A Good Goodbye

July 20, 2018

How does one say goodbye well? Co-founder Neil Ellingson gives his farewell sermon (July 15, 2018).

Reading:

Revelation 21:1-7

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

“See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”

And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children.

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Easter: Object Permanence - April 1, 2018

April 5, 2018

On Easter we are asked to focus our attention on something that is hard to look at. Not because it is disturbing or painful (that would be Good Friday when we remember Jesus’ brutal crucifixion, and the brutality of oppression and death in our lives and our world); quite the opposite, because what we’re asked to look at on Easter is too good to be true. We can’t fix our gaze on the resurrection because it doesn’t fit our experience or understanding of how things go. People live, they die, and then their bodies decompose, eventually even all memory of them wisps away after a few generations. That’s all we know, anything else is wishful thinking, land of make believe, childish illusion.

OR IS IT??????

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What do You Want to Create? - March 18, 2018

March 23, 2018

Part 5 in the Root and Branch Manyfesto: Creativity. A conversation on a God who gives permission, the conditions for creativity, and the revelation of Palm Sunday. 

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Forgiven People - February 18, 2017

March 2, 2018

We are in the midst a series of talks and conversations around the core values and beliefs at Root and Branch. Our third topic of the series: Social/World Transformation. Co-pastor Tim on how Christianity's radical claim can change us all. 

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Taking Shape - February 4, 2018

February 15, 2018

As the year begins, we are starting a series of talks and conversations around the core values and beliefs at Root and Branch. Our second topic of the series: Personal Transformation. Co-pastor Neil on how our true selves might take shape.

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What is Community at Root and Branch - January 21, 2018

January 26, 2018

As the year begins, we are starting a series of talks and conversations around the core values and beliefs at Root and Branch. We begin here with the question: What does community look like at Root and Branch? Tim shares reflections on how getting to know one another is the first step in getting to know God. 

Reading:

Mark 1:14-20
1:14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God,
1:15 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news."
1:16 As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea--for they were fishermen.
1:17 And Jesus said to them, "Follow me and I will make you fish for people."
1:18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him.
1:19 As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets.
1:20 Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.

 

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Liz Bajema - Broken People Healing Broken People - September 14, 2017

October 4, 2017

Root and Branch community member, Liz Bajema, shares thoughts on September's theme: THE FALLLL. What is the point of doing good things? Most of the reasons we have for doing good are selfish, and much of the good we do seems to lead to more problems. The very state of reality would often suggest that it isn't really worth it. So what then? 

Readings:

Numbers 21:4b-9 21:4b
But the people became impatient on the way. 21:5 The people spoke against God and against Moses, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food." 21:6 Then the LORD sent poisonous serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many Israelites died. 21:7 The people came to Moses and said, "We have sinned by speaking against the LORD and against you; pray to the LORD to take away the serpents from us." So Moses prayed for the people. 21:8 And the LORD said to Moses, "Make a poisonous serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live." 21:9 So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live.

“The Doer of Good” by Oscar Wilde
It was night-time and He was alone. And He saw afar-off the walls of a round city and went towards the city. And when He came near He heard within the city the tread of the feet of joy, and the laughter of the mouth of gladness and the loud noise of many lutes. And He knocked at the gate and certain of the gate-keepers opened to Him. And He beheld a house that was of marble and had fair pillars of marble before it. The pillars were hung with garlands, and within and without there were torches of cedar. And He entered the house. And when He had passed through the hall of chalcedony and the hall of jasper, and reached the long hall of feasting, He saw lying on a couch of sea-purple one whose hair was crowned with red roses and whose lips were red with wine. And He went behind him and touched him on the shoulder and said to him, 'Why do you live like this?' And the young man turned round and recognised Him, and made answer and said, 'But I was a leper once, and you healed me. How else should I live?' And He passed out of the house and went again into the street. And after a little while He saw one whose face and raiment were painted and whose feet were shod with pearls. And behind her came, slowly as a hunter, a young man who wore a cloak of two colours. Now the face of the woman was as the fair face of an idol, and the eyes of the young man were bright with lust. And He followed swiftly and touched the hand of the young man and said to him, 'Why do you look at this woman and in such wise?' And the young man turned round and recognised Him and said, 'But I was blind once, and you gave me sight. At what else should I look?' And He ran forward and touched the painted raiment of the woman and said to her, 'Is there no other way in which to walk save the way of sin?' And the woman turned round and recognised Him, and laughed and said, 'But you forgave me my sins, and the way is a pleasant way.' And He passed out of the city. And when He had passed out of the city He saw seated by the roadside a young man who was weeping. And He went towards him and touched the long locks of his hair and said to him, 'Why are you weeping?' And the young man looked up and recognised Him and made answer, 'But I was dead once, and you raised me from the dead. What else should I do but weep?'

