Showing posts from August, 2010

The Most Pressing Question: Who Gets to Narrate the World?

The Most Pressing Question:

Who Gets to Narrate the World?
“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players…”
William Shakespeare, As You Like It.

Life…human existence is a story. Stories trace the actions and interactions of people with each other and the world as we know it or wish to know it.

Stories have been called “equipment for living.”

There are a multitude of stories (or what we might also call narratives) in the world which determine our values and actions. There are family stories. And who knows that better than the young couple who has been married for only six months. Remember that season of life? Remember the tension as you and your spouse were trying to sort out the values – sometimes competing values – that came from two different family stories? Tough times. It’s a good thing we had stars in our eyes! Then there’s America’s story with all of its romantic rugged individualism and heroic sacrifice. But it also includes nearly two hundred years of slave…

Filtering the Waters of Willow Creek

I was fortunate to grow up in California during the late 1960’s and 70’s. During the early years of that period I learned to backpack in the Coast Mountains and the Sierra Nevada. During those days, you could drink pure unfiltered water from the lakes and streams without fear of catching giardia. By the mid-seventies with the explosion in popularity of backpacking, it was no longer safe to drink water without first treating it with a special tablet or filtering it. What a pain! You could no longer dip your Sierra cup into the waters of a rushing stream and satisfy your thirst with great tasting cold water. Sure, the water still tasted great, but you would put your health at risk of picking up some nasty parasite without filtering the water.

I have spent the last two days drinking deep at Willow Creek’s Leadership Summit. The water tasted intoxicatingly good! I wish I could have imbibed without filtering, but I believe the health of the Church and its ministry is at stake. Frankly, I …

Remember What? (First sermon at FirstB, Sioux Falls, SD)

NOTE: I am very passionate about understanding the Lord's Table. Since I began my studies at the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies, I have come to a much richer understanding of what we do at the Table. I was pleased with the response that I received from this message. I was especially blessed by the affirmation of a young Catholic who attended one of the services. While Baptists and Catholics will probably never agree regarding what is called the "real presence of Christ" at the Table, I believe that we can find common and powerful ground in an understanding of biblical remembrance, which I believe is the the essential point rather than wrangling over substance.

Trouble at the Table Communion, or in many traditions, the Eucharist (which simply means “Thanksgiving”) has a long and unfortunate history of controversy in the Church since the Reformation. The seed of this misunderstanding and trouble was planted at the Fourth Lateran [Church] Council of 1215. In …