192: Proper 27C (Nov. 6, 2016)


192: Proper 27C (Nov. 6, 2016)

Featured Musician - Heatherlyn “Do What You Can” from her album Heatherlyn.


Episode 192 Proper 27, Year C - (November 6, 2016)
Hello and welcome to the Pulpit Fiction Podcast, the lectionary podcast for preachers, seekers and Bible geeks. This is episode 192 for Sunday November 6, 2016, Proper 27, Year C.

Introduction and Check-in

  • Election
  • Cubs - 71 Years

    • Sports are a fun way to build community, and don’t have to be ignored from pulpit. Lots of creative ways to connect to the culture, e.g.  W flag for a parament, pastor throwing out mini footballs on Super Bowl Sunday. But have you seen it go too far?

Featured Musician - Heatherlyn “Do What You Can” from her album  Heatherlyn.

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Gospel Reading: Luke 20:27-38 1 Bride for Seven Brothers...
Initial Thoughts

  • Perhaps a good reading for an All Saints Sunday

Bible Study

  • Sadducees

    • Only argument in Luke Jesus has with the Sadducees
    • Text is unclear about the Sadducees except for 1 thing: they are anti-resurrection
    • Other info we know:

      • 2nd century BCE-destruction of the temple 70 CE
      • Focused on Temple worship
      • Beliefs according to Josephus:

        • There is no fate
        • God does not commit evil
        • Man has free will; “man has the free choice of good or evil”
        • The soul is not immortal; there is no afterlife, and
        • There are no rewards or penalties after death
  • Why does Resurrection matter? (Richard Swanson at workingpreacher.com)

    • Theological tempest in a Teapot

      • Sadducees only use Torah which does not speak to resurrection
      • Pharisees use historical books, wisdom books and prophets in which they see evidence for the resurrection
    • Real issue: God’s justice

      • w/o resurrection this life is the only life for God’s justice- which is not good news to the Jews under oppression by the Romans who seem free of God’s justice in this life
      • With resurrection those who are oppressed may be redeemed later
    • Sadducees deny God’s ultimate justice

      • Real concern for Luke’s community who have been decimated after the Jewish revolt
    • Sadducees attempt to reveal the ridiculousness of resurrection - Jesus refuses to accept their basic premise by appealing the greater justice of God
  • Greater justice?

    • Jesus is not rejecting marriage,but rejecting the possession of women: “won’t be given in marriage”
    • Marriage was not a love focused institution but a patriarchal institution in which women were bought and sold

      • “Who gives this woman to be with this man?”
    • Women’s rights have been very much in the public discourse this political season - perhaps this is the best time to address this issue theologically
    • The Hardest Question: Marriage is no longer about property but about belonging. What does this passage say about belonging to the family of God and to one another?

Sermon Thoughts and Questions:

  • I have never thought of resurrection as an opportunity for God’s justice after this life. What does God’s justice look like in this life? What about people who seem to “get away” with bad things?
  • David Lose prompts us to address three questions (with Eric’s responses):

    • What is the resurrection going to be like?

      • 1 Corinthians 2:9, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him"
      • We do not know- the resurrection will be very different, Lose: “The ordinary events and relationships by which we track our journey though this mortal life -- marriage, childbirth, graduations, retirements and so on -- do not characterize our eternal lives because resurrection life is not merely an extension of this life but something wholly different.”
      • God will be there and be with us
    • Will my loved ones be there or does Jesus say they won’t?

      • Jesus is not addressing this issue here, but is addressing the issue of justice
      • Our lives are defined by relationship- with God and one another, it would seem likely that these relationships would persist, but perhaps in ways we cannot conceive.
    • Is the resurrection the same as immortality?

Psalm Nugget: Psalm 145:1-5, 17-21 Richard Bruxvoort Colligan (psalmimmersion.com, @pomopsalmist, Patreon)

Second Reading: Haggai 1:15b-2:9 Work- for I am with you
Initial Thoughts

  • The only time Haggai is in the lectionary.

