Friday, July 22, 2011

Help for an upcoming Romans Sermon Series

Paul's epistle to the Romans occupies much of the lectionary this summer, so I'm going to be preaching on Romans for eight weeks, through August and September. Since I know that at least one colleague is going to be doing the same thing, and since I haven't yet started some kind of sermon roundtable at Arlington (it will be forthcoming, though), I'm going to use this blog for some collaboration.

I'll be covering roughly two chapters a week, although we won't be reading the entire text aloud in worship. I'll post a schedule as soon as I have it finalized, but I'm wondering if I should have some kind of overarching theme.

So my question for you all today is whether there is an overarching theme in Romans. Any and all ideas are welcome, but please be more creative than the old "Romans Road". That's just shallow proof-texting, and we're going to be diving deeper than that.

Discuss!

6 comments:

James F. McGrath said...

I'd say God's inclusiveness and impartiality, but I'm going to post a link to here on my blog and see what others suggest.

Jessica Miller Kelley said...

You should create a reading guide so people can be reading the full text on their own throughout those two months!

kilo papa said...

I hope you're not spending your life trying to convince people, particularly children, to believe in the literal truth of some absurd ancient myth about a god-man who was hung to a tree 2000 years ago and savagely beaten to death as some sort of barbaric, disgusting blood sacrifice to the invisible man in the sky.(And all for love!!, of course).
This kind of Stone Age lunacy should have been left behind centuries ago.

To spend your life encouraging that sort of inane delusion,particularly to children, would be condemnable.

That's how we get nutbags like Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann, who believe in the "end is near" garbage and try to spread their homophobic "pray away the gay" lunacy.

Matt Kelley said...

Kilo- what you are describing is called "Penal Substutionary Atonement", whereby Jesus pulls a fast one on a deity who is primarily defined by anger and unquenchable bloodlust, sneaking people into heaven in the backdoor, as it were. This is the favored understanding of many evangelicals, including the ones you describe. I can assure you this is not my understanding of the significance of Jesus Christ.

Let me recommend a book called A New Kind of Christianity (http://www.amazon.com/New-Kind-Christianity-Questions-Transforming/dp/0061853992/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1311428077&sr=8-1). I think you might find in it a much better articulation of Christianity than the hurtful expressions you may have previously encountered.

Robert said...

I'll have nothing to do with the sort of theology Kilo describes, though regrettably it's common enough. I can't reconcile that picture with that of a just and merciful God.

I don't think we can understand Romans outside its context. Paul's writing to a church where there are tensions between Jews and Gentiles. The Gentiles don't respect the Jews' sabbath observance or their refusal to eat non-kosher meat. Paul tells them that God doesn't make distinctions, and that they should each follow him in their own way, the Jews keeping the Law with all its requirements, the Gentiles obviously not. The Gentiles, however, should respect the Jews' observances.

Misfit. said...
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