Rev. Liz Goodman, Lenox & Monterey UCC (general)

The children's library has hidden among its shelves a great theological text on the sovereignty of God.

Monterey Church (UCC)

Church on the Hill, Lenox (UCC)

Direct download: Runaway.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 9:14am EDT

These are days of longing. For this, we find ourselves in good company, if though from a social distance.

Monterey Church (UCC)

Church on the Hill, Lenox (UCC)

Direct download: Short_Days_of_Longing.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 9:35am EDT

If God is sustainer, and God is free, could it be that God would withdraw the sustaining spirit? And if that happens, then now what?

Monterey Church (UCC)

Church on the Hill, Lenox (UCC)

Direct download: Now_What.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 8:53am EDT

When all falls away,

this remnant of what’s real: Church.

Seek, hold its frayed hem.

 

Monterey Church (UCC)         Church on the Hill, Lenox (UCC)

Direct download: A_Remnant_of_Reality.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 8:08am EDT

It isn't often that the Bible strikes a wrong tone because it's just too silly to go with our lived difficulties. But mood-matching has never been easy among otherwise devoted partners.

Monterey Church (UCC)

Church on the Hill, Lenox (UCC)

Direct download: Not_in_a_Laughing_Mood.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 7:33am EDT

Sundays haven't been the same since COVID imposed itself upon our lives. When is it time to settle on new traditions?

Church on the Hill, Lenox (UCC)

Monterey Church (UCC)

Direct download: Keeping_It_Together.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 1:36pm EDT

We're awash in kitsch--from our politics to our art to our religion to our homes and self-styling. What's a living being to do?

Monterey Church (UCC)

Church on the Hill, Lenox (UCC)

Direct download: Where_Kitsch_Cant_Find_US.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 7:26am EDT

Congregations generally face lean times and times of plenty. Here's to the ones who withstand the lean times. Without them, those times of plenty would be lost.

Monterey Church (UCC)

Church on the Hill, Lenox (UCC)

Direct download: Church_Going.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 3:29pm EDT

Jesus preaches against slander, and then slanders someone. What gives?

Monterey Church (UCC)

Church on the Hill, Lenox (UCC)

Direct download: Rightful_Place.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 12:34pm EDT

The mainline church has become sidelined. This is true in most of our congregations, true even in Lenox and Monterey. So what are doing here?

Monterey Church (UCC)

Church on the Hill, Lenox (UCC)

Direct download: What_Are_You_Doing_Here.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 7:08am EDT

How do we understand what the gospel is worth in a place? What are we to make of tiny churches sitting on big endowments and gathering in expensive old buildings? Is this really the most efficient way to do things?

Monterey Church (UCC)

Church on the Hill, Lenox (UCC)

Direct download: Where_Do_We_Get_Off.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 12:51pm EDT

You might have come to believe the kingdom of heaven is reserved for only a blessed few. We're sorry to have too report its something for creepier than that.

Church on the Hill, Lenox (UCC)

Monterey Church (UCC)

Direct download: Giving_Me_the_Creeps.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 8:05am EDT

Clearly, something here is wrong. So, let's figure out what that is, and eradicate it once and for all.

But what if that's what about here is wrong?

Monterey Church (UCC)

Church on the Hill, Lenox (UCC)

Direct download: Bad_Riddance.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 7:59am EDT

COVID continues to keep us at a distance from one another, and gathering outdoors or online. Cast out of our sanctuaries which have long sustained us, what we're left with might not adequately sustain us. What are we to do?

Monterey Church (UCC)

Church on the Hill, Lenox (UCC)

Direct download: Home_Sick.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 7:44am EDT

What are we to make of the slow (but sure) work of salvation and redemption in our midst? How about this: come as we are, receive as we need, serve as we can, and most of all rejoice in the Lord.

Monterey Church (UCC)

Church on the Hill, Lenox (UCC)

Thanks to Alchemy for music! Buy the album for yourself. 

Direct download: Inappropriate.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 7:07am EDT

That God is still speaking shouldn't be a radical notion. It requires us still to listen. But maybe that's more than some people would want...?

Monterey Church (UCC)

Church on the Hill, Lenox (UCC)

Direct download: God_Is_Still_Speaking_2.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 7:17am EDT

It's often said fear is the opposite of faith. I suspect grievance is the opposite of faith. The aggrieved are resentful, not faithful. So, which is it for you?

