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The Passionate Jesus

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Topic Features About Integrity

The Rev. Dr. Robert T. Baggott

Getting There

Luke 3:7-18

3rd Sunday of Advent - Year C

December 16, 2012

The Rev. Dr. Robert Baggott (UCC)

Well, with Christmas nearly here, there is probably not one among us whose thoughts don't stray towards Bethlehem with real longing. Do you want to go to Bethlehem? Well, getting there hasn't always been easy.

Back in the 1980's when I first started leading groups on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, getting to Bethlehem required disembarking our tour bus at an armored check point outside the town, having our passports checked, then walking a full block under the watchful eye of heavily armed Israeli soldiers. Only after successfully navigating this pulse-quickening walk could we board a Palestinian bus to finally take us into Bethlehem. In the 1990's the process changed a bit. Our tour bus still had to stop at a checkpoint before entering the city, but then instead of requiring passengers to get off, armed soldiers got on. They walked up and down the aisles checking passports and asking questions. After a few anxiety-producing minutes, when the all clear was given, we could drive to the other side of the checkpoint, change buses, and enter Bethlehem. When we last traveled to Bethlehem, just last winter, the process of getting there had eased dramatically. There was no passport check on the way in. Nor did soldiers board the bus. We simply drove to a kiosk where our bus driver spoke to a guard for a few moments. Then we were waved on, with the greatest impediment being the speed bump that lies at the gate of the twenty-five foot cement wall which now sadly separates Israel from the West Bank. And that is how you get to Bethlehem these days, at least physically.

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The Rev. Dr. Ronald Peters

The Uriah Factor

2 Samuel 11:1-21

Proper 12 (17) - Year B

October 09, 2011

The Rev. Dr. Ronald Peters (PCUSA)

Unless we are careful, it is easy to miss or dismiss what I call The Uriah Factor. By way of defining what I mean by The Uriah Factor, let me review the context from which it emerges in scripture: in the well-known Biblical tale of David and Bathsheba.

Because of human nature's popular fascination with the trappings of wealth, privilege, and power, whenever the biblical story of David and Bathsheba is read or discussed, most attention is quickly drawn to the Hollywood-style glamour or soap opera intrigue that surrounds the salacious, the unfettered license, and the corruption in high places that adorns this tragedy. Yet, in so doing, we miss one of the most important aspects of this rather sad tale: the significance and the importance of the man Uriah.

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Other Recent Content About Integrity

The Rev. Dr. Anna Carter Florence Transcript

November 11, 2007

The Woman Who Just Said No

The Rev. Dr. Anna Carter Florence (PCUSA)

The Rev. Dr. Anna Carter Florence celebrates the integrity and courage of Queen Vashti, obscure individual from the book of Esther, who refuses to be objectified by her husband, King Ahasuerus.

The Rev. James F. Bracher Transcript

June 12, 2005

God Knows You!

The Rev. James F. Bracher (UCC)

Rev. Bracher was ordained in 1980 by the UCC and served ten years as a chaplain and pastor of United Church of Christ (Congregational) churches before creating the Bracher Center for Integrity in Leadership in 2002 in Monterey, CA.