In the city of Chicago, one cold, dark night, a blizzard was settling in. A little boy was selling newspapers on the corner, while other people were in and out of the cold. The little boy was so cold that he wasn’t trying to sell many papers. He walked up […]

Sermon: Born to Love

When I was eight years old, my Gramma Della (Renzella Tilma, a staunch Dutch-German Presbyterian), gave me my very first Bible. This was before they had all the different versions for kids, etc., so it was the King James, of course, which made little sense to an eight year old. […]

Sermon: Radical Sabbath

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Akwasi Frimpong grew up in a one-room house in Kumasi, Ghana. As a boy, he dreamed of being an athlete, but life was extremely hard for him and his eight siblings. Eventually, he left Ghana with his mother for the Netherlands, where he worked very hard to become an athlete, […]

Sermon: God’s Laughable Dream

Calvin – of the Calvin and Hobbes cartoon – had a big upside down cardboard box he called the “transmogrifier.” Calvin used the transmogrifier to turn himself and Hobbes into a wide variety of creatures. Set the dial to the desired new thing you wanted to become (i.e. write it […]

Sermon: Revealed

A number of years ago, Massachusetts General Hospital – one of the great teaching hospitals in the United States – did an experimental program that received a lot of national attention. In fact, it was the subject of an ABC 20/20 segment. The experiment was organized and orchestrated by the […]

Sermon: Everyone Is Searching

Every preacher’s favorite Flannery O’Connor story is one called “Revelation.” The Reader’s Digest version goes like this: “Ruby Turpin sat in a crowded doctor’s waiting room. As she evaluated herself on the social ladder, Ruby always came out more than a notch above everybody else—particularly that scowling teenage girl seated […]

Sermon: Afflicted

And then there’s the story about the old miser who wanted to be buried with his money; hoarded every red cent he ever made. Even though he was a multimillionaire, he never even spent any money on his wife: never bought her anything or took her anywhere. In fact, he […]

Sermon: Stewards of Joy

The late Fred Craddock told the following story: “It is not with the blink of the eye that a thirty-something year old will say to me, “Let’s see now, was it next Sunday that my daughter was going to be baptized?” I said, “Yeah, next Sunday.” “Well . . . […]


Several years ago, one of my parishioners gave me a wonderful little book called: The Gospel According to Peanuts. In one cartoon, Charlie Brown is sitting under a tree talking to Peppermint Patty, who asks him, “What do you think security is, Chuck?” Charlie Brown thinks about it a moment […]

Sermon: The New Normal