Monterey Church (UCC)

Church on the Hill, Lenox (UCC)

Direct download: Asking_for_It.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 7:04am EDT

This is a sermon for the start of ordinary time, this long season ahead about the only ordinary thing we can hope for in coming months.

Monterey Church, UCC

Church on the Hill, Lenox (UCC)

Direct download: Time_Out_of_Joint.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 8:39am EDT

A week of unrest gives us a chance at new creation. 

Monterey Church (UCC)

Church on the Hill, Lenox (UCC)

Direct download: Wade_in_the_Water.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 7:20am EDT

It's been a terrible week. The anxiety of the pandemic and spectacular acts of police violence against Black Americas, all under the watch of national leadership that is useless at best and cruel at worst, combined to make rage and fear the norm. Oh, and it's Pentecost, so maybe there's hope...?

Monterey Church (UCC)

Church on the Hill, Lenox (UCC)

Direct download: When_Once-Slaves_Prophesy.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 7:10am EDT

Ascension day remembers when Jesus left the world apparently the last time, a separation that feels especially severing in the age of COVID19.

Monterey Church, UCC

Church on the Hill, Lenox (UCC)

Direct download: Missing_You.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 7:48am EDT

Staying at home during COVID19 might have us awash in time. That's more stressful than it might at first seem.

Church on the Hill, Lenox (UCC)

Monterey Church, UCC

Direct download: What_Time_Is_It.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 7:38am EDT

Jesus felt God as abiding in him and him as abiding in God. How might sheltering in place feel different if we turned to the possibility that we might also abide in God and God might also abide in us?

Monterey Church, UCC

Church on the Hill, Lenox (UCC)

Direct download: Like_Newborn_Infants.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 8:58pm EDT

Good Shepherd Sunday shows up the time every year. Is there anything new to say about it? Actually, is there anything new at all?

Monterey Church (UCC)

Church on the Hill, Lenox (UCC)

Direct download: Good_Shepherd_Good_Sheep.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am EDT

The Son of God became man so man might become God. So said Athanasius of Alexandria in the 4th century. Maybe this time fo suspended time might renew our so becoming. 

 

Monterey Church (UCC)

Church on the Hill, Lenox (UCC)

Direct download: Journey_from_an_Armchair.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 8:47am EDT

Resurrection living suggests we're to be present in body as well as spirit with one another. The coronavirus insists upon something else. What to do then?

Monterey Church, UCC

Church on the Hill, Lenox (UCC)

Direct download: Text_and_Texture.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 8:54pm EDT

Crisis is opportunity because Christ is always one of our options.

Church on the Hill, Lenox (UCC)

Monterey Church (UCC)

Direct download: Resurrection_Day_2020.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 8:10am EDT

Palm Sunday is supposed to be a festival day. We're supposed to gather and to wave palm fronds and shout, "Hosanna" to the one who saves us from that from which actually--and pressingly--need to be saved.

Not so this year. This year, we shelter in place, prisoners of a virus, which casts into yet fuller relief our state also of being prisoners of hope.

Save us, Lord, as we bless the work also of those who would save us from this sickness that is on the loose.

Monterey Church (UCC)

Church on the Hill, Lenox (UCC)

Direct download: Palm_Sunday_2020.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 7:28am EDT

Our faith demands that we work in the world to ease suffering no matter at what cost to ourselves. It also invites to see that death comes to nothing in the life of God into which all are enveloped and embraced. As we face a world newly vulnerable to death with the coronavirus spreading so fast, we join in the struggle to limit the spread of suffering and death even when this puts us at risk. For those doing this most pressingly--those in healthcare and in other "essential services"--we pray and stand in astonishment at their labors.

Monterey Church (UCC)

Church on the Hill, Lenox (UCC)

Direct download: Christ_Would_Make_Monsters_of_Us_All.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 6:08am EDT

The is the second partial worship service we're posting on-line. This, because of Coronavirus having us stay at home. Social distancing is a particular challenge for the church, but internet-based worship might have us all the more aware of the blessing of one another. 

The first portion of this is the Call to Worship and the Prayer of Invocation. (To join in on this, click here.) At 4:45 the scripture readings begin. The sermon begins at 13:00. 

