Month: March 2013

SERMON from Easter Sunday 2013: Last Words From The Road to Emmaus

Luke 24.13-23 (CEB) On that same day, two disciples were traveling to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking to each other about everything that had happened. While they were discussing these things, Jesus himself arrived and joined them on their journey. They were prevented from recognizing him. He said

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In Fourteen-Hundred and Ninety-Two: A New Pneumonic Device

 

My beautiful wife put a History Channel 2013 desk calendar in my stocking at Christmas. As a history nerd, it was right up my alley.

Today, it gave me some inspiration. (see photo above)

We all know in what year Christopher set sail for foreign lands to pillage indigenous peoples, but my History calendar gave me a new fact.

Evidently, the same year in which the crown sent Columbus to a new world, they began to dismiss Jews from the country (Spain) – en masse. Even in my pastoral, post-Easter stupor, I have found a bit of inspiration.

Maybe schoolchildren can begin to learn my new learning rhyme:

In Fourteen-Hundred and Ninety-Two

Spain began to expel their Jews

However, given the vehement anti-semitism evident in a chain of events such as this, I think this one captures the essence of the event:

In Fourteen-Hundred and Ninety-Two

The Spanish expelled their filthy Jews

Alright, you can go back to your naps, now.

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Relic Makes Obligatory Appearance Just Shy Of #ResurrectionSunday

A few years ago, news broke that archeologists had found the childhood home of Jesus Christ. More specifically, they found a house that is probably representative of the type of house in which Jesus probably spent most of his formative years.

The story broke just before Christmas. The link I provided is from a different story than I read back in 2009.

The most important part of this story was a quote about the significance of the find. Essentially, the interviewee decided that the find might go far to prove the existence of Jesus – and increase the faith of the world.

Since, I have noticed that before the major Christian holidays of Easter & Christmas, media outlets find it goes far for them to feature a story about Jesus and his life – and it's better if it is something you can touch or see.

Enter this story from The Huffington Post.

In 1988, carbon-14 dating placed the age of the famous – or infamous – relic, The Shroud of Turin somewhere in the Middle Ages. Hence, the major implication from that news was that the shroud was believed to be a fake.

The Shroud of Turin is a relic believed to be the burial cloth used when Jesus was laid in the tomb. It's claim to fame is that it bears an image of a person. It is believed that this image is Jesus, having been emblazoned upon the cloth when Christ was resurrected.

This Huffington Post story claims that new data suggests the shroud is more accurately dated to around the time of Jesus' life – and, therefore, more likely to be real.

No mention of the desires of those involved for this discovery to increase the faith of Christians or the relevance of Christianity.

That's all the same to me. I don't need scientific verification of the validity of some old relic to increase or undergird my faith.

That's why it's called “faith.”

 

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Why do we call it “Maundy Thursday?”

I wanted to put this up real quick. I'm asked this every year, so I figured it was a topic worth commenting on. This is from Wikipedia:

Maundy (from Latin Mandatum),[1] or Washing of the Feet, is a religious rite observed as an ordinance by several Christian denominations. John 13:1–17 mentions Jesus performing this act. Specifically, in verses 13:14–17, He instructs them, 14 “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.” 15 “For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.” 16 “Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him.” 17 “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” As such, many denominations observe the washing of the feet on Maundy Thursday of Holy Week[1] Moreover, for some denominations, foot-washing was an example, a pattern. Many groups throughout Church history and many modern denominations have practiced foot washing as a church ordinance.

There ya' go. Latin. Foot washing. Boom.

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SERMON FODDER: Why do we call it “Easter?”

 

I haven't done one of these in a while. This NFTPO feature is when I share a theological thought or sermon preview that's been rolling around my noggin. I got the information for this from here.

Here's a preview of my sermon for Sunday:

Why is it called “Easter,” anyway?

Anyone know?

