Live recordings full of humor and heart for people of faith who like to smile and think. Christy talks to folks without notes by heart and from his heart using humor to question simple answers to life challenges. For faithful folks with a sense of humor and wonder who love God with all their heart, mind, and spirit.
Hardness of Heart
How Hearts Get Hard and Why In God’s Name It Matters Hardness of Heart a sermon by Rev. J. Christy Ramsey DOWNLOAD A LIVE RECORDING Audio from worship at 10 AM Worship Service October 3, 2021 at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Carson City. I am wearing a mask so the deep breathing is not a sign of illness but a sign of caring for others. edited from a flawless transcription made by edigitaltranscriptions all errors are mine. Mark 10:2-16 Sermons also available free on iTunes I want to talk to you about hardness of heart. Hardness of heart. Now, forget what you know about being hard-hearted because that is probably society culture’s definition of what hard-hearted is. Somebody that is not kind, not generous, not compassionate. Those are all good things. But in the Bible, that’s not hard-hearted. To find out hard-hearted, we have to go back to the Hebrew Scriptures. There’s a lot of hard-heartedness going along in the Hebrew Scriptures. But if you really want to look at the most common place where there’s hard-heartedness in the story, it’s a story of – anyone? Anyone? Bueller? No? Nothing? Anybody on Zoom chat? The Exodus story Pharaoh. That Pharaoh guy was always getting his heart hardened. Right? And every time there was a plague, Pharaoh’s heart was hardened. And it wasn’t because he wasn’t nice or generous or compassionate or understanding. Hard-hearted in the Bible means you can’t see what God is doing in the world. You don’t know why things are happening. You only know how. And Pharaoh lived that. Remember the first plagues that came up, the frogs, the Nile turning to blood-red, all these things? Pharaoh was focused on how. Because he turned to his magicians, and his magicians did the same thing. Oh, well, that’s not anything special. My magicians can do that, as well. I know how you did it. I know the secret. I know the trick. I know the magic. And he completely missed why God was doing it. For that he was called “hard-hearted.” Hard-hearted is when we don’t see what God is doing in the world and instead focus on how we are in the world. And don’t we do that a lot? In the beginning of the Scripture we hear more about how. In fact, all through this chapter it’s about the hows presented to Jesus, and Jesus going, why is God doing this in the world? The Pharisees come up and say is it lawful – how – for a man to divorce his wife? And Jesus asks them, what does the law say? And they answer with a how. Well, you give her a certificate of divorce, you go to a notary public, you get it stamped, you do all the things and that. And Jesus calls that “hard-hearted.” Not because of compassion, the meanness, kindness, all that stuff, which it’s not, but because, as he goes on to explain, it’s not what God intends. You see, Jesus isn’t here giving some moral rules for divorce. He isn’t here outlawing divorce. He isn’t tell you how to live your life. He isn’t telling you a bunch of reasons. We don’t have to go back and break out the scarlet letter “A” and put it on people so we know not to marry them. He’s telling us the why. And I know you all are a little titillated, maybe, about that word “adultery.” Can we say that in church? Have the children left? But you know, adultery is not just what we usually think of it in culture. Adultery means to water down; right? If you have adulterated milk, that means someone put some water in it or some other things, watered it down. If a food or anything else is adulterated, it means it’s not the way it should be. If you think about that, the why of the adultery, it’s obvious today whoever does these things isn’t living the way God wants us to live. Every time in this Scripture, in this chapter, and it’s 3:1, so we’ve only got two this week because as Father Jeff says, the lectionary elf says oh, no, only two, only two. Every story, one, marriage and how a man owns a wife. That’s the way it was back then. Th
We can search for miracle as well as we can find malice in others Hanlon’s Razor a sermon by Rev. J. Christy Ramsey DOWNLOAD A LIVE RECORDING Audio from worship at Christ Presbyterian Church, Gardnerville, NV on August 1,2021 edited from a flawless transcription made by edigitaltranscriptions all errors are mine. Ephesians 4:1-16 Sermons also available free on iTunes One difference between a community and a cult is just that – difference. A community embraces it. A cult outlaws it. Both are organized around a common goal and beliefs. But community is harder than a cult because everyone is not like you and me. More specifically, it’s harder because not everybody is me. If it was me, everything would be fine. But it doesn’t work that way in community. Only in cults. You’re saying, why is he talking about community? Because that’s what our scripture’s about. You may think that it’s about spiritual gifts. This is one of those spiritual gifts inventory passages. You know, the one we all love to like. It’s just like, you know, it’s an Amazon Wish List, and we just got a gift card. You know, we’re going through it saying, oh, what can I get? Oh, boy. But I want to caution you, at least for today, do not pretend that this is Christmas Eve, and the verses are gaily wrapped packages for us to shake and figure out what we got. Because that’s not what the scripture is about. In fact, all the spiritual gift list is not to talk to us about how wonderful it is to have gifts, although that’s pretty good. It is about community. It is about differences, about how people that are different, in different ways, are blessed together to build up the body, even though they are different. You get that? It is about embracing differences. And look how subtly it has changed. Instead of saying, oh, them, they’re not like us, they’re different; instead of saying people are different, and we’ve got to put up with them, it says what? People have different gifts. People that are different are gifts, not burdens. Not something to be fixed. Not something to be convinced. Not something to come in line with the one true opinion – which is mine, by the way. They are gifts. What if we went along with that? It goes, “Oh, what a gift that is.” You know, it’s kind of like in the South. I don’t know, anybody from the South? They have that saying, “Oh, bless her heart.” That means I don’t really approve of what you’re doing or saying, but bless you anyway. Now, you can go through what that means. But I’m going to take it to mean you’re a gift. Your specialness, uniqueness, problematic behavior I’m taking as a blessing; I’m taking as a gift. Now, one of my main errors is I forget to explain my title. So let’s get that done. Hanlon’s Razor is by Robert Hanlon. Did I get the name right? ATTENDEE: Hanlon. Hanlon, yes, thanks. I wrote it down for all of us. Yeah, Robert Hanlon is a computer programmer. And he sent in this to a joke book, kind of distilling what has been floating around in literature and quotes for centuries. And he says that “Do not attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” Don’t think someone is evil and out to get you when it could be they’re just stupid, and not even thinking about themselves or you or anybody. Now, Bob, come on. That’s pretty harsh. You know. Stupid? Really, Bob? You know, Bob must be one of those cultural elites, you know, went to college, thinks they know everything. Oh, I’m sorry, I’ve just cut myself with Hanlon’s Razor because I’m assuming malice in what he says. Well, I’m still not happy with the stupid. So since I’m the one true measure of all things for like 20 minutes, I would like to say a different one. Let’s call it Ramsey’s
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I love how he can bring everyday life experiences into a deeper understanding of faith.