Monterey Church

Church on the Hill, Lenox (UCC)

Direct download: The_Ethereal_and_the_Earthy_Real.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 7:09pm EDT

Coronavirus is having us exercise caution about gathering in groups. For the small congregations of Lenox and Monterey, we do plan to hold worship though we know many of our members will stay home on Sunday. Here's a way to participate via podcast. To follow along with the Call to Worship and Prayer of Invocation, click here.

Church on the Hill, Lenox (UCC)

Monterey Church 

Direct download: Going_Viral.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 4:35pm EDT

What happens when there's no more frontier, no more unmapped territory to strike out into in search of the next thing, that "something new"? Is decadence our only option?

Church on the Hill, Lenox (UCC)

Monterey Church (UCC)

Direct download: Radio_Free_World.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 1:48pm EDT

Here's a Sunday for the 1st Sunday of Lent, an attempt to hear the stories of Adam & Eve, and Jesus and the devil, as if for the first time. Sometimes familiar stories are the hardest ones to hear.

Monterey Church

Church on the Hill, Lenox (UCC)

Direct download: The_Big_Why.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 9:01am EDT

On the irrepressibility of the human spirit--or is it the pervasive, penetrative Holy Spirit? Or some combination of the two?

And sorry about the cough at then end of this episode!! I thought to mic was off, and I'm too lazy to go back an correct it. (That and I have Ash Wednesday services tomorrow, a wedding this weekend, and Sunday is always coming!)

Monterey Church

Church on the Hill, Lenox (UCC)

Direct download: The_Wild_Divine.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 8:38am EDT

We're still with Jesus has he preaches his Sermon on the Mount, and what started out as promising abounding blessing now seems like quite a heavy lift.

Can you manage it?

Monterey Church

Church on the Hill, Lenox UCC

Direct download: Anti-thesis.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 3:05pm EDT

Christianity has been thought as a dangerously lawless enterprise. After all, if everything comes of God's grace, then what does it matter how we live? 

Church on the Hill, Lenox (UCC)

Monterey Church

Direct download: Thanks_for_the_Side-Eye.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 1:54pm EDT

We could exhaust ourselves trying to grow the church or even to "save"the church. How much more delightful would it be, though, if we were simply to be the church. That would be its own appeal.

Monterey Church

Church on the Hill, Lenox

Direct download: To_Believe_or_to_Enact.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 9:18pm EDT

Jesus gathered disciples who in turn were to gather other. What does that mean for us? Evangelism is no easy prospect, especially for those of us in the mainline church, and especially in a world where there's no shortage of people "selling" something. How then to do it, and why?

Monterey Church

Church on the Hill, Lenox

Direct download: Would_You_Like_to_Come_to_Church_with_Me.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 5:44pm EDT

Church on the Hill is one of the most photographed meetinghouses in New England. So goes the legend. But what does it mean that it's not necessarily conducive to the on-going life of the church?

Church on the Hill, Lenox

Direct download: Our_251st_Year.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 6:04pm EDT

Little churches might seem an ineffectual way to make a change in the world--to improve things or influence things for the better. Consider, though, the gentle servant of Isaiah's imagining, or the gentle Christ who comes though expected to be harsh and decisive. Maybe little churches are just the vessel God needs to plant the kingdom in our midst.

Monterey Church

Church on the Hill, Lenox

Direct download: Tender_Shepherd.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 4:30pm EDT

Why would the transcendent choose to submit to immanence?

Church on the Hill, Lenox 

Direct download: Christmas_Present.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 1:51pm EDT

Anti-Semitism is like a virus in the brain that humanity just can't kick. The Church bears some responsibility for its perennially infecting us. Here's a sermon that makes a case against it as a habit of mind and a violation of our faith and our humanity.

Monterey Church

Direct download: Anti-Semitism_and_the_Church.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Christmas Eve comes with a lot of expectations. People bring to the service of lessons and carols a desire to feel a certain way, to be made to believe in magic and unadulterated happiness. This sermon won't necessarily enchant you into the Christmas spirit you might have felt as a child. You won't mistake your life as a existing within a snow globe. But you might learn how to live out Christmas hope even when all hope seems lost. The world isn't an easy place these days. Of course, the world Jesus was born into wasn't easy either. 

Monterey Church

Church on the Hill, Lenox

Direct download: Christmas_Eve_2019.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 5:53am EDT

Serious faith isn't about "believing" in what seems impossible. It's about allowing the story of our faith work in our lives, bearing forth all its implications for how and why to live.

This sermon wanders through kitsch and art, sin and salvation, history and that which is beyond history.

