Author Archives: pastorlia

Narrative Lectionary: Wiping Jesus’ Feet

Resisterhood.

Resisterhood

In a week where persisting is all the rage, it’s hard not to approach this text thinking of the United States Senator Elizabeth Warren being warned by Mitch McConnell not to read a letter about a controversial appointee, Jeff Sessions. It has become a rallying cry, “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”

You could say the same about this “certain immoral woman” with an alabaster jar of expensive perfume. She persisted as she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. She persisted as her tears fell on his feet. She persisted as she wiped those tears off with her hair. She persisted as she kissed his feet and put perfume on them.

She persisted.

As an answer to the Pharisee’s complaint about the “immoral woman,” Jesus told a parable: a man loaned money to two people, to one a smallish amount, to the others ten times that amount. Neither could repay. Which one loved the man more?

And while it’s a great story of persistence, I wonder if that’s too easy. Yes, there’s a political undertone to this Sunday’s text (you can read it here and read the Working Preacher commentary here).

But Jesus’ politicizing is not like ours.

After telling the parable, Jesus goes on. He points out that the host has overlooked an important cleansing ritual, a sign of honor and hospitality. Then Jesus talks about the woman (yes, he talks about her with her standing there) and he calls her a “sinner.” But Jesus doesn’t stop there. He goes on to say that her sins were “many.”

Miroslav Volf, in his book Exclusion and Embrace, says core of Jesus’ message was two-fold: divine love and the need for repentance. In other words, Jesus taught us about God’s unconditional love and that we are sinners.

We don’t ever talk about the poor needing repentance, do we? We don’t talk about the marginalized being sinners, do we? If Jesus shared today’s liberal ideals, he would be saying that the marginalized need justice, that they need healing. Not that they (or we) need repentance, and not a “radical alteration of the course and direction of one’s life, its basic motivations, attitudes, and objectives” but, as Volf says, “repentance implies not merely a recognition that one has made a bad mistake, but that one has sinned.”

Mind you, though. The sins committed by the marginalized were not the sins that the religious people were pointing out to them, like breaking the purity laws. Nor were their sins in a vacuum. The marginalized “commit sin” and “sin is committed against them.”

Volf says this: “The truly revolutionary character of Jesus’ proclamation lies precisely in the connection between the hope he gives to the oppressed and the radical change he requires of them. Though some sins have been imputed to them, other sins of theirs were real; though they suffered at the sinful hand of others, they also committed sins of their own.”

Whew. I’ve been so busy seeing her marginalization, I haven’t noticed her sin. Let me rephrase that… I’ve been so busy seeing my own marginalization, I haven’t noticed my own sin. How shall I repent from that?

What about you? How will you be preaching this text?

Here are some other ideas:

  • The woman gave what she had. How do we give “what we have?” to Jesus?
  • The woman was shunned by the Pharisee. How do our churches shun sinful women now?
  • Jesus saw her sinfulness, but he also saw her goodness. How is that working in and through our political system now? Can we see the goodness of those we’re othering?
  • If we write about persistence, what shall we persist in?

And preaching women, one more thing, if I may. I have notice that I am very tired, and I’m aware that our political situation is going to last a long time… Have you scheduled some way to take care of you this week?


Rev. Lia Scholl is not-that-kind-of-Baptist preacher and pastor in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (U.S.) and is the author of I Heart Sex Workers (Chalice Press, 2013).


RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.

 

 

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Sunday Prayer: Butts Out of the Seat

ProtestLoving God,

You have given me charge over this little group of people. We have lived safely and happily together for some time now.

Their hearts are good. They love you and they love others. They love to come to worship you and to be with one another in our space. We have been focused on getting butts in our seats, growing as a congregation.

But now, O God, we are living in more dangerous times.

How do I get their butts out of the seat? How can I get them to march in the streets? To stand up for human rights? To stand up for civil rights? To be uncomfortable, even unsafe, because those people we care about are uncomfortable and unsafe?