Well, as far as I could tell, it has to do with a German goddess. Specifically, it has to do with the Teutonic goddess of fertility and spring. Her name was “Eostra.” It is from her name that we get the name for the female hormone, “estrogen.” Well, once Constantine and the church decided to run roughshod over the indigenous people and religions of Europe, they found out about the spring goddess and assimilated the tradition into the Christian celebration of the Resurrection.

Easter eggs are actually given to us from Eostra. Since she is the goddess of fertility, the eggs came to us from her as a sign of fertility. What they still have to do with the Christian celebration of the Resurrection is beyond me?

Also beyond me, is why Cadbury Creme Eggs have to be so darned sweet. Seriously, I feel as if I'm going into a diabetic coma each time a bite into one. It hasn't stopped me from biting into them, but still…

 

See you on Sunday!

 

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Video From The Pastor’s Office #19 – “Killing @OReillyFactor’s Logic”

Bill O’Reilly says that Jesus was killed over the issue of taxes. There are literally dozens of things wrong with this assertion. This is my off-the-cuff attempt to thwart them.

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“Do You Read the FOX News Version of the Bible?”

This is one of the best quotes I’ve heard in a while.

This quote was uttered by Dr. Mark Lamont Hill to Bill O’Reilly on his show.  It was in response to the outlandish – and ignorant by default – statement made by O’Reilly; and you will see it in this clip:

“Jesus was killed over taxes.”

Wrong.

Real quick, Jesus was killed for being a threat to Roman and Jewish leadership, and Jesus encouraged people to pay taxes (“give to Caesar what is Caesar’s” – Mark 12.17).  If Bill will remember, Pilate gave the crowds a chance to free Jesus (John 18.40).  If they really wanted him for tax-related issues (a ridiculous claim made by the cable “news” host), he would have gone down without that little opportunity for escape.

Not to mention the fact that Pilate also found him not guilty (John 19.6).

Only in the FNT (FOX News Translation) Bible can it be found that Jesus was killed over the issue of taxes.

Bill O’Reilly.  Bad Catholic.  Bad journalist.  Bad historian.

Unfortunately, the fact that he is bad at his many jobs doesn’t preclude him from being able to write another “history” book.  This time, he is taking on the subject of Jesus in his “Killing…” series.

His book about Jesus should be about as historically accurate as Quentin Tarantino’s portrayal of the death of Hitler in Inglorious Basterds.  

Remember the outrage over the artist who submerged a crucifix in urine – literally called Piss Christ?  I believe there should be similar outrage over this “book.”

Oh, and don’t forget, NatGeo – the cable channel named for National Geographic magazine – is working on a TV version.  Why not?  They produced his other two, widely historically panned books.

I will read this book, only so that I may get in on the long lone of critiques this book will face.

It appears more and more obvious that these types of attacks from the likes of O’Reilly and Barton are going to have to be met with critiques by the adults in the room.  Why are the critics the adults?  Because, the truly childish thing these people do is produce this razor-thin dreck for the highest possible monetary return.

Good day.

P.S. Check out what my friend, Joel, wrote about it.

SERMON from 3-17-13: “I Thirst”

This is the fifth of a seven-part series for the Lenten and Easter season. I got the idea from my father-in-law, who serves as Senior Pastor at Mesa First United Methodist Church, downtown Mesa, Arizona. Luke 23.28-29 (CEB) 28 After this, knowing that everything was already completed, in order to fulfill the scripture, Jesus said,

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Oh, Let Me Answer That for You, @eJoelWatts

Joel has certainly taken a liking to the new Holy Father (evidenced here, here and here). He called out those of us who were quick to be pessimistic about this new Pope, once news began to spread about his demeaning comments about the LBGT community.  I was one of them, and I gave my mea culpa:

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Resurrection-Themed Pastries? I Might Try This One

  This isn’t a foodie blog, but this caught my eye.   So, I’m not one for religiously-themed pastries – outside of the Maundy Thursday remembrance meals with authentic, unleavened bread – but this looks delicious. They are called “Resurrection Rolls.”  Essentially, you take a marshmallow, dip it in butter, roll it in cinnamon and

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