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Saturday, August 16, 2008

11th Hour Preacher Party: Going to the Dogs Edition

Good morning, pals and gals, it's exactly the middle of August, the "dog days" of summer where I am. (Why do they call them dog days? An extra muffin for anyone who has an idea.) We spent last night sitting by a lake with our dog, munching sandwiches, watching people and enjoying a pleasant evening.

Today, I have to get down to it, though: wrestle with one of the top ten meanest things Jesus ever said (what did he have against dogs, anyway?), wonder about Israel's status as an "outcast" welcoming the stranger (Isaiah), worry about Joseph and his brothers, and what the future holds for them. I also have a funeral this morning.

However, I have laid out a nice and welcoming breakfast for you: fresh squeezed orange juice, banana chocolate chip muffins (why not, since they are virtual), English muffins with real virtual butter, coffee cake, and of course, fair trade coffee and Good Earth tea. These are not crumbs that fall from the table! Please, come and eat! Stay and visit. There are no outsiders here.

The question is: will there be leftovers? No begging! (all right, begging is ok.)
P.S. sorry about the shameless promotion of my dog.


  1. Ooh...I'm the first, I'm the first! How very exciting.
    Dog days, my Daddy told me, because Sirius, the dog star is specially bright in the August sky. It may be myth. It may not apply across the Pond...but that was certainly his explanation.
    Thanks, Diane, for the delicious breakfast. I'm adding some rather wonderful muesli that Hattie Gandhi bought home from uni, and making sure I have a good sensible breakfast as the day is busy busy right through. There's a coffee morning fundraiser at Church in the Valley shortly, a renewal of marriage vows (which needs a bit of thought to the liturgy as well as a brief address)and an untouched sermon to negotiate, plus another for a double baptism ...and on the subject of dogs, the lovely Libby could do with a bit of time and attention. Perhaps she and Scout could play together while we write...An 11th hour preacher dog party? Molly? Sam? The Boy? are you coming?

  2. If it means playing rather than waiting for me to put down my book, Penny will be happy to join the preacher dogs party.
    As for the sermon, I hope to talk about this story as being about Jesus and how he wasn't born "full blown" like Venus rising from the sea. I suppose we have St. John to blame - not to mention ourselves - for the idea that Jesus never had his own teaching moments. I think that at this point in MTs gospel, Jesus is realizing that people are happy to take healings and miracles and such but aren't willing to take him and his message of salvation. Even the disciples don't always get it, although the walking on water was a revelatory moment for them.
    And if I'm very brave, I may make the connection between Father and Son, that the Jesus who learns and grows is also the Father who may just learn and grow, too.

  3. I think that I am going to do something a bit different and present the Gospel lesson as a monologue from the Canaanite woman's perspective. Allowing her to share her story, including, of course, what she learned and what she has to teach.

    Margaret, I like the idea about connecting the Father and the Son, though dangerous it may be. He made us in His own image and He allows us to learn everyday, therefore, as uncomfortable an idea it may seem to some, it seems perfectly logical (sorry, a Dr. Spock moment) that He Himself would still be learning too.

    I’ll bring fresh blueberries, bagels with cream cheese and iced hazelnut coffee! yum. ;0)


  4. Kathryn and Margaret -- welcome! and welcome to your dogs, too! thanks for the info, Kathryn, about "dog days" == an extra muffin for you.

    Margaret, I like what you say about Jesus' growing in his self-understanding, and the Father, too.

    I'm starting out with the idea that Jesus was telling the woman "it's not for you" -- healing, salvation -- but her vision was wider, and turned out to be the true one. About faith as stretching the boundaries, always.

  5. oh! I like the monologue Idea, too! I haven't tried that in a while!

  6. Good morning! I really much prefer Saturdays that do not have me up early enough to be in the single digit posts ... but I'll be here much later too, I'm sure.

    I'm so far behind that I don't even know if I'm preaching Genesis (Joseph) or Matthew. If Matthew, I'll probably go with GIGO (garbage in, garbage out).

    I'm off for adventures (doesn't that sound better than a meeting?)and, with a little luck, a geocache or two

  7. welcome, Vicar! check in again. coffee's always on for guests. I'm not quite as done as I want to be for my sermon. I have a funeral at 11:00. and then not much time to "fix" my Sunday sermon before I preach it at 5:00.

    I'm tired.

    I like the GIGO idea, too. I'll need to file that for next time...

  8. Good morning to all of you who work on sermons today. Though I am on the receiving end of your efforts, I do think about you all!

    I offer you a very short procrastinator's activity if you choose to accept it. Mosey on over to RGBP trivia and try your hand at 10 questions. You can find it here.

  9. 'Morning y'all. I'm trying to grind back into gear after 3.5 weeks of vacation and 5 weeks out of the pulpit. Oof. I'm preaching Matthew, with at least as much focus on 10-20 as on 21-28. Title is "The Doors of the Heart"... and that's pretty much all I have right now.

  10. earthchick, I like your title!

    Cathy, I will have to wait until later to be distracted. it's so tempting, though.

  11. Earthchick - 3.5 weeks of vacation sound mighty fine! I know it must be hard getting back into the swing of things.

    Ok one more bit of procrastinating (because I am an enabler) - but have you checked out our book for book discussion for this month? Check it out - it's The Friendship of Women: The Hidden Tradition of the Bible - it's short and sweet and you have time to order it and get it and read it!

    And, if you think you want to read September's book (and you know you do), here it is - Here If You Need Me: A True Story

    Ok now, who did order that chainsaw?

  12. G' morning'. I am up sans son for the morning so I am hoping to knock out a significant chunk of sermon (as soon as I back away from the computer, of course). I am going with Matthew: 'Lowest of the Low' is the working title with remnants of my weed sermon - where I encouraged us to stop trying to determine who was a weed - and instead grow floating in my head.

