Tag Archives: Spiritual

Division…Not Yet and Now


Biblical Text: Luke 12:49-59 (Luke 12:35-59) – note: the larger text is really the basis, the shorter text was the lectionary reading

Full Sermon Draft

Getting last week off from having to polish a sermon because our Seminarian Tim did a great job gave me a lot of time just to meditate on Luke 12. On first read Luke 12 is all over the place veering from the harshest warning and condemnations to the sweetest promises. I think in our modern American Christian imagination we are all Jeffersonians of a kind. Jefferson famously cut out of his gospels all the “fantastical” accounts (i.e. the miracles and the resurrection) leaving nothing but a moralistic great teacher Jesus. We don’t cut out the miracles, at least not most of us, but what we cut out in the prophet. We string together nice Jesus, and come up with some way to tune out fiery Jesus. But if we refuse to listen to Jesus the prophet, we end up in situations like the OT lesson from Jeremiah, where our “prophets” blow us sweet nothings and we are shocked at division from both man and God.

Attempting to boil the chapter down into a single paragraph, it is more coherent that that first read. It is Jesus’ correction our natural views of the intersection of division/peace and temporal/eternal with the messiah or the work of God. Our natural view is that we want peace expressed temporally. Peace within families. Peace between religions. Peace on earth. Or at least we want those things assuming that they come with the correct division. Our temporal physical tribe get the peace while the out group is safely divided from us. And all of that peace coming with a healthy serving of temporal prosperity for our group. We want a sugar-daddy messiah, and we don’t give a second thought to the eternal. Or just assume like the rich fool that the good times will roll forever. But Jesus corrects us in our temporal thoughts. Now is not the time of peace, but the time of division. It is the time of division because this messiahs, and this God’s concerns, are not temporal, but eternal. Jesus has come to give eternal peace which you have right now. But this peace is by grace, through faith. And those that believe align their lives with the divine purpose. They know the will of the householder for whom they have been left as stewards. But, not everyone believes. Many might know, but they are unwilling to live with that knowledge. And that is the division in this life. That is also the cause of the temporal strife. A strife that is not yet resolved in peace. Not yet resolved in the hope that the full number will come in.

Come back from the Dark Side (or Data isn’t spiritual Luke…)

If data isn’t your thing. Here is the perfect counter-balance.

How do you evaluate a pastor/church? Quick quote:

I just finished Eugene Peterson’s “The Pastor,” and his best moments come when he exposes “the Americanization of the congregation,” which turns each congregation “into a market for religious consumers, an ecclesiastical business run along the lines of advertising techniques, organizational flow charts, and energized by impressive motivational rhetoric.” In such churches, clergy pass evaluations with flying colors, but worship lapses into “entertainment, cheerleading, and manipulation… a public relations campaign for Jesus.” This strikes Peterson, and me, as “a violation of the holy, a secularization of the sacred, taking the Lord’s name in vain.” Or what about his realization “that I was gradually becoming more interested in dealing with my congregation as problems to be fixed than as members of the household of God to be led in worship and service”?

And here the pastor is reduced to a cute graphic and some raw data.

It is an intriguing idea, the website allows users to rate priests for their performance in church, with youth, with the elderly, etc. There’s even a category for whether or not your priest is “up-to-date.”