Collective Podcast Sermons for threshold faith communities.

This week we round out our exploration of the prodigal son with a practical reading that meets us where we live, in the complex world of relational dynamics, family history, conflicting values, and a sincere hope in the power of reconciliation. We'll see what happens when we free the story for the Divine-Human allegory connected with father and sons. Then we'll see what has really been lost, how people come to realize, and where God might be in the story, if not as the father.

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In this second week of our Prodigal series, we'll flip the traditional light reading of the story, and look from the dark underside of tragedy. We'll come to know the prodigal as a failed attempt to change an unjust system, and differentiate from his controlling father. We'll read the Christ narrative in light of this radical-prodigal invitation to critique and transform oppressive, inhuman systems.

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This week we begin a journey through the story of the prodigal son from three different approaches. Owen Stricklin, pastor of our sponsoring congregation, FUMC, will be delivering the first part of the series, offering a more traditional reading. In addition to the wisdom we'll gain from each reading, we'll keep in mind the larger truth that there is always more than one way to read and engage a story, to hear and receive truth, to bring ourselves to the text as it seeks to bring us into the story. We can all relate to feeling lost, to bottoming out, to feeling the emptiness and failure of extravagance to truly satisfy. And we also can relate to being surprised by a fresh perspective on a tired old narrative.

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Last week we explored a story we'd never heard. This week we'll look at a passage it is nearly impossible to avoid. "The Lord is my shepherd..." You know the rest. Whether from a funeral or from listening to Gangsta's Paradise. This is part of the problem. We can become so familiar with a text and its supposed meaning that we lose the ability to encounter it in fresh ways. This week, we'll aim to do just that.

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