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Category: sermon

Biblical Literalism is the Disaster

Biblical Literalism is the Disaster

September came hard as massive hurricanes slammed into our nation’s Gulf coast. Like many, I found myself completely distracted and immersed in the round-the-clock news coverage of the damage. When it comes to bearing witness to destruction, we seem unable to look away. While the information does soothe our need to know and connect with important people and places in our lives, too much information can damage our emotional balance. We must turn and turn again to the present of…

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Good Pastors, Bad Congregations

Good Pastors, Bad Congregations

Parish ministry : It’s good I left when I did. I was shaped as a congregational leader in the 1960’s and 70’s: heady days of steady church membership, confident budgets, and familiar ethic traditions holding everyone together. Despite the daily pain of Viet Nam, race riots, assassinations, and a rising violent drug subculture, middle class Americans believed in the power of their institutions. It was this general optimism that brought the votes to ordain women in my Lutheran tradition in…

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A Sermon On Demons that Won’t Make You Want to Die From Boredom

A Sermon On Demons that Won’t Make You Want to Die From Boredom

So, you may know that I was a parish pastor for 20 years. It was a brutal ride most of the time. As I reflect upon those years now, from the relative safety of 9 years away, I think it would have been a joy if I had felt that my seminary education and the role I was given in the churches I served really wanted ME to be there. Me, rather than some kind of cut-out, public symbol and…

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More Deadlines

More Deadlines

It’s Thursday night, and I have more writing deadlines. I’m late on my professional blog post at GoodTherapy.org (again), and I have a sermon to do for Sunday. For the first 12 years of my parish ministry life, I preached about 46 Sunday sermons a year. I had time away for vacation, and occasionally for continuing education, or a bout with laryngitis, or a special guest preacher, but otherwise, I had a deadline every week. In addition, each year I…

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