crbassett + sermon   103

A Sketch of Heaven
Let us picture a woman thrown into a dungeon. There she bears and rears a son. He grows up seeing nothing but the dungeon walls, the straw on the floor, and a little patch of the sky seen through the grating, which is too high up to show anything except sky. This unfortunate woman was an artist, and when they imprisoned her she managed to bring with her a drawing pad and a box of pencils. As she never loses the hope of deliverance she is constantly teaching her son about that outer world which he has never seen. She does it very largely by drawing him pictures. With her pencil she attempts to show him what fields, rivers, mountains, cities and waves on a beach are like. He is a dutiful boy and he does his best to believe her when she tells him that that outer world is far more interesting and glorious than anything in the dungeon. At times he succeeds. On the whole he gets on tolerably well until, one day, he says something that gives his mother pause.

For a minute or two they are at cross-purposes. Finally it dawns on her that he has, all these years, lived under a misconception. ‘But,’ she gasps, ‘you didn’t think that the real world was full of lines drawn in lead pencil?’ ‘What?’ says the boy. ‘No pencil marks there?’ And instantly, his whole notion of the outer world becomes a blank. For the lines, by which alone he was imagining it, have now been denied of it. He has no idea of that which will exclude and dispense with the lines, that of which the lines were merely a transposition—the waving treetops, the light dancing on the weir, the colored three-dimensional realities which are not enclosed in lines but define their own shapes at every moment with a delicacy and multiplicity which no drawing could ever achieve. The child will get the idea that the real world is somehow less visible than his mother’s pictures. In reality it lacks lines because it is incomparably more visible.

So with us. ‘We know not what we shall be;’ but we may be sure we shall be more, not less, than we were on earth. Our natural experiences (sensory, emotional, imaginative) are only like the drawing, like penciled lines on flat paper. If they vanish in the risen life, they will vanish only as pencil lines vanish from the real landscape; not as a candle flame that is put out but as a candle flame which becomes invisible because someone has pulled up the blind, thrown open the shutters, and let in the blaze of the risen sun.
Sermon  Illustration 
november 2019 by crbassett
The Unhappy Creed of the Religion of Acquisition
“Earlier I said that when we look at money, we see people. We see the faces of Lincoln or Jefferson or Washington. But flip the question around: When we look at people, do we see money? More so than we realize.

Here’s how we know. The more we:

•judge our worth and the worth of others based on financial criteria

•understand the goal of life as acquisition and consumption

•determine our country’s greatness by its GDP

•choose our leaders based solely or primarily upon how they can help us monetarily

•are restless and discontent until we’ve acquired the latest gadget...

