Thursday, January 29, 2009

Praying to the "tiny infant baby Jesus"

This past Sunday I preached on Jesus' calling his disciples in the Gospel of Mark. I was making the point that this Jesus is not a Jesus that we can control or a Jesus that asks little if anything of us. To illustrate the point I mentioned the hilarious scene from Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby where Ricky Bobby (played by Will Ferrel) prays to "baby Jesus" (watch the video) because that's the Jesus he prefers--the cute one from Christmas--and that the rest of his family can pray to whatever Jesus they want to pray to. Like Ricky Bobby, we may prefer the precious baby Jesus laying in a manger to the Jesus that asks us to follow him and make sacrifices if need be to demonstrate God's love to others.

I confessed that I took that illustration from a sermon by Julie-Pennington Russell, the pastor of First Baptist Church, Decatur, GA. I guess I was too busy snorting and guffawing when I saw Talledega Nights to think about sermons, but I wish I had, because it's a good one. You can read Pennington-Russell's sermon on-line--it's worth a look.

Also, I mentioned that because First Baptist Decatur called her as its minister it has been kicked out of the Georgia Baptist Convention which opposes female minister. Such sexism is a reminder for me why I left Baptist life, but the church's actions calling the best minister for them regardless of gender is a lesson about the cost that may come when you choose to pursue the justice of Christ that transcends the ignorance and sexism of some Christians.

Grace and Peace,


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