Difficult Questions

/Tag:Difficult Questions
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September 2018

“In Praise of Romantic Love”/Song of Songs 2:8-13, 8:6-7; Genesis 2: 18-24; Mark 10:6-9/ Rev. Rodger Allen/9-23-2018

By |September 25th, 2018|Sermons|

  The “Song of Songs,” also known as the “Song of Solomon,” has not had an easy time of it, as far as books of the Bible go. Whether or not it should be included in the Bible at all was more than once a matter of heated debate as the contents of the canon were being selected, and in fact it may have only squeaked in due to its already-established popularity among the people of Israel. We can easily imagine why some early Christian leaders raised questions about the Song. Picture a group of the early “Christian fathers”, in the third or fourth century or so, still making decisions about what’s right and wrong for their young church, having recently decided to make their stand on the belief that celibacy is the most desirable lifestyle for Christians when it comes to questions of male/female relationships. Oh, it’s okay to be married if you must, they have allowed, but the ideal to aspire to if possible is a life without physical intimacy, without desire, without involvement with the opposite sex. Priests, for example, are to be unmarried and celibate, as will also be monks and nuns. Intimacy is regarded at best as a necessary evil, and at worst as nothing more than a temptation, a sin, a failure. The ideal life, they have decided, is one without physical intimacy; that’s what God considers best. […]

August 2018

“Dear Ephesus: 2. How You Became Who You Are” Rev. Rodger Allen Eph. 2: 1-12; Eph. 2: 11-22 8.19.18

By |August 29th, 2018|Sermons|

                 One recent Sunday, we began the sermon by discussing the old tradition in the Presbyterian Church of preaching straight through, in a series of sermons, a book of the Bible. And we decided that while we really weren’t anxious to commit to thirty weeks in a row on a long book like Romans or Revelation, as has been done, we would try a series of four worship services, going through the relatively short letter to the Ephesians, which is one set of readings the Lectionary recommends to us, for July and August. So we started with chapter one of this Pauline letter to the young Christian Church Paul had started in the city of Ephesus a few years before. […]

July 2018

“Why Are We Here?” Rev. Rodger Allen 7-1-18 Mark 6: 1-2, Psalm 100

By |July 5th, 2018|Sermons|

  It’s important for you to know, as we begin today, that much of the material in today’s sermon comes from a sermon written by the Rev. William Willimon, and printed in the magazine “Pulpit Resources.” I tell you that first because I feel strongly that preachers should always give proper credit when they use the words or ideas of someone else, so I always tell you if I’m doing that. But it’s especially important to understand that today because there are parts of the message today that people could conclude I wrote to refer to a particular issue or group of people at Paris Presbyterian Church; that I was trying to influence our direction somehow. This introduction lets you know I didn’t do that; this is not directed at anyone or anything in particular, here. As far as I know, Rev. Willimon’s never even been to Paris Presbyterian Church, so he couldn’t possibly have been writing about us. No, his remarks reflect a situation found in many, many churches, of many different denominations, all over the country. This isn’t personal.  […]

April 2018

“Mark’s Jesus: 5. The Savior” Rev. Rodger Allen Selected verses from Mark 11, 12, 14, & 15; Psalm 118: 23-28; Isaiah 53: 3-6 3-25-18

By |April 11th, 2018|Sermons|

  For several weeks  we’ve been looking at the gospel-writer Mark’s description of Jesus; his impressions of Jesus as Teacher, as Healer, as Includer, as Reformer. Today we’re going to combine Mark’s description with that of an imaginary disciple, who we’ll name Isaac. Now Isaac, the way we’re imagining him, was not one of the twelve central disciples. He’s better described as one of the “fringe” disciples—with Jesus sometimes, but not at others; being interested, but not totally committed; still fence-sitting, in a way, as to whether he believes all this talk about Jesus being the Messiah. Isaac, we’re going to suppose, kept a diary, and today we’ll read excerpts from the Gospel of Mark, and excerpts from the imaginary fringe-disciple Isaac’s diary. […]

March 2018

“Mark’s Jesus: 4. The Reformer” Rev. Rodger Allen/Mk. 7:1-23; Isaiah 1:11-17; Amos 5:21-24/3-18-18

By |March 26th, 2018|Sermons|

It’s difficult,  at least for those of us who have looked into church history at all, to think of the word “reform” without thinking of the capital-R “Reformation,” that 16th-century movement initiated by Martin Luther and a few others which resulted in the birth of the Protestant Church. Many of you have heard the story: [...]