…the more any or all of these are true, the more we’ll not just look at money and see people’s faces on it, but look at people’s faces (including our own) and see money on them.”
Sermon 
april 2019 by crbassett
"Being's self-gift to being:" James Matthew Wilson and the Encounter with Beauty - Seminarian Casual
From the moment that life becomes about your well-being, and you are no longer viewing your happiness as being conditioned by an end that transcends you, every distinctively Christian activity can only look grotesque.
Virtue  Philosophy  Sermon  from instapaper
february 2018 by crbassett
Death To Self: Can You See It?
For there is nothing that the old man-the self which must die fears so much as having everything taken out of his hands.
Sermon 
february 2018 by crbassett
The Lutheran Difference
Lutherans do have much to offer to the wider American community, but only if they can fulfill two conditions. First, to contribute as Lutherans in America, Lutherans must remain authentically Lutheran. Second, to contribute as Lutherans in America, Lutherans must also find out how to speak Lutheranism with an American accent. Falling short of either condition means that, though Lutherans as religious individuals may contribute much to Christianity in America, there will be no distinctly Lutheran contribution.
Sermon  Lutheran  Evangelism 
february 2018 by crbassett
Empathy is Not Charity | Patricia Snow
“Guardini goes on to describe the economy of the Triune God, and the way the Holy Spirit, mediating the relationship of the Father and the Son, makes possible a life characterized by both individuality and union. Only by the mediation of the same Spirit, he argues, can man’s longings for selfhood and intimacy be realized. Only with the help of God’s Spirit can his needs for both autonomy and community be met.”
Sermon 
january 2018 by crbassett
Unspoken Sermons by George MacDonald: Kingship
Jesus is a king because his business is to bear witness to the truth. What truth? All truth; all verity of relation throughout the universe — first of all, that his father is good, perfectly good; and that the crown and joy of life is to desire and do the will of the eternal source of will, and of all life. He deals thus the death-blow to the power of hell. For the one principle of hell is — 'I am my own. I am my own king and my own subject. I am the centre from which go out my thoughts; I am the object and end of my thoughts; back upon me as the alpha and omega of life, my thoughts return. My own glory is, and ought to be, my chief care; my ambition, to gather the regards of men to the one centre, myself. My pleasure is my pleasure. My kingdom is — as many as I can bring to acknowledge my greatness over them. My judgment is the faultless rule of things. My right is — what I desire. The more I am all in all to myself, the greater I am. The less I acknowledge debt or obligation to another; the more I close my eyes to the fact that I did not make myself; the more self-sufficing I feel or imagine myself — the greater I am. I will be free with the freedom that consists in doing whatever I am inclined to do, from whatever quarter may come the inclination. To do my own will so long as I feel anything to be my will, is to be free, is to live. To all these principles of hell, or of this world — they are the same thing, and it matters nothing whether they are asserted or defended so long as they are acted upon — the Lord, the king, gives the direct lie.
Sermon  via:ayjay 
january 2018 by crbassett
“The Lord is with you” – Snakes and Ladders
‘The Lord is with you’. Gabriel’s greeting blazes into the life of time and hangs between him and the girl to whom he is speaking. It is not a promise. Promises are about the future. This is now.
Sermon 
january 2018 by crbassett
Malcolm Muggeridge on “Idiot Hopes and Idiot Despair” | Russell and Duenes
The world’s way of responding to intimations of decay is to engage equally in idiot hopes and idiot despair. On the one hand some new policy or discovery is confidently expected to put everything to rights: a new fuel, a new drug, detente, world government. On the other hand, some disaster is as confidently expected to prove our undoing. Capitalism will break down. Fuel will run out. Plutonium will lay us low. Atomic waste will kill us off. Overpopulation will suffocate us, or alternatively, a declining birth rate will put us more surely at the mercy of our enemies… In Christian terms, such hopes and fears are equally beside the point. As Christians we know that here we have no continuing city, that crowns roll in the dust and every earthly kingdom must sometimes flounder. Whereas we acknowledge a king men did not crown and cannot dethrone, as we are citizens of a city of God they did not build and cannot destroy. Thus the apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome, living in a society as depraved and dissolute as ours. Their games, like our television, specialized in spectacles of violence and eroticism. Paul exhorted them to be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in God’s work, to concern themselves with the things that are unseen, for the things which are seen are temporal but the things which are not seen are eternal. It was in the breakdown of Rome that Christendom was born. Now in the breakdown of Christendom there are the same requirements and the same possibilities to eschew the fantasy of a disintegrating world and seek the reality of what is not seen and eternal, the reality of Christ. [from But Not of Christ (circa 1980)]
Sermon 
december 2017 by crbassett
Slaves of Sin Are Always 'Free' to Choose Deathly Things
I wonder if Abraham ever loved his son more than when he unbound him, when he received him back as a gift. It is a wonderful freedom to receive gifts, to recognize all as gift. Gifts are meant to be enjoyed. And gifts are signs of the Giver’s love. Gifts indicate, not obligation, but affection. Gifts open our hands to receive. Gifts fix our eyes on the hands of those who give them.
Sermon 
november 2017 by crbassett
Rustling with the Rumor by C.S. Lewis
“We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words-to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.

That is why we have peopled air and earth and water with gods and goddesses and nymphs and elves-that, though we cannot, yet these projections can, enjoy in themselves that beauty grace, and power of which Nature is the image. That is why the poets tell us such lovely falsehoods. They talk as if the west wind could really sweep into a human soul; but it can’t. They tell us that ‘beauty born of murmuring sound’ will pass into a human face; but it won’t. Or not yet.

