Visit our new site at

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: What Would Jesus Drive Edition

Last week at my church, we borrowed an idea from a colleague, "Stump the Preacher." Have you ever done this? I invited people to write down questions they had about...anything really...and a few did, and I riffed for a few minutes on each one.

One question was something about like "what would Jesus drive?" I dodged the question itself and talked instead about how very much we experience in our lives that Jesus didn't know anything about. I talked about how often we have to make our best guess about what Jesus would have us do based on the advice he DOES give, and how much prayer is involved that we are following Christ's way as often as we can. (See yesterday's conversation about clergy dating for a case in point.) This week's readings provide some really succinct advice and command some very specific behavior about how to be together in community. How do you preach Jesus' specificities, if you do at all?

I dont have to answer THAT question this week, because for September at my church, we are forgoing the traditional lectionary for the Season of Creation. Any of you Revgals and pals ever try this? I would love to hear about your ideas or experiences.

For those of us in the States, this week is the Labor Day holiday which may or may not affect attendance depending on your setting. And, I know many are aware of the upcoming anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. How is this time of mourning/reflection/action affecting your planning?

Check in. The comments are open and we'd love to hear from you. Links to this week's lectionary texts are here. This surprisingly wonderful icon is the first thing you find if you google"what would Jesus drive" and click images.


  1. Tuesday evening and I am still deciding on lectionary or Creation readings for September, which means I need to decide very soon. The gospel reading for this week is one I preached on in college, 6 years ago - and it was received well, so I could look at that. OOPS, just checked 3 years ago, already used the sermon from college, so I do need to start again.

  2. I'm not preaching this weekend but I think "what would Jesus drive" is a variation on a theme from Tony Campolo from years ago. Here's a link to an article about his premise that Jesus wouldn't drive a BMW. It was controversial in the church circles I was a part of when it came out (I think late 80s).

  3. I'm staying with the lectionary this fall, and I've outlined where I'm headed until Thanksgiving. Although the holiday will affect attendance, I'm starting to build a theme of how we are church together, and using this Matthew lection to talk about establishing community norms. We're embarking on a visioning process, which begins the following Saturday, at least officially. In boards and committees we've been talking informally all summer about what we do well and what we might need to reconsider, doing some unofficial asset mapping and appreciative inquiry.
    I've spent my first year with them focused on personal faith and basic theological understandings, so it's time to add the community layer and challenge them on what it means to be a church.

  4. I usually open each church-based bible study with "Ask the Bible Scholar." I haven't done it as a sermon. I may one day. This Sunday will mark the return to my scholar-in-residence congregation in Kauai. I'm preaching (and saying) both Masses. Maybe 30% of the congregation is visitors on any given Sunday. I have no idea what this will look like on this Sunday. I am preaching the lectionary Ezekiel passage. Fitting since the first sermon I preached for them last time was the zombie sermon on those dry bones. Right now it's an exploration of God's presence with those who hear voices and see things on the margins of our society and some of the rest of us in good standing who persist in believing in the supernatural.

  5. I am not preaching this week so I am wondering about what Jesus would drive.

    A Ford? A smart car?---No he was too gregarious to drive a 2-seater. I think would drive a 13 person van.

  6. I'm starting a 2 month series on the epsitle readings. We kick off Sunday with "Putting on Jesus" - unpack the greek verb that is the one used for putting on a garment or suiting up for battle. Then over the next 2 months we'll talk about a characteristic from the epsitle of the day - humility, compassion, faith and so on. We wrap up on All Saints with "Robed in Jesus." talking about the witness of our faithful departed who 'put on Jesus.'

    It's an experiment for me. This was the sermon series I came up with while on internship, so for the 3 sermons I wrote I get to try my hand at re-writing a sermon. And there are a couple more weeks this time and one of the texts is a bit of a stretch for the theme. And since I usually preach on the gospel, it will be a challenge to preach on the epsitles.

  7. We're in Exodus through All Saints (which I'm going to switch around to talk about Moses in Hebrews 11... the conclusion of our Exodus series!), and we're adding in a couple of extra passages which my worship team thought were important. These additions will push the lectionary texts back a week or two for the remainder of the fall, but I think it's keeping the spirit of the RCL!

    This week we're doing the plagues (I still have to figure out the exact verses... we just advertised Exodus 7-10!). The focus is on the lengths God will go to in order to combat injustice -- and how we are called to participate in this stand against social injustice.

  8. I always had a kind of a notion that Jesus might drive a superannuated Ford half-ton...ideally, a red one.

  9. Oh yes-- our annual "Instant Sermon," and it always makes me anxious to speak off-the-cuff... but I'm always glad we do it. Usually it ends up on YouTube, but I don't think anyone recorded it on video this year (I kept saying to folks, "I hope I don't pull a Jeremiah Wright"--and get out church in trouble by having something I say picked apart out of context). Glad you tried "Stump the Preacher"! :) Hope it went well.

    Sunday we're beginning a 2-month psalms series in the pulpit. I'll begin with Psalm 78, a teaching psalm--why tell the ancient stories to our kids? because of the hope that God is present in all adventures. At least, I hope that's where I go! We'll see...

