Ecumenical Preaching

Colleagues, Steven Kuhl recently sent me today’s offering. It first appeared twelve years in a publication that later went out of business. You will join me, I’m sure, in agreeing with Steve about its fitness for a rerun as the monumental Reformation anniversary looms. For more on that, see the Afterword. Peace and Joy, Jerry Burce ________________________________________________ The CORE of Ecumenical Preaching …

Reading the Hurricanes

Colleagues, As it happens, I write this on Saturday, September 9. The first thing I saw on the New York Times website this morning were updates on Hurricane Irma. Photos hinted at horrors endured already on Caribbean islands. A graphic foretold of horrors to come along Florida’s Gulf Coast. I am sinfully glad right now that I live in Cleveland, Ohio. Such …

Why Jesus? A Preacher’s Mission-Minded Reflections

Colleagues, Thursday Theology went quiet this Easter season. The undersigned, responsible for pushing it out, spent one of the seven weeks in Israel, and the other six sidelined by a weird combination of unusual busyness in the job that pays and a bout of mental torpor. Finally Pentecost blew in, dislodging some cobwebs. Or so I hope. The Gospel text for most …

Easter Mission in 2017 (A Homily by Martin Lohrmann)

Colleagues, This Sunday, the Second of Easter, we hear the first conclusion of St. John’s Gospel in the unabashed confession of Thomas: “My Lord and my God!” This strikes as an excellent time to a pass along a contribution I got in late January from Martin Lohrmann, who teaches Reformation history and theology at Wartburg Seminary. Martin recently served a term on …

Caveat Caesar, Emerging from the Shadows, and Other Thoughts for Easter

Colleagues, I dare this week to pass along some notions I threw together eighteen years ago, A.D. 1999, about the texts we’ll be listening to again this coming Easter Sunday. I shared them that year with a text study group. I unearthed them this morning, quite by accident, for today’s version of the same group. On scanning them it crossed …

The Eerie Wonder of Tennessee Jack Daniels

Colleagues, Two Sundays ago St. John’s account of Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus was read in churches around the world. Many of you caught it, some for the hundredth time. So to get things started today, a quick question: to whom was Jesus referring when he spoke of the wind blowing where it pleases, of which you hear the sound, not …

Steven Kuhl on “Reformation Spirituality” (Part Two)

Colleagues, A week ago I sent you the first half of a talk by Steve Kuhl on Reformation ideas about spirituality. Here is the second half. There is much of interest here, even for those of us who think as a matter of course about the distinction between Law and Gospel. For details on where and when Steve presented this, …

Steven Kuhl on “Reformation Spirituality”

Colleagues, Ash Wednesday just happened. Attendance where I serve was stronger than I expected. Was that a response to the times we’re in? I wonder. As ever on Ash Wednesday, the liturgy delivered God’s response to the times we’re in, or more pointedly, to people enmeshed in such times. I hope the ones who checked in managed to catch that. …

The Pastor’s Job

Colleagues, I’ve been away for seven days. Some months ago my wife and I observed our 40th wedding anniversary, an event to which over-generous children responded by underwriting a mid-winter break in a place where palm trees grow. My wife has drilled many useful things into me over the years, among them the ironclad rule that work gets left at home …

The American Myth

Colleagues, Theology is suddenly up for discussion again in the old public square. By “old,” I mean the square as Richard John Neuhaus conceived it when he wrote his famous book about its nakedness. Since then a new square has been imagined and built under names like Facebook and Twitter, the public flocking there en masse to say its unconstrained …