The Church makes mistakes because its decision-makers are human beings who need God — which is why the church exists in the first place, writes the Rev. Jason Valendy.
Over the weekend, while the Judicial Council of the UMC made …
In 1999 a little study was conducted in Germany using ketchup. The Germans who were formula fed as an infant,…
We’re not as rational as we might think, writes the Rev. Jason Valendy, so we’ll get along better if we go easy on one another.
Clearly Cranmer was among the happiest of the reformers…
Thomas Cranmer was the Archbishop of Canterbury during Henry the VIII’s reign. He saw a lot of craziness from the king of his time but he also saw a lot of craziness from the schism in the Church that has come to be called the “Reformation.”
Ever a student of his surroundings, Cranmer noted something about the human condition that recent Psychology and Behavioral Economics has come to ratify: “What the heart loves, the will chooses, and the mind justifies.”
As products of the “enlightenment” we like to think that we make rational decisions and that our decisions are guided by reason and understanding the facts of the matter. We hang our hat on the idea that if we could just get the other side to see the facts and use their reason, they too would see as we see. If only liberals could see the silliness of their desire for a greater national government! If only conservatives could see the irrationality of their position!
Cranmer understood that our mind is not doing the choosing. It is our heart and our gut. We use our mind to only justify our already desired choice. Much of our desire to “learn the issues” is the work to discover the “flaw” in the others position and to reinforce our previously held position. Open your heart and you will see where your decisions will take you. Perhaps more importantly, look at the heart of another and see that they too are just like you, just trying to choose and justify the longing of their heart.
Go easy on one another.
It is a common (and frankly very good) on Easter Sunday to explore the echos of a new creation being born with the raising of Jesus Christ (here is a great sermon by my co-pastor on this very idea. Here is another sermon by a friend on this idea). The …
Great preachers not only tie together the head and the heart, but they also do two additional things that vault them to greatness. Most preachers have glimpses of Great, but very few can sustain Greatness for longer than a sermon or two. Great preachin…
Like any other person who has a craft they work to refine, I think a lot about the craft of preaching. I refu…
The Rev. Jason Valendy looks at key events of Easter in terms of actions and reactions that still are relevant to our understanding today.
The death of Jesus was supposed to be the end of the story. Death is the ultimate “end” we have come to fear. The great irony of God that is revealed on Easter is that death is not the end – but rather the necessary step into a new resurrected beginning. The irony of the end being the beginning still flabbergasts us to this day. How is it possible that the one who was killed still lives today? How can the work of peace come by non-violence? How can forgiveness be for the enemy? How can a dead God give life to the world?
How can all this be?
Christians call it Easter. Perhaps the words of Paul (1 Corinthians 1) are most appropriate here:
For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,
‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.’
Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.