Hello, I'm Christopher Marlin-Warfield
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- SermonsThe God who is love comes into the world as one of us in the person of Jesus Christ: not as a conquerer, not as a mascot, but as a good shepherd. In Christ, God gathers creation together. In Christ, God cares for creation from the side of creation. In Christ, God lays down their life for creation. And that is an idea that we can barely wrap our heads around.The God who is love comes into the world as one of us in the person of Jesus Christ. And the hard part about Lent is that we know what is going to happen: before the one in whom the divine and the human—the holy and broken—meet comes back to life in the glory of the resurrection… he is going to die.The God who is love, who is one of us, weeps. The God who is love, who is one of us, is disturbed. The God who is love, who is one of us, cries out. God knows our sorrow. Love knows our distress. Christ knows our grief. Not in theory, not in the abstract, but in the breaking of his own heart.There is this moment when Jesus is offered everything that he wants. There is this moment when Christ is offered the easy way. There is this moment when the God who is love, who is one of us, is tempted. And as hard as it is for us to admit, for that to mean anything, the temptation needs to be real.One of Us part 1The bonkers claim that we make—the good news that we proclaim—is that the God who is love came into the world as one of us. Not disguised as one of us. Not pretending to be one of us. Not play-acting as being one of one. As one of us. As the divine and the human, as holiness and brokenness, all at once. And through his life and death and resurrection, redeemed everything.Do not be afraid, for see, I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.Broken part 5God embraces the world in all of its brokenness. God reclaims the world in love. And God enlists us as co-conspirators in the work of Tikkun Olam: repairing the world. That work doesn’t erase the cracks, but it does make them worth something. It might even make them beautiful.Broken part 4One of the things that the world teaches us to do is to turn a blind eye to brokenness. Just like we need to learn to see both personal and systemic sin, we also need to learn to learn to see the way that the cracks of sin reach into everything that is.Broken part 3The brokenness of the world is personal and systematic; and those two kinds of brokenness are deeply intertwined. What I do affects systems and what systems do affects me. Changing that begins with acknowledging the totality of that brokenness.Broken part 2It’s easy to imagine that sin is about failing to follow a set of divine rules, and there might be something to that. But the deeper brokenness of the world is found in distorted relationships: relationships where we fail to serve one another, to help one another, to love one another. What we need is not more rigid rules, but restored relationships.
- Sermon Series
The story of God-as-one-of-us is a story about redemption, or salvation, or liberation; it’s a story about how we are freed from the brokenness of the world and empowered to live in the world as it should be. It is a story about how love becoming human helps humanity become more loving.
In this series, we’ll talk about how the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus (and, yes, the life and resurrection are just as important as the death) open up new possibilities for creation.
The thing that makes Christians unique is that we believe that God became one of us: a real, actual, historical human being, born among a dispossessed people in an occupied land, who was executed through the machinations of a powerful empire. We believe that person is the clearest image of the one who creates, sustains, and redeems the world because they love the world.
In this series, we’ll talk about the person of Jesus: not God pretending to be a human being, not God playing dress-up or pretend, but God as one of us.
The Christian story starts with a premise and a problem. The premise is that the world is created and sustained by a God who is love. The problem is that the world does not reflect that love. The Christian word for that brokenness—that distance between the way that the world is and the way that the world ought to be—is sin.
It’s easy to imagine God as an angry man who lives in the sky, makes a bunch of arbitrary rules, and then punishes people like you and me for breaking them. And that is a God who a lot of people preach, and who a lot of people believe in, and who a lot of people fear, and who a lot of people reject. But it is not a God who I recognize; because the God who I know—who I find in scripture and tradition—is love.
We all tell stories. We tell stories about ourselves and about others. We tell stories about the way that the world is and the way that it could be; and—probably more than we'd like to admit—those stories make up our reality. In this series, I talk about the stories that we tell, the stories that other people tell for us, and how we might start telling a better story.
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Right now, there is a movement in churches and nonprofits arguing that charity is toxic, that helping hurts, and that the entire nonprofit sector needs to be reformed to truly lift people out of poverty. These charity skeptics are telling Christians that traditional charity deepens dependency, fosters a sense of entitlement, and erodes the work ethic of people who receive it. Charity skepticism is increasingly popular; and it is almost certainly wrong.
Radical Charity weaves together research and scholarship on topics as diverse as biblical scholarship, Christian history, economics, and behavioral psychology to tell a different story. In this story, charity is the heart of Christianity and one of the most effective ways that we can help people who are living in poverty. Charity–giving to people experiencing poverty without any expectation of return or reformation–can save the world and help make God’s vision for the church a reality.