A Prayer for Ash Wednesday

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector….

God I thank thee that I am not like other men–liars, serial adulterers, crude locker-room misogynists, tax assessors and collectors.

I have never committed adultery with anyone, naturalized or otherwise,

I have never declared bankruptcy and left my creditors holding the bag, and I do not own a luxury resort in Florida,

I shall file my tax return on April 15 (which I’m glad to make public if anybody wants to see it) and shall, once again pay my federal tax–which is more than some people can say, even though they are paid by federal funds,

I have never created a bogus foundation. In fact, I give half of all my taxable income to charity even though my income is not in the top 1%,

My children both went out and found employment for themselves without my having to create positions for them,

Even though the press has sometimes told lies about me, I have never called The News & Observer an enemy of the American people,

I’ve never taken out a full page ad in The New York Times to tell lies about the President’s birth,

I’ve never avoided military service (First Lieut. Armor) through repeated pleas that I’m physically unfit,

My wife has never given a plagiarized a speech, though I admit I have personally swiped a few ideas and slogans from Tim Keller.

God, I thank thee for me! Your humble servant, Will Willimon. Amen.

But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but All who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted. (Lk 18:9-14) 

A Tremendous Sermon

A particularly painful aspect of the Trump presidency has been that some Christians have supported this man as Christians. There may be good reasons for advocating for Trump, none of them have any biblical or Christian theological basis. Originally printed with The Denver Post, Garrison Keillor underscores this in a humorous way with his parody on the Sermon on the Mount as if delivered by The Donald:

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Beginning With God: Thoughts on Preaching and Anti-Racism

Who Lynched Earle?  Preaching to Confront Racism is to be published in late February.  I hope that my fellow preachers will receive encouragement to speak up and speak out on this, America’s “original sin.”

Preaching that confronts racism begins with God, focusing upon who God is and what God is up to in the world. A number of theological moves typically precede repentance in Jesus’s name: Continue reading

The Way Things Are: Conversations on Who Killed Willie Earle?

We had a wonderful day at Wofford College focused upon the issue of the Willie Earle Lynching and Preaching to Confront Racism. The many clergy, students, and scholars who gathered there explored the subjects of our racist past and our responsibilities for race and bias in the church today and tomorrow. Who Lynched Earle?  Preaching to Confront Racism is to be published later this month. 

It’s my modest contribution to the church’s conversation about race in America. Even though such a conversation makes many white Christians nervous, it’s my contention that Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit, gives us the means to have this challenging but essential conversation.

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