How can I get them to value the future more than their security? How can I get them to do for others, even though it may be hard? How can I move them from orthodoxy to orthopraxis?

And how can I be sure that I, too, am doing the right things?

Bless them. Help me love them. And help us do what is right. Amen.


Rev. Lia Scholl is not-that-kind-of-Baptist preacher and pastor in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (U.S.) and is the author of I Heart Sex Workers (Chalice Press, 2013).


RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.

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Narrative Lectionary: Complexities and Conflagrations

The Narrative Lectionary is not subtle, is it? Luke is very clear about Jesus’ mission:

God’s Spirit is on me;
    he’s chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor,
Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and
    recovery of sight to the blind,
To set the burdened and battered free,
    to announce, “This is God’s year to act!”

This Sunday’s text can be found here. I really like The Message for this passage, too. And the Working Preacher commentary can be found here.

But what exactly does this mission mean on this, Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, the weekend before the inauguration of a new President in these Not-Yet-United-States? What does it mean for our mission as preachers and ministers? What does it mean for our mission as churches here and around the world?

On April 4, 1967, nearly 50 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood in the pulpit at The Riverside Church in New York City and said this:

Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men [and women] do not easily assume the task of opposing their government’s policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one’s own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover, when the issues at hand seem as perplexing as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict, we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty; but we must move on.

We must never forget that Jesus was standing at that same place, with the same decision. He had to have been asking himself, “Do I assume the task of opposing my government’s policy? And even, “Do I assume the task of opposing the religious structure, too?” Sharon Ringe, in her excellent commentary of Luke reminds us that last weeks text opens with an introduction to the State (Emperor Tiberius, Pontius Pilate, Herod, Philip, and Lysanias) and Temple (Annas and Caiaphas) and that these two forces are the context of authority throughout Jesus’ ministry.

We are in the same place at this moment. I am unsure about you, but I find myself “on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty.” I’m stopped in my tracks because I am unsure how to move forward into a world where women’s health, LGBTQIA rights, healthcare for the poor, and immigrants rights are being challenged on a daily basis.

But somehow, “we must move on.”

We must move on, because Jesus’ mission is our own, preaching justice for all, pardon for prisoners of whatever the prisons, recovery of sight to the blind, whether physical or spiritual, and setting the burdened and the battered free.

Or, as MLK said it:

This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation’s self-defined goals and positions. We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation and for those it calls “enemy,” for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers [and sisters].

We may make people mad. We may stand to lose our livelihoods. We may even find ourselves at odds with a government who will hold us accountable. That’s what happened to Jesus, “That set everyone in the meeting place seething with anger. They threw him out, banishing him from the village, then took him to a mountain cliff at the edge of the village to throw him to his doom.”

But sisters, this Sunday, you too will be filled with the Spirit.

Twelve activists, artists, writers, thinkers, and troublemakers responded to queries about their 2017 political resolutions, and one, April Reign, a lawyer, editor, and creator of #OscarsSoWhite wrote her resolutions like this:

Follow your purpose.

Know your worth.

Step out on faith.

Let the Universe provide.

Get out of your own way.

Your purpose is clear. Your worth should be clear: you are a child of the God Most High and loved beyond measure. So step out on faith, and know that God will provide. And get out of your own way, because you, with God’s help, can and will make a difference in this world.

So what about you? Where will you go with the Gospel lesson this week?

  • The vision/mission of Jesus is a great way to examine our own New Year’s Resolutions. How does your resolution to “get organized” or “lose weight” measure up to this mission of Jesus?
  • It’s the same question for a congregation… Is our mission as a congregation matching up to Jesus’ mission? Also, leaders and preachers, it’s a great time to affirm the work of your congregation and opportunities to serve.
  • In the Southern United States, it’s snowing, and homeless populations are suffering. Can we talk about the call to reform our local services to meet the needs of the poor in our cities?
  • It’s also a great time to talk about “strangers in our midst.” Jesus makes it clear that his mission is to outsiders, foreigners, and to those suffering. Are we reaching out in that way?