    I also have a kitchen that needs a little bit of maintenance and it is time to take the recycling.

    Along with why do the people who grumble about money the most, give the least another seeming oxymoron is why do the communities that depend on the earth most (farming) make it the most difficult to recycle (once a month, 20 miles away here)?

    Coffee time!

  13. Also... blue grass on my lawn tonight. grrrrrr.

  14. Good morning
    Offering fresh nectarines and zucchini bread to the feast.
    I am really intrigued by Gordon Atkinson's "The Smallest Person..." at Real Live Preacher. [Can't remember how to do links - the format has to be right in front of me...arrgggh] Anyway, he opens with a young boy Jesus sitting at his rabbi's feet, discussing whom the smallest person in the world might be. Ultimately, the rabbi says something like, "You will know that person when you look into her eyes". Jesus remembers this as he finally looks in the Canaanite woman's eyes.
    At the two-month mark of what is likely to be a marathon race of reduced staffing at our parish, this text has pierced through my weary heart.

  15. I will take the virtual breakfast offer. Last night I brought the laptop to the kitchen table to work, so now I'm sitting here with the 1 and 3 year olds and we're out of both Cheerios and eggs. How did this happen? It means no obvious breakfast (Cheerios), and no back-up homemade breakfast (waffles or pancakes). My husband is a church for men's breakfast. Maybe we should just get up, get dressed, and go out!!!

    Anyway, I'm also sitting here with.... (drumroll please).... a sermon done!!! I'm 99.9% sure this appears in the Revelation of John as a sign of the Second Advent. Holy cow! I almost had it written on Wednesday, then planned to finish it on Thursday, but a sick 3 year old foiled that plan. I stuck it out last night and we done in time to be in bed at 11:00 p.m.

    I blogged about my feelings about it here. And I put it here. I know it's a different lectionary week than most of you (last week), but if you need a break I'd take ANY comments. I'll read it during nap time and mess with it then. Until then I'm taking advantage of my doneness and ignoring it!

    (Not meaning to brag or gloat; this is really just surprise and even confusion from my end!)

  16. Here is the link to RLP's The Smallest Person in the World. It has been dancing around in my mind too after being reminded of it at the Preacher Party.

  17. she rev, I bow to you.

    and my dog does, too.

  18. I too am going with "dog woman" as I sometimes call her when I refer to this story. My title is "Double Dog Dare" though I'm not sure yet if it's the woman doing the daring, or Jesus. I think I'm going with the widening boundaries thing, the larger more inclusive vision of the kingdom, the Jesus hearing God calling in an unexpected way but hearing and therefore following God past the walls he'd been taught to put up...

    but I could end up with the woman, courageous because she knows that even a tiny bit of grace is enough. That's what I wrote about in one of those devotional books we put out a while I keep thinking I've already written a sermon on this! LOL. So anyway, I can't decide. Maybe I'll somehow get both, who knows.

    But first: a High School Youth planning meeting--we are hoping to spend 3 hours and knock out the entire school year. So I'll have donuts, berries, bagels and cream cheese, hard boiled eggs, and juice to offer you all this morning! And when I get back at lunchtime...egg salad sandwiches! Until I get back, party a lot so there will be tons of ideas for me, since i have nothing so far and won't be starting until after lunchtime....but don't party TOO hard as I don't want to come back and find we've been cleaned out by the police for being too rowdy!! I'll be explaining "but officer, you know how those preachers can be...."

  19. I'm going with the woman and my theme throughout the sermon is going to be "table scraps and growing circles"

    I'm starting out with a story about my cat (who sometimes likes to pretend to be a dog) and then talking about how animals have this ability to make us love more and then talking about how this woman who was calloulously and rudely and cruelly called a dog stretched the boundaries for Jesus, the disciples and the church.

    I think i'm going to conclude with something about how its always the people who are stuck with the leftovers who truly have the ability to make our lives bigger.

  20. I did some thinking about the Canaanite woman story (the dog story?) earlier this week.

    I look forward to what you all come up with. And I am here to offer multigrain waffles with fresh strawberries...

  21. a couple thoughts too from my lectionary group that might be helpful for some over here

    and I just has this really strange idea for my sermon. My title is "throw me a bone here" and I'm wondering if this would work: My opening story is about playing fetch with my cat, and I wonder if I could get one of the kids to play fetch with me throughout the whole sermon. And as we played fetch - I'd move out of the pulpit and end up in the middle of everybody (our church has an aisle through the middle of the congregation separating front from the back). And I'd talk about how eventually we realize that table scraps aren't enough for those people who are used to only the crumbs... but how we need to be with them, love them, and share with them the best we have. It's kind of crazy... does it work?

  22. Wroo wroo!
    Send Libby over here and Sam and I will dog-sit!!

  23. I was up and out early this morning, but obviously not as early as some of you!

    I have a wedding this morning - my first! Last night at the rehearsal was my first conflict with a wedding photographer. What is it about "This is a worship service so there will be no flash photography" that is so hard to understand?

    Have some work done on tomorrow's sermon, but not nearly enough considering I'll be coming home from the wedding/reception mid-afternoonish.

    Diane - will you post the recipe for those banana chocolate chip muffins sometime? Everytime you offer them they sound soo good!

  24. Molly! Scout wants to know if you can play while I do my funeral!

    Seriously, I have a funeral in an hour, I'll be back to check on everyone, and finish my OTHER sermon, after that.

    Talk amongst yourselves. :)

  25. Aren't dogs considered unclean in Jesus' day? I know that the being called "Canaanite woman" in Mt is a slur. There were no Canaanite's in Jesus' day. It was a way for Mt to show how out of the ordinary this woman was.

