January 25, 2022
The Parable of Jonah and the Fish, Part 2 - a plagiarized sermon by Caleb Ratzlaff
Recorded on Jan. 23, 2022.
Caleb, using material from the podcast The Bible for Normal People, introduces the theme of justice in the book of Jonah. Specifically, Caleb asks along with the book, if justice looks more like punishment or mercy and what does repentance have to do it? By stressing mercy, the book of Jonah provides a counterbalance to other prophetic Old Testament texts that seem to lean towards punishment. That the Bible itself struggles with this tension within justice, between judgement and mercy, calls us to grapple with this same question. How do we judge well while believing that justice bends towards mercy?
January 25, 2022
Jonah Dies, Part 1 - a plagiarized sermon by Caleb Ratzlaff
Recorded on Jan. 16, 2022.
Caleb, using material from the podcast, The Bible for Normal People, introduces the story of Jonah as a parable, specifically a parable about Isreal. Jonah's ordeal in chapter one leads to a new appreciation for God's relationship with the non-Hebrew world. In chapter two, Jonah sinks down to Sheol, the underworld. With a giant fish, God reaches down to the land of the dead and brings Jonah back to life. Through the work of the natural world, Jonah is reborn.
January 6, 2022
Recorded on Jan. 2, 2022:
“In the beginning was creative love and the creative love was with God and the creative love was God.”
Love isn’t only transforming life into more life, but it’s also transforming death into life. Love seeks to transform those places of shame, anxiety, or oppression - such as crippling debt, the pressures of expectations, or the stresses of capitalism and the lie of scarcity. We discover the manger -- the word becoming flesh -- at night in moments of struggle.
To rest in the bosom of God looks like loving one another, discovering creative love as it takes on flesh among us.
December 21, 2021
Recorded on Dec. 12, 2021. Kathleen talks about ‘what is joy’ and ‘what gives her joy’. She proposes that joy is something deeper than happiness and can be an intentional act we carry out each day. Life isn’t easy but in its many experiences, we can learn to have joy and spread it effectively even during rough days.
December 9, 2021
Recorded on Dec. 5, 2021 at Westview. In this message, Caleb explores three movements of faith - blind acceptance, doubt, and grace. Both blindness and doubt have their place and can be life-giving when guided by grace.
Caleb recounts how he's experienced these three stages of faith through his relationship to the Christmas story. As a child, he blindly enjoyed the season before doubt showed him that the story is primarily about opposition to oppressive power structures and is almost definitely not historically accurate. Nevertheless, he argues that Luke's emphasis on the manager affirms all our modern Christmas feels, mainly that peace on earth looks like warmth, safety, and care.
November 25, 2021
In part 2 of Knowledge and Certainty, Jared revisits the topic of epistemology, the study of the nature of knowledge, by giving a short history of western society’s ways of answering the question “how do we know what we know?” He discusses traditional, modern, and postmodern thinking, and, with that history in mind, once again addresses his own personal journey with apologetics. We often hold very different beliefs and values, differences that are further complicated by the fact that we don’t all agree on the nature of truth and knowledge.
Recorded on Oct. 31, 2021
November 17, 2021
Recorded on Oct. 17, 2021, Caleb asks "what texts that call us to suffer, serve, or even to be a slave mean for marginalized people that have already experienced so much suffering?" How does this question inform our reading of Jesus' prediction of his death and explanation of the crucifixion?
November 5, 2021
Recorded on Oct. 10th Caleb discusses the story of the rich young man and what it takes to get into the neighbourhood of God.
Do not defraud: do not be afraid to stop the unjust accumulation of wealth even if such work comes with persecution, as Jesus says it will in Mark 10.
Our hope: learn to share and you will receive, Jesus claims, a hundred times as much — homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields — now in this present age as well as the age to come.
September 29, 2021
The following is a message shared at Westview on Sept. 5, 2021. Here Caleb gives a close reading of Proverbs. 10:1-22, arguing, with the help of his professor, Calvin Seerveld, that Proverbs can be read not as a collection of isolated sayings, but as cohesive poetic units. When read this way, the Proverbs sits more comfortably in the wisdom tradition and the trajectory that moves through Jesus.
Proverbs 10 is concerned with the heart rather than the right knowledge and doctrine or about working hard and being “successful”. Riches are not a measure of wisdom, in fact, wealth is a danger for the foolish. Proverbs 10 has a spirit of playfulness, care, and welcoming that calls for justice and love: a love that dresses all kinds of rebellious misdeeds with clothes.
Proverbs 10:1-22 translated by Calvin Seerveld
“Proverbs 10: 1-22: from poetic paragraphs to preaching” In Reading and Hearing the Word: From Text to Sermons. Essays in Honor of john H. Stek edited by Arie C. Leder. Grand Rapids: Calvin Theological Seminary.
July 15, 2021
Jared shares some of his journey in coming to terms with ambiguity and the limitations of human knowledge, pondering how we know what we know, and how certain we can really be of it. He suggests some ways that we can address the issue, both in general as well as from a Christian standpoint.
"As Christians, our primary calling isn’t to be right, or to hold the correct doctrine."