For if we take the imagery of Scripture seriously, if we believe that God will one day give us the Morning Star and cause us to put on the splendour of the sun, then we may surmise that both the ancient myths and the modern poetry, so false as history, may be very near the truth as prophecy.

At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. Someday, God willing, we shall get in.”
Quote  Sermon 
november 2017 by crbassett
Our Deepest Fear
“There we discover—much to our amazement—that everything we’ve been searching for our whole lives is not in us but in him.”
Sermon 
october 2017 by crbassett
Turner’s Creed – by Steve Turner | A Puritan's Mind
If chance be the Father of all flesh,
Disaster is his rainbow in the sky,
And when you hear
State of Emergency!
Sniper Kills Ten!
Troops on Rampage!
Whites go Looting!
Bomb Blasts School!
It is but the sound of man worshiping his maker.
Poetry  Illustration  Sermon 
september 2017 by crbassett
How Can Your Church Serve Unemployed Men? - Russell Moore
“Sometimes pastors and teachers and leaders underestimate the signals sent in our illustrations and applications. When we apply the Christian vision to the workplace, or give illustrations about how to live out the Christian life in our work, we are often careful to speak of a range of vocations—from the most modest service job to the most exalted profession. We often don’t speak of those who are unemployed, or whose employment is insecure. Take this into account, and speak directly to those who have lost their jobs, or who fear they may very soon. This doesn’t “solve” the problem, but it communicates that this is a burden for the whole Body to bear together.”
Ministry  Sermon 
september 2017 by crbassett
Civil Religion Has No Place in God’s House
“There is a vast and unbridgeable chasm between America’s civil religion and Christianity. If we claim “under God” refers only to the Christian, Trinitarian conception of God, we are either being unduly intolerant or, more likely, simply fooling ourselves.”

“Do we truly think the Hindu, Wiccan, or Buddhist is claiming to be under the same deity as we are? We can’t claim, as Paul did on Mars Hill, that the “unknown god” they’re worshiping is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They have heard of Jesus—and reject him as God.

