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Phillips Theological Seminary is providing you, our gracious donors and supporters, with a daily Advent Devotional podcast. Phillips is grateful that we can offer you this resource. You may also read the devotional on the Phillips website.
This year has been difficult and strange in so many ways. But we have the hope, peace, joy and love that Advent brings. I personally hope and pray that each devotion speaks to your life and is a balm in this weary time.
The devotional is an important part of our goal to support and educate the whole church. We value your contribution to the seminary and consider you a part of our community.
We have hope in the unchanging, sacrificial love of God, love of each other, our congregations and the love that brings equality and justice into the world through the birth of Jesus. We hope that as you read this booklet you are inspired to deepen your faith and you renew your hope.
Peace and Blessings,
Malisa Pierce
Senior Director of Stewardship and Alumnae/i Relations

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Daily Advent Devotional Phillips Seminary

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 5.0 • 1 Rating

Phillips Theological Seminary is providing you, our gracious donors and supporters, with a daily Advent Devotional podcast. Phillips is grateful that we can offer you this resource. You may also read the devotional on the Phillips website.
This year has been difficult and strange in so many ways. But we have the hope, peace, joy and love that Advent brings. I personally hope and pray that each devotion speaks to your life and is a balm in this weary time.
The devotional is an important part of our goal to support and educate the whole church. We value your contribution to the seminary and consider you a part of our community.
We have hope in the unchanging, sacrificial love of God, love of each other, our congregations and the love that brings equality and justice into the world through the birth of Jesus. We hope that as you read this booklet you are inspired to deepen your faith and you renew your hope.
Peace and Blessings,
Malisa Pierce
Senior Director of Stewardship and Alumnae/i Relations

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    Tis the Season to...

    Tis the Season to...

    Tis the Season to…
    Titus 3:4-7
    When kindness and benevolence appeared through G*d, our savior, appeared, it was not a result of those deeds…. Titus 3:4-6 (A. Carter Paraphrase)
    It’s commonplace to describe our society as results driven. Metrics, measurables, and product, with good reason, have become outcome-oriented benchmarks that establish and legitimate organizational value, worthiness, and rationale. Such perspectives are important correctives that challenge rigid power structures and inequities. Carrying associations with positive outcomes, metrics often function as indicators and, thus, metaphors for success.
    We can, however, become over invested in mutated forms of these metric metaphors. With Christmas at times seeming the busiest time of the year, we are occasionally lured into metric-based approaches to Christmas: our love measured in gifts, travel, and tree height; our faith by the relaxation, consumption, service attendance, or donations.
    This Christmas is an opportunity to remind ourselves anew of the essence of G*d’s love. In today’s passage, many translations render the Greek terms chrystotes (kindness/good) and philanthropia (philanthropy, love for humanity) as good and kindness. Such renderings, while accurate obscure the author’s nuance. For the author of Titus, kindness and benevolence are transformative, they characterize G*d’s orientation to and love for humanity. Neither society’s metrics nor the Church’s measurements can warrant G*d’s liberating love, not even our pursuits for justice. If salvation was metric-based could today’s church in any way justify such sacrifice given by Christ? 
    Titus thematically centers on divine grace and its impact on human social-being. Recognition of such grace inspires us to reflect Christ’s love. The author of Titus measured such love partially by the absence of social discord. Unfortunately, interpreters often seek in Titus, not an articulation of divine grace and love, but decontextualized metrics for faith by legislating of power in church and society through mutated metaphors.
    This Christmas, might we humbly hear this letter’s testimony on love: a reminder that the source of human salvation has but one immeasurable source, the awe-inspiring kindness and benevolence of G*d.
    Arthur F. Carter, Jr. Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor of New Testament
    Director, Black Church Traditions & African American Faith-Life

