Prodigal Pirate Tragedy?

prodigal childKester Brewin certainly has a different take on the story of the prodigal! Pirate Theology is not a homiletical method that I’ve ever employed. But then pirates tend to work for themselves. Brewin’s playful pirate theology encourages us to leave our places of comfort in order to view a familiar story as a tragedy in order to grasp what he calls “radical theology” in which we take responsibility for who we are rather than defer to “the Big Other”.

Brewin is a founding member of Vaux-London, a collective of artists and faithful urban dwellers that served as an early model of fresh expressions of church in the UK.

Kester teaches Mathematics in London and works as a consultant for the BBC, as well as writing for the national educational press. He is also an acclaimed poet and has been described by Brian McLaren as ‘one of the leading public theologians for a new generation of thoughtful Christians.’ 

The Foolishness of God – a sermon for Lent 4C – Parables of the Lost


foolishness of godAmong the teachings of Jesus, the parables of the lost and found are so well known, so familiar that we are in peril of failing to hear the foolishness they advocate. Although only a few of us have had the opportunity to tend a flock of sheep, most of us at one time or another have been responsible for the welfare of a flock. And whether that flock be sheep or co-workers, clients, customers, students, friends, or children none but the foolish among us would leave 99 to the perils and dangers of the wilderness in order to go looking for one idiot who’d been stupid enough to get themselves lost. We may not keep our coins at home, but I daresay that most of us have felt the sting of loosing a drachma or two or three in this recession. Only a fool would waste a moment searching for our losses when our portfolio’s are so full. I dare say that if we managed to find  or recoup our loss, we’re hardly likely to invite the neighbourhood to a party that would in all likelihood eat up more than we had found. Parents, and all of us have been parented, so we know the wisdom of parents not rewarding bad behaviour. Most of us are law-abiding. We all want what is best for our own parents, and so I don’t think any but the foolish among us would consider celebrating the return of someone who has hurt our parents in the past.

These parables of the lost and found are outrageous. None of us would get very fare in life if we lived by these teachings. It is better to put the welfare of the many above the needs of one. It is pointless to cry over spilt milk. Sometimes its better to cut your losses and move on. The best accountants learn quickly to write off losses that would be too time consuming and costly to recoup. Children need to learn that they can’t always get what they want; that there are consequences to their actions, that dues must be paid, that we need to ask for forgiveness and make amends for our crimes, that rules need to be followed, and laws cannot be broken. That doing the right thing will be rewarded. And yet along comes Jesus, spouting such foolishness that even we who are predisposed to agree with him, even we can sympathize with the self-righteous and wonder how anyone could be expected to live like this.  Continue reading

Lost and Found – Lent 4C

Lost-and-foundThis morning I tried something very different – in place of the sermon I tried an interactive exercise designed to help the congregation experience the parable. I was inspired by a lecture I heard down in Chautauqua when Jewish New Testament Scholar, Amy-Jill Levine  was exploring the parables.  

Listen to the interactive/sermon here

You can watch Amy-Jill Levine’s lecture which inspired me to challenge the congregation to move beyond allegorizing this parable here (look real close and you’ll see me down near the front, just soaking it al in!

The Foolishness of God – a sermon for Lent 4C – Parables of the Lost


foolishness of godAmong the teachings of Jesus, the parables of the lost and found are so well known, so familiar that we are in peril of failing to hear the foolishness they advocate. Although only a few of us have had the opportunity to tend a flock of sheep, most of us at one time or another have been responsible for the welfare of a flock. And whether that flock be sheep or co-workers, clients, customers, students, friends, or children none but the foolish among us would leave 99 to the perils and dangers of the wilderness in order to go looking for one idiot who’d been stupid enough to get themselves lost. We may not keep our coins at home, but I daresay that most of us have felt the sting of loosing a drachma or two or three in this recession. Only a fool would waste a moment searching for our losses when our portfolio’s are so full. I dare say that if we managed to find  or recoup our loss, we’re hardly likely to invite the neighbourhood to a party that would in all likelihood eat up more than we had found. Parents, and all of us have been parented, so we know the wisdom of parents not rewarding bad behaviour. Most of us are law-abiding. We all want what is best for our own parents, and so I don’t think any but the foolish among us would consider celebrating the return of someone who has hurt our parents in the past.

These parables of the lost and found are outrageous. None of us would get very fare in life if we lived by these teachings. It is better to put the welfare of the many above the needs of one. It is pointless to cry over spilt milk. Sometimes its better to cut your losses and move on. The best accountants learn quickly to write off losses that would be too time consuming and costly to recoup. Children need to learn that they can’t always get what they want; that there are consequences to their actions, that dues must be paid, that we need to ask for forgiveness and make amends for our crimes, that rules need to be followed, and laws cannot be broken. That doing the right thing will be rewarded. And yet along comes Jesus, spouting such foolishness that even we who are predisposed to agree with him, even we can sympathize with the self-righteous and wonder how anyone could be expected to live like this.  Continue reading