The Invisibility of Progressive Christianity

Every so often, I’ve heard an argument that goes like this:  “the press only talks about the Christians vs. the gays as if all Christians are against being gay.  Don’t they know that there are Christians who support gays?” The frustration comes from being ignored by the wider culture, especially the media.  When we think of Christians, we are more likely to think of evangelicals or Catholics, but never liberal Protestantism.  This has long been a problem.  Some, including former evangelical-turned liberal Christian Randall Balmer, think there is a conspiracy afoot inspired by groups like the Institute for Religion and … Continue reading The Invisibility of Progressive Christianity

Sermon: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

I preached this tonight at our Blue Christmas Service.

“The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?”
Isaiah 49:14-16 and Matthew 2:1-23
Blue Christmas Service
December 19, 2012
First Christian Church
Minneapolis, MN

It’s Christmastime!  It’s the time of the year that we are supposed to be happy and we consider it “the most wonderful time of the year,” as the song goes.  We can imagine this manger scene where Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus gather together with all the animals and the shepherds.  It’s just a wonderful picture.

But you know, I did something this year.  I actually kind of read some of the lectionary texts for Advent and you know what?  At least in the Bible, it is NOT the most wonderful time of the year.   The first Sunday talks about the second coming of Christ and it wasn’t something to look forward to.  Then we have a few Sunday focused on John the Baptist who calls the people who come to be baptized, snakes and tells people to get ready for Jesus, which again doesn’t sound nice.

If we go to Christmas and beyond, we again don’t have the bucolic scenes that so many of us are used to.  The Three Wise Men come and visit, giving gifts that fortells the grim future that Jesus would face on the cross.  King Herod, who hears about a rival king orders his soldiers to kill all young boys age 2 and under.  During the 12 days of Christmas we are faced with this tragedy called the Holy Innocents which is commemorated on December 28.

So, Advent and Christmas are not so happy at least not in the way we would like to think.  Which is probably a good thing, because let’s face it, all is not calm in our world.  We are only a few days out from the horrific shooting of 20 little children in suburban Connecticut.  As we tried to comprehend the evil that was taking place, time and time again, people posted Matthew 2:18 on their Facebook pages, which states: “A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.” Continue reading “Sermon: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?”