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    • 3 min
    Love

    Love

    Love
    John 1:1-14
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1
    “In the beginning was the Conversation and the Conversation was with God.”
    When the Gospel of John was translated into Latin from its original Greek, translators of the first few centuries used the Latin word sermo for the Greek word logos in this passage. 
    There’s a perfectly good Latin word that denotes a single linguistic utterance—it is verbum, word in English.
    Sermo, according to Victoria Loorz in her book Church of the Wild, “means not ‘word’ but ‘conversation.’ Sermo indicates not a one-way sermon but a lively discourse, a dialogue, a manner of speaking back and forth: a conversation” (p. 109). Sermo, more than verbum, connotes the riches of meaning in the word logos. For this is a relational word full of all the words of the divine life-force that holds all of life together.
    “In the beginning was the Conversation and the Conversation was with God.”
    I imagine Mary having a conversation with the infant in her womb much as I did when I was pregnant. “Shush now and let me sleep,” I murmured, and the baby kicked back: “I will not be ignored.” Conversation. The baby’s father leaned toward my full belly, “Daddy to baby, daddy to baby,” he chanted; and the baby squirmed, in delight I imagine. Conversation. The baby emerges from Mary’s body into the dimness of a manger and cries. Mary hugs him close and soothes him, “it’s alright, you’re alright.” Conversation.
    Christmas Eve is a night of remembering holy conversations, the speaking of holy words from one to another, between infant and parent, between God and humanity, between and among one another. This eternal, life-giving, embodied and re-embodied, conversation was in the beginning. It is now. And it will be our end.
    Dr. Nancy Claire Pittman
    President
    and Stephen J. England Associate Professor of the Practice of Ministry

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    • 2 min
    God is at Work

    God is at Work

    God is at Work
    Luke 2:1-14
    In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. Luke 2:1
    Shootings. Extremes of wealth and poverty. Food insecurity. Racial-ethnic tensions. Corporate greed. Military invasions. Divisive leadership. Limited access to healthcare. Cultural and political divisions. Societal intolerance and violence. And so forth.
    One might wonder, where is God in the midst of our broken world? What is God doing? If anything?
    The first-century world had its own issues and damage. It was very broken. 
    Verse 1 names the source of the brokenness.
    In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. (Luke 2:1)
    In this act of decreeing a registration or census, the Emperor Augustus asserts his absolute power over some 65 million or so people. It is an act of domination, of economic exploitation through taxation, of territorial control, enforceable by military might if disobeyed. And Jupiter’s decree sanctions this world order. 
    It doesn’t matter that there is no historical evidence for Augustus’ decree. Its role in the Gospel narrative is to set the scene for Jesus’ birth and for the Gospel’s incredible proclamation.
    In the midst of Augustus’ imperial world, in the midst of his overwhelming power that stretches even to this minor province of Judea, the Gospel promises, explains, and declares: God is at work. 
    And divine work does not sanction Augustus’ empire. It takes a different route for a different purpose: a baby (very powerful as every parent knows), anointed to save the present world from a system of domination, exploitation, elite privilege, and injustice. Yet ironically, he anticipates a future world marked by the full establishment of God’s empire that dominates all.
    Dr. Warren Carter
    LaDonna Kramer Meinders Professor of New Testament

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    • 2 min
    Facing the Vortex