Monterey Church

Church on the Hill, Lenox

Direct download: The_Virgin_Birth.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 10:15am EDT

Sheela Clary joins Liz once again, this time to talk about living in a Meritocracy, and how to resist its appeals.

Monterey Church

Church on the Hill, Lenox

Direct download: Rel_Rdtable_airs_12-15-19.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:58pm EDT

John was expecting a Messiah who would eradicate all that's (so obviously) wrong with the world. What he got was a Messiah who would redeem. The question is whether there's joy to be found in that.

Monterey Church

Church on the Hill, Lenox

Direct download: The_Joy_of_Being_Wrong.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 12:56pm EDT

It's not clear how things will change with the advent of the one for whom we wait. What we do know is that, in order for us to truly perceive the kingdom come near, we'll need to repent, which is to expand our imagining of what is possible and even dare to consider what seems impossible. 

Monterey Church

Church on the Hill, Lenox

Direct download: Cosmic_Crisp.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 3:56pm EDT

Here's to beginning the new church year off right.

Monterey Church

Church on the Hill, Lenox (UCC)

Direct download: Dont_Freak_Out.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 7:12pm EDT

A stuffy poet writes of the elegance of not being overstuffed. 

Church on the Hill, UCC

Monterey Church

Direct download: Thanksgiving_Sunday_2019.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30pm EDT

This one wanders from social imaginary to social imaginary, considers the soothing nature of even distressing truth, touches base with Baudrillard and B.B. King, and ends up amidst the generation war though in a spirit of an honest account of what it's like to be alive right now. 

Oh, and Peter Pomerantsev makes another showing.

Monterey Church

Church on the Hill, Lenox

 

Direct download: Metanarratives_Are_Dead.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 5:31pm EDT

Place-based names; trying to make something great again; energized instead to build something new, though in honor of what's passed; not falling for trolls; and engaging the world most immediately around you in the faith that this is the way to build up the reign of God in our midst: this sermon meanders, but might get you to where you need to go.

Direct download: We_Would_Be_Building.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 4:31pm EDT

Sharing in sacrifice is a great way to build relationship. But there are lots of people who are after other things in life--like money. That's why money makes for a good gauge as to where peoples' priorities lie and why Jesus according to Luke won't stop talking about.

Church on the Hill, Lenox

Monterey Church

Direct download: Breaking_the_Fourth_Wall.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

The apostle Paul said to the Romans, "I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritualworship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect." 

This sermon says something sort of like that, but it goes on a little longer. 

Peter Pomerantsev's This Is Not Propaganda. 

Monterey Church

Church on the Hill, Lenox  

 

Direct download: Left_to_Our_Own_Devices--corrected.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 7:02pm EDT

Jacob likes to claim to be Esau. When he finally admits, "I am Jacob," he's finally free of all that name implies. 

Church on the Hill, Lenox UCC

 

Direct download: Just_Admit_It.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 3:29pm EDT

Church on the Hill

Monterey Church

Direct download: Good_Grief.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 6:55pm EDT

This is a conversation between Liz and Rev. Jen Bloesch, the director of Gideon's Garden, a farm and food ministry of Grace Church, Episcopal in Great Barrington. 

Monterey Church

Church on the Hill

Direct download: Rel_Rdtable_airs_10-06-19.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:54am EDT

`This isn't a "feel good" sermon, unless you like being taken seriously and to be met with high expectations.

Monterey UCC

Church on the Hill, Lenox

Direct download: This_Might_Not_Work.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 7:22pm EDT

Social Inequality, Then and Now: the Rich Man and Poor Lazarus present us with an easy parable to understand but a tricky one to live out. And yet the challenge remains as imperative.

Monterey Church

Church on the Hill

Direct download: Meet_Me_in_the_Middle.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 1:30pm EDT

Lots of people have apparently believe our society should be left to destroy itself, even that they should help it along. It'd be nice if Jesus weren't one of them.

Monterey UCC

Church on the Hill, Lenox (UCC)

Direct download: Promise_and_Compromise.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 1:35pm EDT

Notice what is demanding your attention, and then wonder why it is demanding it. Perhaps it's worth more than you think?

Monterey Church, UCC

Church on the Hill, Lenox UCC

Direct download: The_Mined_Mind.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 3:28pm EDT

When you're thinking about taking on a big commitment, you need to do a little discerning before hand. 

www.montereychurch.org 

www.lenoxucc.org

 

Direct download: Trying_Out.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 9:04pm EDT

When the driving question is whether or not you like something, you miss a lot of what makes life beautiful and surprising and delightful. 