And if I may be so bold, RevGals, one more question. What will you do, outside of your job, to be in line with Jesus’ mission for the world? Will you participate in government by making your concerns known? Will you march in Washington or in your local women’s march? Will you spend time hearing voices of artists, activists, POC and following their lead? Will you build a relationship somewhere that will be valuable to someone in need?


Rev. Lia Scholl is not-that-kind-of-Baptist preacher and pastor in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (U.S.) and is the author of I Heart Sex Workers (Chalice Press, 2013).


RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.

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Narrative Lectionary: Elizabeth’s Rebellion

Visitation-IconIt may be that I’m nearing 50 and this will be my first married Christmas, but I find myself thinking about Elizabeth.

Elizabeth and her priest husband, Zechariah, were righteous before God, but barren and older. Luke 1 tells us that Zechariah is chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary, and Gabriel the angel shows up. The angel says, “Do not be afraid. Your wife will bear a special child.” Zechariah doubts, and asks the angel, “How will I know this is so?” So Gabriel mutes Zechariah, Elizabeth gets pregnant, and soon after that, Mary comes to visit.

It’s an old familiar story—it’s the story of Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Samson’s mother (unnamed), and the Shunnanite women of Elisha’s time. These were women  unable to conceive, but with God’s intervention, they do. Elizabeth joins ranks in a special group of Jewish women.

But the becoming pregnant part of her story is not the part that fascinates me. Instead, it’s the story of the friendship of Elizabeth and Mary. This Sunday’s text is Luke 1:26-49. The Working Preacher Commentary is here.

There are three questions I want to pursue:

  1. Why did Mary run to Elizabeth?
  2. Why did Elizabeth welcome Mary?
  3. How did their bond help Mary?

I think Mary came to Elizabeth hoping to find a port in a storm. Mary’s pregnancy would be visible just around 3 months, and she’s unmarried (although betrothed, which may have been a good sign for the marriage if only she and Joseph had consummated the betrothal), estranged from both Joseph and her family, and poor.

I wonder if she wasn’t going to Elizabeth to hide.

But why would Elizabeth welcome Mary? The text tells us that Elizabeth was “righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord” (Luke 1:6). She had full right to shun Mary, the unmarried pregnant girl. But she doesn’t. She’s good.  And perhaps wise. Wise to the idea that what ordinarily seemed like such a big deal, really isn’t that big a deal at all. Wise to the idea that controversy passes, people get over things, and life goes on. And then finally, I wonder if Elizabeth is just plain generous. She gives out of her heart, expecting nothing in return, and is able to be present to Mary out of that generosity.

There’s a certain amount of rebellion in that kind of woman. It’s a rebellion that goes against the grain, doesn’t worry too much about selfish outcomes, and just basically doesn’t give a damn about social conventions. It’s a rebellion that is kind and just.

This is the kind of rebellion we need right now, the rebellion of older women. It’s not a rebellion of pantsuit ladies so much as a rebellion of comfortable shoe women. It’s a rebellion that says, “I’m going to do the right thing, no matter the consequences to my safety, my income, my position.” It’s a rebellion that greets its neighbor with a hug, not a gun. It’s a rebellion that fills up the downtrodden with a nice bowl of soup or a casserole, and helps younger people birth new hope into the world. It’s a rebellion that doesn’t need credit, and is able to hold on to just a little bit of hope that things will get better.

What did it do for Mary? It was at once the gift of excitement (among family members who were not at all excited by her pregnancy), the gift of sustenance, and the gift of calm. Remember that Mary had gone “in haste” to Elizabeth. But she slows down and stays for three months. It was also the gift of hope. After Elizabeth’s greeting, Mary finds her voice to praise God in the midst of her hardship.

