All posts by Robert Dean

“Fire is Coming!”: An Advent Sermon

The following is adapted from a sermon preached to pastoral ministry students at Tyndale Seminary near the beginning of the season of Advent this year.
FireI didn’t come to ask how you’re doing these days
Didn’t come to roll no stones away no
I come to tell you the end is nigh
I come to prophecy

You wanted a messenger and I be he
Your heebie jeebie man in ecstasy
My eyes a blazin’ and my mantle dark
You better hark

Continue reading “Fire is Coming!”: An Advent Sermon

“Advent Begins in the Dark”

Advent CandleThe following comments are an adaptation and expansion upon the words of welcome I shared with the congregation of Good Shepherd Community Church at the beginning of worship this past Sunday.

The noted preacher Fleming Rutledge makes the point of reminding congregations in many of her Advent sermons that “Advent begins in the dark.”  On one level, this is an empirically verifiable reality as we gather together during Advent to light candles against the encroaching darkness of the ever-shortening days of December.  Continue reading “Advent Begins in the Dark”

Beginning in the Middle

Mountainside Stairway

Theological reflection always begins in the middle. After all, theological reflection is the work of a people who find themselves on pilgrimage (in via) as a result of being claimed by the address of the Triune God. There is no getting back to square one – to some primal location – for we are historical creatures who cannot escape our positioning in a good, but fallen world that started long before we arrived and, God willing, continue for long after we’ve died. Furthermore, if God is truly God, then God is not simply there to be discovered like helium or hydrogen, mites or mandrills. If theological reflection is to be truly theological it can only be, as Karl Barth famously maintained, a “thinking after” (Nachdenken in German) the reality of God’s self-revelation in the person of Christ. Continue reading Beginning in the Middle