Direct download: Stranger_Things.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 2:28pm EDT

Jesus worked on the Sabbath so a woman in stooped subservience could be freed. 

Direct download: 1619.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 2:17pm EDT

What if Jesus told a funny story and only the truly faithful laughed?

For more information about the church or the preacher, go to www.montereychurch.org. 

Direct download: No_Joke.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 5:27pm EDT

Martha and Mary, the latest biblical rivals, and what appears to be Jesus weighing on which is better. Will it be a matter of Cain and Abel redux, or will this turn out in a better way? Tune in and find out!

Direct download: The_One_Needful_Thing.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 10:44am EDT

Overcoming our studied unseeing is a central aim of the gospel, at least according to Luke.

www.montereychurch.org 

Direct download: Seeing_the_Sights.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 4:50pm EDT

This is a second attempt with this sermon, with less ambient noise.

When Jesus sent those seventy out, he spent as much time instructing on the manner in which they were to behave on the mission as on the purpose of the mission. Maybe we should spend time on that too. But, look out. The implications of how they were to behave are no light matter. 

For more information about us, or to be in touch, go to our church website, www.montereychurch.org

Also, the comic mentioned in this sermon is Sebastian Maniscalco. You can find the bit here.

Direct download: Mind_Their_Manner.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 6:47pm EDT

When a demon named Legion occupies a man to violent ends, it's nearly impossible not to think of when a Roman legion occupies a Jewish village to violent ends--which is probably what Luke was up to in telling this story as he did. 

For more information, or to be in touch, go to our church website: www.montereychurch.org

Direct download: Legion.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 6:51pm EDT

Martin Buber used familiar words but in unfamiliar ways to name a way of relating that is as present as it is surprising, as commonly open to all as it is a rare treat when it arrives. Pentecost Sunday is the perfect day to consider I-Thou relating as it calls to mind Jesus, Resurrected, breathing on the disciples and saying, "Receive the Holy Spirit." By this sermon, may thou so receive as well.

For more information, or to be in touch, go to our church website: www.montereychurch.org

Direct download: You_Had_to_Be_There.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 11:37am EDT

Of pavement and dandelions, uniforms and free range, settled matters and unsettling truth.

Direct download: From_Out_Of_State.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 1:04pm EDT

Why does patriarchy persist, and how can the church resist?

The book referred to: Why Does Patriarchy Persist?

The video referenced: The Still Face Experiment

Church web address: www.montereychurch.org

Direct download: The_Oxymoronic_Patriarchal_Church.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 12:56pm EDT

Direct download: Taking_Attendance.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 5:26pm EDT

If you've never spent time with Tabitha, now's your chance.

Direct download: Tabitha_the_Good.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 8:43pm EDT

On the Sunday after Easter, we Christians have the chance to stoke anti-Semitism in our midst. What Christ would have us do is something altogether different. There is no place for anti-Semitism in our faith practice, and any theology or preaching that proclaims otherwise is false. 

Direct download: Theology_Matters.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 9:49am EDT

At the 30th reunion of the class of 1989 of Phillips Exeter Academy, of which Liz is a member, there gathered to discuss goodness and knowledge in education at Exeter a panel of classmates who've gone on to become educators--in the order appearing on this podcast a professor of computer science and artificial intelligence, a physician who teaches medical residents, a professor of English and Zen priest, a professor of political theory, and two current members of the Exeter faculty, one an instructor in health and human development, and the other the chaplain of the school.

The quality of the audio varies person to person. Here's how to scroll though if you like: Todd Neller is at 5:00; Ming-Hui Fan is at 16:00; Bernie Rhie is at 25:00; Jacob is at 37:06; Brandon Thomas is at 52:07; Heidi Carington-Heath is at 58:27; and Chris Artzer asks a fantastic question at 1:04:20. 

Here's the prompt:

John Phillips wrote in his deed of gift: “Above all, it is expected that the attention of the instructors to the disposition of the minds and morals of the youth under their charge will exceed every other care; well considering that goodness without knowledge is weak and feeble, yet knowledge without goodness is dangerous, and that both united form the noblest character, and lay the surest foundation of usefulness to mankind.

