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As Sunday Approaches…

“. . . read the biblical text for this coming Sunday, pray like a true warrior who believes Jesus can save even us and even this bloody age, and get up and risk getting it wrong. Tell the congregation about how scared you are, and then preach.

Preachers don’t have to bring the definitive WORD, for goodness sake. They need to risk asking their congregations to struggle together with what this news means for our collective and individual memory and for our witness in the years to come.”

- Amy Laura Hall, in Sojourners

Proper 29 Project in the Christian Media

Below are a few sources for news and interviews related to the project and its members which have appeared in the Christian media over the past several days:

Sojourners features an interview with Amy Laura Hall on the genesis and goals of the project as well as some pastoral reflections.

Dr. Hall also appeared on The Nick and Josh Podcast and discussed similar topics.

Steve Thorngate of Christian Century discusses the project, the origins of Reign of Christ Sunday, and the implications of this sometimes awkward feast day for the Church’s witness to the state.

A Prayer for Veterans (Cari Willis)

Many thanks to the Rev. Cari Willis, one of the Chaplains at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Durham, NC, for submitting this prayer:

Lord, surround those with trauma from wars past and present with your abiding love and peace. Give new vision to those who only see the blood and destruction of war every time they close their eyes. Give understanding and patience to those who love those who have partaken in war who remain traumatized by all they were witness to. And give your hope for a new day to those who want it all to end today.  Amen.

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An invitation

(Although our project focused on Reign of Christ Sunday in November of 2010, we are still receiving sermons that engage with the news from WikiLeaks. So we will continue to post sermons. Please take up the invitation below and send us your sermon.)

The news media has been full of reports stemming from the release of thousands of documents which detail the level of American and British complicity in the deaths of civilians in Iraq, including deaths by torture.

As pastors, priests, theologians, and seminarians in the United States, we cannot remain silent in the face of these acts of violence. The recent revelations from WikiLeaks show that the American and British military in Iraq and Afghanistan have disregarded the jus in bello criteria of the Just War tradition.

Proper 29 Project has been set up to provide a forum for homiletic engagement with our moral culpability as Christians in the United States for civilian deaths and torture in Iraq and Afghanistan, and for witnessing to the gospel of Jesus Christ as we process the news that British, U.S., and Iraqi forces have killed over 66,000 civilians. We acknowledge and lament our corporate responsibility for these acts. Knowing that we all stand under God’s judgment, we hope to speak the truth without creating dichotomies which lessen our culpability.

Our Idea

The Proper 29 Project is a call to our sisters and brothers to address this issue from the pulpit from now until November 21, Reign of Christ Sunday (Proper 29), and to share that witness with a broader audience through this webpage.  If you are in a tradition that uses the Revised Common Lectionary, the readings for that day may be found here.

If your church does not follow a lectionary, or follows a different one, we also welcome your sermons on other passages of Scripture.  Manuscripts or audio files may be sent to proper29@gmail.com.  Faculty members, students, and non-parochial clergy who do not ordinarily preach, please join us as well by sending a manuscript.

In Christ’s peace,

Matt Elia, Duke Divinity School, M.Div. student

Rev. Dr. Amy Laura Hall, Duke Divinity School, Associate Professor of Theological Ethics

Dr. Kara Slade, Duke Divinity School, M.Div. student

Rev. Isaac Villegas, Chapel Hill Mennonite Fellowship

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(Spread the Word! Here’s a poster for you to post wherever you can: Proper29Poster)