The Pledge of Allegience is a secular document and the “under God” is referring to the Divinity of our country’s civil religion. Just as the pagan religion of the Roman Empire was able to incorporate other gods and give them familiar names, civil religion provides an umbrella for all beliefs to submit under one nondescript, fill-in-the-blank term.”
Religion  Society  Sermon 
september 2017 by crbassett
The Gospel of Happy
“The Gospel of Happy turns me into a god. My whims and decisions become the cornerstone on which God must build. My sinful desires are indistinguishable from the will of God, according to the Gospel of Happy. My depression and sadness trap God in a box, pronouncing Him dead if I am unhappy. The Gospel of Happy would never imagine suffering and death as the way to victory.”
Theology  Sermon 
september 2017 by crbassett
You Don't Have a Personal Problem Because They Don't Exist
When he steps forth alive from his tomb, we gasp at The End. So that’s it. All that stuff he died with will pass away. It can’t leave him dead. As surely as he lives, so will we, with lives shorn of problems. Easter is our glimpse of the end and the beginning. The end of all the bad and the beginning of all the good.
Sermon  Easter 
june 2017 by crbassett
God Daily Gives Us More Than We Can Handle
From the moment of conception to the moment of burial, we don’t do a single thing without someone else’s involvement. If you deny this, remember that even the air you breathed in to give voice to that denial was provided by Someone Else.
Sermon 
june 2017 by crbassett
NYTimes: Innocent Until Your Mug Shot Is on the Internet
Not everyone has been chastened by this legalistic language, though. In Illinois, three men seeking class-action status filed a suit last year describing the site as an extortion racket that, among other things, routinely published out-of-date or inaccurate information for a single purpose: to drive people to a prominently advertised “sister” site — unpublisharrest.com — which charged from $399 (to remove a single arrest) to $1,799 (for five).
Law  Sermon 
june 2017 by crbassett
Taking a Dip in the Dark Side
If I did not want to physically win, be loved, or just have the thirty-seventh Triscuit, I would be lying, because I am human. Knowing that the third drink is always there does not mean I have it. Living flooded with gifts, unasked for, unearned, makes the Dark Side what it is: compelling and worthless. That may be enough.
Sermon 
may 2017 by crbassett
And the Rough Places Plain
Eventually, even if my spine had been straightened, life on earth would catch up with me, as it does with everybody. If it weren’t scoliosis or a kidney abnormality, it would be toenail fungus or bad hair or addiction or cancer. And I could still get all of those things, and then some. There is no amount of righteousness that can save me from the human condition. I can pay my taxes on time and take out the recycling on the correct day and floss and exercise and even pray in the most fervent way possible, and my humanity is still going to be there. And I’ve learned, through time, that God doesn’t want to bargain with me. (The feeling, by the way, is mutual. So there.) Those moments of healing that people see or feel may just be fleeting glimpses of His Kingdom Come, and not an exchange for services rendered. The exchange has already been made, on a cross, by a man who became human to save the rest of us from our own human weakness.
Sermon 
may 2017 by crbassett
Slaves of Sin Are Always 'Free' to Choose Deathly Things - BLOG | 1517. The Legacy Project
“I wonder if Abraham ever loved his son more than when he unbound him, when he received him back as a gift. It is a wonderful freedom to receive gifts, to recognize all as gift. Gifts are meant to be enjoyed. And gifts are signs of the Giver’s love. Gifts indicate, not obligation, but affection. Gifts open our hands to receive. Gifts fix our eyes on the hands of those who give them.”
Sermon 
april 2017 by crbassett
My Great-Grandmother Handed Her Husband Over to the Devil
“People are not reformed by making them better, but by making them dead and alive in Jesus. Dead in Christ, dead on his cross, dead in his baptism. For only when they are dead are they candidates for life. And they have life in the one who raises the dead, who himself was raised from the dead.”
Sermon 
april 2017 by crbassett
The Benefit of Having Enemies
If you ever fool yourself into thinking you’ve made great progress in virtue and are slowly but surely making headway in cleansing that dirty heart of yours, take note of your thoughts and feelings toward a person who has wronged you, cursed you, treated you like crap.
Sermon 
january 2017 by crbassett
