WBB – Paul’s over the top

It seemed over the top.

No, not my sermon last week! I’m talking about Paul.
OK, maybe the sermon was a little heavy too.

But Paul was really laying it on, wasn’t he. You can see where those gay hating folks get it.
“God hates Fags!” read the posters.
“Gays deserve to die!”

Isn’t that what the apostle said?
“Those who practice such things deserve to die.”

Now we need to notice that the “such things” Paul was talking about were not just sexual sins (regardless of how you interpret which sins those might have been).

No, his list includes such things as covetousness, envy, strife, rebellion towards parents, and foolishness. For these things, he says, we deserve to die.

So think back on a time when you were a teenager and had a huge fight with your folks because your sibling got something that you didn’t get. Covetousness, envy, strife, rebellion towards parents, and foolishness – it’s all there.

But deserving of the death penalty? Seems a little over the top, doesn’t it?

Well maybe that was the point.

Maybe Paul was deliberately over the top.

Maybe this whole thing was a set up.

Get certain folks in the community all riled up and self-righteous about other folks who are clearly sinners and then turn the whole thing on its head and say that anyone who passes judgement on another is engaging in an act of self-condemnation.

Kind of like Nathan telling David a story about a rich man who steals the only little ewe lamb from a poor herder who has nothing else. The king gets furious and tells Nathan that the man who had done such a thing “deserves to die.” (2 Sam. 12.5) And Nathan says, “You are the man.” Gotcha!

This week, Paul does the same thing. He turns the whole thing on its head on those who would use this diatribe against sin as a club with which to beat others.

If you missed Wine Before Breakfast last week because you’ve got this sin thing licked, then it looks like you can sleep in again tomorrow.

But if you’ve got the courage to face yourself and maybe expand your horizons, then things get started at 7.22 tomorrow morning in the Wycliffe Chapel.

Judith will be presiding (she’s kind of like the mother of WBB)
Rachel will be preaching (she’s kind of our go-to lady when it comes to difficult passages in Romans)

Breakfast will of course be served.

And bring other sinners along.

In Christ,

Start Time: 7:22
Date: 2009-09-29

WBB – Only sinners and idolaters allowed

Title: WBB – Only sinners and idolaters allowed
Description: So here’s the thing. Paul simply has no ability to pull his punches. When it comes to human sinfulness he refuses to avert his gaze, or our gaze as his readers.

Why? Because he understands so deeply the revelatory goodness of all of creation and because he knows the power of the gospel to break through our penchant for evil.

But I’m not so sure that I can handle so much sin and wickedness at 7.22 in the morning. I’m not so sure that I can handle being “given up” to the “lusts” of our hearts, to “degrading passions” and a “debased mind” so early on a Tuesday morning. I mean, that seems like late-on-a-Saturday-night kind of stuff.

The problem is that we’re committed to journeying with Paul in his letter to the Romans this year at Wine Before Breakfast. And Paul insists that we can’t grasp the power of the gospel, without facing the depths of our brokenness. We can’t disarm the power of the empire in our lives without debunking the empire’s idols.

So here is what I propose. If you don’t have any problem with impure lust, degrading passions and a debased mind, then take a pass on WBB tomorrow morning. If the seductive power of idolatry has never held you in its grip, then stay home. If things like covetousness, malice, strife, gossip, slander, insolence, parental disrespect, foolishness, faithlessness and ruthlessness are not a part of your life, then why don’t you just sleep in on Tuesday morning.

But if you are a sinner, then come and join me and a bunch of other sinners as we face our brokenness and turn to the only one who can make us whole. And bring along other broken and idolatrous folks with you. But don’t bother the sleep of those who have already got this sin stuff licked.

Wine Before Breakfast
Tuesday September 22 @ 7.22
Wycliffe College Chapel

David Neelands will serve the bread and the wine. I’ll be preaching.

Again, sinners only!

In sinful solidarity,

— Brian J. Walsh CRC Campus Minister, University of Toronto
Start Time: 07:22
Date: 2009-09-22

Wine Before Breakfast starts – “Return the call to home”

Title: Wine Before Breakfast starts – “Return the call to home”
Location: Wycliffe College Chapel
Link out: Click here
Description: “Return the call to home” sings Bono in the closing song to “No Lines on the Horizon.”

That’s kind of what worship is all about. Returning the call to home.

Wine Before Breakfast begins its ninth year as a worshipping community at the University of Toronto on Tuesday, September 15 at 7.22am in the Wycliffe College chapel (5 Hoskin Ave.).

This year we return to Paul’s letter to the Romans to help shape our worship and to guide us home.

Rob Crosby-Shearer returns as our music director after a few years hiatus.

Scott and Erika (newly married!!) will be joining the pastoral team (and we will be blessing their new marriage this week!).

Lydell will coordinate a bread maker’s guild for both our Eucharist break and breakfast. [Thanks to blessed Bethany who taught Lydell everything he knows and will now take a break from baking all of our bread as she enters into married life – which we will also bless in due course!]

Those are the details, my friends. Now read the next email (http://empireremixed.com/2009/09/11/whoever-it-was-that-brought-me-here-will-have-to-take-me-home/) to get the story.

I hope to see you on Tuesday morning, and I pray that you will come with all kinds of folks who have never worshipped at such a sanctified time in the morning before.

“Return the call to home.”

Start Time: 7:22
Date: 2009-09-15