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Saturday, August 18, 2012

11th Hour Preacher Party: Wisdom is... edition...

If you want what visible reality
can give, you're an employee.
If you want the unseen world,
you're not living your truth.
Both wishes are foolish,
but you'll be forgiven for forgetting
that what you really want is 
love's confusing joy.

From Essential Rumi
Good morning preacher friends and friends of preachers! This is my first Sunday back from a couple of weeks of stay-cation. I've only just looked at the readings and am wondering about the theme that runs through them - Wisdom.
Alas, that is exactly as far as I have gotten. Re-entry from vacation is tough - this has been a busy week! Filled with home visits, preparations for the fall, scheduling meetings, catching up. You know, right? We all go through the same thing, regardless of what job we have, re-entry is tough.
So. Wisdom. 
 Okay then, wisdom is not exactly the sort of thing that visible reality can give...or, can it? What kind of unseen world is the truth behind wisdom? How will you open up the word to reveal love's confusing joy?
Do you have any idea what your focal point will be? Are you going to tackle 1Kings or Proverbs? A Psalm or Ephesians? Or are you going to try and slice open the bread/wine/flesh/blood metaphor in John? 
Me?  I will probably go with 1Kings, simply because I preached from the book of Samuel all summer and 1Kings continues the story. Sticking with the story I've been telling seems to be a wise choice for re-entry...

Another wise decision is to make sure we have plenty of coffee. Or, if you prefer tea. I do have lots of each. And, fresh fruit, too. Oh, and a ton of garden fresh tomatoes. Pull up a chair, lets share a little love, joy, and wisdom - it's the Preacher Party!
 

96 comments:

  1. Good morning preacher pals! If any of you stopped by earlier and saw, or rather couldn't see the text because it was light blue...ack! I apologize. There was no way to know that the text had decided to recolor itself while in draft mode.

    Anyway, we are up and running now. Coffee anyone?

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  2. Good morning to all! I have brewed some awesome coffee this morning, with just a hint of cinnamon, and you are welcome to a cup. Today holds some paper writing for me and putting the finishing touches on tomorrow's sermon. I think this is a record for me...preaching from the Epistle 3 weeks in a row!

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  3. Good morning, Chilly Fingers! Your coffee sound delicious and I am in need of a refill! I do understand the significance of preaching from the Epistle, Ephesians, for all of its problems (wives in particular) has a lot of good instruction for the church!

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  4. Just back from a week's retreat. Celtic Christianity! It was awesome. Now down to the reality of writing a sermon. But John speaks to me. In eating and drinking Christ we are taking him into our intimate being: he is permeating us, body and soul, filling us with goodness and life. The more often we do it, the closer we become. The image of God is woven into the fabric of our being - our DNA is divine (that is not an original thought, but I can't remember who said it). But it means taking a risk for if God moves in, some things will have to move out - good and evil cannot keep company.
    Those are my random thoughts so far. Much influenced by the retreat!

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    1. Pat, as it turns out part of my sermon is going in a similar direction as you unpack here! Good stuff even within the challenges of the "eating flesh and drinking blood" imagery..

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    2. Thanks women! I've been reading stuff about eucharist and cannibalism as I try to get to the same place. Oy!

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  5. And then of course there is the constant use of "life" and "live" in the passage. Jesus brings life. God the life giver, rather than the judge (more from the retreat!)

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  6. Wisdom it is. I asked a number of the older ladies in church this past week what they would identify as the most important bit of wisdom they've gleaned in life. They all spoke in terms of flexibility and adaptability to change and loss of control: illness, widowhood, living arrangements. Consequently, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel has showed up in my sermon.

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    1. OH! I haven't seen that movie, yet - but I really want too! Wise women in your church, it seems - learning that life is about flexibility and adaptability!

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  7. I'm with Pat and Pat's with John so there it is. Love the image of God woven into our DNA.

