This and that…


Since we have something on the schedule for 7:30 in the a.m., this will be a quick report from the National Cathedral.

This is my first experience with the College of Preachers as a participant. It’s been very fun, and I’m learning a lot. Paul Raushenbush has been profoundly influenced by his grandfather’s work, and he presents it with depth, pride, and passion. My only regret is that I should have re-read the original text and read the contemporary responses before I came.

The conference is set up so that you preach a sermon that you had, and then you write a sermon while you’re here. People are very kind, and give valuable feedback. There was no humiliating nastiness.

The feedback for me? I’m comfortable in the pulpit, but maybe too comfortable. I need to write an angry sermon… or at least something with an edge to it. So, I’m getting my game-face on. I’m looking at the Advent passages. John the Baptist is on the menu. The ax is at the root of the tree. Perfect. I’m thinking social gospel for the 21st century. I’m thinking, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is near.” I’m getting mad. Grrrrr.

I’ll post it when I get done.

Although I’m not sure when I’m going to get it done. I think we’re supposed to write them this afternoon, but I’m getting together with some really interesting people to work on The Church for the 21st Century gathering for this year. I’ll be meeting a lot of people whom I’ve admired for a long time (are you ready for some rapid-fire name-dropping?): Diana Butler Bass, Phyllis Tickle, Anne Howard, Doug Pagitt, and others.

Did anyone go to the last one? Do you have any feedback?

What about those who didn’t go? What would get you to the next one? Who would you love to hear talking about the church for the 21st century? Theologians? Writers? Pastors? Other leaders? Who’s the best preacher under forty that you’ve heard?

A wonderful artist who works at the Cathedral defined my work and writing this week: “There are a couple of influential streams in Christianity right now: mainline spirituality is one stream and the emerging church is the other. You’re a hybrid.”

That sounds good. I like hybrids.

7 thoughts on “This and that…

  1. My experience at the College of Preachers was an incredibly insightful experience. Some of the comments on my preaching guided me months later and not necessarily while I was there that week. I don’t think I had a chance to meet you during my last trip to the Cathedral – I was the other fellow who did the other presentation that you observed. Sorry I didn’t get to meet you – but I bought your book and am reading your blog.

    I am pretty sure that I know the artist you are referring to – I wanted to be able to see things as she did!

    Hybrids make the most of their energy source and emit less harmful amounts of pollution into the air. Maybe that’s why you don’t preach angry sermons — you get more mileage with passion. Depending on one’s context — I believe that is true for the larger listening group.

  2. Glad you’re enjoying the college. I love it there. If only they took cats, I think I’d quit my job and just move in there.

    I’m jealous of the cool people you get to hang out with at the gathering.

  3. I like that hybrid comment, I am going to have to “borrow it”. i am a Boomer who is frustrated with the “status quo”, and have been trying to discern how to” emerge” without frightening the sheep and making them scatter. i think I will be bookmarking your site. I was from D.C. area, and am now in NW rural PA snowbelt, totally different lifestyle/outlook.

  4. Debbie,

    I was so sorry I couldn’t stay that day. I had to leave to get my daughter in her Halloween costume. But how great is it that now I have the opportunity to tell you that you did a wonderful job? The sermon and your process of modeling is still fresh and vivid in my mind. I learned a lot that day!


    The next date is December 2-5. It’s called “Tracking Down the Holy Spirit.” Interesting…. I hope you enjoy it.

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