The Sacred and the Profane

As many of you know, I am involved in a new Master’s program through Claremont Lincoln University. My focus is on Interfaith action, and I am working with wonderful and interesting people to pursue this. I am telling you about this, because two weeks ago when I did my continuing ed, I had a pretty remarkable experience. It was the Saturday morning of our conference, and we were sitting down to breakfast before the day’s events began. Of course, this was in the immediate wake of what happened in Nigeria and France. There we were, my cohort group (plus a few), having breakfast and watching CNN report on these tragedies from around the globe. At first glance, this might not seem so remarkable. I imagine many of you may have had similar experiences up until that point. Here’s where it get interesting though: the people sitting at that table were people who might not ordinarily sit down together. As I

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This week we are dealing with several things: Baptism, ordination/installation, and it happens to be MLK weekend. I will be attempting to pull all of those into the sermon this weekend, but first, I wanted to share a thought on baptism that won’t be making it into the sermon. This week’s scripture is Mark’s version of the Baptism of Christ. I have always thought there is an interesting question about this story that most of us gloss over—where did this practice of baptism come from? It has all sorts of meanings in the Christian tradition, but clearly, the practice that John the Baptist is overseeing predates the church. What was John doing? We assume that it is the same thing that happens in the Christian Church—washing away sin, reception into the community, dying and rising with Christ, etc. But all of those things are later theological concepts. Reza Aslan points to an Essene practice that makes sense given the descriptions

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