Inclusive Membership, Prophetic Vision, And The American Church
The claim that we belong to God, a God who decisively determines our true identity amidst the competing claims upon our hearts and minds made by the idols of the world, is central to Stroupe's prophetic vision of the liberating call of the gospel in a world governed by the power of death. The following group of sermons, taken from various studies of New Testament texts, brings this claim and its consequences for Christian faithfulness sharply into focus. The dialectical complexity between good news and bad news in our journeys with the God of the Bible continues here as a consistent refrain.
Wilton Lewis stood with his hands on his hips, studying the sanctuary wall, not trusting himself to speak. He wanted to spit, was thwarted by the fact that he was inside, and instead swallowed hard and said, “This is vile. Disgusting and vile.” He turned to his right and added, “I apologize, Reverend Cashmore. This does not represent the good people of Port William. You know that, I hope.”
Since Albert Einstein is considered the genius above all geniuses, he is often credited quotes he never said. (If Einstein said it, it must be true.) That includes the saying that insanity is defined as doing the same thing again and again and expecting to get a different result. Actually, it wasn't until the 1980's that he was first connected to that saying, but it doesn't matter who actually said it, because these three scriptures seem to validate the saying.
Seven years ago, our family moved from southern Virginia to northeast Wisconsin. As you might expect, spring comes later here. Fall comes earlier. And winter is a much different experience in northeast Wisconsin than it was in southern Virginia. The same temperatures that seemed bone-chilling in Virginia are good reason to leave the mufflers and mittens at home in Wisconsin. Of course, many of the retired folks in my congregation here take their cue from the geese and fly south for the winter each year.