One Crazy Year

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Last week Jason Micheli, Teer Hardy, and I sat down to review the interviews that we put out through Crackers and Grape Juice in 2017. From what started as a fever-dream, we’ve created and cultivated a weekly podcast (with two offshoots) that is approaching its 200,000th download. On Crackers and Grape Juice we interview guests about recent books, articles, or current events. On (Her)men•you•tics we pick one theological term per week and unpack it without using stained glass language. And on Strangely Warmed we spend thirty minutes every week talking about the four lectionary readings for the following Sunday to help preacher prepare and to help lay people tune in their ears to the language of scripture.

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2017 was an incredible year for the podcast in which we started Strangely Warmed and (Her)men•you•tics, we held a number of live events for people to experience a recording in person, and we produced conversations with a range of guests including (but not limited to), Stanley Hauerwas, Will Willimon, Amy Butler, Bishop Sharma Lewis, Robert Jenson, Rod Dreher, Fleming Rutledge, David Bentley Hart, Walter Brueggemann, Brian Zahnd, Tripp Fuller, and Diana Butler Bass. If you would like to listen to our recap episode, or subscribe to the podcast, you can do so here: 2017 Year In Review

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Q&A with Tripp Fuller and Diana Butler Bass [Live]

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The Crackers & Grape Juice team recently hosted a live podcast event in Alexandria, VA where we invited Tripp Fuller and Diana Butler Bass to offer their reflections about the first and second Advents. Tripp is the founder of Homebrewed Christianity which produces podcasts and publishes books and Diana is an author, speaker, and scholar specializing in American religion and culture. In the final part of the evening, we invited Tripp and Diana to respond to questions from the audience including: Why is the second Advent necessary? What about Advent is important for white people in a world full of racial inequality? and What’s right with the Church? Also – The episode ends with a Christmas sing-a-long led by Tripp… If you would like to listen to the live recording, or subscribe to the podcast, you can do so here: Diana Butler Bass & Tripp Fuller – Q&A [Live]

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Advent Longing [Live]

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The Crackers & Grape Juice team recently hosted a live podcast event in Alexandria, VA where we invited Tripp Fuller and Diana Butler Bass to offer their reflections about the first and second Advents. In the second part of the evening, we invited Diana to join us at the front and she explored the the ramifications of announcing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the importance of the second Advent, human agency vs. divine agency, and how to teach children about the already but not yet of God’s Advent in Christ. Diana is an author, speaker, and scholar specializing in American religion and culture. If you would like to listen to the live recording, or subscribe to the podcast, you can do so here: Advent Longing

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Devotional – Psalm 29.2

Devotional:

Psalm 29.2

Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name; worship the Lord in holy splendor. 

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Every church is unique. Even if you had the same architect and the same builders and the same property size, churches are what they are because of people, and people are always different. Some churches value high liturgy and spend their Sunday services standing up, sitting down, kneeling, praying, singing, and listening. Others believe in the importance of contemporary music with big bands, projections screens, and coffee at the front door. Every church is unique.

Before I arrived at my current appointment I wondered about the uniqueness of this place. I pondered about their comfort with the hymnal, what expectations they had out of worship, and where they would be heading. Did they use the Lord’s Prayer? Did they affirm their faith with the Apostles’ Creed? etc. And I spent a good amount of time wondering how they dressed for church on Sundays.

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I grew up in a church where ushers were required to wear ties on Sunday mornings. I have helped a church that expected men to wear full suits, and women to wear dresses for worship. And I have spent time at a church that if you weren’t wearing blue jeans, you were the odd one out. What people wear to church says a lot about what they expect from worship, and the kind of people they are hoping to attract.

I was therefore pleasantly surprised to discover that the people at St. John’s arrive on Sundays in a great plethora of fashion. We have suits, dresses, khakis, jeans, flip-flops, yoga pants, and everything in between. No one is judged for what they wear (so long as they are wearing something).

Yet, a few weeks ago, a child from our congregation asked why I wear my “black dress” (clergy robe) on Sunday mornings. I shared that, for me, it is important for Sundays to be different than the rest of the week. I expect to discover something I can’t normally find on my own Monday-Saturday, and when I dress differently, it allows me to act like the Christian I really am in the first place. The little boy thought about my answer for a few moments and then said, “Well then, I think I should wear my Iron Man costume next week.”

The psalmist call us to “worship the Lord in holy splendor.” Whether we wear our suits and dresses or our clergy robes and comic-book costumes, we do so in hopes that we can live into the reality of what it means to be a disciple in the world today.

This week, let us reflect on how we worship the Lord in holy splendor. Would changing our outfits for Sundays change the ways we worship? How can we better reflect what it means to follow Christ through our clothing, our words, and our actions?