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Friday, December 6, 2019
~ for those who have too much integrity to preach someone else's sermon!

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.

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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The Cross Checkpoint

By Timothy Merrill / January 21, 2019

Not long ago, I returned from a two-week trip to Israel and the Palestinian West Bank with our youngest daughter, Deborah. She had never been to this part of the world, and it was my fifth trip, so naturally, she thought I’d be the perfect person to show her around. While there, I was able…

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When Holy Communion Isn’t So Holy

When Holy Communion Isn’t So Holy

By Timothy Merrill / November 19, 2018

One Sunday recently, a youngish man, thirtysomething, father of two girls, asked me if the communion bread had any nuts. “We have some nuts in the congregation,” I said, “but not in the bread.” He smiled graciously at this lame attempt at humor. I went on to say that I would confirm this and would…

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Tree of Life Synagogue Shootings: So What Now?

By Timothy Merrill / November 1, 2018

The shooting that took place Saturday, October 27, at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, was, like all of the mass shootings we live through, an assault by hatred upon hope. I say hope, because most people of goodwill, and certainly people of faith, live with hope and by hope. Every day in Pittsburgh…

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Gratitude in a Culture of Outrage

By Timothy Merrill / October 18, 2018

We’re coming up on the two months of the year which unequivocally call for more gratitude, rejoicing and celebration than any other 61-day period on the calendar: November and December. The clarion call to be grateful is issued on Thanksgiving Day, and thereafter we’re reminded of the arrival of the transcendent, ineffable God in human…

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Change of Scenery

By Timothy Merrill / July 24, 2018

Every season has its own particular glory, and with that, downsides, too. Summer has so much to commend it that there’s no need for me to restate the obvious. But there are negatives that deserve mention. In the summer, wrote the Bard, “sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, / And often is his…

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