This past Saturday, I was very honored to be the speaker at this year’s Excellence in Preaching event sponsored by St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi, Minnesota.
Dear OMG blog readers,
It seems to me reasonable to assume that if a person is, say, a Minnesota Twins fan, she doesn’t pull on Milwaukee Brewers gear for the Big Game.
I was already late and well on my way to my late husband’s memorial service before I realized that the urn with his ashes still sat on the kitchen table.
This morning, I announced to my daughter Else that today was finally Epiphany!
What is, therefore, our task today? Shall I answer: “Faith, hope, and love”? That sounds beautiful. But I would say–courage. No, even that is not challenging enough to be the whole truth. Our task today is recklessness. For what we Christians lack is not psychology or literature…we lack a holy rage–the recklessness which comes from the knowledge of God and humanity. The ability to rage when justice lies prostrate on the streets, and when the lie rages across the face of the earth…a holy anger about the things that are wrong in the world. To rage against the ravaging of God’s earth, and the destruction of God’s world. To rage when little children must die of hunger, when the tables of the rich are sagging with food. To rage at the senseless killing of so many, and against the madness of militaries. To rage at the lie that calls the threat of death and the strategy of destruction peace. To rage against complacency. To restlessly seek that recklessness that will challenge and seek to change human history until it conforms to the norms of the Kingdom of God. And remember the signs of the Christian Church have been the Lion, the Lamb, the Dove, and the Fish…but never the chameleon.
Call committees, when sketching out a profile for their next pastor, are awfully drawn to words like these: kind, available, comforting, pastoral, articulate, flexible, intelligent, dynamic, wise, knowledgable, organized, trust-worthy, confident.
In December, 1967, John Updike was writing “Talk of the Town” for the New Yorker, and he spent most of that “Talk of the Town” column talking about the “Umbrella Man.” He said that his learning about the existence of the Umbrella Man made him speculate that in historical research, there may be a dimension similar to the quantum dimension in physical reality. If you put any event under a microscope, you will find a whole dimension of completely weird, incredible things going on. It’s as if there’s the macro level of historical research, where things sort of obey natural laws and usual things happen and unusual things don’t happen, and then there’s other level where everything is really weird.
My father sends me an awful lot of good stuff for blog ponderings. Far too long ago, he sent me a link to a New York Times video about the Umbrella Man. It’s a short film by Errol Morris, an interview with Josiah “Tink” Thompson, quoted above. He’s an academic-become-gumshoe, and while not all people agree with his methods or his madness, he raises curious questions, and I like people who raise curious questions.
As much as I have recently made a case for Advent, and then for Christmas, you might have expected that I would write something about the season of Epiphany, now over a week past.
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