20 May 2010

My Favorite Preacher Unexpectedly Reminds Me Why I Miss Him

[First, a guarantee: I will post something about my life and not about church very soon. Probably when I get back from the Brewers-Twins series this weekend!]

I remember reading at the beginning of the school year some article in which the author claimed, "Good preaching changes lives." I know that statement is true when it comes to my life, and no one has changed it in that way more than Alan Jones, whom I'm profoundly lucky to have been introduced to during my discernment year.

I listened in Central Park today to an old sermon of his, one I'd never heard before. The text, I presume, is from Jeremiah 18 (the potter's house), but from the sound of his voice you've got to assume he was riled up enough about some personal or news-reported incident that it wouldn't have really mattered what the text was. His subject is authority, in particular the challenge of interpreting scripture and the peril of bringing it to bear on our lives without proper care, perspective, and--most of all--humility.

The sermon got me thinking back to one of the last late-night patio theology sessions that I was a part of before I headed north (yes, this is what seminarians do in their free time, which I'd despair of if I didn't have a record of how I spent my free time as an engineer). I said a lot that night about why I think the Anglican ethos gives us answers to how to be a functioning church without resorting to sola scriptura disengagement from the world's present realities or to a reliance on theological witch hunts to defend orthodoxy. Unsurprisingly, Jones sums up what I was trying to get at rather gracefully:

We are not without resources. We're not floundering around. We look to the cross; we share in this Eucharist; and surely we see a trajectory in scripture and history, the trajectory of inclusion and justice. That's our pilgrimage together.

Anyway, I highly recommend this gem from the "master of the serpentine sermon" (thanks, Gary). It has greatly lifted this exhausted liberal-centrist seminarian's spirits. I can't find a direct link anymore, but you want the 9/10/07 sermon that seems to be available here.

In other news, I watched the VTS commencement ceremony today. Brian McLaren, who I've never read but had assumed I would dislike, gave a great address (full disclosure, though: I missed the last few minutes to take a phone call and haven't had a chance to catch up yet). You can check it out here.


Rob Kennedy said...

You're going to the Brewers-Twins this weekend? I'm going on Saturday! Drop me a line if you want to get together.

Kyle Matthew Oliver said...

Oh, bummer. I've actually only got tickets for the Friday and Sunday games! Man, last night was brutal.