Drinking the Cup

Have you ever heard someone say "that's not my cup of tea"?  In this sermon Pastor Rick Sherrer uses this common phrase to examine what is, or ought to be in the Christian Cup. 

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Multi-Generational Mothering (#RR4)

Happy Mother's Day to every mother, and anyone who has taken on the role of mother. In our Mother's Day service, Pastor Nelson continues his look at #RevolutionaryRelationships by looking at the role that mother's play, not just to their biological children, but how mothering can occur across multiple generations. 

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An Invitation to Power (#RR3)

The #RevolutionaryRelationship series continues with an answer to the question "why do we need #RevolutionaryRelationships?" "Into what are we inviting people?" Elijah had one of the biggest personal victories of anyone in the Bible at Mount Carmel, but he still was not able to change the unjust and oppressive government on his own. After a brief conversation, God tells Elijah to extend three invitations.  

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Invitation to Upgrade (#RR2)

Pastor Nelson continues his series on #RevolutionaryRelationships by focusing on the importance of being intentional about extending an invitation. #RevolutionaryRelationships do not happen automatically, they happen when someone is intentional about extending an invitation for a new or an improved relationship. 

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When Your Confidence is Compromised (#RRinterlude)

Everybody experiences failure in life, the question is how do you respond after you fail. Pastor Rick preached an insightful message on God's redemptive power that helps us bounce back from failure. 

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#RevolutionaryRelationships (#RR1)

As we started April, Pastor Nelson started a sermon series entitled Revolutionary Relationships. This series is designed to help us think about how we improve our existing relationships and/or build new relationships around us to help us become the people God is calling us to be. 

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A Lenten Practice for Black Liberation:

Re-Imagining the Rosary for Black Liberation

I am a Christian minister who believes in the revolutionary call of God and of the gospels both to resist the oppressive and isolating power of Empire as it appears in our time and place, and to work to bring about God’s realm of love and justice. To that end I often look for ways to connect my spiritual practices with my revolutionary beliefs. I attended a Catholic school for K-12 and spent many Religion courses during that time praying through parts of the Rosary. I appreciated the contemplative nature of the practice, even if most of the prayers did not connect with me. This year, during Lent I have decided to try using the rosary for contemplation on the struggle for Black Liberation. I am at the beginning of this process, so I welcome input. 


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June 12, 2015

I have to admit I thought we were sunk this week. 

You know that feeling you get when you're event starts at 12 and its 12:30 and there is only one person there. Yeah. That's the feeling I had. Only one person showed up for the training, but I did the training anyway. As I was walking through the training points I was trying to repress the mental images of the project falling flat on its face, or of my hopes of finishing my project flying away. I was wrapping up the training, and getting my stuff together to go out, (because no one canvasses alone)...

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June 5, 2015 RU Launch

Today was the first day of our Roselawn United Canvass. After weeks of build-up, explanation and encouragement we were finally ready to go! We had a handfull of church members show up for the training.  During the training we emphasized the importance of listening while out in the neighborhood. I reminded our canvass team, "We are not going out to bring any message, we are going out to be a message..."

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Why Won't You Dance?

Why Won’t You Dance?:

Part One of a Two-Part Theological Reflection on Charleston and the Church 

Luke 7:31-35 

31 Jesus went on to say, “To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other:

“‘We played the pipe for you,
    and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
    and you did not cry.’

33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ 


This pericope opens in the middle of a reprimand that Jesus is giving to his audience after addressing the concerns of John the Baptist and his disciples. John the Baptist has been arrested by Herod, as Luke tells us early in his gospel, and I would imagine he is at least beginning to suspect that he is never going to leave there alive.  John send his disciples to ask Jesus a very direct question, are you the one we have been waiting for. If you listened or read any of my sermons on gospel texts over the last couple of years, you probably have heard me talking about the counter-Roman, revolutionary community that Jesus is building which he refers to as the  Reign (or Kingdom) of God. In that context, I believe that John is asking Jesus, “can I die confident that I have seen the in-breaking of God’s revolution?” Jesus, then, aware that a direct answer could be seen as treasonous, tells John’s disciples, “just go tell John what you’ve seen out here.” As John’s disciples are leaving, I am imagining that there is whispering and laughing either about John’s eccentricity, the fact that he is in jail, or the type of people who would follow someone like John. I imagine this is the case, because the text says that after John’s disciples leave, Jesus jumps to John’s defense. “You all traveled out to the wilderness to see and hear John. Did you do that because you thought he had all of the trappings of Empire? No, you did it because he was a prophet. And not just any prophet, he is the prophet that other prophets were looking for” (Luke 7:24-28 NJP translation). Luke makes a few editorial comments before he returns to Jesus, which is where our text opens. It would seem that hearing the negativity directed at John (v33) and knowing the hate that he had been receiving (v34) was too much for Jesus to let go unaddressed. Jesus accuses them of wanting a Burger King prophet, a prophet done their way. John would not socialize so they labelled him with the same label given to the outcast from the region of the Gerasenes: demon-possessed. Meanwhile, Jesus socialized too much, so the labelled him a drunk. Jesus refers to them as children in the market place upset because people will not dance for them. In other words, the children, and therefore Jesus’s audience are being accused of wanting people to respond to whatever their whim is, without any regard for what is happening around them (the children are in the marketplace after all). They wanted prophets who preach God’s favor upon their national and cultural identity, without holding it accountable for the oppression that they created and were silent about in the effort to maintain legitimacy and peace within the Roman Empire. John the Baptist would not be silent about their complicity with Rome. Jesus’s life and ministry lifted up and valued the very people that Religious Leadership needed to exclude and oppress in order to maintain its illusion of power and Roman goodwill. Neither one of them participated the dance. That is why the work of John and Jesus, and ultimately John and Jesus themselves were problematic.

“What it like to be a problem?” 

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