178: Proper 13C (July 31, 2016)


178: Proper 13C (July 31, 2016)

Image: Trump Tower by Danny Huizinga

Featured Musician - “Close to You” My Anchor Holds from their album Dirty Jesus

Voice in the WildernessAnita Ford on Colossians 3:1-11 Clothing yourself in Christ

Episode 178 Proper 13C - (July 31, 2016)
Hello and welcome to the Pulpit Fiction Podcast, the lectionary podcast for preachers, seekers and Bible geeks. This is episode 178 for Sunday July 31, 2016, Proper 13, Year C.

Introduction and Check-in  

  • Welcome Simon Thomas!

Voice in the Wilderness: Anita Ford on Colossians 3:1-11 Clothing yourself in Christ

Featured Musician - “Close to You” My Anchor Holds from their album Dirty Jesus

DONATE: www.pulpitfiction.us/donate

  • Tony Hiatt,  bi-vocational Episcopal priest, serving a new church plant in Decatur, Texas -  I've been ordained for a little over a year, and the podcast has been a huge help to me for weekly sermon preparation. There's almost always something that one of you comes up with which sparks an idea that I hadn't thought of. Thanks, and keep up the good work!

Gospel Reading: Luke 12:13-21 The Rich Fool
Initial Thoughts

  • What have we skipped?

    • Beware the hypocrisy of the Pharisees
    • Do not fear- you are loved!
    • Do not fear for your physical safety- be faithful in all things
  • Overall focus on publically living out personal faith- preparing for the coming judgement (Luke 12:2-3)

Bible Study

  • Shift from personal safety to hypocrisy to material possessions

    • 12:1-12 - finding personal worth and value in what others think and personal, physical safety
    • 12:13-21 - finding personal worth and value in possessions
  • Initial request:

    • Triangulation - When someone tells someone to tell someone else what to do

      • Sometimes ok-intervention in domestic abuse, victim unable to speak out, etc
      • Usually not good
      • Reminiscent of Mary and Martha where Jesus again refuses to be the arbiter, judge or rescuer
    • Motivation behind the request: Greed

      • Valuing possessions over relationship
      • We traditionally love things and use people (recipe for unhappiness) instead of loving people and using things (recipe for happiness)
  • Our lives are defined as loved children of God, not our wealth

    • Wealth is measured in love and forgiveness
  • Rich Fool:

    • The Rich fool is inward focused on building up his own wealth

      • Note the pronouns: “I, I, I, my barn, I, my grain, my goods, my soul”
      • Not a choice between rich or poor- the man was rich before the parable begins - it is a question of what we do with our wealth
    • Not a message against saving or celebrating

      • God speaks through Joseph to urge Pharaoh to save up for the famine (Gen 41:17-36)
      • Multiple stories of celebration when the time is right
      • Neither at the expense of others or only for the sake of me, myself and I
    • Need for balance

      • Balance proper stewardship with caring for those most in need

        • Gleanings of the field
    • Ignorance of solo self-determination (i.e. I did it all by myself)

      • None of us does it all by ourselves
      • Wealth is not the problem- but wealth for oneself is incompatible with love of God
    • Death is a part of life – our only true legacy are the relationships we have made and lives we have transformed for the better

  • Five Lessons from R. Alan Culpepper of NIB 9: Luke and John

    • Preoccupation with possessions
    • Security in self-sufficiency
    • Grasp of Greed
    • Hollowness of Hedonism
    • Practical Atheism

Sermon Thoughts and Questions:

  • Where do we look for personal value and worth? Worship, confession, baptism and eucharist do not reveal our unworthiness but our incredible worthiness as beloved children of God and recipients of grace. If we see ourselves as inherently unworthy in the eyes of God then we are easily seduced and tempted to look to other things for our worth: appearance, power, wealth, etc.
  • Do we truly value people over possessions? How might you reflect this in your church? What is the most valuable possession of the church? What would happen if you gave it away?

    • Do we use our wealth and possessions to be a blessing or agent of transformation within our community?
  • Do we live as though there is a God or is not a God (practical atheism)? What is the evidence?

