Mythic Adventures

Sacred Stories from around the Globe

Archive for the category “Spirituality”

How Our Conception of God Can Become an Idol

This is a short sermon I preached at Portage Chapel Hill United Methodist Church at the early morning Communion Service on Transfiguration Sunday, February 10, 2012. If the members of the congregation were going to “give up something for Lent,” I suggested giving up our current conceptions of Jesus and spending Lent praying for clearer vision of who Christ really is.

An Urgent Invitation


Earlier today I was the guest preacher at Keeler United Methodist Church, a beautiful old country church just east of St. Joseph, Michigan. The structure is over 170 years old, and as soon as you walk into the sanctuary, your gaze is directed toward Christ in the garden, praying.

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I especially like the fact that the person who is preaching sees another image — one that reminds us to feed his sheep. You might have to look closely to see the picture between the two windows in the back, but it was much more visible for me. It was an honor to preach in such a lovely setting, and the One of whom I spoke seemed very close indeed.


My sermon was entitled, “An Urgent Invitation.” My text was Luke 9:57-62. I talked about what it means to follow Jesus today, and I presented some mental snapshots of what our lives will look like if we’re truly doing that.

Click the link below to listen (25 min).



Episode 88 The Dawning of the Christ Culture, Part 1

Over the next several weeks, I’ll share excerpts from some lectures I’m giving this fall at Portage Chapel Hill United Methodist Church in Portage, Michigan (USA).  Today I introduce the subject of the course: how the Christ Culture grew to be a world-changing power within the Graeco-Roman and Jewish cultures of the time.  Click on the link below to listen (13:15).

(Correction: H. Richard Niebuhr was the author of Christ and Culture, not his brother Reinhold Niebuhr.)

Episode 86 After the Great Companions

I’m continuing to read portions of Whitman’s “Song of the Open Road,” from his Leaves of Grass. In today’s passage, he talks about pursuing “the Great Companions.”  Click on the link below to listen:

Episode 81 Where Mariner Has Not Yet Dared to Go

A brief meditation on the end of Walt Whitman’s “Passage to India” (5:12).  Click on the link below to listen:

For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go,

And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

Episode 80 Sail Forth!

Today I begin a series of some of my favorite passages from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.  Click on the link below to listen (7:24).

I’m reading from the end of “Passage to India”:

Passage, immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins!

Away O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!

Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!

Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?

Have we not grovel’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?

Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth—steer for the deep waters only. . .


Episode 79 Through the Sea

If Christ is “the Way,” can we say anything in practical terms about where that Way will lead us?  Here is a brief meditation on Psalm 77:19 (NRSV) with that question in mind.  Click on the link below to listen (4:43).

Episode 0079 Through the Sea

Episode 77 The Way

As the Lenten season nears completion, we are ready to move beyond the question, “How can we know the way?”  Click on the link below to listen (4:28).

Episode 0077 The Way

Episode 76 What Are We Doing?

Are we doing what Jesus said to do? Click on the link below to listen (3:13).

Episode 0076 What Doing

Episode 75 What Do We Want?

From the story of Blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52) comes this question: What do we want Jesus to do for us this Lenten season?  Click on the link below to listen (4:37).

Episode 0075 What We Want

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