An old document, this is currently featured on the Exeter website so continues to be a lodestar. How is it put into practice, though?

Complicating it is the fact that John Phillips was a religious man, a Calvinist, and therefore likely comfortable using such value-laden terms as “goodness,” probably even with a clear sense of what “goodness” consists of.

Complicating it further is that Phillips founded the academy that it might “ever be equally open to youth of requisite qualifications from every quarter.” So, the conundrum confounding the modern West is written right into the deed of gift, thus making Exeter a microcosm: in a multi-cultural setting where classic liberal values are paramount, how do we understand what goodness even is?

As an educator, do you feel it as part of your duty to impart “goodness” as you impart knowledge?

If not, why not? Whence comes goodness into the world if not through education?

If so, what do you understand “goodness” to be? Whence comes your own, if you think of yourself as “good”? As regards your students, how do you impart “goodness” and how do you measure your success at this?

As graduates, do you remember “goodness” being a part of your education here? If so, how did it come into the frame? If not, did you “miss” it? Where might it have fit?

Direct download: Goodness__Knowledge.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 1:49pm EDT

Easter isn't about re-creating that first experience of resurrection that's so long ago and that we've heard countless times; it's about reinforcing the strange good news to which the resurrection is signifier. We look in the wrong direction for resurrection when we look to that ancient tomb and those faithful women. We should be looking forward to where Jesus has gone ahead.

Direct download: Easter_Sunday_2019.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 5:10pm EDT

Jesus' "triumphal entry" might just be street theater, satirical with the aim of subversion. The question is, are we in the mood for this?

Direct download: Palm_Sunday_2019.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 4:57pm EDT

In which we revisit one of those problems that has no clear solution. In which a classic dialectic begs for a middle way. In which the art of being human is as a sailboat tacking into the wind, a straight line made by way zigzag.

Direct download: Dis_Order.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 2:38pm EDT

...and then listen to Sheela and Liz discuss it on this, which isn't a sermon but the bi-monthly radio program. 

Direct download: RR_Sheela_Dubus.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:24pm EDT

Compassion is "suffering with." No wonder it can be so hard. The last thing many of us would ever do is admit our own suffering, so why on earth would we, and how on earth could we, allow into our lives other people's suffering?

Direct download: Admit_It.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 10:56am EDT

The temptation of Jesus in the wilderness isn't an experience of temptation in general. It's more specific, the temptation as to how he would, and would not, exercise power in the world. Therefore, if our Lenten discipline is to "give something up" and is done with the aim of imitating Christ, then what we should focus on "giving up" is exercising what power we find ourselves to have at any given moment in such a way as dominates, choosing instead to exercise this power as love, which is to be freely offered so to be freely received. There is no coercion in this; there is no captivity in this. Love empowers and frees, which is what Christ accomplished in the wilderness. We might do so in the wilderness of Lent as well, and beyond.

Direct download: What_Power_Is_For.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 11:36am EDT

I don't know why it's the weightiness of glory that stood out to me this year as we're to consider "glory" once again....Maybe it's that I've never really been able to enter these stories as they seemed about weightless ecstasy, a lofty journey of the soul in to light free of all heft...Maybe it's that the unseriousness of our common life as of late is really getting to me...Or maybe it's just that I've always been heavier than I'd like to be--and I suppose I mean that in all its meanings. The fact is, I've always been someone to take this whole thing rather seriously. Worse, I fear it's church that has me in an ever-tightening feedback loop of substantiveness....Yeah, I realize now it's this regular practice of seeking encounter with the divine that would also have us be a rather heavy presence out there amidst a world that lately prefers air-spun silliness...

Direct download: On_Being_a_Drag.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30pm EDT

I find it touching--such magnanimity as makes our deepest insecurities the least interesting thing about us, such magnanimous regard as makes that one aspect of ourselves we find most loathsome and shameful actually so unimportant that it's only hardly noticed, only summoned and spoken of to the most bring ends. Who cares that you're imperfect, that you're aging, that you're recovering from any number of things, that you're forgetful sometimes? So not important. What's important is that you're a vessel of love.

Direct download: Making_Me_Feel_Bad.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 2:20pm EDT

This is a conversation, not a sermon but an episode of WSBS's Religious Roundtable, at the spur of this article in the Harvard Divinity Bulletin.

Direct download: Rel_Rdtbale-airs_02-10-19.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:53pm EDT

When what we want is stories of "in addition to" but what we get is stories of "instead." 