In these troubling times, I’m going to try to be like Elizabeth. Wise, warm, and welcoming. Hopeful, helpful, and humble. And supporting the birth of a new thing in our world, God breaking in to create a kin-dom of justice, of peace, and of love.

What about you? Where will your work and sermon lead you this week? Here are some ideas:

  • Think about Elizabeth as sanctuary. Where is your sanctuary now? How can she embody sanctuary to you and your congregation?
  • In this Advent is the season of expectation, how do we seek the light that is going to break into the world on Christmas morning, in the shape of a little tiny, brown baby, born into poverty, to a people without political power, to a mother who is unmarried, a father who is absent throughout his life, during a time when the king is a despot with a deep, abiding paranoia?
  • Mary is giving birth to salvation for the poor while our nations seem to be giving birth to anger, hatred, distrust, and injustice. Mary needed a midwife. How can we be the midwife for change in our world?
  • If Jesus really is the reason for the season, how can we, in this final week before Christmas, invite him into our celebrations?

I want to close with one other question to our RevGals. Where will you find your respite this week? Who is your Elizabeth, a woman to walk with you as you become the midwife of Jesus’ birth into the world? And how will you receive the hospitality of your Elizabeth in the coming weeks?


Rev. Lia Scholl is not-that-kind-of-Baptist preacher and pastor in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (U.S.) and is the author of I Heart Sex Workers (Chalice Press, 2013).


RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.

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Narrative Lectionary: Isaiah’s Hope

i-votedToday is Election Day in the United States, and the stakes seem as high, if not higher, than they have ever been. Today it feels like we choose between hope and fear. And nearly everyone in our nation (no matter which side of the election your politics reside) would tell you we choose between good and evil.

Which, of course, means that this Sunday’s sermon will change, based on the election results tonight (or tomorrow). This could possibly be a sermon of hope. Or this may be a sermon of fear. One pastor may preach doom and gloom, and another the bright optimism of a brand new day.

The Narrative Lectionary text is Isaiah 6:1-8. You can find the Working Preacher commentary here.

Isaiah, like preachers across the globe this Sunday, is in an unsteady time. He is tossed about by the idolatry of the nation of Israel, and the ever-present threat of Assyria, and let’s not forget about the diminishing presence of religion… Look at Isaiah 1:2:

Hear, O heavens, and listen, O earth;
for the Lord has spoken:
I reared children and brought them up,
but they have rebelled against me.

The whole of Chapter 1 is about the sin and depravity of Judah. Contrast that, if you will, with Isaiah 2:2-4:

In days to come
the mountain of the Lord’s house
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be raised above the hills;
all the nations shall stream to it.
Many peoples shall come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.

Fear, anger, and destruction versus a glorious view of the future where there is no war. These are a people torn between fear and hope.

And in the midst of it all, here comes Isaiah with a vision. That vision is both terrible and hopeful all in the same. Hopeful in the vision of God, sitting on the throne, with God’s hem filling the room. Terrible is the seraphs, with hot coals to press on Isaiah’s mouth. Terrible is the smoke. Terrible is the reminder of sin in all of us.

And yet hopeful in the answer of the question, “Whom shall I send?” the answer, “Here am I. Send me.”

When you are terrified, you do not venture on a trip. You do not leave out. You instead hunker down. You retreat. You duck. You run away from rather than to. So this is a hopeful response from Isaiah. “Send me.”

Because Isaiah has seen God. And no matter what happens with Judah, what happens in the nation, what Assyria, or Babylon, or anyone does, Isaiah has seen God’s true power, and knows that the future is held by God.

