A Sermon Based on Diana Butler Bass’ book Freeing Jesus

Image of the cover of Diana Butler Bass’ book Freeing Jesus

Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” He asked, “Who are you…


So put away your lies and speak the truth to one another because we are all part of one another. When you are angry, don’t let it carry you into sin. Don’t let the sun set with anger in your heart or give the devil room to work. If you have been stealing, stop. Thieves must go to work like everyone else and work honestly with their hands so that they can share with anyone who has a need. Don’t let even one rotten word seep out of your mouths. Instead, offer only fresh words that build others up when…


The Gospel According to Ted Lasso Part 1

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who…


A sermon about the stoning of Stephen (Acts 6:1–7:2a, 44–60), white Christians, and “A Prayer of a Weary Black Woman”

Image of a hand filled with large stones

This is the Easter season, a time when we reflect upon resurrection and possibilities for new life. In the two Sundays since Easter, the Narrative Lectionary has taken us from Jesus revealing himself to two grieving followers he met on the road to Emmaus to one of the leaders in the early church getting stoned. And we’re not talking ‘peace and love’ stoned here. We’re talking the ‘bashing his skull with rocks’ kind of stoned. Why in the world would this gruesome story be read during the joyful Easter season?

To help us get there, let’s think of Acts as…


a sermon on baptism, repentance, and the Capitol Riot

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. …


A sermon on the Holy Spirit, Spiritual Gifts, and Building Beloved Community

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by…


Photo credit: Nam Y. Huh/AP

Holy God,

Today we remember Pentecost, the day that the Holy Spirit lit a fire in the souls of Jesus’ disciples and the Church was born. Scripture calls Your Spirit an Advocate, a Counselor, and a Helper. It tells us that the Holy Spirit is the giver of spiritual gifts and the answer to our prayers. She is Your spirit that dwells within us.

That Greek word for spirit, pneuma, also means breath. The Holy Spirit, the breath of God within humankind. It is not lost on us, Lord, that we celebrate the arrival of the breath of God on…


A sermon about faith, doubt, and the unfolding of mystery

Lakeith Stanfield, Noah Segan, and Daniel Craig in Rian Johnson’s ‘Knives Out.’

Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you — unless you have come to believe in vain.

For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the…


A sermon about the Corinthian church and individual freedom vs. communal freedom

After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. There he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them, and they worked together — by trade they were tentmakers. Every sabbath he would argue in the synagogue and would try to convince Jews and Greeks. ~Acts 18:1–4 NRSV

Now I appeal…


When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting…

Robin Bolen Anderson

I'm a progressive Baptist pastor, and, no, that's not an oxymoron.

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