Author: Nicholas Knisely

The 21st Sunday after Pentecost: There’s no single way to holiness.

Sermons and audio

When Jesus is asked which is the greatest commandment in the Law, he quotes from two different places in Hebrew Scripture. He refuses to simply weigh one part of the Law, as more important than another, saying for instance that the moral demands of the law are greater than the ceremonial aspects. In doing so he makes two paths to God equivalent. I don’t know that we’ve yet to fully grasp the implications of that […]

Comprehension rather than Division

Sermons and audio

The 22nd Chapter of Matthew’s Gospel is filled with attempts to trap Jesus into saying something that would create a crisis for him. This week there’s an attempt to create division between him and the Imperial forces. There will be attempts in the coming weeks to create division between him and various branches of the religious community. There will be an attempt to make him either reveal his mission or to risk rejection by the […]

The Atlantic: Cognitive Dissonance in the Pandemic

Current Affairs

Two social scientists describe how their work on Cognitive Dissonance explains the irresponsible public health behaviors that many humans are exhibiting in this pandemic. After a description of research into the behavior, and a frank admission that this is the way our brains work, they go on to explain how they understand what’s happening. (I’ll add that they do not mention, but that I suspect, that there are people who know this human mechanism and […]

Sermon for the 19th Sunday after Pentecost

Sermons and audio

When the people in the wilderness lose patience and just want things to be normal again, they turn from God who expects moral behavior and create a God who extracts wealth to bring prosperity. And when God threatens to let them suffer the consequences of their choice, Moses pleads with God to remember the promises made to Abraham and his descendants who all chose, ultimately to do the moral things that God taught them would […]

Who’s world is this anyhow?

Sermons and audio

The words of the Bible are not ours to use as weapon or tool against others, they’re the path we travel to transform ourselves. When we imagine that we can somehow possess God’s truth exclusively rather then recognize that we are merely tenants in the Lord’s vineyard, we begin to imagine that the world and others are ours to do with as we want. The truth is that we are given a form of stewardship […]

FAQ: How to protect yourself from COVID-19 aerosol transmission

Current Affairs

In the absence of clear guidance from US government agencies right now, public minded researchers have created a document that summarizes, in one place, the best information we have. For people like congregational leaders trying to make decisions about worshiping indoors this coming winter, finding good information has been hard. This is worth bookmarking. From the beginning of the document: The goal of these FAQs is to provide information to the general public in an […]

You must choose. Even when you’d really rather not.

Sermons and audio

There are moments when we are confronted with making a choice. Sometimes those happen in a moment of overwhelming crisis with massive consequences. Sometimes the choices seem small and inconsequential but it turns out that the choice transforms your life. In this week’s Gospel reading, the religious authorities are confronted with a choice. They reject the choice. And in so doing they turn away from the truth. Sometimes we have to choose. And God’s grace […]

The Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Sermons and audio

God transforms us in the wilderness as we journey from being in bondage to being the people of the promised land. But the transformation comes with pain and parts of the journey are filled with fear and anxious longing. Out of that fear and pain we look backward, longing for the certainty we had even though we were not free or fully yet the people of God. It feels like our national journey towards a […]

Crusty Old Dean: The Episcopal Church’s Lost Causism

Reconciliation / Rhode Island

A friend, Episcopal priest, seminary professor and writer, The Rev. Thomas Ferguson, has a searing essay posted about the historical denial of our denomination’s participation in the evil of White Supremacy: Crusty Old Dean: The Episcopal Church’s Lost Causism: Thankfully, there have been a number of really great histories written in the past 25 years, efforts to correct the systemic racism in how we have told our history:  Prichard’s “History of the Episcopal Church,” Hein […]

Good nutrition can contribute to keeping COVID-19 and other diseases away

Current Affairs

There are many reasons why there are racial disparities are observed in COVID-19 morbidity. I’ve not heard people talk about the implications of living in a “food desert” as one of them. Grayson Jaggers, USC Asst. Professor has laid out a case of why the worst expression of the western diet is directly causing deaths among people who can’t get health food: Good nutrition can contribute to keeping COVID-19 and other diseases away: Scientists know […]