March 21, 2022
Recorded on March 13, 2022: As the Israelites celebrate Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, they do so hoping he will save them for colonial rule. The crowd, however, has forgotten what humble leadership looks like. When Christ does the work of a humble king, his humility makes him look more like a loser than a saviour and so the crowd rejects him.
Disturbing business as usual during Lent is done so that I better recognize the ways my life and actions parallel that of Rome, the colonizer. In this way, Lent helps me prepare for Easter. Lent, for me, is a time to disturb business as usual so that when I encounter the living Christ today -- in the world, in nature, in others -- I don’t hang that Christ on a cross I've helped construct.
March 19, 2022
Recorded on Feb. 26th 2022: Will Klassen talks about letting go so we can all participate in outcomes.
March 3, 2022
Recorded on Feb. 20, 2022.
I tend to believe that we’re all saved. Paul’s helpful for me because I believe that love calls to all, nothing we can do changes that fact: Jonah travels to the underworld, the teacher of Ecclesiastes losses the faith and blames God for all the evil in the world and yet the call to love finds them both.
In this sense, we’re all, from the beginning, regardless of our actions or beliefs, in the process of being saved.
Unfortunately, some chose not to believe the lie that they are not worthy of love, or they chose to believe that they and their religious cult are the only ones worthy of love and in so doing ignore the call of love by other means.
Submitting to the call of love is an ongoing process. Love is an open-ended invitation that is always in excess. It calls from mystery into mystery or in Paul's terms it is the eternal, or heaven or the spiritual realm that calls to be embodied in the earthly and concrete.
February 25, 2022
Recorded Feb. 13, 2022. Here Caleb gives an overview of Ecclesiastes, attempting to wrestle something meaningful from the meaninglessness of life.
All our actions are never enough. We eat, we sleep, we die, we're forgotten and it's God's fault.
Like the teacher of Ecclesiastes, Christ experiences alienation from God. It's possible to reread the ending of Ecclesiastes and a Christ-follower as follows: "What should we do when we're angry at God? When we’re confused and rightfully blame God for creating a world with overwhelming challenges? What should we do when we feel a weariness onto death caused by racism, sexism, war, climate change, and homophobia? The narrator calls us to carry on following Christ’s commandment - love one another as I have loved you, even after you’ve lost your faith.
February 18, 2022
Recorded on Feb. 6, 2022. On a systemic level, Jesus’ first followers are driven by oppression and subsistence living to leave everything and follow him. The first disciples don’t fully understand the practical consequences of Jesus’ life of abundance — life is a gift meant to be shared. Jesus’ teaching and fishing tips offer an alternative to the disciples’ politics of fear and scarcity. Such an alternative is more than enough to convince the disciples to leave their subsistence work and follow a teacher who will lead them places they may not have anticipated.
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.