Perhaps Phillips Brooks has given us one of the best definitions of preaching when he wrote that preaching is "Truth Through Personality." Brooks served Boston's Trinity Episcopal Church for 26 years, starting his pastorate in 1869, though he may be best known to us as the author of the Christmas carol "O Little Town of Bethlehem." The problem we have today is that we love to follow the Phillips Brooks who wrote the hymn, sitting safely in our sanctuary singing: "O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie; Above thy deep and dreamless sleep, the silent stars go by; Yet in thy dark s
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Oscar Wilde penned a powerful story about behaviors and definitions and justice called The Picture of Dorian Gray. Dorian was a handsome young man, a model of physical beauty and moral virtue. People complimented him on his good graces. Parents pointed to him as an example to their youth. One artist even painted an exquisite portrait of him.
"Have you seen it?" whispered the Barbie doll to her next door neighbour.
The next Barbie doll in line was instantly alert. There were five different Barbie dolls, who lived jumbled together in the toy cupboard but who were so jealous of each other that they rarely spoke. "Seen what?" asked the second Barbie doll, blue eyes darting all round the room.
"The Princess," replied the first Barbie with glee. "Caitlin's done her hair and it looks terrible!"
These verses from Mark's gospel are a call to commitment, a call to sacrifice, and a call to give up everything of earthly value in life. To say these are difficult verses is truly an understatement. It is pretty clear that the disciples are not at all ready for what Jesus is saying. They are not ready for Jesus to die and they certainly are not ready to die themselves.