“This or That? (And other ways to misunderstand life and religion)”

New Sermon Series


Playing the popular game This or That, in which you have to choose one thing over another in order to get to know a person, can be a lot of fun (e.g., Do you like cake or ice cream? The Cardinals or Royals? Water skiing or snow skiing? etc.). Indeed, it’s becoming one of my family’s favorite ways to pass the time on summer road trips! But when it comes to day-to-day life, if we unintentionally extend the concept of this game to understanding some of the complexities related to life and religion, such a limited approach can lead to no small amount of misunderstanding, disappointment, and pain — all of which keeps us from moving closer to the heart of Christ, and what Christ wants for each of us.

Beyond the scope of the game, we see how this plays out in “real life” all of the time: A person is categorized as either a believer or an atheist, liberal or conservative, pro-life or pro-choice, saved or unsaved, etc… But understanding one another in such limited ways keeps us from living into the beloved community that Christ envisions for each one of us. As St. Paul describes, the community of Christ is not marked by such simple either/or options: “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)

In this three-week sermon series, we’ll take a look at how such either/or scenarios play out in our lives today, taking into consideration perspectives related to religion, politics, personal identity, and more. We will reflect on how we can best work toward embodying Christ’s beloved community, especially by understanding the complexities of who we are as human beings — as opposed to the trite and superficial ways in which contemporary society frequently tries to categorize matters of such enormous significance.

August 14:
“Are you a Believer or a Doubter? (And other ways to misunderstand religion)”
Mark 15:33-37

August 21:
“Do You Support Black Lives or Blue Lives? (And other ways to misunderstand law and order)”
Mark 15:38-39

August 28:
“I May Be Cisgender, But I’m Not Everybody (Navigating the complexities of gender identity from a Christian perspective)”
Matthew 19:10-12