Here are some other ideas for this Sunday’s text:

  • Unpack the meaning of Isaiah’s “Send me.” Is it like Howard Thurman’s “that which makes you come alive?”
  • Is it possible to say no to God’s calling?
  • Isaiah’s mouth is burned clean with a burning coal. What things can keep you from following God’s calling? How can someone get ready to follow the call?
  • Visions. What do you do with a vision? Have you had an experience with a vision?
  • Usually our narrative pericopes are longer than six verses. Is there a text you can choose to add some to this pericope?

Where will you go with this text? I look forward to your comments!


Rev. Lia Scholl is not-that-kind-of-Baptist preacher and pastor in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (U.S.) and is the author of I Heart Sex Workers (Chalice Press, 2013).


RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.

 

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Narrative Lectionary: What Hannah Wants

Girls MatterMy facebook feed has been filled with bad news for women. From this post about the lack of barriers in business for incompetent men, to this post about the “glass cliff” which posits that women are called in just as the whole organization is about to fall off the cliff, to the triggering remarks made by one of our presidential candidates, it’s been a tough couple of weeks.

So by all means, let’s put a little Hannah here. This Sunday’s text can be found here. And be sure to check out the Working Preacher commentary on this passage.

I won’t go into the full story, because Working Preacher recounts it well, but suffice it to say that Hannah has a tough life. Her sister-wife is torturing her, she’s barren, and somehow she doesn’t seem to engender feelings of trust (the priest thinks she’s drunk while she’s sitting on the Temple steps). What she really wants is a child.

But that’s not really what she wants. We all know that in Hebrew Bible times women were considered “less than” if they didn’t have children. Children (especially boys) solidified your relationship with your husband, ensured your financial security, and validated your role as a full human being.

Hannah wanted to matter. And she wanted to have some security.

Not much to ask, eh?

And today? It’s not all that different, is it? We take the jobs on the glass cliff, because we really want to make a living. We make our stand with less-than-competent men, because we want validation that our selves matter. We put up with unbearable things (like what Trump said about that actress) because we are often safer putting up with it than we are without it.

Hannah wanted to matter. I want to matter. I bet you want to matter, too.

What would it mean to live in a world where we do matter? What if we lived in a world without threat of violence, where we could let our guard down for just a moment, and not have to worry that a guy at the party will hurt us? What if we lived in a world where we were judged on our ideas, our skills, our character, rather than our breasts? What if we lived in a world where people believed in us as much as we wanted to believe in ourselves?

Hannah mattered. She mattered to God. She mattered to Eli. She mattered to her husband. And she mattered to the story of the Hebrew people. She wanted to make sure that others mattered, too. In her song she says, “He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor.” May we also be raised.

You might head some other directions with the story of Hannah:

  • What is the role of the church in infertility? Should we have one? Eli prays with and for Hannah, how can we pray with and for our congregants who are struggling?
  • Often with illness and despair, we promise God that we will give something in return for God’s favor. Hannah promised her son. What have you promised? And is this a valid way to pray?
  • Hannah returned to the Temple to dedicate her son to God’s service. How do we dedicate our children to God now? Does this, in some way, take away the full rights of Samuel to make his choice? What implication does this have for our parenting?
  • Hannah was embroiled in conflict with her sister-wife. How can we create models of friendship between women that do not involve jealousy and spitefulness?

Where will you go with this text? I look forward to your comments!


Rev. Lia Scholl is not-that-kind-of-Baptist preacher and pastor in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (U.S.) and is the author of I Heart Sex Workers (Chalice Press, 2013).


RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.

 

 

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Narrative Lectionary: Finding Faith in the Desert

Have you ever been at the point in your life when one thing you wanted, just one thing, was more important to you than anything else? When life could have handed you a million dollars, a brand new car, and a whole household full of new appliances, and it wouldn’t have meant a thing? Because it wasn’t the thing you wanted?

Maybe that thing is your health. Maybe it’s a job. Maybe it’s a loved one’s health. Maybe it is children. Whatever it is, it has blinded you to everything else. That’s what Abram sounds like to me in today’s text. Find this Sunday’s text here. The Working Preacher commentary is here.