On Women’s Protests. What if…
What if you believed that His death restored you? You would still cry over the injustice of this passing world, but you would also trust in the promises of the world to come. Even now you would believe that you are God’s good creation in Christ, designed to love His will. Today you would walk with the children of God, feeding from the tree of life, now hidden in water and word, bread and wine. Men and women would forgive each other, love each other, and imperfectly live in a shadow of harmony. The unfixable problems of this sinful world would be lifted from your shoulders. Resurrected with Christ, you would be free from protest.
Women  Sermon 
january 2017 by crbassett
Blessed Becomes a Popular Hashtag on Social Media - The New York Times
There’s nothing quite like invoking holiness as a way to brag about your life.
Sermon 
january 2017 by crbassett
When We Wish God Didn't Exist
“It is actually better this way. If we had the answers, they wouldn't satisfy us. They wouldn't bring us peace. For us to try and understand the hidden part of God would be like a blind man setting out to map every inch of the world.”
Crux  Sermon 
november 2016 by crbassett
The Gardener’s Blood, The Fruit of Brambles
“The man and woman committed themselves to being like God—all their emotions, and thoughts, and will—and for their effort, pain and thorns became their destiny. Now, because God so loved the world that He committed His only begotten Son to becoming one of us—fully man possessed of all our emotions, and thoughts, and will—for Jesus’ pain and thorny crown, our eternal destiny is to be restored to a Genesis 2-like creation at the Last Day.”
Sermon 
november 2016 by crbassett
From Cecil the Lion to Climate Change: A Perfect Storm of Outrage Oneupmanship - The Atlantic
The Internet launders outrage and returns it to us as validation, in the form of likes and stars and hearts. The greatest return comes from a strong and superior point of view, on high moral ground. And there is, fortunately and unfortunately, always higher moral ground.
Social  Sermon  Anger  Law 
august 2016 by crbassett
How Do I Know I'm a Christian?
How do you know you’re a Christian? Not because your heart is good and pure but because the heart of Christ pulses with a love for you that will never end. Not because your deeds are righteous but because he has been righteous on your behalf and clothes you with that righteousness.
Sermon  from instapaper
august 2016 by crbassett
The Wrinkling Clock: The Irony of Calendar Girls
There is a beauty, however, that remains. There is a loveliness so sacrosanct the calendar cannot touch it. It cannot be acquired at the plastic surgeon or earned by sweat at Gold's Gym. It is deeper than skin and more timeless than an hour-glass figure. It is the stunning beauty of a woman who has been bathed, robed, and kissed by the Lord above, whose embrace imparts a beauty not of this world.
Sermon  Illustration  from instapaper
august 2016 by crbassett
Snakes and Ladders
Collegiate Football Success is the most jealous of gods. It will tolerate the worship of no other deities, and there will be no end to the sacrifices it demands.
Illustration  Sermon 
august 2016 by crbassett
Reflections on a Cold Silent Night
“The shepherds in their fields were spooked by the angels, but not at all by beholding the Creator of the Universe in Bethlehem. The lamb of God looked even more helpless than the ones they were familiar with in their fields. The words of St. Paul in Philippians 2 summarizes so well how the Son became incarnate: He humbled himself, he made himself nothing. (Phil. 2:6)”
Christmas  Sermon 
august 2016 by crbassett
Don't Tell Hurting People That God's in Control
God does have a wonderful plan for your life, but it’s not what you think. His merciful plan is to crucify you with Christ, bury you with Christ, and raise you to new life in Christ. All this he does in baptism. Baptism unites you with the only God we know. And in that God—the crucified and resurrected Christ—God reveals who he is.
Sermon  Illustration 
august 2016 by crbassett
The Case for Imaginary Friends
On a meta scale, it’s the difference between deism (God Out There) and Immanuel (God With Us).
Sermon  Illustration 
august 2016 by crbassett
We Are Beggars, This Is True
“Those who begin to know even a fraction of their sin know what the proper posture is that we should take before the one true God. Without even a filthy paper cup that we fished out of the trash, we are empty-handed and laid low. When met eye to eye by our sin, with those nasty things that we don’t acknowledge or talk about, we are broken, humiliated, humbled and with terror, we beg for mercy, empty-handed beggars all.

