Presence: Giving and Receiving God

Presence: Giving and Receiving God

by J. Alexander Sider, Isaac S. Villegas


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As God's eternal life flows through us, we learn to let go of our pretensions of control and rest into the new life offered in Jesus Christ. This book is an invitation for you to become nonresistant to this movement of God's love for you and the world.

Through a variety of sermons and meditations, Sider and Villegas bear witness to a grace that disarms our guardedness and makes room for us to fall into the love of God. Preaching becomes a dispossessive practice, as each person is invited to give and receive God's transforming power.

The proclamation of the gospel, Villegas and Sider say, should display the priesthood of all believers. Thus, the call to preach belongs to the whole congregation and its conversation rather than to the lone preacher and her (or his) sermon. Presence: Giving and Receiving God draws on the Mennonite tradition of the Zeugnis ("conversation") to explore how the preached Word echoes through all of our voices.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781608996711
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 06/17/2011
Pages: 230
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.20(d)

About the Author

J. Alexander Sider is assistant professor of religion at Bluffton University.

Isaac S. Villegas is the pastor of Chapel Hill Mennonite Fellowship in North Carolina. He serves on the national board of Mennonite Church USA and the governing board of the NC Council of Churches.

Table of Contents

Introduction vii

1 Hope 1

Lament and Repent 2

Gone Missing 7

Silent Witnesses 11

Waiting for a Promise 17

Waiting with Mary 22

Mater Ecclesia 28

A Protest of Hope 33

2 Communion 35

Eucharist Means Gratitude 36

Flesh and Blood 40

Our Tortured King 46

Bodies Matter 50

3 Desire 55

Heart's Desire 56

Faith and Love 62

Closer 69

If Our Hearts Condemn Us 74

You Shall Not Covet 79

4 Power 85

Illusions of Peace 86

Paul's Politics 91

Power in Weakness 99

Preparing for Peace 105

Remembering Home 112

5 Money 117

Caesar's Coin 118

Dirty Money 125

Irresponsible Stewards 130

Human Enough 135

6 Salvation 143

Companions without Paychecks 144

Life on the Vine 149

Deliverance from Egypt 155

Salvation Is Created 160

7 Strangers 165

Do You See This Woman? 166

Strangers 173

Who Are You? 179

The Risen Body 186

8 Conclusion 191

Voices 192

What Is This? 198

Notes 205

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"This is more than a collection of sermons. It is a conversation between two friends, a window into the life of a particular congregation, and a list of bracing questions to take away when you put the book down: Paul as a rogue organizer? Church as a place we learn what we really desire? Love as a protest? Read it for personal devotions, small group discussions, or on your way to a political demonstration or the community garden."

-Nancy R. Heisey

Undergraduate Academic Dean

Eastern Mennonite University

"This is the finest reflection that I've read on the place of the Word of God in the believing community. In our harried times, the invitation by the authors to 'relax' into the Word is truly good news. This is an impressive collection that covers a wide range of pertinent topics, moving between text and context in a truly engaging way. It will make you hunger for authenticity and a more intimate walk with God."

-Stanley W. Green

Executive Director

Mennonite Mission Network

"There's a lot of bad theology out there. The answer to bad theology is not no theology but good theology. Here are some good sermons-read them in a quiet place, shout them on a street corner, or share them around a campfire . . . they are like candy for the soul."

-Shane Claiborne

author of The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical

"Here are a couple of humble, faithful voices whose proclamations will feed your faith and expose your flimsy excuses for marginalizing the good news. These sermons reveal a community viscerally engaged with the Scriptures, and surprised by revelations of God's graceful work in our world."

-Jennifer Davis Sensenig

Lead Pastor

Community Mennonite Church, Harrisonburg, Virginia

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