Sermons must leave a lot of good things out (try as I might to pack them all in); they paddle by tributaries of interest for which there’s no time to devote further exploration. So the following represents corroborating comment on what we tried to say last Sunday.
As for the introductory reference to Karl Barth’s sermon for which he had to later apologize, have a look here.
Mockingbird (mbird.com) does us the kindness of providing two items of resonance with last Sunday’s sermon: comment on the nature, and complexity, of forgiveness, AND a clip from a recent episode of Parks & Recreation that features the source of my introductory illustration, Patton Oswalt, performing an unedited, unrehearsed monologue. Oh, and even reference to Brennan Manning whose quote about how to see ourselves rounded out our sermon from a couple weeks before.
If you needed evidence that what motivates us down deep is the deep desire for acceptance–for a sense that we are right with the world–consider this new evidence about the prevalence of mental breakdown. We’re desperate to know this world and we aren’t meaningless and find ourselves collapsing in droves the more we can’t find a basis for thinking so. Consider also this chilling insight from the aunt of Tamerlan Tsarnaev that underscores just how powerful the desire to, as we said Sunday, “know you’re not no one”:
The challenges in the U.S. were hard on the family, which comes from a centuries-old, patriarchal Caucasian tradition of mountain warriors that has often been at odds with Slavic Russian society. “It was hard because you realize that you used to be somebody there, but here, you’re a nobody,” said Maret Tsarnaeva, the brothers’ aunt. “As Chechens, we always had to work hard to prove ourselves, no matter where we were.“
We waded into the deepest waters during our Q&A as one of you asked the question, “what outcome from the Boston tragedy should we most desire as it relates to the perpetrator who remains alive?” I referenced a comment from Robert George about Dr Gosnell as an analogy to how we might think about Mr Tsarnaev. Here is that quote.
Finally, Miroslav Volf became part of our discussion in Q&A. For an introduction to him you might look here. Then you might read an article I found very helpful in how it fleshes out what it means to live “faithfully present.” Volf renders that idea in the phrase “Soft Difference” which is the name of the article you can find here.
Here’s to a leisurely yet illuminating paddle,