Preaching Connection: Goodness

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Reading for Preaching

Mere Christianity, in The Complete C. S. Lewis Signature Classics

Lewis explains the Augustinian claim that goodness is original, but badness only spoiled goodness.  “In reality we have no experience of anyone liking badness just because it is bad.  The nearest we get to it is in cruelty.    But in real life people are cruel for one of two reasons—either because they are sadists, that...
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The Chronicles of Narnia: Book 2: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

“‘If there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly. ‘Then he isn’t safe?’ said Lucy. ‘Safe?’ said Mr. Beaver. . . .’Course he isn’t safe.  But he’s good.  He’s the king, I tell you.’”
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Calvinism: Six Stone Foundation Lectures

Abraham Kuyper told a story at Princeton Theological Seminary when he gave his Stone Lectures there in 1898.  A sixteenth-century plague had ruined the Italian city of Milan, and Cardinal Borromeo had bravely stayed to feed and to pray for those who were dying.  Kuyper admired Cardinal Borromeo’s piety, but he admired John Calvin’s even...
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Ty Cobb

Baseball historians agree that Cobb—bigot, showoff, irritable man—“was a perfect illustration of the proposition that goodness and greatness are separable—some would say incompatible—qualities.”
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Additional content related to Goodness

Isaiah 55:1-9

The Year C Revised Common Lectionary would have us stop reading and thinking about Isaiah 55 at the 9th verse.  But to me that’s rather like singing just the first two stanzas of “By the Sea of Crystal” but being told you can’t sing stanza 3.  But since stanza 2 ends with “Hark the heavenly…

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James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a

My friend whom I’ll call Wayne is struggling to submit to God (4:7) right now. In fact, that struggle has produced a fairly deep crisis of faith in him. Yet to Wayne’s credit, he’s honest enough to share that struggle with me as well as seek my help in becoming more submissive to God. Wayne…

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Psalm 100

It’s such a perky psalm.  So upbeat. It’s a call for the whole cosmos to sing as one.  One big happy choir entering God’s gates with thanksgiving and praise. Well, maybe it’s just me in early June 2020 but perky is not the mood one finds in most of the world right now.  COVID-19 and…

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Ephesians 5:8-14

Few Lectionary texts begin more mysteriously than this Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson.  “You were once darkness,” Paul reminds Ephesus’s Christians, “but now you are light in the Lord” (8). The apostle seems to assert that God’s adopted sons and daughters don’t just naturally live in spiritual darkness.  We naturally are spiritual darkness.  God doesn’t just summon…

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Psalm 97

A few years ago the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship produced a new hymnal based on the Psalms.  Its title is “Psalms for All Seasons.”  The title is apt because as most of us know, the Hebrew Psalter is a collection of varied prayers that matches life’s many and varied seasons.  As C.S. Lewis and…

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Psalm 36:5-10

Once again our friends who put together the Revised Common Lectionary are trying to give us a kinder, gentler version of Scripture.  By carving out the middle half-dozen verses of this psalm and by leaving out verses 1-4 and 11-12, the Lectionary would have us only celebrate the goodness of God without having to be…

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Isaiah 55:1-9

“Come and get it!” is a phrase that traditionally resonated with hungry North Americans. After all, we generally link it with an invitation to eat what someone has prepared. So when we hear “Come and get it!” we may think of Mom, standing on the front steps, hollering for us to come home for supper….

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