Preaching Connection: Compassion

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Reading for Preaching

A River Runs Through It and Other Stories

Norman Maclean’s father was a Presbyterian minister who, at one point reflects on helping people.  “’Help,’ he said, ‘is giving part of yourself to somebody who comes to accept it willingly and needs it badly.’  But ’we can seldom help anybody.  Either we don’t know what part to give or maybe we don’t like to...
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“Men Behaving Badly”

Tripp reviews Catherine S. Manegold, In Glory’s Shadow: Shannon Faulkner, the Citadel, and a Changing America, a book about a young woman’s application to the Citadel, her rejection, and what life inside that place is all about. It started as a citadel for wealthy Charlestonians who were afraid of Northern attempts to take away their...
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“Affirming Ourselves to Death”

In the name of compassion we’ve been out there affirming everybody. We hardly dare disagree with anybody for fear we’ll look like we’re condemning people. E.g. Laurence Tribe had once rejected cloning, or had leaned that way. But in a Times op-ed piece he stated his “second thoughts.” Why second thoughts? Because rejecting cloning might...
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Additional content related to Compassion

Hosea 11:1-11

When trying to teach seminary students some techniques for effective Bible reading, Hosea 11 is a chapter I often assign.  I ask students to ponder the text and to then make a recording for me of what they would deem to be an effective interpretive reading.  I am often floored by how bloodless some such…

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Psalm 138

Psalm 138 has features shared by many psalms of praise.  There are vows to praise God.  There are references to the poet’s motivations for praising God.  There is the ardent hope that eventually all the earth and all the kings and peoples of the earth will learn to praise Israel’s God as well.  Like most…

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Amos 8:1-12

The Old Testament is downright chock-full of God’s overweening concern for that traditional triplet of the widows, the orphans, and the resident aliens within Israel.  Each group was vulnerable in the ancient Near East. By tradition, Israel was a male-dominated society.  Family and inheritance were key factors in a person’s having a stable place in…

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Luke 10:25-37

Boundaries and rules can be good for us. Take the ten commandments: they help us put boundaries on our own actions for the sake of others as well as ourselves. In fact, all of God’s laws ought to be understood as helping to frame a picture of how we can live in order to discover…

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Isaiah 62:1-5

These first verses of Isaiah 62 are like a geyser erupting in hopefulness and wild abundance.  This is like a prophetic fireworks display with a never-ending grand finale as color and light fills the skies, eliciting a long string of “Ooohs” and “Ahhhs” from those seeing the spectacle.  This is one of those passages so…

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Hebrews 5:1-10

The master preacher scholar Fred Craddock once called the books of Hebrews and Revelation, “the literature most intimidating to readers of the New Testament.” After all, Hebrews’ Preacher packs his letter with tightly woven arguments that assume familiarity with Israel’s wilderness life. As Craddock also notes, however, even Hebrews’ writer seems to sense that his…

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Mark 5:21-43

Jesus was someone people wanted to touch and be touched by.  But in the case of Jesus, such touches were about far more than the people’s desire to make contact with somebody famous.  Jesus’ touch was said to have healing powers.  As we can see in this story, some had concluded that Jesus was a…

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James 5:7-10

This is a season of the year that we don’t generally link to patience.  Children are chomping at the bit to open their presents.  Some of us are impatient for holiday visits from family members and friends who live at a distance from us.  A few of us may even feel impatient to be done…

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Psalm 138

Psalm 138 has features shared by many psalms of praise.  There are vows to praise God.  There are references to the poet’s motivations for praising God.  There is the ardent hope that eventually all the earth and all the kings and peoples of the earth will learn to praise Israel’s God as well.  Like most…

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