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Friday, October 30, 2015

If John Wesley and his friends had Twitter

@jwesleyonhishorse      I hate TULIPS.   #freegrace

              I                     @gwhitefield  I’d rather have a TULIP than lose  my way.   #assuranceofsalvation  

@jwesleyonhishorse   I wonder what Grace thinks #shelovesmeshelovesmenot

@cwesleyhymns             It just wasn’t meant to be @mrsbennet  #Shouldhavemovedfaster

@jwesleyonhishorse   I thought she loved me.

@mrsbennet             the ceremony was already planned @cwesleyhymns

@cwesleyhymns       I told you she wasn’t good enough for you #remindsmeofsophy

@gwhitefield             You both could learn to preach #Ifillthosepewsyoudon’t

@jwesleyonhishorse    I married @MollyV today. We should be so happy #hopeforthefuture

@MollyV                   @jwesleyonhishorse better quit texting @annbolton

@jwesleyonhishorse   @MollyV you can’t make me #nanananbooboo

@MollyV                     @jwesleyonhishorse I told you to come home and quit visiting all those women #ifyoudontIllputspywareonyourmacbook

@jwesleyonhishorse    you wouldn’t dare

@MollyV         Watch me #Dontmesswithamadwoman 

@cwesleyhymns      Hark the Herald angels sing let us all get along @MollyV

@MollyV                     shut up @CWesleyhymns or I’ll call @SarahGwynne

@GWhitefield                        Let’s all go out into the field and preach #stopmessingaround

@jwesleyonhishorse             ouch @MollyV pulled my hair  #weneedamarriagecounselorwhoisnotmybrother

@SarahGwynne        There is a reason I told @cwesleyhymns to stop the itinerancy

@MollyV         If @cwesleyhymns can stop traveling than so can @jwesleyonhishorse

@jwesleyonhishorse       There are reasons one would rather sleep with one’s head on a rock than in one’s bed  #Istickwiththeitineracy

@MrsBennet     Obviously I chose the right one @MrBennet #anearmiss

@cwesleyhymns     Last night there were so many preachers in the preaching house at @methodistmeetinghousebristol that we broke the floor and landed on a pile of tobacco

@jwesleyonhishorse       Must be time to build a New Room. #maybeitwillstoppeoplefromthrowingstones

@MollyV                     Are you sure it was all preachers in that room and not women? #IdontrustyouasfarasIcanthrowyou

@jwesleyonhishorse [blocks] @MollyV

@cwesleyhymns       It’s God’s wrath on us for dissenting #weshouldremainloyaltothemotherchurch

@jwesleyonhishorse    Don’t get your knickers in a wad @cwesleyhymns

[Wesley scholars, please excuse the anachronisms)

 Kelly Yates (yes it's original, but feel free to share)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Easter 4B Acts 4:5-12; Psalm 23; I John 3:16-24; John 10:11-18 Sheep and Shepherds

Today we will look at the lectionary passages for Easter 4B in a sequence. It's not a chronological sequence, but a theological one.

This Jesus is “the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone.” Acts 4:11

Peter and John stand before the Sanhedrin, the very court that wanted to sentence Jesus to death but could not due to Roman law.  With boldness that Peter did not have before the day of Pentecost, he preaches straight into the faces of those who hated Jesus and hated him.  "IT WAS YOU WHO KILLED HIM."  The stone rejected has become the cornerstone. The 'piece of trash' you threw out is now the feast. The man you thought you killed is alive, and nothing you can do can ever change that.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep."
John 10:11

The cornerstone is the good shepherd. He has laid down his life for the sheep. Sheep need led, and sheep have no natural defense. 

"Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me." Psalm 23:4

Because he died he walks with his through this Holy Spirit. Peter could stand in boldness because the shepherd had laid down his life and now walked with him through the evil of the hypocritical religious leaders.

"How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?" I John 3:17

All of this leads to one place: How do we live out the resurrection message of Christ? Do we take the chance to stand and preach? Do we help the one in need? Do we offer water to the thirsty, a sandwich to the man on the side of the road? Will we get out of our pews and pray with someone? Will we allow the 'outcast' into our nice clean sanctuaries? 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Easter 3B Acts 3:12-19 The sermon after the healing of the lame man at the Temple

Peter welcomes any opportunity to preach. Here he has a crowd with mouths gaping open that he has healed the lame man; the guy everyone walked past every single day. He was just a beggar with a cup, maybe a few people would take pity on him and drop in a few coins. The sermon is classic kerygma, a pattern found throughout the book of Acts.

But today I am not thinking along the lines of classic kergyma commentary. Today I am thinking of opportunities to tell the good news of Jesus Christ that I miss every day. Today I am thinking of the beggars I see every day holding signs up at the stop lights. This seems to be the equivalent of catching people going into the temple. It must work or people wouldn't do it. I hand a dollar or two out my window. I've pushed blankets, jackets, and whatever food I have in the car into shaking hands. There is a well known homeless man that holds up a sign at a busy intersection near I-40 in Oklahoma City that says, 'Tough day? Yell at a bum! 50c an hour!' Now that is creative. I handed him a leftover burrito without yelling at him last time I saw him.