    Diane, thanks for the breakfast. I am really having a hard time dealing with this. I have preached on inclusion enough. But I think the Canaanite woman's story goes beyond inclusion/exclusion. I think Dylan Breuer has a good take on discernment at Sarahlaughed.

  26. oh Absolutely Muthah+, dogs are unclean. this is a BIG insult. It's inclusion/exclusion, but goes beyond that, as you said.

    It is tough to deal with. It's hard because the woman, not Jesus, is the hero in many ways.

    But in the end, he does heal her daughter.

  27. Can I use the word 'faith' as a verb. So instead of "Sin boldly!" I will be saying "Faith boldly!"

    I haven't studied Mark's version as much but in Matthew's version it just seems like Jesus is stressed out. In order to absorb the news that the only person on the planet that understood him had been killed he tries to get away, but the crowds followed him and because he is a compassionate guy he made sure they were fed (all 5,000+ of them.

    Then he had to deal with Peter and his idiocy on the water, then the Pharisees and scribes as they once again got bogged down in the details of what's clean and what's unclean.

    He grabs the disciples and heads to where no one knows him - the beach? - and there once again he is recognized but he has had it. If even his own people aren't getting it and time is running out does he really have time to waste on a triple-threat outsider (female, canaanite, ill)?

    Successful athletes/teams never try not to lose, they always try to win. As Christians how many of us are trying not to sin/lose rather than going out boldly in our faith.

    Here Jesus gets caught trying not to lose and woman's actions snap him back into his mercy-giving, grace-filled role.

    Faith boldly.

    (sorry I hijacked the comments)

  28. Newman the Catahoula here. I would like to join the preacher dogs party. One of my people has a wedding today and the other has a funeral. No one has had any time to play with me for the past couple of days. I take my toys to them and sit there with my most adoring look, begging them with my eyes to play, and they ignore me. Not even any 'crumbs' of playtime. It's awful, I tell ya!

    I have greenies, lamb and rice kibble, and plain yogurt to share. At least, I think I'll share

  29. Why do they call them dog days? is it to do with the saying mad dogs and English men (women)? maybe ...

    sweet dog btw - promote him/her as much as you like :)

  30. Dropping in for a moment in the midst of a hectic day--heck, weekend!

    Wedding this evening, the service and homily for which is all done, praise Jesus!

    Until then, the sermon for tomorrow and possibly some time spent in pastoral care.

    Oh, and I need to get groceries and make potato salad for the church picnic tomorrow! Can I do all that (sermon, groceries, potato salad) in four hours?

    I didn't think so.

    Oh, and there's a birthday party this evening I really should go to (at least for a little while)as well.

    And did I mention that I'm preaching for Host Church tomorrow, so I don't have my usual emergency fund of extra time on Sunday?

    I can see this is going to be a long night.

    I'm looking at Isaiah and Matthew--Jesus learnign and growing, implmenting that learning later (when he says the temple should be a house of prayer--that's a quote from Isaiah, and everyone who heard it would know the rest of it). I preach on exclusion a lot, too--the angles I want to look at this time are 1) what can we learn about teaching others (as the woman did for Jesus) and 2) what can we learn about others that will open our hearts and our understanding (we exclude, too).

    I have coffee to offer--bagels, too, but nothing as yummy as those banana chocolate chip muffins!

  31. Well, since I am finishing a week of study leave and not preaching, I am happy to host the dog party. Send them all over here! Molly and Sam say there are plenty of Milk Bones, and they aren't afraid to share!!!

  32. By the way, I love this text as a reminder of the humanity of Jesus. Because I come from a faith background that is not doctrinal, I've never had to be hung up on arguments about whether he was perfect or sinless as a human being. Honestly, if he was those things, he wasn't really human! I love the way the two stories in the text work together (in Mark they are a week apart, less conveniently). He tells those Pharisees! And then he retreats. And then the woman tells him a thing or two. There is always a deeper level or a higher question, isn't there? How many times do we think we have gotten it all sorted out only to have our heads snapped around by the person we least expect to have wisdom to share?
    Okay, enough from me. I'm lying on the couch recovering from what may have been food poisoning, and I'm thinking of all of you.

  33. Is anyone out there? Can I interrupt your prep for a moment...
    Please could you pray! I've just had to phone a couple who had booked Church on the Hill for their wedding in December, to tell them that the building will be out of bounds due to work on that famous (notorious) roof...I spoke to the guy, and there was this painful and stunned silence as I explained the situation...He has now gone to break it to his fiancee, and they are going to call me back to let me know what they want to do...I can't see a good way of dealing with this, other than being as horribly embarassed and sad for them as I am anyway - but that won't be much help. Aaaargh!

    I have finished tomorrow's sermon - and preached teh one for the renewal of vows - but that's small consolation at the moment. I just feel like the bad fairy in the story :-(

  34. Oh, SB, sorry about the food poisoning - hope you feel better soon!

    Have any of you ever taken an old sermon and reworked it and repreached it in the same place? I think I did that once (or twice) in my last congregation, but I've never done it here (in 7 1/2 years). I think that's what I'm sort of doing this time, with some changes (the beginning is totally different, the ending may be too, but the core is the same).

  35. This comment has been removed by the author.

  36. Oops - double comment (that's why the deletion). Kathryn, prayers for you! What a terrible spot to be in!

  37. Hi preachers, Hi Scout! I think those dog days are because every dog has her day and it's just time! That breakfast is wonderful Diane. You are a great hostess. Maggie is happy to join the party this morning. I am here as an unexpected preacher as I found out Tuesday there was need of a supply priest down the road. My colleague ust brought home his 4 lb 15 oz great-granddaughter and her mommy from the hospital. Baby A was not even due till September and she was born June 2nd. +J and his wife are going to be the primary caregivers for this tiny person for awhile, and he asked for backup. He has had quite the year as he lost his dad, uncle and a close elder/mentor in the last six months and now is taking on this wonderful but tough challenge. So I'm happy to be helping. I do ask your prayers for them. Since I had other plans for today, I have been studying and writing in bits and pieces. As always Tuesday LL was a lifesaver! Will be in and out as the day goes on and checking in and reading sermons later.

