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Author Ron Sisk

An Ethics of Continuity

“What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun.” So the author of Ecclesiastes speaks his weariness and disillusionment. Call me crazy, but I find it comforting in a way. Seminary students, the constituency with which I’m most familiar these […] Read More

So what good is the church in an election year? If you don’t tell people how to vote (You can’t!) and you don’t advocate for a political party (You shouldn’t!), what exactly can and should you do? Ignoring the election is not the answer. Yes, our primary mission is the gospel, but anytime the community […] Read More

Often we teachers only learn about our mistakes in the process of inflicting them on unsuspecting students. I just finished teaching a course for the first time on “Preaching Ethically.” We had a lot of fun. We looked at ethical sermons by Martin Luther King, Jr., Tony Campolo and William Sloane Coffin. We talked about […] Read More

Preaching in a Political Year

From here on to next November, the temptation grows–the temptation to use your pulpit to help the party of your choice get elected. That’s nothing new, of course. These days the politicization of American religion is taken for granted. Newspapers published the raw figures last week. Twice as many church folk will vote Republican as […] Read More

How to Preach Ethics

It’s not easy to preach ethics. It’s especially difficult for many Baptists, because our high view of scriptural authority tends to make us look for simple answers–whether the issues are simple or not. To preach ethics ethically a minister needs to be willing to do a lot of homework and to take at least a […] Read More

Maybe part of the reason I studied ethics in seminary was that I heard so many examples of bad ethics from the pulpit while growing up. It wasn’t that preachers actually spoke evil (or only rarely so) as much as that ethics tended to be both confused and abused in the preaching process. There was […] Read More

Plagiarism. There goes that word again. Plagiarism is the persistent plague of preaching, and the summer of 2003 is no exception. A prominent Disciples of Christ minister in Washington, D.C., has just gone through the gut-wrenching discovery and admission of using someone else’s sermons as his own. One possible response is, “What do you expect?” […] Read More

The Freedom of the Pulpit

It isn’t in any of our Baptist confessions. No doubt Tony Campolo in recent weeks has wished that it were. But the freedom of the pulpit, we say, remains one of our most cherished Baptist traditions. Campolo was roundly criticized in Southern Baptist circles for remarks he made at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship General Assembly. […] Read More

Preaching Peace

My pastor never preached on the war at all. As a congregation, we prayed for peace. We prayed for safety for our military folk. We prayed for the Iraqi people. We prayed for the president and other world leaders. But, beyond recognizing the heightened anxiety in which we’ve all been living, the subject never came […] Read More

As much as possible, people should work out their conflicts within their own community of faith. It won’t always work, and people do have legitimate reasons for changing congregations. But pastors who make it too easy contribute little to the spiritual welfare of those they accept. But the practice is perhaps more common than ever. […] Read More