Revelation, the Good Parts Version (updated)

Sermon for Sunday, May 22, 2022 || Easter 6C || Revelation 21:10, 22–22:5

Have you noticed that we’ve been reading the Book of Revelation ever since Easter? Every Sunday since Easter, the New Testament lessons have come from the Book of Revelation. You probably haven’t noticed this because we’ve only read from the few chapters that don’t sound like a cross between a science fiction movie and Dante’s Inferno.

Our schedule of readings trims down the Book of Revelation to “The Good Parts Version,” the parts that don’t make us either bewildered or squeamish. In all the bits we’ve read since Easter, not once did we hear about wars or plagues or bowls of wrath or the four horsemen. Not once did we hear about dragons with seven heads and ten horns and seven diadems on their heads or beasts with ten horns and seven heads and ten diadems on their horns.

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With Open Hearts and Outstretched Arms

Sermon for Sunday, May 15, 2022 || Easter 5A || Acts 11:1-18

I need to warn you right off the bat that I’ve preached this sermon before. Not these exact words (I wrote these words earlier this week). But this sermon, and the ideas behind it, I have preached on multiple occasions over my fourteen years of priesthood. I’ve preached this sermon so many times because I think it is so easy to miss the second (maybe third) most important moment in the entire New Testament. Well, maybe fourth most important. Whatever, it’s in the Top 5.

You might be flipping through your program looking for what I’m talking about right now. After all, it’s just a random Sunday in the middle of the season of Easter. What could we have possibly read this morning that is important enough to make the Top 5 moments of the New Testament? Would you believe I’m talking about the end of the First Lesson from Acts Chapter 11? Now you’re looking at your program and trying to remember what ____ read. Wasn’t it about Peter eating things he didn’t think he was supposed to eat? And there was a sheet acting like a picnic blanket or something?

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Listen to My Voice

Sermon for Sunday, May 8, 2022 || Easter 4C || John 12:22-30

Two weeks ago in our Gospel reading, we heard Jesus say, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” Last week Jesus told Simon Peter (and by extension, us the readers) “Follow me.” And today, we hear him say something else from earlier in the Gospel. He has just talked all about being the Good Shepherd, who calls the sheep by name, who brings the sheep out of the sheepfold, who lays down his life for the sheep. And then he says this. He says, “My sheep listen to my voice.”

The trouble for people reading or hearing the Gospel way back then is the same trouble we have today. None of them and none of us have ever audibly heard Jesus say anything. And yet, we follow. We believe. We listen. The question we’re going to ponder together for the next few minutes is “How.” How do we listen to Jesus’ voice? How do we listen to someone who lived nineteen centuries ago and who inhabited the other side of the world and who spoke a language that no longer exists?

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Peter and Jesus

Sermon for Sunday, May 1, 2022 || Easter 3C || John 21:1-19

I can only imagine the maelstrom of thoughts roiling in Simon Peter’s head in the weeks following Jesus’ resurrection. At the last supper, he promised Jesus: “I will lay down my life for you.” He was willing to draw blood when they came to arrest Jesus in the garden. He followed Jesus all the way to the gate of the high priest’s house. And then everything fell apart. People began recognizing him and he felt afraid and in his fear he did something he never dreamed he would do, not even in his worst nightmare.

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Season Five of the Podcast for Nerdy Christians!

Season Five of The Podcast for Nerdy Christians launches today! Carrie and I have a lot of fun discussions planned for this season, and we tried as hard as we could not to just talk about Encanto for the whole season. If you’ve never listened to the podcast before, today’s episode is a good one to start with, then we suggest jumping back to Season 2 (and then if you really like it, Season 1 where we were still getting our sea legs).

We hope you enjoy Season 5 of the podcast where faith meets fandom. See below for a list of all our episodes to date, starting with the launch of Season 5, “I Want Songs.”

Season 5, Episode 1
“I Want Songs”

In the Season 5 debut, we’re talking about Disney “I want songs” — the songs from Disney movies that talk about what the main character wants and needs. We’re also starting our new book club book, Becky Chambers’s award-winning sci-fi novel The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet.

Season 1

Pilot (Ep 0101)

Dragons (Ep 0102)

MacGuffins (Ep 0103)

Princesses (Ep 0104)

Mentors (Ep 0105)

Tricksters (Ep 0106)

The Chosen One (Ep 0107)

Our Nerd Canons (Ep 0108)

Season 2

Grief in Avengers: Endgame (Ep 0201)

Wayfinding in Moana and the Church (Ep 0202)

Redemption in Return of the Jedi (Ep 0203)

Reconciliation in Brave (Ep 0204)

Repentance in Ironman (Ep 0205)

Idolatry in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (Ep 0206)

End of Season Trivia Challenge! (Ep 0207)

Season 3

Captain Marvel: Who Do You Say That I Am? (Ep 0301)

Inside Out: How Our Emotions Shape Us (Ep 0302)

Stranger Things: This is My Son, the Beloved (Ep 0303)

Frozen: Open Up the Gates (Ep 0304)

Frozen 2: Grow Yourself Into Something New (Ep 0305)

Star Trek: Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations (Ep 0306)

Lord of the Rings: I Can Carry You (Ep 0307)

Dungeons and Dragons: Exercising the Divine Imagination (Ep 0308)

End of Season Trivia Challenge (Ep 0309)

Season 3 3/4

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Ep 037501)

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Ep 037502)

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Ep 037503)

Season 4

The Last Jedi and the End of Christendom (Ep 0401)

I Know Your Name (Ep 0402)

Scapegoating in Times of Crisis (Ep 0403)

What‘s Your Alignment? (Ep 0404)

A Million Alien Gospels (Ep 0405)

Into the Wardrobe (Ep 0406)

WandaVision: Love Persevering (Ep 0407)

The Mandalorian: Is This the Way? (Ep 0408)

To the Lists! (Ep 0409)