    • Preach the whole book, with this passage as a focal point. The whole thing is only two chapters, with one main theme.
  • Interesting read for All Saints Sunday. Lots of possibilities around the theme of generations, and building community.
  • “The prophet Haggai’s moment in the religious spotlight, as described in the eponymous biblical book, lasted only about four months. Jeremiah he was not. So it’s a small book—most people can’t find it without looking it up in the table of contents and most ministers I know couldn’t even tell you what it’s about. If a printer accidentally omitted it from a batch scarcely anyone would notice. But its brevity belies its pivotal significance in the life of post-exilic Judah, as it cast about for a new identity in the wake of the return from Babylon.”  (Timothy Simpson, Political Theology Today)

Bible Study

  • Haggai in general:

    • “His prophecy consists of one central idea; the temple must be rebuilt if God is to be honored properly. And after the temple is rebuilt, the proper feasts can once again be celebrated in the holy city, Jerusalem.” (John Holbert, Patheos: Opening the Old Testament)
    • “Haggai claims that proper worship in the proper place is just what God demands. No wonder that Haggai is rarely read. He sounds like an apologist for those who think that going to church is the very essence of religious belief, regardless of how one behaves in the rest of life.” (John Holbert, Patheos: Opening the Old Testament)
  • Historical Context is key

    • “Second year of King Darius” can be translated to August 29, 520 BCE.
    • Darius “was noted for his administrative genius and for his great building projects.” (Encyclopedia Britannica)
    • Two kings after Cyrus the Great, who ended the Jewish exile, which ended officially in 538 BCE (18 years before Haggai)
    • Things were not going well with the rebuild of the Temple - or with the city in general. Things were pretty much a shambles.
  • Early verses in Haggai

    • The people say it is not time to rebuild the Temple because they aren’t ready. They have been struggling with learning how to thrive again, so they have put off rebuilding the Temple.
    • 1:9 “My house lies in ruin while all of you hurry off to your own houses.” People are more interested in their self-interest than in the common good.
    • Finally, some people got their act together and started building - Zerubbabel, Joshua son of Jehozadak
  • “Nostalgia is the most toxic impulse”

    • Great discussion about nostalgia on Stuff You Should Know podcast.
    • “Who is left among you that saw this house in its former glory?” My translation: “Stop pining for the Glory Days. Take courage, and get the work done now.”

Sermon Thoughts and Questions

  • “Haggai cannot be used as justification for expensive buildings and furnishings. The temple was no white elephant. Rather, for him the temple’s reconstruction was the key to restoring the community’s well-being.” When are construction projects in church something in which to rally around, and when are they used to build up something other than the Kingdom of God?

    • “The next time we gaze at our own temples, our churches, our houses of worship, we ought not judge them on the size of their steeples, the splendor of their pipe organs, or the grandeur and number of their classrooms. Do they speak to the world that God is there? Do they shout the truth of the freedom-making God? Only on those bases can any such places be judged.” (John Holbert, Patheos: Opening the Old Testament)
  • “If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives, let’s go.” – Lemony Snicket, nom de plume of Daniel Handler. You can’t keep putting God off and expect things to go well. God must be first priority, then take care of the other things. Object Lesson: Packing a briefcase, fill it up, then try to put in Bible, and it won’t fit. Then take it all out, put Bible in first before putting in rest of stuff, which then fits fine..

    • “all of their efforts at creating the kind of flourishing environment that Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel had envisioned had, as of yet, come to nought. The reason, the prophet asserts, lay in their failure to properly prioritize the reconstruction of Yahweh’s house.”  (Timothy Simpson, Political Theology Today)

Tasty Wafer of the Week:


  • Thank you listeners


Featured Musician - Heatherlyn “Do What You Can” from her album  Heatherlyn.

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”).