God in His mercy is a God for beggars. He sent His Son, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords into our meager, beggarly existence. He laid aside His glory and His might to become a beggar who didn’t even have a pillow for His head. He descended into our poverty when He submitted Himself to be baptized in the filthy waters of our sin and emerged for us breaking the bonds of sin and death.”
Sermon  Gospel  Law  from instapaper
august 2016 by crbassett
Who Will Save Us From Our Shame?
One effect this socially-constructed moral conscience has is that if you do, in fact, measure up, then you will ensure that everyone knows about it. As Brooks says, “members of a group lavish one another with praise so that they themselves might be accepted and praised in turn.” If you shop at Wholefoods you proudly display your reusable shopping bags for all to see as you walk (or bike) to and from the store. If you exercise regularly, you make sure your app links to facebook to announce your health righteousness. If you support the “correct” candidate for president, you tweet New York Times or Fox News articles to the collective judge of respectability.
Illustration  Law  Sermon  from instapaper
august 2016 by crbassett
We Expect Too Little from God
“Come outside and stand beside Abraham. Count those stars. So shall your gifts be. Go to the beach and count the grains of sand. So shall be the number of times God blesses you.”
Sermon  Gospel  Illustration  from instapaper
august 2016 by crbassett
the Bread of Life
“If you take the whole of John 6 and link it to the stoning of Stephen in Acts 7, you can see the arc of the natural, unredeemed person’s attitude towards Jesus and the message of the Gospel. First curiosity; then perhaps excitement; then discontent; then hatred. What begins with the gathering together to hear a new voice ends with the flinging of stones, or, if we do things judicially rather than in the heat of temper, the nailing of a body to a cross.”
Illustration  Sermon  Law  from instapaper
august 2016 by crbassett
The Things We Carry to Church
“And there, standing within the walls of his Father’s house, is our brother. He carries in his scarred body a heart that beats only to the rhythm of love for us. He carries a word on his lips that bears within itself all the power of heaven to heal our deepest wounds. He carries on his shoulders a cross whose wood is stained with the blood of a God who hurled everything wrong in our universe into the black hole of his own cursed death.”
Sermon  Gospel  Illustration  from instapaper
august 2016 by crbassett
Beyond Babel
When we confess the proper direction of things, we find true hope and confidence in the Lord. For in your Lord Jesus Christ we live a life beyond Babel. A life that has received the free gifts of a God that has come down to seek and safe the lost. We have no need to build our own towers, for our identity our security, our hope is in Christ alone.
Sermon  from instapaper
august 2016 by crbassett
Whole30 and Holiness: Notes on Spiritual Cleanliness, Eating Disorders, and Bodily Damages Wrought By Cheetos
Seeing my sin for what it is—disobedience against a Holy God that impacts my relationship with Him, my relationships with other people, and my relationship with myself—requires a posture of honesty and humility that I’d rather not fold myself into. It’s easier for me to scroll through recipes on paleo-friendly food blogs, to keep track of how much water I drink each day, and to plan and prepare Whole30 approved meals and snacks.

