Monthly Archives: August 2020

Alternative Lectionaries PGE 21

The Revised Common Lectionary came about ultimately as the product of the Ecumenical Movement and the conviction that it is God’s will that the Church be united–one body–the body of Christ. Specifically, it was the product of The Consultation on Common Texts which was formed by Catholic and Protestant liturgical scholars in response to the reforms in the liturgy mandated by the Second Vatican Council, especially in the area of English texts for the liturgy and then in the dissemination of the 1969 Roman Lectionary (Ordo Lectionum Missae). In 1983, The Common Lectionary was published as the outcome of the CCT’s work on the lectionary. In 1992, The Revised Common Lectionary was published in light of several years of comment and use of The Common Lectionary.

Because The Revised Common Lectionary was embraced so broadly across denominations, it moved the Ecumenical Movement forward by enabling the movement to go beyond focus on doctrine to lived and shared worship experiences. That achievement, in addition to significant improvements the RCL made over other historical lectionaries, made the RCL momentous and important.

However, since the RCL has been used/lived with/experienced now for nearly 30 years, reassessment has been occurring for some time, especially in the form of alternative lectionaries.

An article by Steve Thorngate in the October 30, 2013 issue of The Christian Century discusses some of these alternatives to the RCL.

I used the RCL during my nearly 13 years as a full-time pastor, which meant that I went through its three year cycle four times. While I found the RCL very useful and suited to my preaching abilities, I also found limitations similar to those mentioned in Thorngate’s article, so the article sparked my interest. However, since the article was published just as I was leaving my pastorate, I did not get the chance to explore the alternatives it lists and discusses.

In his book, Ecclesial Reflection, Edward Farley argues that many of the problems with which theology was struggling were, in part, due to theologies dependence on a type of foundationalism Farley calls ‘The House of Authority.’ In light of his understanding of the Gospel, Farley critiques the House of Authority, demonstrates its necessary collapse, and offers suggestions for doing theology in a post-House of Authority ecclesia. In his book, Practicing Gospel (This is the book that inspired the name of this podcast. I named this podcast, in part, in Farley’s memory since he is one of my favorite theologians.), in his three chapters on preaching, Farley argues that the lectionary is a remnant of the House of Authority and is thus, unwittingly, continuing some of the problems created by the House of Authority. Consequently, Farley urges an alternative approach to preaching.

While Farley doesn’t advise an alternative lectionary, his argument rekindled my interest and curiosity about alternative lectionaries.

Each of my guests have created an alternative lectionary and are here to discuss why they each did so and what their respective lectionaries seek to do.

Dr. Rolf Jacobson is Professor of Old Testament and the Alvin N. Rogness Chair of Scripture, Theology, and Ministry at Luther Seminary. He is known for his humor and faithful biblical interpretation.  With Craig Koester, he developed and supports the Narrative Lectionary.  He enjoys collaborating with other teachers and pastors.  His collaborative projects include The Book of Psalms (NICOT; with Beth Tanner and Nancy deClaissé-Walford), Invitation to the Psalms (with Karl Jacobson), Crazy Talk: A Not-So-Stuffy Dictionary of Theological Terms (with five fellow Luther Seminary graduates), and Crazy Book: A Not-So-Stuffy Dictionary of Biblical Terms(with Hans Wiersma and Karl Jacobon). He is also the author of The Homebrewed Christianity Guide to the Old Testament: Israel’s In-Your-Face, Holy God. His voice can be heard on two weekly preaching podcasts, “Sermon Brainwave” and “The Narrative Lectionary,” as well as singing the high lonesome with a Lutheran bluegrass band, “The Fleshpots of Egypt.”  A survivor of childhood cancer, he is a double, above-the-knee amputee, who generally wears a bicycle and a smile.  He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, with his beloved wife Amy, their children Ingrid and Gunnar, and a cat who thinks he is a dog. He is a loyal friend, lifelong sufferer of Minnesota sports, and committed board-game geek.

Rev. Dr. Thomas Bandy is the author of over 20 professional and academic books and numerous articles related to theology of culture, contemporary spiritualities, church development, leadership, and organizational change. He is an international consultant for local and regional church bodies across cultures and traditions, and for faith-based non-profits. Today his focus is on demographic research and lifestyle diversity related to existential needs and spiritual expectations. His most recent book is Sideline Church: Bridging the Chasms between Churches and Culture (Abingdon Press). Tom’s lectionaries come from his book, Introducing the Uncommon Lectionary: Opening the Bible to Seekers and Disciples.

“Ben Christian” is the shared name of the creators of A Game for Good Christians—the only theological game not afraid of the Bible— and the writer of The Revised Uncommon Lectionary which is a companion to the game.

The music for this episode is from a clip of a song called ‘Father Let Your Kingdom Come’ which is found on The Porter’s Gate Worship Project Work Songs album and is used by permission by The Porter’s Gate Worship Project. You can learn more about the album and the Worship Project at

Steady State Economics 2 Brian Czech PGE20

This episode is the second of what will be an ongoing series on Steady State Economics. In my mind, this approach to the economy provides the best option moving forward in light of the environmental crises developing due to approaches to the economy focused upon economic growth.

