Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sermon: Pentecost 7A one really knows who this attacker is. Some say it’s an angel. Perhaps even Esau’s guardian angel. Others say it’s a demon out to prevent Jacob from reconciling with his brother. Still others see him as the personification of the dangers lurking in the darkness. And yet others say it’s actually God.

But I like what Rabbi Harold Kushner says. Rabbi Kushner notes that Jacob is alone. And that the attacker is exactly as strong as Jacob. No stronger, but no weaker. Which is why they can’t beat each other and they last all night.

The rabbi says, “The attacker, the angel, is Jacob’s conscience, the part of him that summons him to rise above his bad impulses. The struggle is between the part of him that wins by cleverness and fraud, and the part of him that feels summoned by God to climb a ladder to heaven, to become someone exemplary.” (Kushner, Living a Life That Matters p. 26)

In other words, Jacob is at war with...(whole thing here)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sermon: Pentecost 6A

...when we talk about the “traditional” or “biblical view of marriage” what are we talking about?

We tend to think that the bible defines marriage as one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others ‘till death do us part, amen. And yes, the bible DOES say that.

But the bible also DOESN’T say that.

The bible provides examples of MANY forms of marriage. The bible writers were not of one mind on how human beings are to enter into marital covenant. Which makes me draw the conclusion that...(whole thing here)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sermon: Pentecost 4A

I understand twin brothers, since I am one and have one. I understand both the friendly rivalry and bare-knuckled competition between twin offspring.

My brother Keith was born 10 minutes before me, and you’d think, by the way he talks about those 10 minutes, that during that extra time, he’d gained a world of experience that I’d never possess.

Growing up we’d wrestle and fight. We’d tussle. We’d race. We once we competed for the same girl (I won). And when we started our careers we tried to “one-up” the other in terms of salary and status.

Most twins I know are the same way. That’s why I immediately understood what was happening between Jacob and Esau.

As most often in stories of twins, Jacob and Esau were different in every way you could imagine. It’s almost as if they needed each other to be a complete person.

Esau was...(whole thing here)

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Sermon: Pentecost 3A

Isaac ruled competently but charted no new course, he had no new vision for his people, and inspired no devotion. It wasn’t the force of destiny that compelled him to grab hold of the leadership reigns. It was like he was just taking over the family business and lacked the passion that gave rise to its institution. If Isaac weren’t Abraham’s son and Jacob’s dad, we probably would never have...(whole thing here)