  38. Kate, prayers for the little one and her family. It is frightening to bring preemies home! Blessings to you for being the back up.

    Everybody else, prayers for the sermonizing. As I shared on Tuesday, we're doing a hymn sing tomorrow, so no sermon today for me. And, even better, no children's sermon! A jillion tiny details to think through, however.

    We have no food to share because we're leaving town tomorrow after church. I think we're having frozen pizza for dinner--you're welcome to cook it early and help yourselves.

  39. still working on matthew, dogs and Jesus today.
    Totally love Teri's Title. Mine sucks this tiem, but had to get it early.
    Are cats invtied to the Dog Party? M and M want to know.
    Also, watching olympic stuff and trying to get doen before going to see Smoke on the Mountatin tonight. :)
    No bright ideas here, just plugging on through.
    A seminairy buddy approached it this way, " I like to think Jesus was having a bad day, a really bad day!"
    okay, pass some muffins, coffee, and any leftover crumbs as well.

  40. I'm usually here, early doors, waiting on the posting so that I can get some ideas to start my sermon. But this week, I am done. I'll post when I rework it a bit. Basically, things haven't hotted up yet in my new parish - give it time - so I'm making the most of it. I've spent the day shopping and hanging pictures in our new home and lots of other little things that didn't get done in the big move. Wonder how long I'll feel this organised? I'm just going to enjoy it while I can. I'm doing a bit of shameless isogesis on the Matthew text - along with Brueggemann - because we need to think about God's grace being sufficient, even abundant and not get caught up in what we cannot do at this stage in a new phase of ministry in this place. I'm relaxed. I'm excited. Someone from my old parish told me yesterday: You've got ypur sparkle back. That's it exactly. Welcome back sparkle - I'm going to polish it and take care of it this time - for as long as I can. I'll check back later when I'm ready to post.

  41. songbird - sorry about the food poisoning.

    Kathryn -- praying for you. argh about the couple.

    Kate -- prayers as well.

    back from the funeral. Now I need to focus and concentrate on what will happen in about -- oh -- four hours. a sermon.

  42. SB, Josie and Boudreaux will be right over. Their day so far has included an unhappy bath.

    Praying for your health and Kathryn's couple...and all of you writing and thinking.

  43. HELP I was reading someone's blog yesterday (I think) and from an entry several days back there was a conversation with a nun. The blogger was praying for patience and the nun said something like the only thing praying for patience will get you is ????

    I like the quote and I was thinking of using it in my sermon tomorrow. I thought I'd remember it, but I don't. Could someone help me?


  44. Back for a check-in. Oh Kathryn...ugh! And Songbird...double ugh!! I, too am done...always sort of hate to say that this early in the day, but since this day was not planned as a sermon day...I kind of had to use the bits of time the week kindly presented me with. So it's posted here , and now I have to bite the bullet and go computer shopping (a month ahead of budget) as the lapper bit it and went to computer heaven. UR! Write on...if I see any good preacher brain food in my travels I'll bring some back for the hardworking RGPPs!

  45. A NUN story. I don't know the quote. I wish I did. darn.

    Kate, I have to fix my sermon before I can read yours... but I will. NOw.... on to it.

  46. Thanks for your prayers. It's about as horrible as it can be, with the bride inconsolable, refusing to consider a wedding anywhere except church on the hill, and the groom talking law suits and compensation.
    I can't see anything that I could have done to avoid the situation...other than having a less successful appeal for funds...but I feel utterly wretched and very short of inspired solutions. Bleh :-(

    In case it might help anyone, the sermon is here
    Not that I feel much like preaching it at the moment. Waah.

  47. joan,
    not sure about the nun, but there's a conversation like that in the movie Evan Almighty, which I know because I once put it up on the RevGal Prayer blog. It's Morgan Freeman as God speaking (although now that we know that he cheats on his wife, it's probably slightly less awesome than it used to be. Oh, Easy Reader, is NOTHING sacred??)

    " Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other?"

    Songbird - Ugh. So sorry.

    Oh, Kathryn, prayers.

    I've been FIGHTING with the lectionary this week, since we are baptising a sweet toddler, and none of them seem right, so I gave up and am going with the Baptism of Jesus from Matthew. Also, Psalm 33 (as a nod to the lectionary). So I'm talking about annointing, what makes unity so "good and pleasant" and abundance. Yeah, you're right, that's probably three sermons.

  48. SB--so sorry for the food poisoning--feel better soon!

    And Kathryn--how blaugh all around...

    Hugs to you both!

    As for me, pastoral bit seems to have fallen by the wayside, groceries are gotten and home, potato salad is in progress (potatoes cooked, now cooling before the grand mixing), sermon somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 done...with an hour to go before I need to get ready to head to the church for the wedding.

    I'm sure I'll be back at work after the wedding, unless a miracle occurs in the next hour... Drat! I was so hoping for a nice romantic leisurely steak dinner on the porch with Strong Heart... Good thing she's in ministry, too, and understands about sermons coming first.

    Got some ice cream at the store, in case anyone is ready for a snack--B&J Banana Split, anyone?

  49. juniper -- great quote! I don't know how I'll use it just now, but it's going in the file, for sure.

    yeah, I'm avoiding the end of the sermon.

