The Episcopal Bishop of Atlanta’s 2012 Christmas Eve Sermon

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What is God like? God is like Christmas! It’s just like God to get the good news to the shepherds first. Who were these guys? They were working the late-night shift. Day laborers but at night. Guys trying to make a buck. No pedigrees. Outside of the city.
Outside of the system.

That’s who gets the light show, the angelic choir concert and the word first. By right the announcement should have happened in the temple, with all the people like me standing around. But it doesn’t. And we can’t tell God how God should be God. Isaiah said it best, “Our thoughts are not his thoughts; neither are our ways his ways.” What can God possibly be up to by this? It has to be that God wants to jar our sense of order so we might finally be open to his order, “to a more excellent way.” And new ways and new openness are born in the imagination. God wants our imaginations. That’s got to be it.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics

11 Comments
Posted January 4, 2013 at 7:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. driver8 wrote:

Into this real world. Messy world. Sometimes brutal
world. He comes. He comes wrapped in rags. Wrapped in love. Riding on a promise.

Learn. To. Use. Sentences.

January 4, 11:20 am | [comment link]
2. Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

Seriously, this is like reading a really long text message.

January 4, 11:37 am | [comment link]
3. Sarah wrote:

No no no, Driver8—this is the poetic edgy affectation!

Can’t you see how Highly Sophisticated his rap/free verse is?

People like you are clearly not fit to be in The Episcopal Church, home of True Artistry, Hipsterishness, and Emergentness, only perhaps a mere 10 years behind.

Hopefully he proclaimed this from a pulpit, while he wore half-glasses and a goatee.

January 4, 1:21 pm | [comment link]
4. Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

Sorry, we just aren’t jiggy wit it.

January 4, 1:39 pm | [comment link]
5. MarkP wrote:

I know you’re just being snarky because you take the Bible seriously and snarky is the way the Epistle of James says Christians should be, but if you read this sermon as if it were being preached out load the question of punctuation becomes a little less pressing, it seems to me. Surely there’s something you don’t like about the actual substance of the sermon, isn’t there?

January 4, 3:09 pm | [comment link]
6. Sarah wrote:

RE: “I know you’re just being snarky . . . “

Not at all.  Mocking the rhetoric and ideas of rank heretics is an excellent tool of communication when one is too indifferent to do yet another tedious analysis of the ridiculous.  Mockery of bad ideas and bad rhetoric is a good shorthand.

RE: “because you take the Bible seriously . . . “
As to whether mockery is “in the Bible” and all . . . as Anglicans and Episcopalians we don’t adhere to the Calvinist or Anabaptist regulative principle for our actions.

January 4, 3:29 pm | [comment link]
7. Teatime2 wrote:

Agree with MarkP. Engage with the message, not the style. Contrary to popular assertion, the medium is not the message.
From One Who Doesn’t Speak As She Writes (and vice-versa) and Who Definitely Has More in Common With the Shepherds (herding terriers rather than sheep, notwithstanding, lol)

January 4, 11:55 pm | [comment link]
8. sophy0075 wrote:

I can live with the sentence fragments. This phrase, however, is what gives me pause. Does it sound like a coded message to anyone else?

And new ways and new openness are born in the imagination.

January 5, 2:34 pm | [comment link]
9. magnolia wrote:

i’m afraid i objected to the ‘even atheists think he’s cool.’
um, no they don’t.

January 5, 5:22 pm | [comment link]
10. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “Engage with the message, not the style.”

I’m guessing it’s obvious after all these years, but I’ll be doing both, periodically, as I find the time.  I agree that the medium is not the message. Nevertheless, rhetoric is important, and I will be pointing out, as usual, the tawdry vacuity of so much of our heretic bishops’ rhetoric, again as I can muster up the interest.

January 5, 11:18 pm | [comment link]
11. driver8 wrote:

Yup, me too.

January 6, 3:13 am | [comment link]
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