Archive for the 'sermons' Category

More Intimate for the Distance

30 December 2007

Sermon delivered at the UNMC on April 10, 2005.

I have always depended on the possibility of meaning in all experience. Nothing is so trivial that I don’t want to discern its significance and put it in a universal context. Every bite of an apple, every bus ride, every conversation, offers transcendent grace, if only we will choose to perceive it. The deeply-lived life is painted stroke by stroke.

In October I began my travels through Mexico and Central America. I was excited that my route through southern Mexico took me through the city of Oaxaca on last year’s Day of the Dead, November second. El Día de los Muertos is a very big deal in that part of Mexico — Memorial Day, Halloween, and a bit of Mardi Gras all in one — and is a vital event in the spiritual lives of many of Mexico’s indigenous peoples. For a person determined to draw meaning from the world, it offered an marvelous opportunity.

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El Dios que nos queda pequeño

30 December 2007

“Ustedes universalistas”, dijo J.M. Pullam acerca del año 1900, “están ilegalmente ocupando la palabra más grande del idioma. El mundo ya empieza a querer esa gran palabra, y ustedes universalistas deberían mejorar la propiedad, o marcharse”.

En aquel entonces, la gran tensión dentro del movimiento universalista era si el universalismo sería una fe cristiana, y hasta que punto. Al respeto Brainard Gibbons en 1949 se preguntó:

“¿Es el universalismo una confesión cristiana, o es algo más, una religión verdaderamente universal? Este asunto es el más vital que hemos enfrentado nunca, porque el cristianismo y este universalismo más grande son irreconciliables. Un decisión grave debe ser tomado, ¡y pronto! Si el universalismo no significa algo distinto y afirmativo, caerá hasta ser naderìa. Ni amado ni odiado, sólo ignorado”.

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The God Who Outgrew Itself

30 December 2007

Sermon delivered at the UNMC on August 15, 2004. See also the associated pastoral prayer.

“You Universalists,” said J. M. Pullman around 1900, “have squatted on the biggest word in the English language. Now the world is beginning to want that big word, and you Universalists must improve the property, or move off the premises.”

At the time, the great tension within the Universalist movement was whether, and to what extent, Universalism would be a Christian faith. Brainard Gibbons asked this very question in 1949:

“Is Universalism a Christian denomination, or is it something more, a truly universal religion? This issue [he continued] is the most vital Universalism has ever faced, for Christianity and this larger Universalism are irreconcilable. A momentous decision must be made, and soon! Unless Universalism stands for something distinctive and affirmative, it falls in[to] indistinguishable, negative nothingness—neither loved nor hated, just ignored!”

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