For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Here is the story. God emptied himself and was born into our world. One Friday, God made himself weak and vulnerable. He was betrayed, put on trial, mocked, beaten, made to carry his cross throughout all the streets of Jerusalem, he stumbles three times under its weight (imagine that, God being weak), and then arriving at the place of the skull, he is nailed to this cross. It is dropped into a hole. He is made to hang between heaven and earth. In agony for three hours. Then he dies. God’s envoy to this planet dies. This is the story.

1 Corinthians 1:18, 2:1-2
Lent 1
Good Friday

This year I have no zucchini. Last year we had so much that my wife delivered it door to door to the neighbors as she walked the dog. Many more things are like zucchini than we believe. This year I didn’t find any gold in my garden. Years ago, a man named Sutter found enough gold in his creek that people from miles a round came to have a share of it. Eventually it was gone and the people of California had to go back to growing things, like oranges, artichokes, and zucchini. I don’t think it pays to pay too close of attention to how much of one particular thing we have, like gold or zucchini or money. Things come and go so quickly around here. Life is short. We are better off sharing what we have and concentrating on love.


There once was a man who had a lot of something, Jesus didn’t say exactly what. He hired an accountant to keep track of it. The accountant wasn’t very good and soon the man had a lot less than what he started with. Oh, well. Things come and go so quickly around here. Life is short. The man with loads of stuff, didn’t see it that way. He was angry and the accountant heard about it. The accountant could have gone and hid or tried to crook the books so it didn’t look like he had messed up so bad. That’s what we expect him to do. Its what anyone who values gold, or money, or zucchini would do.


September 22, 2013
Luke 16:1-13
Pentecost 20

    Good story tellers aren’t afraid to be honest about how bad people can be. See Nabokov’s  Humbert Humbert or the White Witch in C.S. Lewis’ Narnia. Great movies also have really bad villains, see Hannibal Lector in Silence of the Lambs or Darth Vader in the first Star Wars. Then look at these words in the Bible, “[I, Paul, was] a man of violence.... I am the chief among sinners” (I Timothy 1:13 & 15). Then there’s this line that belongs on everyone’s resume, [I have become] skilled in doing evil, but do not know how to do good (Jeremiah 4:22). What’s with Jesus dining with prostitutes, corrupt officials, and outcasts (Luke 15:1-2). Does he really mean to imply that they too have a hope of being saved? These words come from the book that also gives us Herod the Great, who in a jealous rage, kills all of the infants of the region. Who can forget Jezebel, the Assyrian princess who seduced her way into Ahab’s palace, corrupted a whole generation with her Baal worship, and then hunted down God’s prophets until only Elijah was left alive? It’s in this context, that we have to consider Paul’s claim that he was a violent man, totally undeserving of the grace of God.

September 15, 2013
Luke 15
I Timothy 1
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