Stuff I've Referenced in Sermons
- On Palm Sunday I told the story of Elwin Wilson, a former KKK member and avowed racist who among other violent acts assaulted John Lewis in 1961. He died in 2013 but several years before he died, Wilson repented of his racism and violence. Here's what Leonard Pitts, Jr. said about Wilson.
- Also on Palm Sunday, I shared about the Disciples of Christ (a denomination in covenant with our own in which I have standing as a minister) opposing the Indiana RFRA bill. I found their language eloquent: "As a Christian church, we are particularly sensitive to the values of the One we follow - one who sat at table with people from all walks of life, and loved them all." DOC scholar Rick Lowry offers a good explanation of why the DOC (and other faith groups) oppose the Indiana law.
- Finally, on Palm Sunday I mentioned Ted Cruz' announcing his presidential run at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University and wondered how he and so many Christians could justify turning away thousands of children fleeing violence who are trying to cross our southern border. In the interest of fairness, I should have declared that the Obama administration is no better. This story about mothers and children seeking asylum but held in detention centers makes me ashamed of my country. Surely we can be a better nation than this story reveals.
Recommended Reading, Listening and Watching
- You may have grown up reciting the Apostle's Creed with it's mysterious line"he descended into Hell" describing what happened after Jesus' death but before Jesus' resurrection. Not having grown up in a church tradition that said creeds, I was always confused by that line and ignorant of the theology surrounding Holy Saturday. Here'san interesting piece describing the tradition and its connection to Greek underworld journeys as well as a side note about how neither fundamentalists not rationalists allow for mystery, enigma and absurdity in their religion/anti-religions.
- The public radio program Studio 360 included in its program this week a first-person narration by architect Steven Holl. He is the architect who designed one of my favorite places in KC, the Bloch Building at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. It turns out he drew inspiration for his designs from the Pantheon in Rome.
- They didn't get as much press as corporations or celebrities, but a number of Christian groups did come out publicly against the Indiana RFRA law including our denomination the United Church of Christ.
- The Germanwings crash and the deaths of the passengers and crew this week are horrific and defy easy explanation. How could the co-pilot--who apparently purposefully crashed the plane--do such a thing? In the face of something so awful it is understandable and easy to try to explain it with language that risks stigmatizing everyone who struggles with mental illness.
- Last year members of our church and other UCC churches in the KC metro area urged the city of Roeland Park to pass an ordinance banning discrimination against LGBT people. Eventually the city council did so. I had hoped the move would lead to other cities and towns in our metro area doing the same. I've been disappointed on that front. Also, it turns out the fight over this measure continues in Roeland Park.
- Here's something fun for Holy Week: you can match your Myers-Briggs personality type to your favorite patron saint! (I got St. Francis.)