    I read a fantastic article, "Cannibalistic Language in the Fourth Gospel and Greco-Roman Polemics of Factionalism" in JBL which I accessed through ATLAS on line. It seems that cannibalistic language goes way back and that by accusing a group of cannibalistic behavior another group othered them and made them appear beyond the pale. The interesting twist in John's Gospel is that by using that language as a marker of followers of the Way, the Jesus people were othering those who were othering them. I'm wondering if "eat my flesh" and "drink my blood" are extensions and intensifications of adopting and inverting kingdom languague. Don't know where I'll go with this but as I go about my morning I'll be thinking about the outrageous otherness of what we do each week and of whom we follow and take into our very being.

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    1. I think you are onto something here Alli - it is about inverting the divisiveness, I suspect. I am going in a slightly similar direction but adding to it some teaching from the anthropologist Mary Douglas and her work with Leviticus - re: ancient people believed that blood was God - God literally lived in the blood as a life-source. So, consuming the image of consuming flesh and blood is literally an image of taking God into ones self but also understanding that God is within one's self - its all incarnational!

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    2. I like these ideas but think I may have to skirt over the cannibalistic side. My congregations is largely very simple and uneducated and I fear would react as some disciples did! How to tell it truly . . . I don't have Jesus' courage!

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  8. Okay, I've been working on my sermon for a couple of hours...sadly coffee will only feed me so much, and then it is time for some fuller sustenance...I wonder what I have to eat? Bread perhaps? toasted? maybe with some eggs?

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  9. Schools started up again this week for our local kids. I am doing an all-age service tomorrow because there is so much more on for the next few weeks that otherwise it would be 6 weeks before we would manage one.

    I am doing an olympic theme and there will be 3 "events"- Long jump (where the children will "help" some soft toys to do long jump), skittles (knocking down bad behaviour) and Golf putting (keeping your eye on the ball - and hopefully not breaking anything!)

    I am looking forward to it as I find participative worship much more inspiring than writing a sermon but we are still taking slow steps in that direction with a fairly traditional congregation.

    The other thing I have to do tomorrow is a dedication of the youth leaders in the church. It's something I have never done so any help with ideas or what not to do would be gratefully accepted.

    Off to go paint some Olympic rings and paralympic symbols for the front of the church now. Got a big punnet of cherries to share.

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  10. Tanya, welcome to the party and - wow - love your idea...wondering about dong something like this in my context...

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  11. Checking in much earlier than usual. Hubby is home with the girls, and I'm in his office. My brain is not functioning yet, however. Going with the 1 Kings passage but don't have much more than that yet.

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  12. Google has given me a new identity. This is Heidi - RevHRod - google is calling me Henry now due to an old blog. Too funny. I kind of like it. Time to look for food!

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    1. I'm looking for food too and I'm in your neighborhood. Txt me (if you have your long-suffering phone!)

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    2. Wil, I am making a hot dog. ;-)

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    3. I just made breakfast (yes I know, it's lunch time...) scrambled eggs with ham, potato, celery, tomato, onion, green pepper, and cheese. It was good. I'd share, but, we ate it all....(sorry)

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  13. Hi everybody. I'm an infrequent partier these days, since I only preach a handful of times a year. For now, anyway. Maybe some day...

    I'm preaching the Ephesians text and using a story I've used before about the first tie we took our daughter (then-17) to NYC and observed a young woman who was not exactly paying attention to what was going on or what was expected of her.

    I'm also going to talk about Nerdfighters (you can google it).

    Don't Forget To Be Awesome!

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    1. Hey Jules, welcome to the party! Nerdfighters! Where awesomeness prevails. Now, I can't wait to see how you weave all of this together - which no doubt you will do quite well!

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    2. Or...do fish take baths a lot?

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  14. Checking in way early this morning! Playing with the idea that Solomon could have asked God for wealth, power, etc, but instead asked for wisdom. Focusing in on the idea that we tend to, when it comes to our children, focus on helping our children (and ourselves) gain talent, wealth, power and knowldege...but how we probably should work on helping them gain wisdom. But what does that look like and how do we do that?
    I think it'll be a good one, I really do, but I'm balancing it with the need to really clean the house for a youth group event tomorrow and my husband's "guys weekend" that starts in only 6 days! (why do I do these things to myself?)