I feel like the text is supposed to be about God fulfilling promises. But instead, I think it sounds like a whiny fellow who isn’t getting his way.

It makes me wonder… In what way do I sound whiny? I have hopes and dreams that haven’t been fulfilled. Don’t we all? But still, where is Abram’s gratitude? Why isn’t he thanking God that he is safe? Why isn’t he dancing in delight over the love of his life? Why isn’t he praising God for all the material wealth he has? Why can’t he just be grateful?

Hope and expectations are hard. And this text may be particularly difficult for our congregants and friends who are experiencing infertility. For a lot of couples, the promise of children goes unfulfilled. Perhaps it’s a good time to remind our congregations that our shattered hopes and expectations are a natural part of life. That our difficulties and hardships are not punishment, retribution, nor a lack of faith. They are a natural part of life.

Why do we have shattered hopes and expectations? I don’t know. All I know is that suffering happens. And that God walks with us through all the bad times (and through all the good times). And sometimes, it’s enough.

I have to confess that I do not like this choice in this week’s Narrative Lectionary for a couple of reasons. First, it’s too short; most Sundays we have twenty or so verses. Second (and perhaps because of its brevity), it’s not meaty enough about Abram and his personality. And finally, I’m disappointed that there are so few women in this Hebrew Bible cycle. So I’ve adjusted the pericope this Sunday for my congregation. I’ve included Genesis 16:1-6 and Genesis 21:9-20. I’ll be focusing on Hagar instead of Abram.The Desert

But the lesson is the same: God is with us through our suffering. God is the God who sees, and even though we thirst in the desert, God is with us, helping us find water.

Because in the desert time, when I have a hard time finding my gratitude, when that one thing that I want is so far away, I need to know that God is near, seeing, and seeking me. God sought Abram, and God sought Hagar. Where do you see God seeking you?

Here are some other ideas for Sunday’s sermon:

  • God eventually changes Abram’s name to Abraham, and Sarai’s to Sarah. How does our relationship with God change who we are?
  • In many ways, the Hebrew Bible is about movement and migration. What movement is happening in your congregation right now that might mirror the “going” that Abram is doing, or the traveling in circles in the exodus, or the going into foreign lands?
  • Unpack the issues of infertility for your congregation. Ask the question, how can we walk alongside our sisters and brothers who are suffering this way?
  • God tells Abram that he has a “reward” coming. In what way is our following God about receiving a reward? What would we do if there was no reward?

It’s a difficult text, and a difficult task, this finding faith in the desert. You’re not alone. Tell us how you’ll approach this text.

*****

Lia SchollRev. Lia Scholl is not-that-kind-of-Baptist preacher and pastor in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (U.S.) and is the author of I Heart Sex Workers (Chalice Press, 2013).

 

 

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RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.
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Thursday Prayer: Another Set of Hands

testimony

Dear God,

Sometimes Tuesday feels like Monday.
And Wednesday feels like Monday.
And Thursday feels like Monday.

Sometimes things just don’t go right.
The kids are unruly.
The adults are a mess.
The world is shaken upside down.
And I’m overwhelmed with

Things to do
People to see
Messes to clean up
Tears to dry
Hugs to share
And

I need another set of hands.

Can you be that for me today, God?

Thank you.

Amen.

*****

Rev. Lia Scholl is not-that-kind-of-Baptist preacher and pastor in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (U.S.) and is the author of I Heart Sex Workers (Chalice Press, 2013).

*****
RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.
*****

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Narrative Lectionary Curriculum: Life Mosaic, a Review

LifeMosaicAs you know, the Narrative Lectionary follows a school calendar as well as a liturgical one. We spend the Fall semester in the Hebrew Scripture and the Spring semester in a Gospel. I chose to preach the Narrative Lectionary because I want to connect my congregation with the Biblical stories. And I would love for them to go deeper in the texts than just our worship hour. So I approached the Life Mosaic curriculum with great hope.

