Posts By Timothy Merrill

TIMOTHY MERRILL is an ordained minister and has served churches in Oregon, Minnesota and Colorado. His doctoral work at Princeton Theological Seminary focused on the apocalyptic nature of the preaching of the First Crusade in 1096 A.D. His work has been published in the academic press including the Patristica and Byzantine Review and the Westminster Theological Journal. His book, Learning to Fall: A Guide for the Spiritually Clumsy (Chalice Press) appeared in 1998.

Wood sign hanging off of a door knob that says "welcome, we are open"

Willing to Be Disturbed

By Timothy Merrill / May 14, 2021

I ran across a handout that was distributed to participants in a weekend seminar dealing with issues of conflict resolution, group communication dynamics and the like. The two-page handout was an excerpt from a book written by Margaret J. Wheatley called Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future (San Francisco:…

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HomeTouch - Elderly woman looking out the window.

Homebound people often struggle with how to pass the time.

By Timothy Merrill / February 12, 2021

We first published this blog during the summer of 2020 as we saw communities struggling to deal with the isolation and boredom of a lengthy quarantine. If you are a card-carrying member of the “sandwich generation,” boredom is the least of your worries. The S-Geners are people who have caregiving responsibilities for their parents and…

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The Waiting Preacher

The Waiting Preacher

By Timothy Merrill / August 14, 2020

I was waiting. At the Intercontinental airport in Houston, Texas. I was flying standby and had missed three flights so far. My waiting began at 7 a.m., and at 4 p.m. it showed no sign of abating. So as I waited, I thought about waiting. You can wait for things, like a package to arrive,…

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Bridge the Gap Image

A Pastor’s Note of Support from Homiletics Online

By Timothy Merrill / March 19, 2020

Dear colleagues in ministry, Just a note to express our support and understanding of the particular challenges we face as pastors during this time of national – global – upheaval. Many of our churches – if not most – are now shuttered because of the possibility of contagion, practicing “social distancing” to minimize the possibility…

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The Transliterate God

The Transliterate God

By Timothy Merrill / December 16, 2019

I was in a taxi yesterday stuck in slowly moving traffic and happened to glance at the car in the adjacent lane. The driver was thumb-twitching like crazy on his iPhone while his vehicle continued to move forward. I know we have laws against intoxicated drivers, but we should — if we don’t already —…

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Children in Church: Should We Ban Them or Bless Them?

Children in Church: Should We Ban Them or Bless Them?

By Timothy Merrill / November 20, 2019

Last Sunday, I was standing behind the communion altar saying the liturgy, most of which was cobbled together from the United Methodist hymnal and Anglican sources. As I was saying, “Now gathered at this table, O Lord of all Creation and remembering Christ crucified and risen, who was, and is and is to come,” a…

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JON, JOB and INRI

By Timothy Merrill / September 18, 2019

You can credit (or blame) AOC for this column. I mean, she’s the inspiration for the meandering thoughts which follow. You see the initials of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez everywhere. AOC is the U.S. representative for New York’s 14th Congressional District. Shortening her name to AOC is a media thing. Much easier to use initials than her…

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Put Some Dinner in Your Church

Put Some Dinner in Your Church

By Timothy Merrill / July 16, 2019

By Henry G. Brinton   When I served a multicultural Presbyterian church in Alexandria, Virginia, older white parishioners didn’t always see eye-to-eye with younger African immigrants in the congregation. Disagreements arose over a variety of issues, including worship and church government. But when we sat down for international potluck dinners from time to time, the…

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The Liver Sermon

The Liver Sermon

By Timothy Merrill / May 8, 2019

My grandparents on my mother’s side were German immigrants. When they hit America just before the war, they had no money, no kids and no English. But Grossmama and Grosspapa had plenty of food, especially spuds, which they heaped high on the kitchen table of their southern Idaho farmhouse. We kids liked to visit our…

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Getting a Word from the Lord

By Timothy Merrill / March 20, 2019

Many mysterious things happen in the life of a preaching pastor — like why the mike fails to work on Christmas Eve and Easter Sunday morning; why the best-prepared sermon often falls flatter than roadkill on I-95; and conversely, why those sermons cobbled together at 6 a.m. Sunday are so often blessed with the fire…

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