Talk with the Preacher

Monthly Archives: March 2008

It was poet/writer Wendell Berry who coined the phrase “practice resurrection.” He used it, in fact, in his poem, Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front. Though I am not an expert in literature, especially poetry, it seems to me that Berry meant to say two things in this masterful poem: first, resurrection is not an event we remember once a year on Easter morning.  If it really means anything we’ve got to… Read More

In the godforsaken, obscene quicksand of life, there is a deafening alleluia rising from the souls of those who weep, and of those who weep with those who weep. If you watch, you will see the hand of God putting the stars back in their skies one by one. Ann Weems, Psalms of Lament

It has begun. Holy Week, you see, never seems very holy to me. At least not holy in the “sit quietly and contemplate the presence of God” kind of holy. What I mean is, while I usually do exclaim “Oh Holy God!” a lot this week of the year, it is (I’m sorry to say) usually not in the context of thoughtful worship. There’s just too much going on this week. Services… Read More

My colleague Paul has been on my case more than usual lately because I’ve fallen down on the job of keeping everyone up to date on the progress of our new house.  In my defense, we just moved in three weeks ago, and when I say “moved in” I mean that we now sleep here.  There are many, many boxes still to be unpacked. In the middle of all the chaos, however,… Read More

peace comes stealing slow falls like silent snow swings down sweet and low peace comes stealing slow Kate Campbell sings these words her album Blues and Lamentations. Kate has this amazing voice that articulates with such clarity the beauty of these words, which I heard somewhere were inspired by a poem of William Butler Yeats. However, as my study of Yeats’ poetry has not been too, shall we say, extensive, I have… Read More

Today I took a Sunday off to travel to Richmond with my family to hear Jim Somerville preach his candidacy sermon and accept the pastorate of First Baptist Richmond.  The congregation of First Baptist Church of Richmond voted Jim in unanimously.  What a wonderful opportunity for Jim, Christy and family.  How sad for our city to be losing such an amazing pastoral presence.  It’s a happy sad day.

I love it when the perfect sermon illustration comes along just at the right time. I love it when that happens. However, that most certainly did not happen the third week of Lent, when I struggled and struggled to find a way to engage the congregation and the text in a way that had some sort of meaning. Part of the problem, of course, was, honestly, the passage. Jesus and the Samaritan woman… Read More