    The thing is: the woman is right. In the end, the good news and the blessing IS for her. She doesn't give up believing that and fighting for that.

    How come we give up so easily, sometimes? I mean, fighting for the things we believe in?

  50. anybody want cheese pizza? I just heated one up - my last cooking of the day as it's sposed to get up over 100 and as soon as the sun swings around it'll be a scorcher in here.

    also a yummy salad:
    lettuce, red cabbage, fresh blueberries and peaches from the farmers market.

  51. will smama I LOVE the Faith Boldy and how you get there with the athletes not trying not to lose, but trying to win. Throw Michael Phelps in there and you're good to go. Or maybe not even Michael Phelps, but Ryan Lochte. He talked about how no matter who he was racing he went into each race believing he could win. He beat one teammate, former champion in the event, Perisol or something like that. Poop. I can't think of his name. He came in third in his next race only 27 minutes later (Phelps took first), but even in the face of that quick turn around and the underdog status he never lost the feeling that he could take it. Did he win the gold in both? No, but we don't hit the mark 100% of the time in faith either. But, like you said, we don't go in there trying not to lose; go forward trying to win.

    Man. I want to preach THAT one!

  52. Semi-final draft is done and pasted! Now off to the wedding!

  53. Just dropping in for a minute before going to a wedding - as a guest! :-) Some really great ideas here especially as I didn't have any new ones before reading.
    Diane - I always heard the same thing Kathryn did about the Dog Days
    SB - how awful to have food poisoning
    K - prayers for the disappointed couple

    See you all later after stuffing myself on the actual feast the bride promised they were serving. (What cholesterol?)

  54. I have a draft posted here . It relies heavily - heavily! - on a sermon I preached here three years ago. I asked earlier but haven't heard any responses one way or the other - have any of you done that before? (preached an old somewhat revised sermon in the same place)

  55. okay, I'm back from the high school youth planning meeting (we have the whole school year planned out now) but it's 3:15pm and I have NOTHING. Excellent.

    Time to start praying, I guess..and thinking...and hoping...

    i'm going to need a children's sermon too, on the dog woman. any ideas? "Even Jesus was mean and racist sometimes" probably isn't going to work...

  56. earthchick, mine is finally done, so after I practice, I'll get over to yours. I'm not so happy with the ending... I think I wimp out too much on who are the "dogs" for us... you know the "illegal aliens" as we like to call them... and other "outcasts."

    But I'll practice now, be back later.

  57. Teri, how about telling a story about doing or saying the wrong thing because we are stressed/tired/worried or whatever, but the important thing is *realizing* we've done wrong and making amends--which is what Jesus does.
    Clearly, I can't keep away from the party. I've spent a good bit of today thinking about the texts and about where to visit church tomorrow!

  58. OK. I take it back. I like what I have. I've edited, reposted, and am calling it done!

    Think I'll write a prayer and go play videos games.

  59. Hey, back again, not nearly enough "words" from word count, but I am off to see musical.
    Maybe soem idea will come from that.
    Okay, so anyhow, WS, love th noion of the Dog Lady, being a triple threat...'
    Teri, still lvoe your title! It reminds me of A Christmas Story and sticking one's tongue to the pole and freezing it.
    Okay, has nothgn to do with my sermon, maybe somebody can use it in the OT...eye-yi-yieeee

  60. A lot of work, words and pages has boiled down to this: Faith is an action, not an acquisition.

    'Faith boldly'

  61. songbird - does that mean you are feeling better?

  62. oh, quick thought...the lady had a lot of chutzpah, which is a yiddish/Jewish term (and yes, she was not) but she had it anyway..
    okay, time to get a little more lipstick and my ring and go.
    Oh, BTW, if you ahve not seen Smoke on the Mountain, there is a delightful character who does sign language for he church revival service...and nobody is deaf....
    oh, and it is her own version not the typical!

  63. I'm moderately improved, juniper. My 17-year-old has a friend visiting, and everyone is discussing what kind of pizza to order; let's just say I'm not ready for that yet!

  64. Kathryn, sorry about the difficulty with the couple. On another subject, The Boy wanted me to let you know that he was honored to get a mention in today's first comment! And he doesn't know it yet, but he will be seeing Mary Beth a little later today.

    Speaking as one who sings, not preaches, it sounds like the sermon writing is going pretty well on the balance. Great job, everybody!

  65. Well, I've done all I can in terms of informing everyone in all directions of exactly how the land all I can do is wait to hear if the appeals committee has any inspired solution to offer and pray that we all manage to be kind to one I'm off to bed, with prayers for all of you still writing, and for the teeny grandchild of Kate's colleague too.
    Blessings on your Sunday, my friends xx

  66. Can anyone explain to me why the female Olympic athletes doing track and field are wearing teeny little bottoms and midriff-baring tops?

    I realize this is off-topic, but seriously. What is that about?

  67. dogblogger, good to have you drop in.

    and your little dog, too. :)

  68. Kathryn -- have a good sleep. praying for you.

    Songbird -- I don't know anything about the Olympics. Anyone?

  69. I've wondered about the women's apparel all week. How come the beach volleyball team also wears a bikini when the men look like they could be on the basketball team with their baggy shorts and tops. Likewise the women. Did the words sexual exploitation come to your mind, too, SB? I wonder what the woman of our discussion would have to say about that! ;-)
    It's not that I believe women should wear burkhas (sp!) but how come they can't dress a modestly as the men? It doesn't make sense.

