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The Passionate Jesus

Day1 host Peter Wallace's new book on the emotions of Jesus is, according to Marcus Borg, “An illuminating and powerful personal meditation." Ideal for personal or group study.

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The Rev. Susan Sparks The Rev. Susan Sparks is a former trial lawyer who now serves as senior pastor of Madison Avenue Baptist Church in New York, NY.

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American Baptist Churches USA

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Madison Avenue Baptist Church, New York, NY

The Rev. Susan Sparks

American Baptist Churches USA

Madison Avenue Baptist Church, New York, NY

The Rev. Susan Sparks, the only female comedian in the country with a pulpit, is senior pastor of the historic Madison Avenue Baptist Church in New York City (and the first woman in its 160 year history). Susan's work has been featured in the New York Times, in O (The Oprah) Magazine, ABC, CNN and in numerous comedy clubs, including Carolines Comedy Club in New York City. Susan is the recent recipient of an award from Intersections International for her interfaith work to promote justice, reconciliation and peace among diverse communities.

Her book, Laugh Your Way to Grace: Reclaiming the Spiritual Power of Humor, was released in May 2010.

Rev. Sparks is regular blogger for Psychology Today as well as a Key Voice Blogger for Day1; check out her blog here.


Latest Content by The Rev. Susan Sparks

The Rev. Susan Sparks

Susan Sparks: It’s Our Time to Move

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

 

You know how the book of Ecclesiastes says that there is nothing new under the sun? Well, the writers were wrong. Last weekend, I heard about something that was not only new under the sun, but frankly new under any star or planet. Ready?

A "stand still" parade.

Read full article...
The Rev. Susan Sparks

The Long Way Around

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

 

I have decided that New York City is the best place to live if you want to take the long way around. Recently, in order to get home, I had to take four detours. The first was on Park Avenue, where police were sending everyone north because of construction. We turned again because of a parade. Then a street fair. Then traffic came to a stop because of a man who had chosen the middle of Third Avenue to stop and rant about issues of the day.

Read full article...

Other Recent Content by The Rev. Susan Sparks

The Rev. Susan Sparks Transcript

April 24, 2016

Check Your Weapons at the Door

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

One of the weapons we tend to use often is our tongue, our words, says Susan Sparks. We can't live in the love for others that Jesus commanded if we can't control our tongue--and here are three ways to do that.
The Rev. Susan Sparks Transcript

April 17, 2016

Jesus and Dr. Seuss: A Conversation on Worry

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

Susan Sparks says Jesus and Dr. Seuss offer us help in dealing with the anxiety and worry that consume us: We are to focus on today, realize worry is a waste of time, and accept that we have no reason to worry as God's children.
ON Scripture: The Bible™ Article

March 21, 2016

ON Scripture: Grace Bats Last (Luke 24:1-12) By Rev. Susan Sparks

ON Scripture: The Bible

Baseball and Easter are a perfect match. This year, Opening Day falls just a week after Easter Sunday. But beyond the calendrical coincidence, many people have referred to baseball as a religion. F. Scott Fitzgerald famously called baseball 'the faith of fifty million people.'
ON Scripture: The Bible™ Article

January 04, 2016

ON Scripture: The Missing Piece (Luke 3:15-17, 21-22) By Rev. Susan Sparks

ON Scripture: The Bible

In our scripture this week, Luke 3:15-17, 21-22, we are reminded of life’s key piece through the story of Jesus’ baptism. The moment Jesus emerges from the water, a voice descends from heaven and declares: “You are my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased.” Such beautiful words. And yet, perhaps more powerful than the words themselves is their timing.
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

December 16, 2015

Lessons from a Christmas Cactus

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

How we can use the life-giving gift of darkness to blossom in Advent
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

April 16, 2015

Susan Sparks: Grace Bats Last

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

Baseball and religion are a perfect match. In fact, many people have talked about baseball as a religion.
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

March 31, 2015

Spring is a-Coming

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

A meditation on Holy Week by a cold New Yorker
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

February 28, 2014

Susan Sparks: Mini Me Jesus

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

I grew up with the whitest Jesus you have ever seen. A Vitamin D deficient, sickly looking Jesus; a sort of Don Knotts meets Gary Busey kind of Jesus. And he was always pictured in the same way: standing in a field, holding a tiny lamb (also pasty white). Not surprisingly, our entire congregation was the same shade as that Vitamin D deficient Gary Busey Jesus. In short, we had created a Mini Me Jesus.
The Rev. Susan Sparks Transcript

February 23, 2014

Sinners at the Laundromat

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

Susan Sparks shares a fresh way to think about the spiritual life as she takes us to the laundromat and helps us consider what in our life needs to be washed, ignored, or thoroughly cleansed.
The Rev. Susan Sparks Transcript

February 16, 2014

L'Chaim, and Don't Mess It Up!