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Tim Kim - The Temptation of Contradictions - July 2, 2017

August 9, 2017

Oh God said to Abraham, “Kill me a son”
Abe says, “Man, you must be putting me on”
God say, “No.” Abe say, “What?”
God say, “You can do what you want Abe, but
The next time you see me coming you better run”
Well Abe says, “Where do you want this killing done?”
God says, “Out on Highway 61”
-from Highway 61 Revisited by Bob Dylan

The first conversation on series about GOD:
The story of God asking Abraham to sacrifice his son, from the book of Genesis, usually elicits a strong response and by golly it should! There’s no getting around a God who asks a father to kill his son. Open the lens a little wider and we see a picture of God who does a lot of things we find strange and looks like a walking contradiction of violence/peace, vengeance/compassion, and so on. One way to try and understand who God really is amongst these confusing opposites is to ask ourselves whose voice we actually hear giving the request. 

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Neil Ellingson - Revelation - June 18, 2017

August 9, 2017

A lot of people think revelation means hitting the pause button on the natural ordinary functioning of things as a miraculous event appearing out of nowhere like a godly pop-up ad.

BUT what if revelation was a surprising, life-changing uncovering of a pattern, purpose, perhaps even personality hiding from our everyday anxious ways of looking at the ordinary? Revelation then becomes a lens showing the ordinary for what it really is: always potentially a benevolent trojan horse for the extraordinary.

Listen as we continue to examine the religious way of knowing what's true and what matters: revelation. Neil reveals the ultimate truth about revelation with reference to the alt-right and Holy Laughter. Readings: Genesis 18:1-15

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Keri Anderson - Pentecost Sunday - June 4th

July 7, 2017

Co-pastor Keri Anderson's final sermon to the Root and Branch community on Pentecost Sunday. Pentecost Sunday marks the story in which the Holy Spirit (in wind and fire) was bestowed upon Jesus' disciples, and Keri breathes some fire on us about the feminine Spirit of God.

Readings:

A reading from the Book of Proverbs about the Feminine Wisdom of God:

God created me at the beginning of creation,
    the first of the creative acts of long ago.
23 Ages ago I was set up,
    at the first, before the beginning of the earth.
24 When there were no depths I was brought forth,
    when there were no springs abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains had been shaped,
    before the hills, I was brought forth—
26 when God had not yet made earth and fields,
    or the world’s first bits of soil.
27 When God established the heavens, I was there,
    when God drew a circle on the face of the deep,
28 when God made firm the skies above,
    when God established the fountains of the deep,
29 when God assigned to the sea its limit,
    so that the waters might not transgress the Lord’s command,
when God marked out the foundations of the earth,
30     then I was beside the Lord, like a master worker;
and I was daily God’s delight,
    rejoicing before the Lord always,
31 rejoicing in God’s inhabited world
    and delighting in the human race.

A reading from the Book of Acts:

When the day of Pentecost came, the disciples were all together in one place.Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a fierce wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them.

Now there were devout Jews in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven. When they heard the sound of the disciples speaking, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? We hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”

13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”

14 Then Peter stood up with the eleven other disciples, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

17 “‘In the last days, God says,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your young men will see visions,
    your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit.

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