post from last year.  It was about 20 years ago, that I attended a large Baptist church in Washington, DC. The church was an odd mix, or at least it would be odd today. Evangelicals and liberals were somehow able to worship together, along side a healthy dose of members from Latin America and Asia. The church decided at some point to hire a pastor to the join the good-sized multi-pastor staff. The person chosen was a woman with great pastoral care … Continue reading Repost: We Can’t Be Friends

“A Tale of Four Marys:” A Good Friday Sermon

This is a sermon I gave at an ecumenical service in 2010. “A Tale of Four Marys” John 19:25 Good Friday April 2, 2010 Central Lutheran Church Minneapolis, MN   When I was asked to speak on the three Marys, I have to be honest that nothing was immediately coming to mind.  What could I say about these women?  And then I realized something: my mother was also a Mary.  My mother, born 76 years ago in Canonvanas, Puerto Rico was given the name Maria, Spanish for Mary.  Her name reminded me of a time when I was in pretty … Continue reading “A Tale of Four Marys:” A Good Friday Sermon

Sunday Sermon: “No Do Overs”

This is a sermon I preached in 2007 for the Baptism of Our Lord which is next Sunday.  I happen to be preaching next Sunday.  No, I won’t be using this sermon.

“No Do Overs”
Isaiah 43:1-7, Luke 3:15-22
January 7, 2007 (Baptism of Our Lord)
Community of Grace Christian Church*
Minneapolis, MN

Did you ever have one of those experiences where you are playing a board game and you made some kind of mistake? Someone usually has pity on you and you get what is called a “do-over.”

I live for those moments.

Do overs can be great, I mean you get another chance. I really like them when I was playing some kind of athletic game as a kid. Since I was not blessed with physical prowess, this meant that I had another shot at getting it right.

Getting a do-over in say, kickball, is a good thing, but do-overs don’t work so well in the life of faith. In fact, they might do some damage.

Today is what is commonly called The Baptism of Our Lord. It is on this day, that we read about Jesus, the Son of God, the one who had no sin, coming forth to be baptized. Baptism has always been a touchy subject for me. As many of you know, I come from the Baptist tradition, so people tend to get baptized later in life than someone from a tradition that practices infant baptism. Baptists as well as Disciples believe in something called “believer’s baptism,” which means that the person usually makes a profession of faith before they are baptized. I got baptized in December 1976 at New Jerusalem Baptist Church in my hometown of Flint, Michigan. I was seven years old and didn’t understand everything that was going on. Anyway, I did get baptized and went on to grow up in the church and learn about God and about how God loved me.

As I got older, I started to have doubts. I would hear many preachers talking about making sure we were saved by God and I would fret about this. Did I really believe? It didn’t get any better when I was in college. Back then, I shared my concerns with my campus pastor. His belief was that in my case, I might want to get baptized again since I wasn’t sure. When I shared this with my mother, she looked at me as if I had just turned purple. I never went through with it and over time, I put my fears to rest. That was until about five years later when I was looking to join a Baptist church in Washington, DC. I was chatting with the pastor, and he asked if I had been baptized. I said yes “Was it a believer’s baptism?” he said. I tensed up. All the doubts came back. You see, he believed that the “believer’s baptism” was the only true way to be baptized and had “re-baptized” those who came from traditions where they were baptized as children. Despite my doubts, I told him I had been baptized. Continue reading “Sunday Sermon: “No Do Overs””

Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner, Yada Yada Yada

“Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner.” This is one of those cliches that Christians tend to use (or at least I’ve heard people use them, I don’t remember hearing someone say it) and one Christian in particular doesn’t like it.  Here’s what Christian Piatt (a fellow Disciples of Christ pastor) has to say about this: This is a backhanded way to tell someone you love them, at best. It also ignores the command by Jesus not to focus on the splinter in our neighbors’ eyes while a plank remains in our own. Bottom line: we all screw up, and naming … Continue reading Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner, Yada Yada Yada

A Table, A Cross, An Elephant and a Donkey

Christ of the Polls by Stushie. There was a time in my life when I really loved talking about politics. I come from a family where my mother talked about politics constantly and still does. But these days, I don’t enjoy politics as much as I used to. I still enjoy and I still blog about politics, but something has changed over the years, at least within me. I think I know why. It’s that people take politics way to seriously. So seriously, that we don’t know how to be friends with those we might disagree with. The 2008 bestseller, … Continue reading A Table, A Cross, An Elephant and a Donkey

“A Glimse of What Is Possible”

The word is getting around about SpringHouse Ministry Center (that’s the new name), the new building where First Christian is moving to and working with a UCC and a Lutheran congregation.  I’ve shared about how First Christian came to join this partnership and now here are some words from Geoffrey Black, the General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ.  He was in Minnesota recently and toured SpringHouse.  This is what he had to say of this new venture: What I saw was three Minneapolis churches that are about to move into one building and share life and … Continue reading “A Glimse of What Is Possible”