Archives: Proper 8

Crackpot Jesus

No doubt all of you have heard the story of the water pot that has an existential crisis. No? Let me share it with you.

“A water-bearer in India had two large pots. Each hung on opposite ends of a pole that he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, while the other was perfect. The latter always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house. The cracked pot arrived only half-full. Every day for a full two years, the water-bearer delivered only one and a half pots of water.

The perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, because it fulfilled magnificently the purpose for which it had been made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its imperfection, miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After the second year of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, the unhappy pot spoke to the water-bearer one day by the stream.

“I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you,” the pot said.

“Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?” Continue reading

Idiot Faith

Right.  This has got to be one of the most messed up stories in the Old Testament.

Abraham’s near-sacrifice of Isaac, I mean.

And it’s not like we have a scarcity of truly disturbing stories in the OT.

There’s David deliberately sending Uriah to be killed so he can hook up with Bathsheba.

There’s Cain killing his own brother Abel over an agricultural misunderstanding.

And that favorite for family fun, Jael inviting Sisera into her tent, tucking him in for a nap, and then driving a tent peg through his skull.  Charming!

I mean, it’s just terrifying and there’s no other way around it.

Put Abraham and Isaac into a modern context.

Picture a man holding a gun to his ten-year-old son’s head, ready to pull the trigger.

There would be SWAT teams aiming laser-guided assault rifles at him from behind parked police cars, police and news helicopters buzzing overhead broadcasting the standoff live around the world, and a hostage negotiator over a bullhorn, begging the father to stand down and asking him why he would want to kill his son.

The answer?

“Because God told me to do it.” Continue reading

Six Weddings and a Funeral for My Arrogant Discipleship

“One midnight hospital vigil, one funeral, one new job, one dead mouse under the kitchen sink smelling up the whole church, one brave parishioner kind enough to deal with said mouse, one interview with the paper, one never-ending church directory project concluded, two sermons written…and six weddings. A week in the insane and fabulous life of being a priest.”

That’s what I posted on Facebook last night thinking over the adventure of the last seven days.

Last Monday when I looked over my calendar and across the expanse of the week ahead, I could never have imagined everything that would transpire.

I thought it would be relatively quiet, organizing everything I need to arrange before I go on vacation, making sure the wheels of the parish will continue to turn while I’m gone.

Little did I know that in one short week I would have some of the most powerful spiritual experiences of my ministry thus far, and learn that I was completely wrong about my own role in them. Continue reading