It’s easier for me to be a whitewashed tomb.
Grace  Law  Culture  Sermon  Food 
august 2016 by crbassett
The Good News of Knowing Nothing
“Embracing, or just accepting, uncertainty opens my eyes to how limited I am by my own sense of control–how a life within my boundaries allows for no breathtaking moments.”
Life  Devotion  Sermon 
august 2016 by crbassett
What Does It Mean To Worship The God of Failures?
Jesus did not become man to be your spiritual guru or a personal trainer in righteousness. Jesus became man to live for you, suffer for you, bleed for you, die for you; yes, even to fail for you. As Dr. Rosenbladt is fond of saying, “Christ died for sinners and we qualify.”
Sermon 
july 2016 by crbassett
NYTimes: Parents Deserve a College Graduation Present, Too
And though he agrees with Ms. Chang about the way that some parents tend to boast, he sees the gift as more of a private exchange. “It’s a way to say ‘Mom, you did a great job,’” he said. “I want her to be proud of herself.”
Law  Sermon 
july 2016 by crbassett
“You Descended from the Stars”: Christmas and Salvation from the Stars
Even love, which one astronaut tells another “is the one thing that transcends time and space,” remains on the human plane, with no referent or reach beyond itself. Material reality may contain higher dimensions and stranger things than we may have dreamt of, but salvation here is still strictly this-worldly, both in means and destination. In apparent paradox, ultimately resolved as contradiction, Nolan seems to see transcendence as available within this world, simply as a heightened experience of the world. While he recognizes and respects the human yearning for transcendent love, his narrative of salvation from the stars—though gorgeously filmed and poignantly acted—eventually loops us back on ourselves, still adrift within a closed cosmos. Nolan asks a question of salvation, but he has no answer.
Miracle  Cosmology  Sermon  Criticism  Christmas  Film 
july 2016 by crbassett
The Story of the Better-Than-Good Samaritan
This you are eager to affirm, at least, when others are commanded to be neighbors to you. You expect your spouse to stomach your bad moods, your short temper, your pettiness and selfishness. And you get all bent out of shape when she doesn’t. You think your boss should wink at your half-baked work, your ninety-minute lunch breaks, your “borrowing” from the office. And how defensive you get when no wink is forthcoming. You are quite upset when visitors aren’t lined up outside your hospital room, when your friends aren’t bubbling over with joy that your kids made the honor roll, when someone sneaks into that close parking spot you were clearly about to pull into. But you demand what you never give. You always expect others to do for you what you rarely, if ever, do for them. And worst of all, you’re hurt, you sulk, you’re downright ticked off when others aren’t the neighbors to you that you have never been to them.
Sermon 
july 2016 by crbassett
What's Wrong with the World--in Two Words
The Times once sent an inquiry to famous authors, asking them, “What’s wrong with the world?” G. K. Chesterton sent back this reply:

