Over the next few weeks we are finishing up our series, “Weird Sayings of Jesus.” Which means we’ll be embarking on another series not too long from now! What follows are some ideas, and I need your vote. As incentive, I promise not to tattoo my behind like new manager Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) in a recent episode of “The Office.”
But a bit more seriously, what you come up with may turn into a first book. Or at least part of one. Then you’ll be able to say that you helped a struggling writer…struggle more.
Simply post your first and second choice below and lobby your friends to vote as well. You have a few weeks to help me make my decision. If I don’t hear from you, then don’t say I didn’t warn you! I’ll post the results on our last day of “Weird Jesus Sayings”:
The Gospel According to The Far Side
If you haven’t caught Far Side’s depiction of highlights from the Gospels, then you’re in for a treat. My sermons and reflections will just be “window dressing.”
Bumper Sticker Theology
In a day and age of often vacuous, shallow and commodified spirituality, bumper stickers are often the closest we come to finding a common language for our discourse about God (“theology,” in other words). In this series, I will unpack some of my personal favorites in the way of bumper stickers, and will entertain some of yours, with a view to finding the biblical connections while opening up our conversation about God, faith and the funny stuff in between.
On Angels’ Wings with Devils’ Horns: The Top 10 Saints and Sinners Of All Time and What They Teach Us
This series will require your input. I’ll compile a rather long list of saints and sinners and ask you to weigh in on which ones make the short list and why.
“As Through a Looking Glass”: Our Questions for God This Side of Eternity
The Bible is as full of questions as it is of answers- questions that are as relevant today as they were in biblical times. This series will look at the questions, with a view to poking holes in the common presumption that to be a Christian means to have all the answers. Or, to give all the answers. The apostle Paul was one of the first to admit that “now we see [God] through a glass darkly,” but one day we will see God “face to face”- and that while now we “know only in part,” one day we will “know fully” (1 Corinthians 13:12). So as people of faith we can and should be people who ask questions about God. Tough questions. This series will give us biblical permission to do so.
“Sanctification” Embodied: How One Group of Women Is Living in Grace and What We Can Learn
“Sanctification” is a “churchy” term for growing in God’s grace so that our whole person looks more and more like Jesus Christ, who modeled a new way of being human in His life, death and resurrection. These days the church is really good at talking about “justification”- that life-changing moment in which we discover that because of God’s love we can become “right with God.”
But I suspect that the church in large part could do a whole lot better when talking about “sanctification.” For one thing, “sanctification” isn’t very “cool” or “hip”: there is something in us that recoils from the notion of “becoming holy” or “set apart for God.” And sanctification requires a bit more work on our parts. Sure, it is as chock-full of God’s grace as that first, often more dramatic moment of initial conversion, but it demands more of us. “Sanctification” is not just a one-time experience but a whole lifestyle.
The problem is that we miss out on a whole lot of God’s grace when we emphasize “justification” at the expense of “sanctification.” Because if “justification” is that “first kiss,” then “sanctification” is “going steady” with God. If “justification” is dipping our toe in Living Water, then “sanctification” is getting dunked in it.
The question, then, is: what does “sanctification” look like and what does it require? The women of Magdalene House, a residential treatment program for women coming off the streets, have found their answer. Their “Rule of Magdalene” has embodied grace and second chances after a dead-end life of drugs, crime and prostitution. Every week we will unpack one of the 24 “spiritual principles” that comprise the Rule by exploring what it has come to mean in the life of one of these Magdalene women.
“The Kingdom of God” Unleashed: Jesus’ Use of the Term and Its Application for Today
When God is Cruel: Places in Scripture We Like to Avoid
Unmerited Suffering: The Book of Job for Our Times
“Church” Revisited: The Book of Acts for Our Time