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    1. Goodness Leanne, you have a full day! My sermon is going a bit in the same direction as yours - only not the part about what we teach our children...your idea should work indeed!

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    2. Thanks, Terri! I look forward to reading what you've got later on.

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  15. "Restoring Bathsheba" preaching the gap between 1Kgs 2:12 and 3:3 in the lectionary is coming along well. About half of it's on paper -by which I mean in my 'pooter. I'm enjoying the day and getting the rest down bit by bit between enjoying shabbat, sun and a good novel.

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    1. Curious to see how you unpack that gap, Wil...I have talked about Bathsheba several times in my sermons this summer, and not in the "she was a bad girl" way...tomorrow I will talk a bit about what has happened since I was last at the church - which was the story of David raping Bathsheba...tomorrow I will bring up the rape of Tamar (maybe I should add, like father like son?)...but most of my sermon is on the pursuit of wisdom...

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    2. In short the way that Bathsheba and Nathan conspire to Solomon on the throne, the way she makes sure that Solomon had Adonijah killed and my favorite - the last sight of her in scripture on the throne on Sol's right-hand side while he bows down before her reversing the postures of her first encounter with and Israelite king and restoring and elevating her. I also do a bit about how she did *not* have to get raped in order for her life to work out well - even if Solly was never born:

      This is the point where poor preachers will say that there is a reason for everything and that everything happens for a reason and that everything happens for our good. I’m here to tell you that’s bad theology and bad preaching. God can transform any situation and restore any brokenness but God does not need us to be broken, devastated, raped or abused to elevate us. It’s true that Bathsheba would not have had Solomon if David had not kidnapped and raped her; it’s true that she would not have had this life. But we will never know what kind of life she and Uriah would have had. Perhaps, just perhaps, he would have risen up through the ranks of David’s army and when one of David’s fool sons made a mess out of the kingdom, he could have stepped in and stepped up making Bathsheba the right-hand woman with out all that mess.
      It could happen. It did happen. That’s what happened with the general and his wife after Solomon died and one of his fool sons made a mess out of the kingdom. Bathsheba made the best out of a bad situation. And God was with her. Our text says, “Solomon’s throne was firmly established…” And, “Solomon loved the LORD…” But that’s not the whole story. There’s a gap in the text. And God is in the gap, restoring Bathsheba.
      May God the restorer of broken hearts, minds and bodies
      Accompany you through the gaps and brokenness in your life
      Nurture, sustain and transform you to change the world around you. Amen.

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    3. Excellent! Yes, I picked up on some of this but I missed the part where Solomon bows to her! Awesome. And, no doubt I concur that God gets into the messiness of life and restores it but God does not need the messiness nor cause it in order for "Gods will to be done" (oh how i hate that phrase)....

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  16. When I lined up scripture passages several weeks ago, the Ephesians passage seemed like a good idea as the next to last in my "Farewell Discourses." Now I'm regretting that decision and have a wandering brain. I want to leave the congregation with some good going out words, and I like the idea of being so filled with the Spirit of Christ, that that love errupts out even into singing. I also want to do something with understanding the will of the Lord-- especially in this time of transition.

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    1. Ack! Tough when you have to make decisions about which reading long before you actually have to preach on it. Hope the Spirit grabs hold and inspires you. (Trusting, actually, that she will)

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  17. Headed off to do my first wedding in this new appointment. Not looking forward to it. But hoping for the bride and groom all goes well. I just keep telling myself it will all be over in two hours...
    Thankfully, they didn't choose 1 Cor. 13, so I get to preach on Colossians 3:12-17 - "What to Wear". Should work out ok. But prayers appreciated!
    All the best to all you preaching people!