    Back to the sermon topic. Have any of you read about Jesus speaking in Greek as well as Aramaic? A scholarly colleague was filling me in on that idea the other day. Something about Greek being a common language of the day. Anyway, I only bring it up because the Greek word used here for dogs is really more like doggies, a term implying that said critters are not to be branded unclean so much as part of the household. Kind of like my British grandmother telling me that her mother always introduced her as "my little bitch." Words and how they are used within the culture that uttered them may quite different than how we hear them today, eh? :-)
    SB feel better but stay away from the pizza. Kathryn, I hope your committee can make all things better for the couple. Weddings planned that far in advance ought to get some sort of precedence - although roofs are pretty important.
    revdrkate, please give us a name for our prayer lists. At least the child if not her parents. First names are all I like to use.
    And now back to that Penny dog. She let me have a long nap earlier so I'm taking her off to the lake for a swim. And, no, I will not wear a bikini!!

  70. Songbird, since someone else has also suggested sexual exploitation (or was it you - and I don't disagree with that suggestion at all - the fact of it, not the intent of it) I'll attempt an athletic answer - - - is it because it makes them as close to running naken as possible, and is comfortable in the way some people say a thong is comfortable? (I am not one of those people.) I mean, maybe it's an aerodynamic thing? No drag? I know the men where the skin tight outfits that come longer, but maybe it's not so comfy down the legs or on the belly and since that style is socially acceptable for women to wear they do? Maybe that's giving someone too much credit.

  71. I'm back...have fruit from the stand but ice cream sounds ever so much better after the spending! I was thinking of a DQ run...lactose intolerance be hanged...but the B and J sounds purty good! Margaret, our baby is Aalyiah, and she is soooo beautiful in her picture. Amazing how someone so tiny can be so perfect. Thanks all for the prayers. Kathryn, so sorry your couple are having such a struggle with this. SB glad to hear you are better (and foregoing pizza however) Wills, love your "faith boldly." Would that we might. I am off to read sermons with the bit of battery I have left. Blessings on everything tomorrow in case she gives up teh ghost and I don't get back tonight.

  72. okay, so I took a quick (well, hour long) nap hoping that would help. But instead I still have nothing. oh dear.

  73. Its amazing what can get done on a Saturday when the sermon is done earlier in the week. I've picked some apples and right now, the smell of apple pie baking is wafting into the study. Was going to rework the sermon but have decided just to run with it. Can't say everything in the first week! Anyway, its here So looking forward to tomorrow and then some friends are coming to lunch, so I'd better finish up and get some sleep. Hope it all comes together for preacher partygoers - wherever you are.

  74. Hello everyone! It's good to be back in the land of preachers. I've been off for a few weeks, so now trying to get back into the preaching groove. Been busy today, so I'm just really getting started now.

    I've only really got two things in my mind: one, that those who look different from us are still our brothers and sisters (both the Canaanite woman and Joseph), and two, that God's people have a history of struggling and enduring even when God appears to be against them, and they are rewarded with good news, new life, reconciliation. Nothing really groundbreaking, but that might be okay for my first Sunday back.

    As for the discussion of what runners wear...I just read a great article about this. According to the article, pretty much every track sport has gone to body-hugging clothes to cut down on drag and on the likelihood of catching your clothes on something. Now, I can't comment on beach volleyball players so much. If they were wearing skimpy bikinis that were clearly not suitable for athletics, I would be more concerned.

  75. margaret -- I've heard that about "doggies" before, but my colleague tells me it's not true; dogs weren't kept as pets in those days, at least by Jews. They were feral animals. Now in the Gentile world: I don't know....

  76. Juniper, thanks for the suggestion. SB, glad you're feeling better. Finished sermon. Not where anyone else went. Bitch as role model for Christian women. I'm in the south where women are still expected to be nice.

  77. We had an animal blessing service today (yeah I know it's not October - long story) and I got to pet all kinds of dogs. It has me thinking about how even the dogs get crumbs from the table. I'm just now really settling down to work so I'm not sure if it will make it in.

    I love all your interesting ideas... wish I could be sitting in your pews tomorrow. :)

    May check back in later.

  78. I still have no words written, but I'm beginning to wonder what exactly the food and the crumbs are? If Jesus/the Word of God is the bread of life, is it possible for there to be only so much? (obv. not since Jesus seems to change his mind about this.) But what exactly is a "crumb"??

    I doubt this is going into the sermon, whenever it decides to appear, but it's slightly weird to think about.

  79. Joan -- the South is not the only place where women are expected to be "nice."

    I actually like what you're saying ... bitch as role model... can you say the "b" word in the pulpit where you are?

    just asking.

    but I really like like like the message.

  80. I definitely can't say bitch in the pulpit or I would in a heartbeat. I said it in a class this week talking about this story, and even that was on the edge.

    I have 318 words--do you think that's enough? ;-)

  81. Still up and partying - like to see where others are going with this text. Joan Calvin, like the idea of bitching Christian women. Last time I used this text I tied it in with the story of the Hebrew midwives in Exodus 1 "these Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women - they have given birth by the time we get there" - or something like that was their response to Pharaoh when called to task. Their subversion meant that Moses survived. Girl power indeed! And can you say bitch in church? I once said crap and it was more than some folk could cope with!
    Sunday worshippers are so fragile :)

  82. liz, the hebrew midwives come up for me next week, and I'm now thinking about whether these two sermons will tie together! hmm....

    also thinking about whether Jesus the bread of life, out of his own "territory", is just crumbs.

    That, my friends, will NOT preach. Unless you go with the "crumbs are enough" thing, but even then, it's pushing it. The day I say that will of course be the day the heretic police from my presbytery would be in the I think I'll keep that one inside and go somewhere better.

  83. Back from the wedding. I left after the food but before the dancing. Service was done in English and Spanish so everyone could understand and enjoy the worship. Nice. And so cool to see my friend's grandchildren as ring bearers.

    Crumbs - hmm, like all we need is faith as tiny as a mustard seed? Even a crumb is as filled with grace as the whole loaf? I'm liking this.

