The great French writer Albert Camus once said that a revolutionary was someone who either ended up as an oppressor or a heretic. In so saying, Camus was drawing attention to the fact that starting a revolution can be a very tricky business: you either end up with a state of affairs worse than that which you sought to replace; or you wind up being marginalised and treated with suspicion by the very people you sought to help. Continue reading “Exodus 1:15 – 2:10”
The 19th century American humourist Josh Billings once said that laughter was the sensation of feeling good all over, but showing it only at one principle spot. In other words, while laughter might only be written on our faces, or issue as noise from our mouths, it is in fact reflective of a more general feeling that goes beyond mere amusement. Laughter is joyful precisely because joy is a condition, a state of being as much as a simple emotion; and laughter, which is joy’s harbinger, tells us as much about the person laughing as does about their feelings at any given moment. Continue reading “Genesis 18: 1-14”
PRESCRIPT: This sermon was preached at my local congregation as a lead up to the implementation of a stewardship program. It therefore contains specific references to the congregational church council and to the making of giving pledges that will otherwise be meaningless to the general reader.
In his book Fundamentalism and Freedom, the Scottish minister Peter Cameron records a church meeting in which two ministers who were moving on to new placements were farewelled by their old congregations. The representative from the first congregation, a church located in a comfortable middle-class neighbourhood, declared that their former minister had achieved membership growth of 25% and revenue growth of 50%, was adored by young and old alike, and had been a paragon of virtue and ministerial sure-footedness. As a result, they were delighted to report that he was now receiving his just reward: appointment to one of the wealthiest and most prestigious congregations in the land. Continue reading “Mark 8: 27-38”
The English writer and broadcaster Nigel Rees once said that racial prejudice was a “pigment of the imagination”. It’s a pretty awful pun, even if it is a clever play on words that neatly summarises the basis of any racism: fear of the other, of that which looks and behaves or even seems different. Continue reading “Mark 7: 24-30”
The great French novelist and playwright, Honoré de Balzac once declared that the law was a spider’s web through which the big flies passed while the little flies got caught. He was, of course, referring to that systemic hypocrisy which enables people with wealth and power to escape the consequences of their actions, while those without such influence suffer the full rigours of legal sanction. Continue reading “Mark 7: 1-23”