    Facing the Vortex

    Week Four
    December 22, 2022
    Facing the Vortex
    Isaiah 33:17-22
    But there the Lord in majesty will be for us a place of broad rivers and streams, where no galley with oars can go, nor stately ship can pass. Isaiah 33:21
    The late Civil Rights champion, James Baldwin once asserted that not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. During Advent, we must face that fact that we are living during perilous times. 
    Our era has been accented by the enactment of blatant anti-democracy policies and punctuated by the theologically bankrupt system of white christian nationalism. Many thought our nation was rid of such scandalous schemes, yet like a vicious monster in a low-budget horror movie, they keep reemerging and seemingly will not die.
    Daily installments of these absurdities are forming a swirling vortex of misery that can seemingly sweep away any hope we have for a more just future.
    However, we who are motivated by love to seek justice are not hopeless. We await the coming king, one whose beauty and majesty will cause us to focus not on insolent people, but the promise of an immovable sanctuary city, Jerusalem, not in the heavenly realm but in the world we know.
    People will experience him as a place of broad, nurturing waterways where no offending force can prevail. Through him, people will flourish and be saved.
    We know this king to be Jesus. Through his love, we are able to withstand the vortex of fear and hate.
    The love of Jesus confers onto us the boldness necessary to forge equitable relationships with people in underserved ZIP codes, and the courage required to have hard conversations on ways we can leverage our privilege in the name of justice. Through the love of Jesus, we are given the honor of living as agents of hope.
    O, come, O come, Immanuel. Amen
    Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan, Jr.
    Adjunct Instructor, The Center for Ministry and Lay Training and 
    Executive Director, The Ohio Council of Churches 

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    • 2 min
    Grandparent Stories

    Grandparent Stories

    Grandparent Stories
    Matthew 1:1-17
    An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David the son of Abraham. Matthew 1:1
    The late New Testament scholar Doug Adams contrasted parent stories to grandparent stories. Parent stories tend to clean up and prettify their own youthful years in order to claim the moral high ground. “When I was a child, I never talked to my parents that way.” 
    The grandparent version of the same story might be: “No, you did not talk back to me but instead gave me a grin that dripped with sarcasm and disrespect.”
    The Bible, said Adams, is full of grandparent stories. Matthew’s Ancestry.com construction of Jesus’ sometimes-shady relations provides examples. 
    • Judah’s sons by Tamar. Tamar was Judah’s daughter-in-law, who after her husband’s death seduced her father-in-law posing as a woman-for-hire on the side of the road, and Judah hired her. 
    • Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab. Did Matthew mean for his readers to recall the only Rahab in the Bible who was the sex worker who hid the spies prior to the destruction of Jericho?
    • Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth. Ruth a Moabite woman. A foreigner in Israel, from whom both David the great king and shameful actor and Jesus were descended. 
    And those examples are merely from the first third of the genealogy. Included in the rest of the list are persons of low moral stature and unwise decision. And, of course, at the end of the list Matthew names Joseph, who Matthew is about to tell us is not Jesus’ biological father.
    To paraphrase Adams: biblical grandparent stories are told with love rather than to establish moral superiority. Why? Because we need love in order to embrace, yet not to be determined by, our own stories.
    Dr. Gary Peluso-Verdend
    President Emeritus and Executive Director of the Center for Religion in Public Life

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    • 2 min
    The World Upside Down

    The World Upside Down

    The World Upside Down
    Samuel 2:1-10
    Hannah prayed and said, “My heart exults in the Lord; my strength is exalted in my God. My mouth derides my enemies because I rejoice in my victory… the bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble gird on strength. Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry are fat with spoil. The barren has borne seven, but she who has many children is forlorn. 1 Samuel 2:1, 4:4-5
    Hannah has just left her long-desired infant son with the priest at the temple in Shiloh. She has fulfilled her vow to God: If she were given a son, she would give him to the temple to become a nazarite, a servant of God, for his lifetime. She had been barren, enduring both the clumsy sympathy of her husband and the jeers from his fertile, second wife. 
    Now she breaks out in a prayer of praise to God. But this is not the expected joyful thanksgiving for a son. It is a song praising God’s power to create reversals: rich to poor, low to exalted places, bringing to Sheol and raising up.
    Scholars believe this is an ancient Hebrew hymn, placed in Hannah’s mouth since her story emphasizes a particular example of Yhwh’s theology of reversal. These great reversals can also be seen in Mary’s prayer of praise in Luke, and even in Jesus’ Jewish theology in his Sermon on the Mount. This upside-down world of our Judeo-Christian tradition is truly a call for joy in this Advent season, our “hope for years to come.”
    Sandy Shapoval
    Dean of the Library

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    • 2 min

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