Direct download: Mobbed_Up.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 12:56pm EDT

It's been forever, it seems, that we've reading old texts and interpreting them for meaning. It's a bizarre practice, one you might think we can get over. But in the age of the Twitter mob. it might be newly important.

Direct download: What_Are_We_Doing.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 6:04pm EDT

What does it matter what we believe? Nothing, if our belief never takes on matter. That's Gnosticism, and it just never seems to go away.

Direct download: Messed_Up_2.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 5:49pm EDT

I'll admit, I can't relate to the fear "all Jerusalem" had as regards the magi. But I can muster fear at the prospect of life together now playing out amidst a social context of everything thrown into question, every once clear thing now thrown into doubt. When old values, long settled, have been upset; when established truths meet with deep skepticism (and, worse, eventual cynicism): that's pretty frightening. If we come not only not to know what we long have known, but also not to know how we're to come to know what's to be known, which then comes a doubt that there is anything to be known, that's frightening--a crisis not only of authority but, more fundamentally, of epistemology.

Direct download: Epiphany_Sunday_2019--2.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 11:04am EDT

"The birth of Christ invites us into such astonishment at life's loveliness, presses upon us the distressing awareness that it could all go suddenly wrong, pushes us to the edge of all we can muster: the awe, the hope, the fear, the wonder. And by this, God calls us--the mewing cry of a newborn, which makes all else secondary to the demand of succor and love."

Direct download: Christmas_Eve.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 5:01pm EDT

This encounter between old Elizabeth, nor pregnant with John, and young Mary, now pregnant with Jesus: it's so very real. It's almost embarrassing--that it's there in scripture, that we're to talk of it in worship, bodies doing what no willpower could make them do but which they do because that's what they're made to do. women's bodies, burgeoning, bulbous and weighty, bone and brain and fluid and pain...This is so strangely,m astonishingly real."

Direct download: About_to_Get_Real.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 4:56pm EDT

"See, God's authority and human authority, though related, aren't always in accord. It's an obvious point. It's funny it's lost on Jeff Sessions. To say otherwise is to make the state equal in power and authority to the divine. And you know who really hates this sort of assertion, that the state is equal to God? Evangelical Christians..."

Direct download: The_Sessions_Verses.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 3:25pm EDT

"His power flowed out of him like that woman's power flowed out of her, and depleting as as each might have been to the host, the effect his had on his environment was as evident as the effect hers would have had, though to her shame. Her flow kept her an outcast; his flow gathered crowds--until, that is, they'd in effect have traded places, him, bleeding and ashamed on the cross and her restored to full standing in her community...I love that understanding of him--absolute presence, immediate light amidst otherwise darkness, absolute power outpouring that it might find equilibrium in the world, everyone having enough of it (though not too much) in order to be free."

Direct download: On_Power.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 3:19pm EDT

"We've been behaving for decades as if civilization is won, and therefore needs nothing more of us. We've been flirting for the length of my lifetime with cynicism, nihilism, as if we can take a tire-iron to the body politic just for the hell of it and not actually catch hell." 

Direct download: Unnatural.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 4:56pm EDT

As to the question of how to live together, "...it's a lot harder to figure when it involves isolated, atomized individuals crashing into one another, trying to elbow their way into and out of belonging, all without any framework or storyline to give the struggle shape or purpose..."

Direct download: Grow_Up.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 3:31pm EDT

"Human beings have grown and evolved to respond sociably to the human voice--to hear in it a subtlety of meaning and nuance of intent, to express in it a desire to connect and to be understood rather than just to dominate, humiliate, and win."

Direct download: Gnawing_Question.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 3:21pm EDT

This following a week when Kanye visited the Oval Office and mutual kissing-up ensued.

Direct download: Of_Flatterers_and_Friends.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 3:42pm EDT

When taxes get better shelter than many people of the world and billionaires would have us be sensible.

Direct download: Loopholes.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 2:40pm EDT

"...every person a tourist, every dwelling a stopover, the whole world now a place for casual consuming rather than investing and taking care..."

Direct download: ALL_Saints_Day.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 2:21pm EDT

Wherein we test a theory at the Temple treasury.

Direct download: Veterans_Day.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 12:54pm EDT

Pilate asked, "What is truth?" and in so doing he revealed that in him there is nothing to be revealed.

Direct download: Words_Matter.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 12:48pm EDT