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The Passionate Jesus

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The Rev. Mark Sargent The Rev. Mark Sargent

The Rev. Mark Sargent is a United Methodist minister based in Atlanta, GA.

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United Methodist Church


The Gamut

August 25, 2009

We've all heard it said; when you start talking about politics and religion around people, you'll likely start something!  My recent sermon and the interviews with Peter Wallace generated lots of response.  I appreciate each of those persons who took the time to share some heart-rending stories of their own religious wounds and their journeys toward recovery.  Some left the Church forever.  Others left and found themselves surprised by their return. 

One person who left and surprisingly returned spoke in such profound ways about "falling in love with the Beloved."  And, in a stirring bit of sharing and witness, this person spoke of all people--"right-wing Christians, atheists, Buddhists"--and everyone as "equally beloved of the Beloved."  It's love that binds us all together, and love, this person shared, transcends our often narrow concepts of right and wrong. 

"Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing, there is a field.  I'll meet you there."  These words, from the mystic Rumi, speak to the universal yearning of the human heart to connect and to embrace and to know and to love.

On the other hand, there were responses that suggested that I had lost my mind, or worse!  One of our Day1 listeners mailed me a tract sharing the steps to salvation, which is available only through Jesus.  And, another listener, who caught the program in Raleigh, shared his regret that I was a "deceiver of men" by having chosen what he called "political correctness" over the clear word of God, in whose presence there can be no sin. 

Perhaps most gratifying--and, yes, I am saying this out loud--were the several atheists who took the time to be in touch.  Some of them had been pointed to the blog and the program by friends who are familiar with Day1.  Others found the program by accident.  Still others actually listen to see what's happening among us Christians!  And, each of them expressed gratitude for the apology that I attempted to offer for whatever ways some Christianities have been injurious to people.

Let's keep the conversation going!  Please let me know about the conversations in which you've been engaged regarding the message.  You can be in touch with us at Day1, and you can feel free to contact me directly at mark@marksargent.org


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