“That we may have the haunting thought we are only playing at being a sinner, I suspect, involves the more general worry that, in the world in which we now find ourselves, we are not at all sure if we know what it means to be a Christian. I suspect we are not even sure we know what being a Christian looks like. Surely, to be a Christian means more than being a nice person that believes stuff about God. There is, after all, the Sermon on the Mount. But then that is one of the problems: we cannot imagine living out the demands of the Sermon. But because we cannot imagine living the type of lives the Sermon seems to envisage, we cannot help but fear that we are only playing at being Christian. Continue reading On (Not) Knowing our Sins (Series on “Minding the Web”)
Those in attendance at the Wycliffe College Annual Preaching Day this past Monday were treated to multiple courses of rich fare as Fleming Rutledge spoke throughout the day on the theme of “Preaching the Cross in Our Rapidly Changing World.” Wycliffe College has posted the video of her presentations on their YouTube channel here. At one point, I believe it was in response to a question, Rutledge suggested that we dare not underestimate the importance of repentance in our resistance to the Powers. Continue reading Repentance as Resistance: Ash Wednesday
The following sermon was preached several years ago on Ash Wednesday. Perhaps the most interesting thing about it is the text on which the sermon is based – Daniel 9:1-19. Daniel 9 is not a traditional Ash Wednesday text, but the resonances between the text and the day are significant and stirring.
Today is Ash Wednesday, the day that Christians have historically set aside to face up to their mortality and to repent of their sin. Now this doesn’t mean that Ash Wednesday is the only day of the year when Christians can humbly acknowledge their frailty and their failure to live into the fullness of God’s intentions for their lives, but if we didn’t set aside Ash Wednesday for this purpose, it is unlikely that we would set aside any time at all. For the broader culture we find ourselves in is built on the refusal to acknowledge the presence of death and the reality of sin. So I commend you for making the effort to be here tonight. Your presence signifies that you recognize that the Lord desires to do something for us far more important than making us comfortable. He desires to make us holy. Continue reading “In Sackcloth and Ashes”: A Sermon for Ash Wednesday