But the opening words of it left me scrambling for identifiers: For what age was this curriculum created? Without any note on the sample, I assumed this text was for adults, but the activities reminded me of youth groups. What’s the theological underpinning of the text? The guide definitely has some markers of conservative theology (which is not my background). What’s the education level of the learners? The lesson was simple… way too simple for members, a large percentage of whom have post-graduate degrees.

For instance:

“Does Yahweh keep [humans in creation] under a tight rein or give them freedom to use creation as their own possession?”

This text asks questions as if there are only two possibilities. God’s complete control or our selfishness. It is possible that God’s good creation was created for us to partner with God, rather than only for God.

“Adam and Eve were not free to set their own agenda or ‘actualize’ themselves.”

Weren’t they? Couldn’t it have been that the Tree of Good and Evil is actualization itself? Isn’t it the opportunity for choice?

“The serpent asked a question that demoted God and his command to objects for discussion. Eve joined in this strange new discourse, setting in motion a downward train of events… The cost of such conversations is the loss of God’s friendship.”

As far as I can tell, God’s friendship never went away—following all the patriarchs and matriarchs of the Hebrew Bible through to Jesus’ friendship with the disciples, and God’s friendship with the early church and even to today.

As to the activity portion of the lesson, I think it may work for a high school class, but I cannot imagine an adult group enjoying things like “Have someone in your group act as an attorney for Adam and Eve,” or “Designate someone in your group as a news reporter and someone else as the serpent from Genesis.”

Finally, the application even seemed shaky to me. The lesson likens the Fall to someone making a “selfish choice,” which seems trite and quite the oversimplication. I want more. Deeper. More theologically dense.

I want a curriculum for the Narrative Lectionary, but I’ll be waiting for the 2.0 version of it.

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Rev. Lia Scholl is not-that-kind-of-Baptist preacher and pastor in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (U.S.) and is the author of I Heart Sex Workers (Chalice Press, 2013).

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RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.
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Categories: Narrative Lectionary | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Sunday Prayer: I’m Not Ready to Make Nice

I’m obsessed this week with the song I’m Not Ready to Make Nice by the Dixie Chicks,  written by Martha McGuire, Natalie Maines, Emily Robison, and Dan Wilson. I’ve been praying it all week, when I hear people talking about redemption and forgiveness in the massive loss in Orlando. I’m not ready to make nice.

Forgive, sounds good
Forget, I’m not sure I could

O God. I want to forgive, but I’m not ready.

They say time heals everything
But I’m still waiting

I’m not sure time heals everything. This loss may be too great.

I’m through with doubt
There’s nothing left for me to figure out
I’ve paid a price, and I’ll keep paying

Help me to stay here awhile, God.

I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I’m still mad as hell, and I don’t have time
To go ’round and ’round and ’round
It’s too late to make it right
I probably wouldn’t if I could
‘Cause I’m mad as hell
Can’t bring myself to do what it is
You think I should

I’m not ready, O God, to forgive.

I know you said
Can’t you just get over it?
It turned my whole world around
And I kinda like it

Please help keep the voices quiet God, let me stay angry.
I’m holding on, God. And I’m not yet ready.

I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I’m still mad as hell, and I don’t have time
To go ’round and ’round and ’round
It’s too late to make it right
I probably wouldn’t if I could
‘Cause I’m mad as hell
Can’t bring myself to do what it is
You think I should

I’m not ready yet, but when I am, I’ll come to you, O God.

Forgive, sounds good
Forget, I’m not sure I could
They say time heals everything
But I’m still waiting…

*****

Rev. Lia Scholl is not-that-kind-of-Baptist preacher and pastor in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (U.S.) and is the author of I Heart Sex Workers (Chalice Press, 2013).

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RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.

Categories: RevGalBlogPals, RevGalPrayerPals, Sunday Prayer | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

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