One of the things that appeals to me about this approach is that it is compatible with both capitalism and socialism, so that it is adaptable and adoptable to most of the worlds existing economies. A country does not have to switch to capitalism or socialism or deal with the struggle that would be the result of debating and seeking such a switch.

My guest for this episode is Dr. Brian Czech. Brian is the founder and present Executive Director of Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy (CASSE). Brian’s books are listed below, but the one this interview is based upon is his Supply Shock: Economic Growth at the Crossroads and the Steady State Solution.

Although Brian does not get beyond the understanding of those of us who are not economists, he provides us with a thorough and excellent understanding of the development of growth economies and why those approaches to the economy not only are not sustainable, but are the cause of the crises we are beginning to experience. Such an understanding is necessary to recognize why a Steady State Economy is an essential solution for our future.

In addition to Supply Shock, Brian’s other works include:

The Endangered Species Act: History, Conservation, Biology, and Public Policy

Shoveling Fuel for a Runaway Train: Errant Economists, Shameful Spenders, and a Plan to Stop Them All

Best of the Daly News: Selected Essays from the Leading Blog in Steady State Economics, 2010-2018

The music for this episode is from a clip of a song called ‘Father Let Your Kingdom Come’ which is found on The Porter’s Gate Worship Project Work Songs album and is used by permission by The Porter’s Gate Worship Project. You can learn more about the album and the Worship Project at

Biblical Storytelling 2 Drew Willard PGE19

As long as Biblical Storytellers are willing to be guests for this podcast, I want to have an ongoing series that enables you to enjoy this art form. There are multiple reasons why I enjoy this art form, but one of the main reasons is that it combines two ancient practices–storytelling and the public reading of scripture.

Throughout human history storytelling has played a fundamental role in human culture. It is one of humanity’s oldest art forms. There has always been an entertainment dimension in story telling, but story has used to do so much more. Stories have been used to give people their sense of identity, their understanding of reality, the notion of their place in the world. Stories been used to teach, guide, enlighten, reveal, change minds, and motivate. This is only a small list of the ways story has been used.

For the Jewish and Christian heritage, story is the primary dimension of scripture. As such it is understood to be a primary means by which Jews and Christians claim to understand and experience God. Both Jews and Christians see as a central to their obligation to God the task of bearing witness to God and God’s deeds. In order to fulfill that task, storytelling is necessary.

Since story makes up the primary dimension of Jewish and Christian scripture, it is not surprising that the public reading of scripture has been integral to both traditions. From the time of Moses forward, the public reading of scripture has been a part of Jewish worship, and since Christianity was birthed within Judaism, that tradition carried over has continued.

For Christian’s the biblical story has an interplay of two components relating to the task of witness–the prophetic and the Gospel. In light of God’s holiness and justice, the prophetic holds up a standard that calls us into question and accountability for the sinfulness, brokenness, and evil we choose to create. In light of God’s loving nature, the Gospel gives reveals to us the good news that God reaches out to us for reconciliation, healing, and redemption. Christian witness to God is thus an interplay of being prophetic and proclaiming the Gospel.

To give us an example of how biblical storytelling is a means of the interplay of these two components, especially as the biblical story relates to present circumstances and events is my guest, Drew Willard.

Drew Willard is an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ, seeking to be what Dennis Dewey of the Network of Biblical Storytellers, Int. calls a “storyvangelist”. Biblical storytelling and graphic arts have been important interpretive skills he brings to ministry. Since the 1990s, he has been performing his own paraphrased translations of the Gospels – notably at 19 venues while on a roadtrip in 2007. He has used his drawings for PowerPoint presentations to accompany Lenten readings, as well as for bulletin cover illustrations. He has organized and participated in interfaith worship events – including “Evenings of Sacred Storytelling” with Jewish and Muslim storytellers. While on sabbatical in 2017, he was an artist-in-residence at the Grunewald Guild in Washington state. In the winter of 2019, he was a Fringe Teller at the Florida Storytelling Association annual festival in Mt Dora, FL and that summer, he performed as a Co-Creator at the Wild Goose Festival in Asheville, NC. A collection of Drew’s paraphrased translations and artwork Gospel Pilgrimage Stories was published in 2017 by Westbow. He is available for preaching, teaching, drawing & storytelling by mutual agreement.
Gospel Pilgrim Storyteller (website)
Drew Willard – Youtube (sample stories)
Gospel Pilgrimage Storytelling (program recitations)
Gospel Pilgrimage Stories (book) Westbow [ISBN-13: 978-1512777222]
This book describes connecting what stories you tell with recent events.

The music for this episode is from a clip of a song called ‘Father Let Your Kingdom Come’ which is found on The Porter’s Gate Worship Project Work Songs album and is used by permission by The Porter’s Gate Worship Project. You can learn more about the album and the Worship Project at