Easter 5B Notes (2012)

Sermon Take-Home Page
May 6, 2012

A survey asking whether people understood themselves to be religious or spiritual — two pollings ten years apart:1

In 1999

Spiritual only: 30 % Religious only: 54 % Both spiritual and religious: 6 % Neither spiritual nor religious: 9 % In 2009

Spiritual only: 30% Religious only: 9% Both spiritual and religious: 48%
Neither spiritual nor religious: 9 %

Major Points of Sermon

  • When human beings aren’t properly grafted into the Source of Life, God the Vinegrower, we wither and become candidates for the fire — combustible people.
  • Human leaders of violent conflagrations are skilled at taking combustible people into destruction with them — examples: Simon bar Giora, who led Jesus’ own people into a failed revolt against the Romans in 66-70 AD; and Adolf Hitler, who led the Germans and much of the world into World War II and the Holocaust.
  • The sense of urgency in calling people to Christ comes not from saving people from God’s eternal punishment in hell, but from inviting people away from being combustible people ready to follow a misguided leader into the next human conflagration.
  • The most effective way to avoid participating in such conflagrations is to be grafted into Jesus the Vine, who helps us into abiding in God the Source of Life and Love.
  • Through Jesus, God the Vinegrower graciously prunes away the envy and resentment in our lives which leads to being combustible, and to instead bear the fruit of Love and Life.

1. This survey can be found in Diana Butler Bass, Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening [New York: HarperOne, 2012], p. 92.

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