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The Art of Storytelling

Throughout history, stories have been told and retold for many reasons, but namely, so that the happenings, occurrences, and movements surrounding a group of people can be recorded and remembered.

I remember my Old Testament TA, Parker Diggory, saying something about storytelling that I’ll never forget:

History is always told by the victor.

Whoever wins the battle, whoever has the upper hand, whoever is the one in the position of power has the ability to not only tell a story, but manufacture, reconfigure, and shape the way a story is told.

Being a storyteller is a powerful, powerful position. Continue reading

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Cleanin’ Up Christmas

Alisha L. Gordon:

I wrote this piece on the “cleaning up of Christmas” this time last year. I think it bears repeating: “We are meticulous in repainting the picture to make it look presentable to the world. How useful could someone who has been rejected, broken, and born into a manger really be?”

Originally posted on Find The Pieces:

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Recently, I began reading the book Christmas is not Your Birthday by Mike Slaughter, lead pastor of Ginghamsburg Church, as a part of an Advent small group series hosted by Impact Church in Atlanta, Georgia. The five-chapter book explores the idea of shifting the focus of Christmas from a me-me-me experience to one that gives-gives-gives to those who are in need. I could run the list of great points Pastor Slaughter presents about the commercialization of Christmas, but this blog is about something much more important.

The “cleaning up of Christmas,” or as Mike Slaughter puts it, “sanitizing” Christmas takes a look at our insatiable need to recreate the Christmas story into something it was not. This idea of sanitizing Christmas runs the gamut of images, new and old: there’s this peaceful, purified nativity scene, equipped with a modestly dressed Mary, an ever loving Joseph, and a manger, though full of…

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Amen

And the Church says…

[I wrote this post in September and it’s been sitting in drafts ever since. *Blows off the dust*]

“Amen.” Of course that’s the automated, often involuntary response to the phrase “And the Church says…” We say it so easily, almost on autopilot, giving no thought to what we’re really saying. But the word “amen” is more than a cliché that fits easily in your church vocabulary list. Continue reading

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The Loyalty in and Purpose of Preaching

By now, many of you have heard about the inflammatory statement Pastor Jamal Bryant made in a recent sermon entitled “I Am My Enemy’s Worst Nightmare.” Bryant, dressed in an electric-blue suit coat, yelled “THESE H*ES AIN’T LOYAL,” a popular Rap lyric from singer Chris Brown to his congregation during the sermon about Pontius Pilate and his wife’s premonition about crucifying Jesus. Now, if you find difficulty making the connection between “disloyal h*es” and Pilate’s wife, you’re not alone. There’s not enough space or time to really explore the context of the scripture or his comment, but what there is time for is to talk about the loyalty in and purpose of preaching. Continue reading