A Sermon for Sarah

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As many of you know, last week one of my former students from St. Paul’s in Maumee, Ohio took her own life.  Below is the transcript of the sermon I gave at her funeral this morning.  I’m sharing it as a word of hope for those who are mourning the loss of Sarah this Christmas or for anyone who has suffered from the suicide of a loved one… Continue reading

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Robert Capon on Hell

I came across this bombshell of a quote while I was researching for this week’s sermon about the “Unforgiving Servant.”

In heaven, there are only forgiven sinners.

“There are no good guys, no upright, successful types who, by dint of their own integrity, have been accepted into the great country club in the sky.  There are only failures, only those who have accepted their deaths in their sins and who have been raised up by the King who himself died they might live.

But in hell, too, there are only forgiven sinners.

Continue reading

Ernst Kasemann on Baptism

The following quote is from Ernst Kasemann’s commentary on Romans 61-11:

Romans 6:1-11  What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?  2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?  3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Continue reading

Gehard Forde on Relevance

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“The gospel of justification by faith alone is never relevant to this or any age.  It is the end of the age, the end of the old, the death of sinners.  God is not merely out to change, or even to convert old beings.  This is not like a new paint or remodeling job.  Faith in Christ is a death.  God is out to put the old being out of its misery once and for all.  Faith is not like choosing a new coat, or even a set of values.  I it being chosen.  And being chosen for the Old Adam and Eve is a dying because it means that God takes charge.  But it is not just a death; it is also a hope of resurrection, a being grasped by a new life of love, hope, and care.”

Gehard Forde “A More Radical Gospel

PZ’s Man On the Ceiling and the Christian Message

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This week I want to once again look at Paul Zahl’s latest work “PZ’s Panopticon: an off-the-wall guide to world religion” which is, as I mentioned in my post from last week, a unique; personal; moving; and humorous reflection on world religion from the point of view of one who is near death (“near death” not only in the physical sense, but anytime we’re at the end of our rope).  The central question of the work is what does religion have to offer to the man on the ceiling who is looking at his own body on the operating table?  In other words, what do the religions of the world have to say to you when you really need some light?

Below are some of my favorite insights from Zahl’s reflection on the Christian message.  So, what does Christianity have to offer you when life’s end is near and you are at the end of your rope?  According to Zahl: Continue reading

PZ’s Message to the “Man on the Ceiling”

In my old professor Paul Zahl’s latest work, “PZ’s Panopticon: an off-the-wall guide to world religion,” he offers a unique, personal, moving, and humorous reflection on world religion from the point of view of one who is near death (one who is out of body looking down at his body on the operating table).  In doing this Zahl  wishes to explore what the religions of the world offer someone who is in such a predicament (the predicament being death not only in the physical sense, but anytime life runs us over).  Spurred on by his own personal crisis at the time, Zahl’s work asks some difficult questions of all religion, including Christianity. Continue reading