    Like the bitch model too. But I'm pretty sure I can't use the word. I used "pissed" once and oh my, how the eyes opened wide! How about "persistent" or even pushy, like the widow with the unjust judge? Jesus does deal with some strong women - like the Steel Magnolias if we want to go all Southern about it.

    Guess I should start writing now, huh? Maybe I'll be here late with SemFem tonight.

  84. Well I've got 3 pages of notes reflecting on the gospel mostly so progress is being made. Most of it not a tie to todays events. But then I had a thought (still not sure if this is going in).

    Today as the service was beginning and I went around and met the various dogs and pet them and then later when we did individual prayers, many were so excited to be there among all these new "friends" they were wriggling balls of energy, could hardly contain themselves, some barking or whining to express this as well. And some also would turn toward my hand, hopeful that I had some tasty treat for them, rather than just a pat on the head.

    So I got to thinking about where there may be folks around us eager for "crumbs", eager to meet a new friend or looking for something that might satisfy a hunger they have. Will we share from the feast, the abundance, the grace we have before us? Will we share more than crumbs?

    Just some thoughts I'm pondering. Something like this also came to mind when someone earlier posted about their dog who wanted to play and brought their toy with a hopeful look, but the humans were too busy.

  85. Oh my gosh, I'm done.

    I think. it just sort of happened....

    I'm posting it here right now...let me know what you think. I'm afraid it's not good, but might have to be good enough. I'm going to eat a late dinner (I feel like all I've eaten today is donuts and hard boiled eggs--that can't be good for you!) and check back in in a little while. peace!

  86. I haven't had much appetite this week as I was still dealing with last week's headcold, so today when I finally was hungry I think I overdid it. Am overfull...blah. Should have stuck with the crumbs, heh!

    The other notes thoughts I had were about what we can learn from the woman about approaching Jesus/God.

    1st she recognizes him for who he is, seems to seem him clearer than most others so far. She follows him, she approaches him, says "have mercy on me" and presents her need. (How often do we recognize Christ in our midst, how often do we forget to present our need and say have mercy on me?) She's persistent, she's humble, kneeling (praying, worshipping?) before him and says, "Lord, help me." In lectionary group someone brought up what I think was the Anne Lamott quote that there are only 2 prayers, help me help me help me and thank you thank you thank you. After all this Jesus sees her faith and responds.

    Okay, back to the reading, writing, and pondering.

    Oh yeah and a big whoo hoo/high five to those who are done with their sermons! way to go. :)

  87. I have some really good cheddar cheese and sesame seed crackers that you are welcome to share.

    I have just printed my sermon thanks for all the thoughts this week.

    I am going to take a bottle of single malt Welsh whiskey into my Methodist pulpit (shock horror!!) The same reaction the disciples and pharisees had when Jesus swept away centuries of kosher food law...

    I hope to make the point that people too were regarded as unclean especially a Canaanite! This aw-some barrier was swept away by a determined humble voice it was faith that breached the barrier and Jesus' healing that bridged the divide.

    A while ago our service book was renewed many insisted that we retain the prayer of humble access in our communion liturgy: Lord we come to your table... we are not fit to gather up the crumbs.

    With this prayer we put ourselves alongside this woman and all others...

    On THOSE TROUBLESOME WORDS I'm going to leave as is just share the debate... in the end its mercy we all need etc.

    It may be an interesting conversation with my Superintendent if word gets back that I was waving whiskey from the pulpit!

    Of to bed its 2.00am cheese makes you dream hope they are as good as Josephs were...

    Praying for you all, special prayers for those with lots on their minds besides having to preach.

  88. Rev-Steve: love it!

    and oooh, thanks, we have the prayer of humble access in our prayerbook too, although it depends on which service/prayer you're doing whether you will say it.

    Something to think about using anyway. Hope you don't get in trouble for the whiskey thing :)

  89. OMG - Too late for me now but SOMEDAY rev steve I am going to crack a beer open in the pulpit to get that point across too. Wow.

    Maybe on the day I announce my retirement :)

    My sermon started strong and fizzled even stronger but it is written and a cute baby is being baptized tomorrow so no one will remember it anyway, right?

    Holy Spirit has our back and all that!

    Peace, friends.

  90. How are we doing? I preached once (well, twice if you include the funeral), and I'm not. changing. it. just gonna go with what I have.

    Now I'm going out with the dog, because I, oops, I mean, she needs a walk.

  91. earthchick:
    I don't know if you're still reading tonight, but you were wondering about recycling an old sermon.

    I've never done it in the same place because I'm too new to have made it through the lectionary a second time in the same place.

    But here's some thoughts. I often can't remember sermons *I've preached*, at least not word for word, I can only tell you some vague ideas/concepts preached at 2 seminary graduations and actually don't really remember what was preached at my own.

    It's a preaching moment. Even if you were trying to preach it word for word the same you likely wouldn't, at least I know I didn't when I was preaching more than one service with the same sermon text or outline.

    So I say as long as the concepts and message still connect to you, still get under your skin and feel like they need to be preached, reworking and reusing those ideas seems fine to me. People may recognize some things you say as vaguely familiar, but don't we tend to revisit ideas, concepts, themes anyway?

    Sounds like you're happy with the message you want to deliver. I hope it goes well tomorrow.

  92. so wait, drinking margaritas in the pulpit is frowned upon, then?

    (just kidding...we only drink them during meetings, not worship...)

  93. Thanks, bythesea! I really appreciate your thoughts and reassurances! As a rule, it's not something I do, but for more than one reason I felt inclined to this go-round. I took out the opener - which was the most memorable part. Put in a totally different opening and a whole lot of new stuff towards and end and tweaked the stuff all through the middle. It actually took almost as much time to edit as it would've to write a whole new one, strangely enough!

