Rev. King and the Politics of Proclamation

mlk_mugshot_birmingham
Rev. King’s 1963 Birmingham mugshot on the occasion of his arrest

Today would have been the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s 90th birthday, and it marks an important holiday in the civic calendar of the United States (though, like other federal holidays, is observed on a Monday).

This time of year, many people post quotes from Rev. King: sometimes to simply mark the day, sometimes to call their fellow citizens to act for social justice. If you get on Facebook or Twitter over the next few days, expect to see quotes from the “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered during the March on Washington. Expect to see the famous line, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” excerpted from the “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” Expect, on rare occasion, to see his final public address, in which he declared, “I’ve been to the mountaintop.” Continue reading “Rev. King and the Politics of Proclamation”

Ponder Anew: Let Women Proclaim the Resurrection

There’s no shortage of reasons to ordain women, but the most effective argument I’ve ever heard is this:

Jesus Christ, on the first day of the new creation, sent Mary Magdalene as the first person to proclaim the Gospel in its entirety, to tell the world that Christ is risen. (Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!)

Jonathan Aigner at Ponder Anew picks up on this as he laments that he’s never heard a woman preach on Easter Sunday. Even though our Lord sent women out on that first holy morning, even though Mary Magdalene is the Apostle to the Apostles, women are so rarely in the pulpit on Easter morning.

For my own part, going on now thirty Easter sermons, I can only remember hearing a woman preach this most holy feast one year.

Gender inequality is still a very real problem in the Church, even in traditions like the UMC and the ELCA that ordain women. I know many women in ministry serving as solo and associate pastors, but off the top of my head, only know of one serving as the senior pastor of a parish. The way most parishes divide preaching responsibilities, with the senior preaching Christmas and Easter, that means that men are in the pulpit on Easter morning even in churches served by women in associate roles.

And so, as Aigner suggests:

Let’s follow Jesus’ example. Next year, let’s have a woman in every pulpit, preaching the good news of the resurrected Christ. In fact, let’s do the same thing every year.

Until next year, I leave you with two sermons from the Rev. Anna Tew and the Rev. Katherine Museus, faithful women and talented preachers serving Christ’s one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church who were in the pulpit on Easter morning, sharing the Good News and envisioning a resurrected community.

Re-Arranging the Markan Narrative: A Modest Lectionary Proposal

DSC_2988There’s a saying among preachers: “Two cheers for the lectionary.”

The Revised Common Lectionary keeps us rooted in the ongoing and unfolding narrative of the liturgical year, provides a wide choice of texts from which to preach, and unites Protestants across denominational lines. In short, it moves us towards becoming a more fully catholic Church. Some proponents of sermon series or the “Narrative Lectionary” dismiss this achievement as yearning for a long-lost “Christendom,” but we should not be so quick to dismiss the lectionary’s major accomplishments. Lutherans, Presbyterians, Methodists, Episcopalians, and even a few Baptists reading and preaching on the same texts? Deo gratias! Continue reading “Re-Arranging the Markan Narrative: A Modest Lectionary Proposal”