On Rites and Symbols

On Rites and Symbols

A divorced, Scottish Protestant Clergywoman anoints an Irish Catholic Cardinal.

God's Top 10: Blowing the Lid Off the Commandments

God's Top 10: Blowing the Lid Off the Commandments

The Ten Commandments meet the social issues of our time.

Lost in Ashes

Lost in Ashes

"Mama said there'd be days like this." Well, Mama learned that from God.

In the Pit

In the Pit

Anything can be true in the dark.

"Re-membering" Faith

"Re-membering" Faith

"Do this in remembrance of me."     --Luke 22:19

Blowing the Lid Off the God-Box: Opening Up to a Limitless Faith

Blowing the Lid Off the God-Box: Opening Up to a Limitless Faith

God is bigger than your box...don't close it!

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Gandalf the Grey from Lord of the Rings

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."
                                                                                                                  J.R.R. Tolkien, Fellowship of the Ring.

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"Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you."                             Philippians 4:8-9

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Crucifixion painting by Anthony van Dyck circa 1622

As I wrote my new book, Introducing the New Testament, one thing became increasingly clear to me.   As I wrote about Jesus the man, Jesus the Jewish rabbi, and Jesus the Christ I realized that although we Christians revere Jesus as the Christ and learn to live our lives through the teaching of Jesus the rabbi, we sing songs like "Oh, How I Love Jesus" because of Jesus the man.  And that emotion is thoroughly rooted in Good Friday.

While Good Friday church attendance makes clear that most people would like to avoid the dark and horror of crucifixion and go straight to the Hallelujah's of Easter morning, we don't, in the end, love Jesus becaues he was resurrected.  We love Jesus because he died. 

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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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The following sermons comprise a series on The Apostles' Creed that I preached at St. John's United Methodist Church in Dover, NH in 2004.  You can read about the origins and history of the creed here.

Below is the text of the creed.  I have linked each line to the sermon about that line.  There are twelve sermons total. (Note that the first line contains two links.)

 

 

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Pink bow

I was one of a legion of children who was shepherded through third and fourth grade Sunday School by Maybritt Muller.  In my day she didn’t just teach, she ran the whole department for those grades, which comprised a number of classes. Her passing on July 13, 2013 has caused me to reflect, and I post this as a tribute to her. 

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Like all other blessings, which are our portion in this world, civil freedom is liable to gross perversion and abuse.  It is the nature of man to be dissatisfied with present advantages and to seek for those which are ideal; or which are incompatible with social and moral obligation...Without the restrictions of law and government, this important boon would become the scourge of mankind; and the world would be converted into a theatre of violence and blood.                                              --Alden Bradford, 1804

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As people have enjoyed my books, they began using them as the basis for small group study and discussion.  This has led me to at last create full-blown small group curricula.

The first of these efforts was done in my role as Executive Director of the Massachusetts Bible Society.  All profit from the courses in Exploring the Bible: The Dickinson Series goes to the Massachusetts Bible Society and its ministries. 

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Pitcher of clear water becoming wine in a glass.

Jesus said to them, "Fill the jars with water."  And they filled them up to the brim.  He said to them, "Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward."  So they took it.  When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, "Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk.  But you have kept the good wine until now."   &nb