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    1. I don't mind weddings so much, except Officiating them on Sat. wears me out for Sunday....hoping all goes well!

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    2. Well, it's over and everything went fine. The groom and bride were awesome, relaxed and clearly in love. It was a joy to see. Now back home to sit on my porch and get all those other things done that are calling me...

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  18. Having a bite of lunch (sandwich, nothing exciting). I have a bit more direction...something along the lines of: what we ask for (wisdom, in Solomon's case) comes with the responsibility to use it, um, responsibly. It needs some work, as you can tell.

    A first for me this week: preaching this sermon in two different churches in the same morning. One service at 9:00, one at 11:00. The only challenge is that one congregation will be celebrating communion and the other will not. May require some adjustments. But I will like getting two checks in one morning. My husband and I call it "bringing home the bacon bits."

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  19. Esperanza - OR you maybe you will be satisfied with the shorter version and preach it at both - seriously, when has a congregation ever complained about a short sermon?

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    1. True. And it can't run over too much, or I won't get to the second congregation on time (they are not in the same town). I think it should work fine: smaller congregation is having communion, and they have less liturgy than the larger congregation. In any case, like you say, who's going to complain if it's short?

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  20. Just checking in for now. so far, no sermon written, but lot's of thoughts, and a title: "Chew" (guess which text that is, lol!)

    It's 1:30, and I am already tired. Think it's the pollen count, so I am in search of claritin, and maybe another coffee. Chipotle salad for lunch, errands done....

    Good book calling me, but must say no until sermon is finished, and exercise attained!

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    1. Ack! I do know how hard it is to try and write a sermon when a book is calling...and one's head is befuddled from allergies and meds...hoping the sermon and exercise come along easily enough and there will be time for that book...!

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  21. Ugh, my dad passed away a week ago. Haven't had use of my brain since he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in June. Preaching and even being in church are such a challenge. I appreciate your prayers.

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    1. Prayers and hugs to you. May you be filled with peace.

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    2. Oh my - indeed - our prayers are for you and with you! No doubt this is a challenging time. We are here for you. Grief is exhausting, of course, because of the depth of love and its loss.

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    3. God is and will continue to be with you.

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    4. Thoughts and prayers to you in a very difficult time.

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    5. How can you possibly use your brain when your heart is breaking. I am so sorry for your loss.

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    6. Covering you with prayers that the Spirit will work through you.

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  22. Wow. Another first for me: I've finished one sermon and am starting another. I'm preaching three weeks in a row (not that unusual for me, though they are all supply gigs). In the intervening weekdays, we're anticipating surgery for one of our daughters. So I'm trying to get some work out of the way so I can attend to that. But--wow. Not accustomed to two sermons in one day, for sure.

    If I come up with anything brilliant for September 2 (back in Mark, thanks be to God), I'll be sure and let you all know.

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    1. Always awesome when that happens - when one idea feeds into another....or at least inspires another. Hoping all goes well so you can be present and not distracted for your daughter's surgery. I hope she is okay?

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    2. I'm looking forward to Sept 2 because I wrote that one a while back for Lectionary Homiletics, and I can just print it out and go!
      This week, not so much.
      Perhaps this is a sign that I should write all my sermons way ahead of time...

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    3. Ugh. Writing ahead is not working.

      Terri, she is having corrective surgery on her club feet. The tendons have tightened up to a point that requires surgery, to our dismay. She is basically ok, but thank you. We will welcome all prayers for her (and her fretting parents).

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    4. I'm sorry to hear about the need for surgery. Poor little thing; also, y'all.
      Do you still use your hotmail address? I'd be glad to share that sermon with you in case it helps at all.

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    5. If I know something is coming there, I'll be sure to check it. Thanks. texasesperanza at hotmail dot com

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    6. Oh Esperanza, here I was thinking it was tonsillectomy or some other typical childhood surgery. This sounds far more serious. I'd fret too, a lot. and will definitely keep you all in my prayers.