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

Susan Sparks unpacks Moses' sermon to the Israelites as they prepared to enter the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 30:15-20), summing up his blessings and curses with "L'chaim, and Don't Mess It Up!"
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

December 24, 2013

Susan Sparks: Generosity Is the New Currency

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

This is a terrifying blog -- especially for educated people -- as a liberal arts major is about to offer a message on economics. But first, I will talk about something with which I am a little more familiar: shopping.
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

October 23, 2013

There are Angels in Manhattan

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

This is a Day1 Key Voice article by The Rev. Susan Sparks.
ON Scripture Article

July 24, 2013

ON Scripture-The Bible: The Power of Prayer… at the Kmart, By Rev. Susan Sparks

ON Scripture

When I want to remind myself of the power of prayer, I go to the Astor Place Kmart on the lower east side of Manhattan. Sure, I could read Kierkegaard or Augustine, but I prefer the Kmart. Specifically I favor an area in the far back corner of the basement. It is devoid of windows or natural light with a back wall of clear glass that faces the dungeon-like dark tunnel of the Number 6 subway train. There, you will find the most unexpected of things -- a plant nursery.
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

April 28, 2013

Susan Sparks: Running Toward the Blast: An Ordained Comedian's Take on Terrorists and Hecklers

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

If Boston taught us anything this week, it's that we don't have time to be scared. Life is fleeting, and we no longer have the luxury of making assumptions about the future.
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

February 20, 2013

Leveling Up Religion

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

What online games can teach religion
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

February 18, 2013

Like Ever!

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

How Taylor Swift and Jesus can help us avoid bad relationships
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

September 21, 2012

Shabbat? Why Not!

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

Shabbat with a twist
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

February 21, 2012

The Sideways Principle

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

Like pinot noir grapes, the human heart thrives only with the most patient of growers
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

January 13, 2012

Squishy Scriptures

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

We all need a wee boost every once in a while. Sadly the squishy stuffed animals we used to carry around don't always fit into our daily business world. We need an alternative.
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

January 04, 2012

Stay Thirsty My Friends

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

Revitalize your 2012 with wisdom from "the most interesting man in the world."
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

December 06, 2011

What Are You Getting Baby Jesus for Christmas?

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

While everyone from the newspaper delivery person to our great Aunt Hazelene is on our holiday shopping list, one name that is conspicuously missing ... is the baby Jesus.
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

November 12, 2011

A Veteran's Day Message

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

A Vietnam Vet's view of war and religion
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

October 24, 2011

Blindsided

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

How to recover from the blows you never saw coming.
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

October 01, 2011

No Rearview Mirrors

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

A short essay on giving up the past and focusing on the gifts of the road ahead.
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

September 06, 2011

We Be of One Blood, Ye and I

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

A 9/11 reflection based on blood and the Jungle Book
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

August 31, 2011

The Lifeboat of Laughter

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

A reflection on the upcoming tenth anniversary of 9/11
The Rev. Susan Sparks Transcript

August 14, 2011

The Mulch Pile

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

In Colossians 3, the Apostle Paul asks us what trash do we need to throw on the mulch pile, and what beautiful new things will we grow in its place?
The Rev. Susan Sparks Transcript

August 07, 2011

So You're a Christian? Whattaya Gonna Do About It?

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

As TV mobster Tony Soprano might put it, "So you're a Christian? Whattaya gonna do about it?" Some Christians do nothing. Others take a middle of the road approach. Susan Sparks encourages us to go "all in" and truly follow Christ.
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

August 01, 2011

A Heart like Pyrex Glass

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

Use the fires of life to make yourself stronger -- to forge yourself a heart of Pyrex.
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

June 14, 2011

TAKE OFF THE TRAINING WHEELS!

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

Take off your emotional training wheels and discover what life's like out on the open road.
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

May 18, 2011

Nestle Your Heart into a Cactus

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

Realize the precious, fragile nature of our hearts. Draw some boundaries. Grow a spine. Every little heart needs some cactus pricklies to protect it.
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

April 20, 2011

Another Boring Easter

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

Does the resurrection of a Messiah have any chance in our jaded, over-stimulated 21st Century world?
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

April 07, 2011

The Tide Will Turn: A Lenten Meditation

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

When all seems hopeless, when all appears to be gone, remember the tide will turn and life abundant, like the sea, will flood back into our lives.
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

March 23, 2011

Looking God in the Eye

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

A Lenten message about finding more intimacy and honesty in our spiritual lives
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

February 28, 2011

It's Time for a Silence Siesta

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

How noisy is your life? And what damage is it causing?
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

February 18, 2011

Ghandi Would Have Twittered

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

How Twitter highlights new possibilities with non-violence
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

January 09, 2011

It is Enough

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

A study of cheese grits and the baptism of Jesus
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Conversation with Susan Sparks - 30 Good Minutes

