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The Resurrection: You Don’t Get It; It Gets You (via Will Willimon)

Will Willimon on why human understanding never expects resurrection:

Mary’s perfectly logical, understandably natural need to pursue the body of her beloved Jesus has not yet room for the miracle that has happened. The voice of Jesus has called to her, across an abyss of death, thrown a line to her across the cavernous expanse between her little logic of red wheelbarrows and all that and the power of God to work wonder. Like the voice that shatters glass, the voice of Jesus has shattered Mary’s world, called her forward to new possibility, new future.
Mary is now able to obey, to tell the others, “I have seen the Lord” (vs. 18). She has moved beyond her preoccupation with the corpse to an encounter with Christ. Her cause-effect logic is replaced by the larger logic called faith. She has been encountered, not by the dead corpse she thought she was seeing, but by a living Lord who is on the move and will not be held by us on our little logic.
Now there are at least two ways to think about things: cognition has two paths to the point of recognition. The first is, say, when you’re working on a tough math problem and after much effort you say, “I got it!”
The other way is, say, when you go to a great movie, and it changes you, lays hold of you to the very depths and you emerge changed. In that case, you don’t say, “I got it!” No. It gets you.

Read the whole post here.

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What About The Word Cross Do You Not Get (via William Willimon)

From an article by William Willimon on pastoral ministry and change titled Why Leaders Are A Pain:

The promise of all bogus religion is the promise of a peaceful life without pain. That’s also the subtext of lots of sermons I hear and some of the ones I preach: pain is avoidable, and here’s my formula for living and loving without discomfort. To which Jesus might respond: What about the word cross do you not get?
Some of the best service that pastors offer arises when we dare to prod, preach, and pray a congregation toward the painful reality it has been avoiding. Yet how many of us went into the ministry in order to hurt people? We enjoy thinking of ourselves as peacemakers and reconcilers.
Jesus Christ embodied truth as well as love, and there’s no way to work for him without also being willing to put people in pain in Jesus’ name.

Read the whole post here.

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The Process Of Conversion Continues

Tomorrow the revolution goes on.

…faithful preaching is always more than a mild-mannered artful description of the world and the human condition. It must also be part of a process of conversion. In order to enter this strange Kingdom of Heaven, we must be born again, and again, and again. And there is rarely any painless birth. In order for something to be born, it must die. An old world must give way for a new one to be born. People generally do not let go of their old, predictable world without a fight. So preaching without conflict is a theological impossibility.
William Willimon, Proclamation and Theology, Abingdon, pg 92.

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Interpreting Our Story In The Light Of God’s Triumph In The Resurrection (via Will Willimon)

“I don’t preach Jesus’ story in the light of my experience, as some sort of helpful symbol or myth that is helpfully illumined by my own story of struggle and triumph. Rather, I am invited by Easter to interpret my story in the light of God’s triumph in the Resurrection. I really don’t have a story, I don’t know the significance of my little life until I read my story and view my life through the lens of the cross and resurrection. One of the things that occurs in the weekly preaching of the gospel is to lay the gospel story over our stories and reread our lives in the light of what is real now that crucified Jesus has been raised from the dead.”
William Willimon, Proclamation and Theology, Abingdon 2005, pgs 81-82.

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More An Art Than A Science

“Learning to preach is more akin to learning to paint in watercolors than it is to learning to mix chemicals together to produce a predictable chemical reaction.”

William Willimon.

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Preaching In The Light Of Eastertide (via Will Willimon)

The actions of Easter are the message the preacher and the church celebrate week by week:
The purpose of the church and its ministry, the most important thing that pastors do, is preach. All your theological training – all for the purpose of giving you the guts to make an apocalyptic announcement: God has won a great victory. The bloody, crucified Lamb rules. Join up, or else stay stupidly out of step.
If you go to church tomorrow I trust you’ll hear that.
From Will Willimon.

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The Preacher As Listener (via William Willimon)

(You can tell I’m enjoying Proclamation And Theology, can’t you?)

The preacher is the one who is ordained by the church to engage in listening to the text in behalf of the church, listening to the church so that the preacher might listen with them to the text. Preachers are sometimes characterised as great talkers. But if we are effective and faithful, we are actually good listeners.

William Willimon, Proclamation And Theology, Abingdon Press, pg 41.