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A Sermon on the Occasion of the Ordination of the Rev. Sarah Perkins

I had the honor of preaching at the ordination of my friend and colleague Sarah today. We were an all-women ordination commission. And it was lovely. Below is the sermon. (Note that since Sarah's mother is a New Testament professor, I opted not to preach on a NT passage - I couldn't bear to mess that one up. LOL.) Isaiah43:16-21 There is a trap waiting out there for ministers in the United States. Do you not perceive it? The trap that ministers fall into is confusing the Good News with Nice News. Sarah and I were at a conference a few years ago where the Rev. Jose Morales preached on this distinction, and it has stayed with me. I’m not all that opposed to nice. When I think of nice, I think of a vacation place I once stayed at with a garden wall covered with tiny pots of succulents and a small bamboo garden. I think of the time I was helpful to a flight attendant trying to handle bags in the overhead compartment on a flight packed full of
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Generations and Cornerstones

Wednesday, May 10 Presbyterian Center Chapel 1 Peter 2:2-10
 I hate it when people preach about buildings, and often using this passage. Buildings are so 1950s. It’s 20-freaking-17 and we’re going to talk about this cornerstone concept. And buildings. I hate myself. But it turns out infrastructure is a real thing still, so here goes. Not being in construction or engineering or architecture, I had to look this up. Using a stone to anchor a corner is a big deal. The cornerstone has to have an exact 90-degree angle. You might need to flip it around or try another stone to find that right angle. Buildings made of stone are beautiful and sturdy. A solid foundation. After all, the author says, this is the “chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” This time in the early church is about building identity. A solid foundational identity as a pe

Persistent Women

The following is the text of a sermon preached at the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary on February 17, 2017. The Scripture reading is  Luke 18:1-8 . Persistent Women I’m tired, y’all. I know you might be tired too. We all have a grind, whatever it is, learning, or teaching, or writing, or attending committee meetings, or making sure our parents are okay, or raising kids, or working to pay the bills, or discerning our call, or being active in our communities. Oh, and if we’re partnered, keeping that whole relationship healthy and whole, too. Most of us do five or six of these things at a time. And having a government in upheaval, whether or not we agree with the policies, is stressful on top of all that. Some of us pray more frequently nowadays. This parable from Jesus is about prayer. About the “need to pray always and not to lose heart.” Most people I know who come from religious families speak of the women who raised them who are fervent, faithful pray-ers. If

Honoring our Grandmothers

Have you ever been in a space where people speak movingly about the faith of their grandmothers? I always think, “oh, that’s interesting you have Christian grandmothers who talk about their faith.” My two paternal grandmothers were secular Jews. I saw convictions, not religious practice. My maternal grandmother was Presbyterian, but she certainly didn’t talk about it with me. I saw her actions more than anything else. Yuriko Nishita , my maternal grandmother and my last living grandparent, lived among us from January 31, 1926 to November 29th, 2016. I do not have all the facts about my grandmother, and I may have gotten some of the details wrong. What I do possess is my experience of her. She loved me and made sure I knew it, and she was salty. Whoever came up with the stereotype that Asian American women are meek and quiet probably never met anyone in my family. Over half of the women have (or had) sharp tongues. In 2010, I told her I had gotten a new job in Atlanta after ye

Resources on Sexual Orientation, Biblical Interpretation, Same Sex Marriage (and Marriage, generally speaking), and Being a Christian

Here's your one stop shop for resources we offer from the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation, via . The majority are geared toward a more general Christian audience than just Presbyterians. Happy reading! Books The Bible’s Yes to Same-Sex Marriage: An Evangelical’s Change of Heart , by Mark Achtemeier UnClobber: Rethinking Our Misuse of the Bible on Homosexuality , by Colby Martin Mom, I’m Gay: Loving Your LGBTQ Child and Strengthening Your Faith , by Susan Cottrell Permission Granted: Take the Bible into Your Own Hands , Chapter 4, by Jennifer Grace Bird Inclusive Marriage Services: A Wedding Sourcebook , edited by Kimberly Bracken Long & David Maxwell From This Day Forward: Rethinking the Christian Wedding , by Kimberly Bracken Long What the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian? , Chapter 9, by Martin Thielen A Letter to My Anxious Christian Friends , Chapter 11, by David P. Gushee Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality , b

Racial Justice Resources, Chapter 5: Culture & Womanism

You may read previous chapters here. Chapter 1: Disclaimers, Baby Steps, Intersectionality, and Critical Race Theory Chapter 2: For Church Study, Feminist Work, & Theology Chapter 3: News Sources & Organizations, Whiteness & White Supremacy Chapter 4: History & Poetry Culture, Etc. Between the World & Me , by Ta-Nehisi Coates Yellow: Race in America Between Black and White , by Frank Wu The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century, Updated & Expanded Edition , by Grace Lee Boggs with Scott Kurashige The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness , by Michelle Alexander Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations About Race , by Beverly Daniel Tatum African American Religious Thought: An Anthology , by Cornel West and Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. Womanism Womanism gets its own category. Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk , by Delo

Racial Justice Resources, Chapter 4: History & Poetry

You may read previous chapters here. Chapter 1: Disclaimers, Baby Steps, Intersectionality, and Critical Race Theory Chapter 2: For Church Study, Feminist Work, & Theology Chapter 3: News Sources & Organizations, Whiteness & White Supremacy I love reading history. I love that history is not only definitive story, but also threads of narrative told from a variety of perspectives. Here's a brief selected bibliography. History A People’s History of the United States , by Howard Zinn A Larger Memory: A History of Our Diversity , With Voices, by Ronald Takaki Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong , by James W. Loewen Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong , by James W. Loewen An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States (Revisioning American History) , by Roxane Dunbar-Ortiz Life Upon These Shores: Looking at African American History 1513-2008 , by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Martin & Malcolm &