Psalm Nugget: Psalm 107:1-9, 43 with Richard Bruxvoort Colligan (psalmimmersion.com, @pomopsalmist)

Second Reading: Hosea 11:1-11 Unrequited Love
Initial Thoughts

  • Most of Hosea a story (metaphor) of marriage and infidelity. Here, the metaphor shifts to wounded parent. Interpretation of this passage varies widely:

    • “And clearly, this metaphor too is full of poignancy and power. As Walter Brueggemann observes, Hosea 11 is "among the most remarkable oracles in the entire prophetic literature."1 But perhaps this assessment is too modest; according to H. D. Beeby, having arrived at Hosea 11, "we penetrate deeper into the heart and mind of God than anywhere in the Old Testament."2 In a word, what the prophet finds in God's innermost mind and heart is grace.” (Clint McCann, Working Preacher)
    • “Most may not receive this as “good news” at first in the traditional sense, but rather more along the lines of spinach and colonoscopies, things we need and which will improve us, but which we may not like.”  (Timothy Simpson, Politics of Scripture)
    • Carol Howard Merritt, who wishes it wasn’t in the Lectionary (Christian Century)

      • “The backstory of Hosea is that he is a prophet who wants to illustrate God’s love. He marries Gomer, a sex worker. She is unfaithful, so he buys her back. The prophet Hosea is concerned with loyalty, particularly in this passage….
      • The hardest questions for me are: How do we lift up the reality that our scriptures are filled with proprietary notions regarding women? Is it ever good to preach texts in which humans are bought and sold? How do we speak of “redemption” with our history of slavery and human trafficking? How can we preach Hosea and struggle faithfully with the larger framework of the book?” (Carol Howard Merritt, The Hardest Question)

Bible Study

  • God as mother of Israel. Tender expressions of love and nurturing. “It was I who:”

    • Taught him to walk
    • Took him in arms.
    • Healed him.
    • Cords of love
    • “Treated them like those who lift infants to their cheek” - a motherly embrace
    • Bent down to them and fed them.
  • In response, Israel and Ephraim (the largest tribe within Israel):

    • Did not know
    • Refused to return
    • Bent on turning away
  • BUT, God will Rickroll

    • Not give you up
    • Grow in compassion
    • Won’t act on heat of anger
    • Won’t come in harsh judgment
  • Instead,

    • “They will walk after the LORD, who roars like a lion. When he roars, his children will come trembling from the west.11 They will come trembling like a bird, and like a dove from the land of Assyria; and I will return them to their homes, says the LORD.”
  • “As with the marriage metaphor in chapters 1-3, the use of the Divine Parent metaphor here illustrates the depth of God’s emotional responses to the prodigal Israel. God is a tender and instructive parent, offering wisdom and healing to God’s children at every turn. But as the child rejects his parent, Hosea 11 reveals God’s deep anguish and anger. God’s conflicting emotional commitment churn within God’s heart, but ultimately God chooses to express salvific care to the nation of Israel, once again rescuing them from captivity and establishing them in their own land.” (David Garber, Jr., Working Preacher)

Sermon Thoughts and Questions

  • “In homiletics class in seminary, we were repeatedly challenged to answer the question “So what’s the good news about this text?” Obviously, I don’t think that is easily answered in this week’s text. It is true that, when compared with the other deities in the region in antiquity, Yahweh is far more humane, emotionally mature, as well as less arbitrary and less capricious than any of his competitors. That larger cultural landscape is not easily conveyed, however, in your average 20 minute sermon, and even if it can be done, the result is far from satisfying. We want happy endings, or at least tidy ones. We want all our questions answered, if not within the sixty minutes of the current episode, at least by next year’s season premiere. We can wait a bit for closure, maybe for a few months in order to find out “Who shot J.R.?” but not too long.” (Timothy Simpson, Politics of Scripture)
  • So, which is it? A beautiful look into the gracious heart of God, an unpleasant, but necessary story that we must choke down, or a too, little, too late try at saving an unsaveable metaphor of human trafficking?

Tasty Wafer of the Week:

Thank you listeners

Featured Musician - “Close to You” My Anchor Holds from their album Dirty Jesus

Thanks to our Psalms correspondent, Richard Bruxvoort Colligan (psalmimmersion.com, @pomopsalmist). Thank you to Scott Fletcher for our voice bumpers, Dick Dale and the Del Tones for our Theme music (“Misirlou”), Nicolai Heidlas (“Sunday Morning”, "Real Ride" and “Summertime”) and The Steel Wheels for our transition music(“Nola’s First Dance” from their album Lay Down, Lay Low) and Paul and Storm for our closing music (“Oh No”).