Chapter 12: The Haitian Stations of the Cross
- In this chapter Nadia writes about how she learned about the earthquakes in Haiti in January 2012 and how she determine how to lead HFASS’ reaction to it.
- Nadia’s challenge: what to preach on that Sunday with the assigned text for that day being the Wedding at Cana.
- “So the week of the earthquake, I started to see Mary in a long line of prophets who have not kept silent.” (Page 127)
- What liturgical practices do you like? (For example, the stations of the cross)
Chapter 13: Demons and Snow Angels
- In this chapter Nadia writes about identity, and our identity through baptism
- “That’s when Paul finally understood grace. Paul finally understood that God’s ability to name and love us is always greater than our ability to make ourselves worthy of either thing.” (Page 134)
- “Luther read that we are saved by grace and not through our ‘works,’ and when he read that he realized he had been lied to.” (Page 134)
- Nadia compares Paul and Luther to Asher (Mary Callahan), and notes that at the time of Asher’s naming rite she too was struggling with identity issues. Her feelings of self-worth too heavily tied to the success or failure of HFASS.
- Nadia is struggling with the sermon for that Sunday, the text for which is Jesus’s baptism, which she associates with identity.
- “Before we do anything wrong and before we do anything right, God has named and claimed us as God’s own.” (Page 138)
- “For far too long, I believed that how the Church of Christ saw me, or how my family saw me, or how society saw me, was the same as how God saw me.” (Page 138)
- “Our identity has nothing to do with how we are perceived by others.”
- In that sermon Nadia preached about demons.
- Martin Luther: “I am baptized.” (Page 140)
- “since the thing I love about baptism is that it is about God’s action upon us and not our decision to ‘choose’ God, I believe that the promises spoken over us in baptism are promises that are for all of humanity.” (Page 140)
Chapter 14: Doormats and Wrinkled Vestments
- In this chapter Nadia writes about preaching on the tenth anniversary of 9/11
- Tenth year anniversary of 9/11. “A cheerful, yellow square on which was written: ‘I can’t forgive this. Can you?’ (Page 145)
- “I find forgiveness to be one of the trickier elements of the Christian faith since it can feel like forgiving something is the same as saying it’s OK.” (Page 145)
- The lectionary texts for that Sunday were all about forgiveness
- “Jesus showed up ten years after the most unforgivable, murderous event of my lifetime and started babbling about forgiveness. And this made forgiveness feel less like a concept and more like a crucible.” (Page 147)
- “Jesus always seems to be pairing God’s forgiveness of us with our forgiveness of others. But why?” (Page 148)
- “Somewhere along the way I was taught that evil is fought through justice and might. … So maybe retaliation or holding on to anger about the harm done to me doesn’t actually combat evil. Maybe it feeds it.” (Page 149)
- “What if forgiveness, rather than being a pansy way of saying it’s OK, is actually a way of wielding bolt cutters and snapping the chain that links us?” (Page 150)
- “What happened on 9/11 was not OK. That’s why I need to forgive. Because I can’t be bound to that kind of evil. Lest it infect the evil in my own heart and metastasize it.” (Page 150)
Chapter 15: Ghosts in the Kingdom of Heaven
- In this chapter Nadia writes about recognizing the kingdom heaven.
- “The week Amy Winehouse died, I was trying to come up with a sermon for that Sunday when my ex-boyfriend sent me a Facebook friend request.” (Page 152)
- The gospel text is a string of parables in Matthew comparing the kingdom of heaven to things like a mustard seed and yeast and searching for fine pearls.
- “Every commentary and article I read about the parables offered me the same combination of obvious and useless.” (Page 159)
- In this context of her ex-boyfriend contacting her and preparing her sermon, she learns that Amy Winehouse is dead.
- “Yet Jesus says that heaven’s kingdom is like shrubs and nets and yeast. … I remembered that yeast was considered impure. … So then I began to consider that maybe the kingdom of heaven is found in the unclean and surprising and even the profane.” (Page 161)
- “I mistakenly had been thinking that the kingdom of heaven was something I should be able to find an illustration for on this side of my life.” (Page 162)
- “Jesus brings a kingdom ruled by the crucified one and populated by the unclean and always found in the unexpected. I’d expected to look at the past and see only mistakes that I’d moved on from, to see only damage and addiction and tragic self-delusion. But by thinking that way, I’d assumed that God was nowhere to be found back then. But that’s kind of an insult to God. It’s like saying, ‘You only exist when I recognize you.'” (Page 162)