Church Narratives

Lesson 13: How We Love Our Enemies

Lesson 13: How We Love Our Enemies

I’d like to continue citing Martin Luther King’s sermon, “Love Your Enemies,” because it describes forgiveness as an inherent characteristic of the Christian love narrative. Whenever I hear the most powerful man in the world claim to love everybody and in the next breath brag he can not think of anything he has done for […]

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Lesson 12:  Why We Love Our Enemies

Lesson 12: Why We Love Our Enemies

Throughout my ministry, I have repeatedly reread two works in addition to the scriptures: Dostoyevsky’s Brothers Karamazov and Martin Luther King’s “Loving Your Enemies.“ Both express the love narrative I think the Church desperately needs to use in understanding and identifying herself. The latter is a sermon Dr. King wrote while jailed for committing nonviolent civil […]

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Lesson 11: Love As A Change Agent

Lesson 11: Love As A Change Agent

A terribly significant reason for modern Christians using the love narrative to identify and understand themselves is usually ignored. When people rather blandly proclaim “God loves you, love one another,” they are usually thinking of love as not insisting on your own way or compassionately caring for other people.  Most regard this as the tolerance […]

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Lesson 10: The Love Narrative and Conventional Wisdom

Lesson 10: The Love Narrative and Conventional Wisdom

Many of the best Christians I know have been accused of not knowing how the world operates. In truth, every one of them knows all too well how things work. They just think Jesus shows a better way. Conventional wisdom that passes for sophistication nowadays is really pretty cynical and fatalistic. It believes science’s ability […]

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Lesson 9: New Love Narrative

Lesson 9: New Love Narrative

Before turning to the specific contents of a modern Christian narrative it might be worthwhile once again to point out that this in no way distorts the Gospel message. To give thought to words and ideas that make sense to people living in our time is not surrender to worldly values or agendas. It is […]

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The Phone Call

The Phone Call

I found drama a very effective way to poclaim the modern Christian narrative. I cannot remember the situation when I wrote this the following dialogue sermon for Christmas Eve. I do recall a number of people reported it spoke directly to them. In fact, one said hearing it was a life changing experience. The Phone […]

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Lesson 8: Conversation and Dialogue

Lesson 8: Conversation and Dialogue

We have come to the last of the five reoccurring themes that I found when hastily rereading the documents of Vatican II. Although my intention was simply to refresh my memory, I was pleasantly surprised to find the five could serve as the framework for a modern Christian narrative. Each addresses our present societal problems […]

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Lesson 7: Unity in Diversity

Lesson 7: Unity in Diversity

The call for unity in diversity emerged as one of the hallmarks of Vatican II. It was used in a variety of contexts during the Council and remains a helpful guideline for a servant church speaking to a global society. I think it initially appeared in the first session when discussing the liturgy. Maximos IV, […]

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Lesson 6: The Dignity of Humanity

Lesson 6: The Dignity of Humanity

I am increasingly convinced Vatican II was able to lay the groundwork of a new Christian narrative for our modern age, because for the most part, it looked at our situation with a simple honesty. That honesty recognized the narrative the Church has used to identify and understand herself has changed throughout history. Consequently, it […]

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Lesson 5: The New Age

Lesson 5: The New Age

Several times a day, friends lament that they are unable to talk about important issues with people who hold opposing views. Today, one reported that Thanksgiving was awful, because family members got angry discussing politics. Another said bridge club has become uncomfortable, because you have to avoid so many topics that have become divisive. In […]

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