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    7. oh, thanks, everybody. It is serious and scary to us, but it is definitely what she needs. It's become hard for her to walk normally, and her feet are hampering her development. It's time. But we appreciate the prayers immensely. Surgery is Aug 28.

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  23. I've had a pretty ridiculous week of emergencies including one that led to a meeting with a sheriff's deputy, a fall in a church member's house, three hours today with my confirmands, car trouble, a ride in a tow truck, extra meetings, the happy distraction of a short visit from my older son and again car trouble, so it's 3:21 on Saturday and while I have an idea and a bunch of stories I hope to weave together, nothing is written. I am not proud of this. But this week had too many things in it. I don't like these texts, which hasn't helped. I landed on Proverbs, and I'm going to dive in and start writing now. I have ice cream to share, if you think that would be inspiring, the Trader Joe's version of cookies and cream. It's very good. :-)

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    1. Weeks with too many things are not conducive to sermon writing. I feel ya. And I'd love some ice cream, thanks!

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    2. Ice cream is always inspirational. And, Martha, so sorry to hear of your challenging week - my goodness. I simply hate car trouble. It is for me one of the worst - so dependent on the car, and so expensive to deal with. Hoping all will settle down and afford you a chance to breath.

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    3. Peace to you, Martha. You actually should be proud of all you have done this week and all the hats you have worn. Grace, grace, grace.

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    4. The car has had intermittent issues with the parking brake, and it really needs a trip to the dealer. But that wasn't possible yesterday, so we're laming through the weekend, which led to a temporary situation in which it would.not.move. In the end I got home, but wow! Annoying and stressful.

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  24. Hopefully the busyness and emergencies end with the week.

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  25. Lots of comments for early in the day. I'm at Satbucks following a funeral but will need to head home and do some catch-up reading on everyone's day. Hope the wisdom is flowing. I finished a draft before I left but lost my worship leader so am soliciting readers.

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    1. You would thin auto-correct would have learned STARBUCKS by now.

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    2. YIKES, Nancy...I hope you find all the helpers you need! And, right, you'd think auto-correct would get Starbucks correct...and, as long as you are there, I'd like an unsweetened black iced-tea...(okay, I can get it out of my fridge....)

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  26. Blessings on your sermon writing, ladies! I am chewing on a lot of bread these days! Still working on the "Living Bread" but feeling good about it.

    Busy day: Curves workout, doctor's appointment for my son and poolside cocktail party with my husband this evening!

    Thinking about you!

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    1. poolside cocktail party - fun! I find it very hard to go out on Saturday nights...but I hope you enjoy yourself.

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    1. I will not look until I'm done. I will not look until I'm done. I will not look until I'm done...

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    2. me too! me too! me too! (but if someone posts on John I might just take a quick peek)

      not a word yet but a structure is beginning to emerge

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  28. I've been away for the weekend, doing confirmation planning. we have a really solid plan for the fall (I hope) and now I'm home to about 150 emails (how does that happen in just 56 hours?) and zero words of a sermon. This week's topic request was "The Bible--what do we believe about it, why is it important, is it the infallible word of God or just good literature, etc?" So I should be able to knock that out in a few minutes. hahahahahahahahahaha. The texts are from Timothy ("all scripture is god-breathed and useful...") and the last verse of John ("if everything Jesus said and did was written down, the world could not contain all the books.") No idea how this is going to come together, but it's 7:45pm, I still need to eat dinner, and I'd also like to sleep a bit tonight. So here we go....

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    1. Yay for the planning. I sure hope that sermon comes out easily...

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  29. Checking in for the first time today. Wedding today, as a guest, in community I lived before seminary. I've known the bride since she was born and her family joined the same church I attended. Parts were really nice, parts were awkward.

    Sermon mostly done except for that dang ending. This week is off lectionary again with "Thinking Out Loud: Why Church?" I've used some of David Lose's ideas what the church can learn from Apple. It's on his blog.

