Ok.  Here’s my sermon (draft, at least) for Sunday:

I think it’s hard for us to feel and understand the full impact of what we’ve come to know as Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan today.  Today, because of the role this story has played in our cultural history, the term “samaritan” is synonymous with being a do-gooder.  In Jesus’ day, it would have been more like being a voodoo witch doctor:  someone who might still bear some of the outward trappings of our religion, but who’s rites and practices were clearly perversions of the real meaning of our faith.  In fact, I’m feeling that I’m overstating the case against someone who practices voodoo.  But I’m pretty sure jews in Jesus’ day would have felt I was understating the case against Samaritans.  It was so bad that jews from Galilee had to travel in large groups to pass safely through Samaria.

Jesus, by the way, is in a very adversarial situation when he tells this story.  He’s being questioned by his enemies, who are looking for something they can use against him.  A debate between presidential candidates might be friendlier! (more…)

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Yesterday we read (in the Episcopal Daily Office Lectionary) in Luke 8 one of those passages I know is there, but can never find:  “The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities:  Mary, Called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.”  Back then, women and children really didn’t count.  They were not considered worth notice.  But it really sounds like there were a lot of people who routinely traveled with Jesus.  Not just the twelve.  Not just a group of men.  But men and women (and probably children).  And they weren’t all poor — though many of them probably were.  Joanna would have been a woman with access to resources.  And these women, whatever their resources were, provided for Jesus and the whole community which followed him, out of their resources. (more…)

I saw this quotation from William Temple (a former Archbishop of Canterbury) in the Forward Day By Day for Sunday (October 2):

“In our dealings with one another let us be more eager to understand those who differ from us than either to refute them or to press upon them our own tradition ….  Wherever there are divisions which persist, there is sure to be something of value on both sides.” (more…)

This is the sermon I didn’t give this morning in Fort Bragg:

This morning, we hear the story of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well.  Like many stories of Jesus’ life, this is a story about expanding the boundaries of who counts with God. (more…)

Today we remember Prudence Crandall, who was born into a Quaker family in Rhode Island (and educated at a Friend’s boarding school since Friends believed in educating women).  She started a school for girls in Connecticut attended by the daughters of the wealthy.  Two years later, when she admitted Sarah Harris, a young African American girl, parents demanded that she be expelled. (more…)

In my daily office readings of late, in the Hebrew Scriptures, there has been a lot of talk about worshiping God alone, and keeping apart from the gods of other people.  God gets very angry when Israel worships other gods.  And I find myself thinking about my universalist religious approach (as opposed to exclusivist Christian approach) in this context.

And I’ve got to say at the start, I have real trouble believing that all of this comes from God. (more…)

Well, today we remember Irenaeus of Lyons (c.125-202).  And while I was looking that up in Kathleen Jones’ “The Saints of the Anglican Calendar,” I noticed I’d underlined a lot about Cyril of Alexandria (376-444).  I checked, and Cyril (unlike Irenaeus) is not in the calendar of the Episcopal Church – not even in the expansion (by about 100 names) that came out of our last General Convention.  In my mind, this may well be a good thing.

About the only good thing in the book about Cyril is that he was “a champion of orthodoxy.”  But he also refused to consider any doctrine not found in the early church fathers.  And that denies God’s continuing revelation.  I have a problem with that. (more…)