    So, here's hoping it goes fine and that no one thinks, "Wow, we've heard that before! What a slacker!"

    Best to all of you. I'm headed to bed....

  94. Anybody still up? I'm plugging an introduction (totally borrowed from a friend) and now need to actually buckle down and WRITE the harder part.

    Now, I thought I had a transition lying around here somewhere...

    Man, it feels good to be back here for the late-night push!

  95. just wanted to let everyone know I'm going to bed. I've left the light on (one light) and the coffee pot if anyone still needs it. Also, some Chardonnay.

    Will be back in the a.m. to check in.

    please remember, as will smama always says, that the Holy Spirit has our backs: whether we use a manuscript, notes or "free style".


  96. semfem: I'm still around, but not sure for how long. thinking about going to bed for a while and up early to finish up. It's a little after 11 here.

    Hang in there, sounds like you're making progress :)

    Thanks for the encouragement Diane!

  97. I'm here! I'm working on Joseph while waiting for the phone call that indicates it's time to fetch The Entertainer.

  98. well friends, I don't hate what I have (in fact, I sort of love it, which usually means it won't go over well...I'm working on liking it less so I don't jinx myself...) so I'm going to bed. A whole game of facebook scrabble and 6,000 grains of freerice later, it's time for me to sleep. blessings on you who are still working! see you in the morning!

  99. I found a poem that is REALLY helping me:

    Outwitted by Edwin Markham...
    He drew a circle that shut me out -
    Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
    But love and I had the wit to win:
    We drew a circle that took him in.

    I'm writing about how with his statements and his understanding of mission, Jesus was shutting her out of his ministry. But then this woman had the wit and the courage and daring to flip his statements on him and to draw the circle big enough that she was not only included, but that others could be included as well.

    I still have my crazy pet stories, and am working on tying them in.

  100. if i'm quick, this is comment #100!!

    Mine is preached - blessings to you all tomorrow

  101. btw - the discussion on the feral dogs vs. the house dogs is covered in the New Interpreter's Commentary on Matthew/Mark - apparently housedogs were not kept by Jews, only gentiles - so that was one more mark of her "other-ness" - the word could also mean puppy, which lessens the sting? (not to me)
    Anyway - i went to asking the questions about the text & leaving the questions mostly open... with teh assurance that our wrestling with the text, just as the woman verbally wrestles, earns us a pronouncement of great faith...

  102. way to go, RGBP! 100 comments by 12 midnight (EDT)!
    Amidst all the record breaking on tv from Bejing, we are holding our own records and destiny!
    proud to know you all

  103. okay, I have been very distracted by the olympics. My sermon has pieces. I have to focus and finish now

  104. I know that most of you have enough sense to be in bed by now but I'm thinking that "The Other Boleyn Girl" shares some family traits with Joseph and his brothers. We are most betrayed by those who know us best. The ongoing question is: How will we respond?

  105. I mean we are most vulnerable to betrayal by ...

  106. I am at 1000 words and going to bed. Will arise early and finish it up before going to church...gotta love being 3/10 a mile from work!
    nyhow, inspired by Warriormare's thoughts on Tuesday, I ended up in a narrative account, but told by third person. Really would lvoe to do this as a monologue, but not enough time to prepare that and memorize. With it beign third person, I am able to tell story, not have to act it out. But, what fun it woudl be!
    G'nite all...peace of Chirst be with you!

  107. Good morning, everyone!

    I hope the early writers are finding that words flow easily this morning, and that the night owls like whatever they came up with last night.

    May the Spirit be with us all, and with those who will hear the Word.

  108. Thanks for the good words, Esperanza! I'm up with coffee for those finishing up...

    and for those heading out....

    blessings on everyone this early a.m.

  109. I opted for some sleep last night. I've been up for a bit, trying to finish/piece together a sermon on the gospel. I think the main ideas are there if I can be inspired as to the order. Need to leave in a little over an hour.

  110. I've got about two hours until I leave and a bit of fine tuning to do. Sheesh, why can't I ever get my sermons done during my sermon prep time during the week!

    Blessings to all this morning and prayers for courage to be like the "bitch" who had the courage to tell the truth and get what she needed.

  111. Katie Z (hope you see this):

    I just wanted to say thanks for sharing that poem last night. I liked it and copied it just in case and this morning as I worked on the order/outline of my sermon it turned out I was talking about Jesus widening the circle of who's in/who's out, expanding his vision of his ministry and identity and how we might model that and expand our vision and ministry as we continue to look for ways to reach out to others (and grow). I had brought in the pet blessing and the eager, friendly, hungry dogs and I asked if we looked around are there people eager for friendship, hungry for somethign we have, will we share our abundance and invite them to the table?

    All this to say it seemed fitting to close with the poem you gave us, so I did. Thanks for giving me an ending! Appreciate it. :)

    Praise God it seemed to go well. Hope yours (and everyone's) did too.

  112. I tried to take a line on the Gospel out of Chrysostom's usual method..."what the hey is Jesus up to HERE?" and suggested that he was doing a bit of improv with the Canaanite woman in order to dramatize the reality that the BREAD he offers to the children of Israel is not the zero-sum entity that the disciples keep assuming it to be...noting that they are in their "oh send her/them away, please" mode exactly as they were in the feeding of the 5000... somewhere I know I read that Jesus puts the "dog" language out on the table because he KNOWS the disciples are thinking and/or muttering, "Gentile b****"... I leaned very hard on Sir Jonathan Sacks' lecture to the bips at Lambeth...the distinction between zero-sum goods and games, and non-zero-sum goods and games...and that gave me a little segue into the Eucharist, which is made more the more it is shared.
    It wasn't that coherent in the delivery, I'm afraid.


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