Dear Sir,
I am.
Yours,
G. K. Chesterton

That’s how any list of what’s wrong with the world should begin. With me. With you. But that’s rarely, if ever, where we start, is it? We don’t reject the idea. None of us claim perfection. It’s just that it wouldn’t even cross our minds to include ourselves on such a list.
Sin  Sermon 
july 2016 by crbassett
NYTimes: ‘I Want to Know What It Is Like to Be a Wild Thing’
The author, Charles Foster, is an eccentric, big-brained Briton who enjoys success as a lawyer, a veterinarian and an Oxford academic (with a Ph.D. in medical law and ethics from Cambridge). But he yearns to be other: a swift, a badger, a fox or perhaps an otter or a red deer. He is a lifelong naturalist, and he has a simple dream, as he puts it: “I want to know what it is like to be a wild thing.” So he devises a series of experiments.

To become a “man-badger,” he abandons his home for several weeks to eat worms and live in an underground burrow in Wales that writhes around him, “as active as a uterus.” To understand urban foxes, he takes to the East End of London to wallow “incontinently” in his own mess and to eat street scraps and trash — pizza, fried rice, chips. As part of imitating otters, he and his children (he has six of them) relieve themselves outdoors in the country and try to distinguish one another’s bowel movements by smell. And to experience the feeling of overgrown hooves, he stops cutting his toenails for months during his red deer phase.
Sermon  Illustration 
july 2016 by crbassett
Jesus and Abortion
For every unwanted, aborted child, Jesus the child conceives a saving love that knows no bounds.
Life  Sermon  Abortion  Christmas 
june 2016 by crbassett
When You Marry the Wrong Person
But the primary drawback de Botton hones in on is the way that marriages of feeling operate as arrangements of mutual (emotional) self-fulfillment. It’s not so much that “you are the one for them” but that “they are the one for you.” Such relationships thrive, consciously or not, on illusion/projection vis-a-vis the other person. They can’t not. As we’re fond of saying, expectation is a planned resentment, and there are no greater expectations than the astronomic ones we foist on a potential (soul)mate. Whoever you marry within such a framework will be the wrong person simply by virtue of them being a person. Law, in this regard, kills love.
Sermon  Marriage  Illustration 
june 2016 by crbassett
A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Lies
Shrouded in the raiment of a corpse, but with a heart pumping life through his veins again, out stepped God's friend. One of my teachers liked to remark that the reason Jesus mentioned Lazarus by name was that if he had issued a blanket announcement in the graveyard, every tomb would have coughed up its dead, alive again!
Sermon  Illustration 
june 2016 by crbassett
NYTimes: How to Fix Feminism
This did not mean that women should necessarily go out and find jobs. “Not one of us believes that emancipation, liberation, can be achieved through work,” they wrote. “Slavery to an assembly line is not liberation from slavery to a kitchen sink.”
Sermon  Gender 
june 2016 by crbassett
Can Jesus Save a Christian? — Christ Hold Fast
In the wake of so many temporal resurrection testimonies, there seems to be another type of testimony that often gets overlooked, ignored, or goes completely unspoken. It is the testimony of the defeated victor. This is the victory that no one is holding their breath to see because it leaves so much to be desired. It does not satisfy our lust for self-realization, self actualization, for power, strength, recovery, and healing. We like stories that conclude with a happy ending that we can see in our lifetime, and preferably, we’d like that happy ending yesterday. Thank you very much.
Sermon 
may 2016 by crbassett
NYTimes: Victims of Boko Haram, and Now Shunned by Their Communities
Zara and her little brother thought they were finally safe. After being held captive by Boko Haram for months, they made it to this government camp for thousands of civilians who have fled the militants’ cruelty. But instead of a welcome, residents gathered around, badgering them with questions and glares.
Sermon 
may 2016 by crbassett
NYTimes: In Paris Suburbs, Adopting a Dreaded School Test as a Tool of Integration
The French obsession with mastering every aspect of their language has an almost chauvinistic quality — strangers, unprompted, will sometimes correct a foreigner’s pronunciation or spell a word aloud for them.
Catechesis  Culture  Sermon 
may 2016 by crbassett
Fireplace Church
Every church is built out of people: cold and jagged; stony and broken. Every brick is chipped and scratched. There are mean people, evil people, stupid people, apathetic people, and rule breakers. They are stacked together in unpredictable ways. They often look ready to topple over. The people at church are covered in a film of dirt and grime. They have been the most disappointing collection I have yet to find.
Sermon 
may 2016 by crbassett
NYTimes: Boko Haram Turns Female Captives Into Terrorists
Finally a fighter arrived and asked a fateful question: Do you want to follow Christ, or do you want to be a Muslim?
Islam  Sermon 
april 2016 by crbassett
Microaggressions and the Rise of Victimhood Culture
“People are intolerant of insults, even if unintentional, and react by bringing them to the attention of authorities or to the public at large. Domination is the main form of deviance, and victimization a way of attracting sympathy, so rather than emphasize either their strength or inner worth, the aggrieved emphasize their oppression and social marginalization.”
Sermon  Social  Society 
march 2016 by crbassett
The Older Brother of the Prodigal Son Speaks Out
If love and forgiveness are so easily obtained, what kind of world will this become?
Sermon 
march 2016 by crbassett
Will God Forgive Me for Having an Abortion?
Your Father will not punish you for something that he doesn’t even remember. Even if he did remember it, he would remember only that Jesus had the abortion, that Jesus paid the price for that abortion, that Jesus has taken care of everything.
Sermon 
february 2016 by crbassett
The Message That Called Me Out of Atheism and Plopped Me Into a Lutheran Pulpit
Believe in God, belong to a church, and behave yourself isn’t the Gospel.
Theology  Sermon 
february 2016 by crbassett
Mundus vult decipi
Assuming everyone is a liar is less threatening than risking belief in a truth which will (in all probability) turn out to be a lie, too. Finding out what’s true is hard work, after all.
Theology  Sermon 
january 2016 by crbassett
I Want to Be a Megachurch Pastor
Jesus wants the junkies. He wants the red light district. He wants the greedy. He wants the young. He wants the old. Jesus wants the burdens of society who are stuck on social security, who live in urine-stained rooms, who are true examples of humility and faith in Christ. Jesus wants the single mother of a few whose kids aren’t well disciplined. Jesus wants the boyfriend who practically forced his girlfriend to get an abortion. Jesus wants sinners.
Sermon 
january 2016 by crbassett
Making a Bloody Mess of Things
This past Sunday, I worshipped with a congregation not my own, and the pastor spoke about blood in an insightful way. He spoke of giving blood to the Red Cross earlier in the week, and in conversation with their technicians, they mentioned to him that they had sent along several units to San Bernardino for those who were injured in the recent shootings. ‘Our blood is everywhere,’ he noted–in the sense that we regularly give blood to those in need. Who knows if the person you just passed on the freeway has some of your hemoglobin on loan? While a useful thought on its own, I went one step further and a realization stopped me cold. What if the shooters needed blood and received the pint I donated? My O-negative on a Tuesday to save a terrorist’s life on a Friday. What would I think about that?
Sermon  Illustration  HolyThursday 
december 2015 by crbassett
Real Person Tuesday!
“Christmas is NOT, and never has been, about family and friends.”
Christmas  Sermon 
december 2015 by crbassett
The Corpse God
“My grandmother died this past summer. She joined my grandfather in that her corpse was buried right next to him in the little cemetery back in Michigan. If you were to take a shovel and dig up either grandpa or grandma you would find their corpses there right where they were left in their coffins. Pick any loved one in your family. As disturbing as it sounds we could displace the dirt in any number of graves across the world and find the corpses of family and friends there.”
Sermon  Easter 
december 2015 by crbassett
The Church Will Be Here When You Have Reached The End Of The Rope
“You see, America, when it is all said and done and you have exercised your freedom and exorcised your God, you found yourself wishing you were a pig eating pea pods.”
Society  Sermon 
november 2015 by crbassett
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