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Cover image of New Vision for an Old Story

In giving us the Bible, God did not inspire its authors to give us a book of rules, a legal document, or a textbook on science, history, or even religion. God gave us a collection of stories, knowing well that stories are the fundamental building blocks of human relationship and community at all levels.

When we put on our story lenses and view the Bible, a totally different set of truths and questions are visible. I believe it is this set of truths and questions that God meant for us to use to guide our lives.

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This sermon was recorded and broadcast on Day1.org radio on October 7, 2018. You can listen directly on the Day1.org site.

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Lady Liberty beside torch-wielding white supremacists

Our nation is at a tipping point. Racism, alas, is not new. It has at times been driven underground so that we who benefit from the privilege of our race didn't have to look at it. But it has been there, strategically ignored by too many in power. Ask any person of color of any economic background in any part of the country.

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The world is on edge right now. Troops muster, missiles fly; hate and violence cast a pall of fear at home and abroad. We feel a sense of unity with those who share our views on world events but more divided than ever from those who don't. New alliances are made but often at the high cost of once-cherished relationships that now lie in the dust.

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Jephthah's Daughter

I have been resonating with a Bible story lately--and not one of the "nice" ones. It is the story in Judges 11:29-40 of Jephthah's Daughter.

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Cardinal Sean O'Malley and Rev. Anne Robertson (George Martell/Pilot New Media)

THE HISTORY

Fifty years ago, as Vatican II was sending the ecumenical spirit soaring, Cardinal Richard Cushing was invited to speak at the Sudbury United Methodist Church.  In that new spirit of Protestants and Catholics getting along, he accepted the invitation and gave the gathered congregation of Protestants and Catholics about 90 minutes of his best stuff.

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There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love.           1 John 4:18

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TEXT: John 20:1-18

For those of us who practice Christian faith, the resurrection is the central, monumental event of history. Whether you’re the type of Christian that looks at it as historical reality or the type of Christian that sees it as a story of only spiritual truth, for all of us, the message of resurrection is the absolute center. Of course it was the central message for the disciples as well, and the story is recorded in all four of the Gospels. But to say that all four report it is not to say that all four tell it the same way.

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The Grinch
The Grinch

TRANSFORMATION IN WHOVILLE

TEXT: Luke 2:1-20
 

Over the past couple of weeks, the airwaves have been full of all the classic secular Christmas stories. I love all of them, and have seen them many times over. As I thought about them, I noticed that all of the Christmas classics emphasize the truth that Christmas is a time of transformation.
 

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What’s in your God-box? Each of us, says author Anne Robertson, builds our own way of understanding God—our "God-box"-- and fills it up with bits of scripture, wisdom, and our experiences of God at work in our lives. It’s a perfectly good way to puzzle out what God means to us. Encountering God through our human limitations, we learn something about the meaning of Incarnation.