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

Sherre Hirsch and Daniel Pawlus in conversation with Susan Sparks, who says, "Make small, everyday changes in your life. Whether it's to go to a retreat, or buy a book or take a class. Just take one step towards where you think God is calling you."
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The Tisdale Triangle - Susan Sparks on 30 Good Minutes

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

Susan Sparks, Pastor of Madison Avenue Baptist Church in New York City, recalls how a storm-laden, cross-country motorcyle trip in South Dakota taught her an important lesson about weathering the storms of life.
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

December 29, 2010

Taking Down the Tree

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

Use taking down the Christmas tree as a New Years resolution exercise
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

December 23, 2010

"There is No Room at the Inn"

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

A Christmas message about coming in from the cold.
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

November 10, 2010

Three Redwood Wishes

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

What would a redwood tree have to say about love?
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

October 26, 2010

Let the Race Begin!

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

God calls us all to find the hero within.
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

October 11, 2010

Make It Work!

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

How to find life in exile: A study of Jeremiah, the Chilean miners and Project Runway.
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

September 09, 2010

Tracking Mud Into Holy Space

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

In my childhood home on Lockhart Drive in Charlotte, N.C., there was a place considered holy space. You spoke of it in hushed terms. It was only used on the most special of occasions. It was -- the living room.

The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

August 14, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love ... From Home

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

I am doing my own version of Eat, Pray, Love this morning:  I am eating breakfast in a fun new place, and praying that my arteries can support the love I feel for the croissant with egg, cheese and pesto sitting in front of me. 

The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

August 02, 2010

The Mulch Pile

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

Get rid of the trash in your life and grow something beautiful and new
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

July 27, 2010

CHRISTMAS IN JULY

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

The gifts of Christmas should be celebrated all year long!
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

June 01, 2010

Life as Explained Through Chicken Fried Steak

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

The Rev. Susan Sparks spent a week in Nashville recently for the Festival of Homiletics. But in addition to all the sermons she enjoyed, she also partook of a lot of good ol' Southern cooking--including Chicken Fried Steak. Read on...

The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

May 13, 2010

A Blessing of the Motorcycles

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

A blessing of the motorcycles reminds us to sanctify everyday life.
The Rev. Susan Sparks Transcript

April 18, 2010

The True Universal Health Care

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

The Rev. Susan Sparks takes a look at Jesus' healing of blind Bartimaeus, and finds a challenge to Jesus' followers to experience and share his healing touch.
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The Rev. Susan Sparks (Part 3) - Day1 Conversations with Peter Wallace

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

Day1 host Peter Wallace sits down for his third interview with the Rev. Susan Sparks, Senior Pastor of Madison Avenue Baptist Church, and discusses her strange road to becoming a pastor, her upbringing in the church and her two year trip culminating in her calling to seminary.
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The Rev. Susan Sparks (Part 2) - Day1 Conversations with Peter Wallace

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

The Rev. Susan Sparks sits down with Day1 host Peter Wallace for her second interview, this time discussing the flock at Madison Avenue Baptist Church and what its like being a southerner in the heart of New York City. How does the Madison Avenue Baptist Church reach out to the city around them? Watch and learn.
The Rev. Susan Sparks Transcript

April 11, 2010

Trust Jesus and Elvis

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

The Rev. Susan Sparks wonders about the impact Christians could have in the world if they behaved more like Elvis fans, instead of like doubting Thomas.
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The Rev. Susan Sparks (Part 1) - Day1 Conversations with Peter Wallace

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

The Rev. Susan Sparks, one time Lawyer and Comedian who made the unlikely jump to senior pastor at Madison Avenue Baptist Church, sits down with Peter Wallace to discuss the intersection of faith and comedy. Rev. Sparks discusses the important role each play in bringing joy to peoples lives, and how too often people of faith forget the role of Christianity in bringing joy.
The Rev. Susan Sparks Transcript

April 04, 2010

Resurrection Biscuits

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

As we celebrate Easter, the Rev. Susan Sparks reminds us that life without the resurrection of Christ can be heavy and flat--it's the missing key ingredient many of us are missing.
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

March 13, 2010

A LEO'S SEARCH FOR GOD

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

How to keep our faith when God seems silent
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

March 01, 2010

Skyping with God

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

How we image God drives how we communicate with God
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

February 16, 2010

World Peace -- One Joke at a Time

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

A Rabbi, a Muslim and a Baptist preacher walk into a room...
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

January 18, 2010

Click, click, click

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

Love thy neighbor...but at an appropriate and safe distance
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

January 06, 2010

No Al Dente in 2010!

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

Life is just better when slow cooked.
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

December 08, 2009

Sourdough Jesus

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

Jesus as the bread of life -- the sourdough bread that is -- has much to teach us in this busy advent season.
The Rev. Susan Sparks Article

November 19, 2009

There's Been a Change in Plans

The Rev. Susan Sparks (ABCUSA)

We must trust in what never changes, so we can then trust in what does.