But would I say as Peter did to the beggar, what I have I gladly give? In the name of Jesus Christ stand up and walk? Or In the name of Jesus Christ, be healed of your addiction or bad luck or lack of job skills or mental illness that has caused you to beg for money in any way possible? Or am I afraid to speak to such people? And when I do stop and there are staring eyes, do I take the chance to speak to the curious eyes looking at a person so crazy to do more than hand a bum a dollar?

Then I ask myself, what is it about my culture that allows such people to beg for food? Why do we have so many homeless people in every single city? What is going on in our system? Am I seeking justice for the hungry?

The people of the village noticed that there were babies floating down the river. They kept pulling them out to save their lives. This is charity.
After thousands of babies were pulled out of the river, one person asked, who is throwing these babies out of the river? I will walk up the river until I find out and put a stop to this.
This is social justice.

Both are needed. The babies who have already been thrown in the river need to saved. But more will be saved in the long run if the people throwing the babies in are stopped.

Peter could have put in a coin, if he had one. Instead he healed the man in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Easter 2B Acts 4:32-35, Psalm 133, I John 1:1-2:2, John 20:19-31 Doubt

Doubt is a part of faith but many evangelical denominations do not want to admit this. Yes, Jesus says blessed are those who do not see and yet believe, but how does he treat Thomas's doubt? He simply asks him to put his hand in the wounds.  There is no shaming, no asking if he remembered the prophecies, only love. 
When someone comes to be doubting their faith, or even doubting God I assure them that God can handle it. 
I find it interested that the Psalm and the Acts passage are about unity. How does this connect to Doubting Thomas? The disciples were gathered together when Jesus first appeared and Thomas was absent. We have never heard where he was. Was he hiding or did he have a legitimate excuse like a stomach virus? We will never know. Did his doubt bring more unity or less or did it affect it at all? 

'We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us.' Thomas can say this now, but what about those of us who have not seen and heard and still doubt? Can we proclaim? Isn't that what the essence of faith is?  This song expresses Doubting Thomas better than I ever could: Doubting Thomas Nickle Creek Live/

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Holy Week 2015

Today is Maundy Thursday. As I rush through my dissertation-writing-teaching-mothering schedule I try to take a deep breath and remember Jesus.

Remember Jesus as he prepared for Passover with his closest friends.


Knowing that one would betray him.
That one would deny him.
That the rest would run away.

That he would be arrested later that night and suffer.

Suffer at the hands of the people who once said they loved him.

Did they?

Do I?

Do I love him enough?

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Should you pursue a PhD?

I am a PhD candidate in Church History/Theology. I am in my fourth year of study. I have 69,000 words out of 80,000 written on my thesis. I am attending a British university where the PhD is 100% research, no classes.

Many of my masters-graduated friends ask me if they should pursue the terminal degree. This is my answer to all.

If you can do the following: you can make it.

1. Study.  I mean study for hours a day.

2. Limit your social obligations. Here it is New Year's Eve and I am in my room with the door locked. I am not partying. You will have to give up many, many parties, events, that you once attended.

3. Rewrite. I remember vaguely the days of roughdraft-edit-final draft. Any paper or chapter that is a finished project has gone through at least eight drafts, usually more.

4. Take criticism. If your advisor/supervisor is doing their job, they will rip your work to pieces in the beginning. You have to be able to take it.

5.  Be disciplined. When writing a thesis/dissertation, you have to set your own deadlines. No one will make you sit your butt in the chair and type except you.

6. Be humble. Education is a long lesson in humility. If you think you know everything you need to know and just need the letters at the end of your name, forget it. You won't make it past the first semester.  The more you know, the more you will realize what you do not know.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Ordinary 22 Proper 22 Matthew 7:13-14 The Two Paths Roads

This passage is a short saying that people could easily remember. Jesus often used these. He speaks in opposites, in a parallel way. The text may be aligned in the following way.
Enter through the narrow gate
For                                                                              But
wide is the gate                                                        small is the gate
and broad is the road                                               and narrow is the road
 that leads                                                                  that leads
 to destruction,                                                          to life
 and may enter                                                          and only a few
 through it                                                                  find it
For                                                                              For
the gate is wide                                                         gate is narrow
that leads                                                                   that leads
to destruction                                                            to life

road is easy                                                                road is hard
So much advice about life has to do with choosing one's path or road or way.  
How do we know which is the right or best way? Often we choose based upon the way that most people are going. Have you ever arrived at an appointment or event and did not know exactly where to go? You followed the crowd and hopefully arrived at the right place. However, this is not the direction that Jesus gives. The right way is the narrow gate, the one not easily found; most people do not even bother to look. It is rough, the road is hard. 
“For it is one thing to see the Land of Peace from a wooded ridge, and yet another to walk the road that leads to it.”  Augustine of Hippo

The Road Not Taken

BY Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.