I… I just got here. To the United Methodist Church, I mean. I didn’t survive the time the conservatives split to support slavery while the progressives supported abolition. I didn’t survive the battles against women ordination when conservatives threatened women pastors, ridiculed them, and left the UMC because of it. I didn’t survive the rounds of talk about divorced and remarried clergy and how we should affirm a call rather than a mistake.
My sermon is based on Genesis 12.1-4. It is about the move from one place to another, from fear to faith. It is essentially a “why the UMC” sermon. The first sermon was for inspiration and authority of Scripture but against inerrancy, infallibility, and being locked into a “bible only” or a “bible must” mentality. The second was about Grace. So, it was a build up, a lead in series.
I used the REB, clutched my rosary tightly, and preached about prevenient grace this morning. Friday, I preached of inspiration and Tradition while on Saturday, I preached about Grace and how it is out of proportion to sin. All while holding my rosary, speaking of Wesley, and hoping no one would run me out of town. This morning, as I set through the hymns and such, I prayed the rosary’s prayer, prayed to St. Mark and the three St. Johns (the Evangelist, the Damascene, and the Cross) and made mention to Brother John.
I’ll post the sermons this week and two videos, I believe.
Abraham represents the mind. In fact Abraham signifies passage. Therefore, in order that the mind, which in Adam had allowed itself to run to pleasure and to bodily attractions, should turn toward the ideal form of virtue, a wise man has been proposed to us as an example to imitate. Actually Abraham in Hebrew signifies “father,” in the sense that the mind, with the authority, the judgment and the solicitude of a father, governs the entire person. This mind then was in Haran, that is, in caverns, subject to the different passions. For this reason it is told, “Go from your country,” that is, from your body. From this land went forth the one whose homeland is in the heavens. ON ABRAHAM 2.1–2. 1
I am preaching on Genesis 12.1–4 next Sunday, so I am studying the Fathers and Doctors of the Church. Here, Ambrose presents a highly allegorized version of Abraham. A century after him, Caesarius of Arles would carry this vision on. It is interesting to see Ambrose give Abraham almost a philosophical (Platonic?) flare. Note the use of “caverns” as the place to leave.
Mark Sheridan, ed., Genesis 12–50 (Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002), 2. ↩
I will be preaching/ lecturing/ teaching/ speaking/ talking/ chatting/ jish-joshing at a local UMC church in mid-March. The topic will be based roughly on moving from fear (i.e., fundamentalism) to faith (i.e., reasonable Christianity). In preparing for my sermon series, 3 nights, I decided immediately to stick to the lectionary. I will use the Revised Common Lectionary covering two weeks (the second week begins on Sunday).
I want to address several issues during the series. I will cover the marks of fundamentalism and why they are dangerous. They are essentially:
I will not cover premillennialism because it is too tricky of a situation to tackle and it is a topic of doctrine, thus the pastor should handle it. The others I will easily cover and in doing so, hope to show why Christians need the institutional church rather than this idea of “me and Jesus.”
Thus far, I have selected the follow texts:
Matthew 4.1-11 – Bread Alone, you say? Here, I will talk about the temptation in sola scriptura and how it separates us from the Great Tradition.
Romans 5.12-19, with a focus on 5.15 specifically. I will talk about the extremes in American Christianity. The sinners and the sinless and how that which is in the middle is Grace. Fundamentalism is hyper-focused on sin and sees it everywhere. Is that healthy? Are we to live in fear? If sin is everywhere, then Christ is pointless. (Combine the extremes, and you will have the true center – Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel)
Genesis 12.1-4 – I aim to speak about why the Church is losing members and “why the United Methodist Church.”
One of the issues I am struggling with is how to connect and yet to make sure they are standalone.