  10. What's that joke about the apostle's driving around in one Accord? (rimshot)

    I did the season of creation last year. I don't think the congregation cared so much one way or another. I'll admit I didn't go too "earth care" with it. I just don't know enough about environmentalism to do that nor did I think the congregation could handle 4 whole weeks of it if I did. I did include as part of the prayer of confession each week a confession of the ways we harm or misuse that particular element of creation if it made sense. Mostly I just used the assigned element of creation and a text (not sure if it was always the suggested one) about that element as my jumping off point for preaching whatever felt faithful to that text. I didn't push the stewardship of creation stuff very hard at all.

    What was cool was the storm week was the week my daughter was baptized so my friend who flew in to do it did a great job with the water of storms, and baptism giving us a way to avoiding the storms, but being a promise that we're all in the storm together. It was awesome.

    Not preaching this week since our music director is designing worship and doing whatever turns into a "sermon" based on her trip to Iona last month. She went on vacation with a church member to Ireland and while she was there the church paid for her to spend a few days on Iona, too. She's going to share what she experienced. I'll help her pull it all together , but I don't have to preach. It's nice because we have friends from my former call (guess I could have written about THAT, too, yesterday) coming to visit. They love to hear me preach when they visit, but it's nice to be able to just hang with them without thinking about preaching, too. It also makes hanging at the state fair and another friend's house watching football, eating BBQ, and drinking beer more relaxing.

  11. I'm not certain what Jesus drove, but I understand the disciples preferred Honda ... "They were all of one Accord" ...

  12. any of you all try pinterest for worship/sermon planning? i'm looking for a visual way to map out worship planning and series. i'm a new mac user, too, but haven't found a template in pages that works. ideas?

  13. I am candidating (!) on 9/11 (!) so I'm beginning to imagine what that will look and sound like.

  14. I'm not currently serving or active in any church in any capacity, but for the past few years I've blogged something for the Season of Creation and at this very moment I'm designing a 4-part series illustrating each Sunday that will go on my Facebook design page and probably on my main theology blog, also, though possibly only on the sidebar. I'd like to write at least a couple of Eucharistic prayers and a collect for each Sunday, too, but I don't know if that will be possible since I've gone beyond cracked and crazy to completely broken, shattered and scattered.

  15. Blessings on you, ramona, as you stretch yourself in many ways!

  16. Hey friends, great conversation so far!

    Ha! I'd never heard that Accord joke before, you 2, - I'm paying that one forward.

    Pink, Instant Sermon - I like that so much better. I was not a fan of "stump the pastor" but nothing else came to mind, so maybe I'll try that instead.

    Vic -thanks for the link. And here's a Bill McKibbon article (and oldie but a goodie) that all this wwjd talk is reminding me of.

    Pere - I just use word. I've tried preaching from the ipad a couple of times, but didnt find it very natural, so I'm back to paper now.

    Robin and riversong - praying with you in these tender transition times.

    Ramona, I did a james series last year that was really fun, for me at least. I'm usually more wide than deep, and it was fun to dig in, you know?

    Sherev - I'm curious to see who will care here, too, about Creation season...we have a small, passionate group really into native, organic planting right now, so they might be interested, but not sure how much general interest there is. We are participating in an "alternative transport to church" day the last day in Sept. and I'm training to bike it - it's 11 miles, which isnt that far for you athletes, but will be quite an accomplishment for me if I can do it. But again, not sure how much of a wider church impact that will have.

    Everyone - thanks for your input and ideas. Keep 'em coming. I'm trying to be an early-in-the-week sermon writer this fall, so I'm getting Yes, now.

  17. I'm really excited about the next few weeks - a lectionary project I've been collaborating on launches for real! Until advent, we're going with the OT narratives and unpacking what community looks like, acts like, tastes like - each week a suitcase will hold clues for the journey.
    I'm busy writing advent material just now - its fun to be just a short step ahead and great to be working with such a creative bunch of folk - hope that comes across as we make it available to the wider church.
    Please take a look - lots of ideas for children as well as sermon ideas!

  18. I'm doing a kid-friendly sermon at two services this Sunday, and I'll go broad but not too deep with Exodus by talking about all the plagues (the lectionary skips them, but I think the whole story is important to know). I'm going to use a format I developed for school chapel by dividing the congregation into groups, and each will have a sound to go with a plague, which I'll add one by one. When I did this at school, months later the kids remembered every single plague, so it seems like a good shot to try on a Sunday!

  19. Matthew and Romans for this Sunday at my place. I started reading yesterday. Am I the only one who has missed the part about the Gentiles and tax collectors all these years? Two of the pieces I read yesterday reminded readers that treating people like Jesus treated Gentiles and tax collectors does not look at all like what we think it should. He loved them all, ate dinner with them and even laughed at their jokes! Hmmm, could be an interesting sermon, especially at a time when I have been taking lots of heat for "retiring" our organist.

  20. Betsy - that sounds like a great way to remember. I usually skip the gruesome stuff, too, even if it IS in the lectionary.

  21. Betsy, would love to hear more about the sounds you're using - my imagination is running riot. Sounds like lots of fun though!

  22. Betsy,
    I also want to know how you did the plagues! The frogs ("ribbit") & livestock ("moo") I can figure out, but what about the gnats? The darkness? Tell me more!


You don't want to comment here; instead, come visit our new blog, We'll see you there!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.