Context is everything! Right now I’m in the land of Garrison Kiellor, and Lutherans, and Ludefisk and Lohse..!! There are few Canadians here, and being from “Queeebec” makes me even more of an oddity in this Midwest milieu. But…. and that’s a big BUT, we share a passion: telling the Biblical Story in ways that make this Story connect with the stories of our own lives, with its blend of faith and doubt, struggle and joy.
Listening to the sermons, speakers, and conversations enables me to make connections, hear a great idea that might, just work, even though we (CPU) live in the land of Just for Laughs, Roman Catholic francophone culture, poutine, and maple syrup (to continue the gross stereotyping!) Some of these great ideas – like preaching with all the fire and brimstone of a great African American preacher – won’t, but the point of a conference like this is to spend time immersed in possibility.
And yes, the image that comes to my mind is the children’s ball pen, jumping in to waist high multicoloured balls, and having fun! Some of the multicoloured balls that have caught my attention so far.
“Why do most stewardship programmes focus on the 2, 3, 5% of money we’d like people to give to our church, when Jesus spent his time focussing on the 100% of the money that people have,?” – Wow! What a question! The presenter of this workshop continued “People want to know how their faith, or their value systems, impact what they do with all their money.” Does that resonate with you? I’d be thrilled to hear your response to this.
“Gospel happens in that mysterious place between the question mark and the exclamation point“…… you’ll need to watch this space for more on this fascinating and compelling moment in one of the most powerful sermons I’ve heard in a loooong time! I’ll be musing this one for a while.
Is there any body in your preaching? Note that’s not ‘anybody’, but rather a plea to pay attention to the bodies that inhabit Scripture, and that are (or are not) welcome in our worship and community life. The Lutherans are still struggling with inclusion of GLBTQ in all arenas of church life and ministry, the US is mired in gay marriage questions, and both Canada and US are barely keeping up with issues of physical access for all to public spaces. This is the context (the ball pen) in which I head a 7o yr old woman preach from her heart about the ‘Broken body’ that is not whole until “aged bodies, lame bodies, blind bodies, deaf bodies, gay bodies, black bodies, bi-racial bodies, bent bodies, can take their place as ‘whole bodies’ around the table of welcome set by the Broken One, Jesus.” Amen, Sister!
Now, wish for me travelling mercies as I head back to la Belle Province!