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  30. So even I think my sermon is dry...and after so much editing the first paragraph is choppy. Luckily I don't read from the text word for word - so I can smooth it over...anyway, it s what it is. because I am not going to change it now.

    On the note of sucky sermon-itis I am going to call it a night. Blessings on your night, your words, and your day tomorrow.

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  31. House is clean, except for the living room, which Husband is tasked with tonight. Baby's on his way to bed, or at least I hope so.
    I am down at my office, hopefully away from distractions, as I attempt to get this from the nebulous idea cloud that it currently is down onto my computer screen...so, despite best intentions, I'm here for the late edition of the party.
    At least the house is clean for the rush of guests that we'll have over the next week (will have 6-7 guests, plus my youth group, in the house this week).

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  32. Google must be hungry.. for words. I hope the congregation is because this sermon is a wordy one.. Short proverbs ought to make for shorter messages. This is a teaching one. I found an issue of Interpretation from July 2009 on my shelf of commentaries and there's some great articles in it. Especially one by Ellen Davis of Duke. So I'm sure I have 'taught' too much. ah well.

    Goodnight all. Keep posting links I'll be back looking tomorrow.

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  33. Finished two sermons in one day. Tomorrow's is decent (good thing, since I'll have to listen to it twice!), and the other one is junk. It's got a couple of weeks to marinate, so maybe it will turn out ok.

    Blessings to everyone else working tonight.

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  34. I've written some pretty quirky sermons, but this may be the quirkiest. Going to read it over and see if I can live with it.

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  35. OK. I'm finally sitting at the computer. Well, I've been here for a while, but I've been playing Tetris. Of course. It's time to start the sermon, though. I'm going in a very different direction for me. A little bit ranty, but I hope not really ranty. Makes perfect sense right?

    I'm feeling the call to speak up about the racial/religious/worldview violence that's going on EVERYWHERE. I'm feeling the call to speak up about how that none of it is something we as people who follow Christ should tolerate. I'm feeling the call to speak up about how if we say nothing about it, we are practically joining in it. I'm working with the Beatitudes as a blessing and a curse. We cling a little too much to sentimental views of what it means to be meek, poor in spirit (which seems to mean to people self-denigrating and self-silencing), and things like that and not enough time hearing that we are called to be peaceMAKERS. It's active. Peace is not passivity; it's something we have to MAKE, DO, SAY in the face of violence, physical, verbal, spiritual.

    I'm going to talk about deadly violence around the world (and our state since we live in Wisconsin). I'm going to talk about verbal violence in the political scene, nationally and DEFINITELY locally. Our newspaper has had to revise its editorial rules because people are getting so out of hand. It's crazy.

    Anyway, that's the plan. I think it'll write pretty quickly. So maybe I should start, right?

    So, there's my rant

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    1. It sounds good. Timely and prophetic!

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    2. Prophetic! That's a much less apologetic way of saying ranty. It's not a voice I claim much. Thanks!

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  36. OK, our local Patch news source is reporting a lightning strike fire at a house that may be next door to a church member (or in the same quadplex). Trying to confirm these things and figure out if I need to go over there. (Anything for a distraction. Kidding!)

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  37. Ack! I'm 700 words in and RAMBLING! Change of venue is in order, methinks.

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  38. I'm calling it good: "Please don't be an idiot. Thank you."
    Or at least done.
    Good night, everybody!

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  39. Oh here is a problem. The local Patch outlet just posted the link to the place online where you can listen to the live feed of the county sheriff, EMS, police dispatch, etc chatter. Can't. turn. it. off.

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  40. Far too wordy for my taste. I'm done in and I'm calling it done. Outrageous Otherness is here There's something screwy on my blog. You actually have to go up to the blog home and then you'll find the done in and done sermon right on the home page.

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  42. You'll find me here...wondering (wandering?) about parenting, learning, and gaining Wisdom

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    1. It's scheduled for 10am this morning...so I don't know if you can get there until then. Let me know if you can!

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