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In the Meantime | Chris Currie

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In the Meantime | Chris Currie

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These sermons were preached over the span of a year sometime between 2017 and 2018 at First Presbyterian Church, Shreveport. Recently I had the opportunity to be present at Eugene Peterson’s final public address at the Karl Barth Pastor’s Conference on the campus of Princeton Theological Seminary. Because of Eugene Peterson’s declining health, the address ended up being read by his son Eric. The whole address and talk were very moving and special. It was a privilege to be present and to be shaped once again by the words and writing of Eugene Peterson. In his address, which was an appreciation for the theology of Karl Barth, Peterson, in conversation with Barth, discussed the difficulties of sermons in written or book form. Perhaps a book is not the sermon’s natural habitat. Sermons are events, occurrences, and attempts to declare the gospel of Jesus Christ to a particular people in a particular place in a particular time with particular concerns and particular events happening in their lives and in the life of the world. To write sermons down, to publish them, and to put them in book form risks removing them from the intimacy of the congregation in which they were preached, risks ripping them from the struggles a community may be facing, and risks placing them out of the intricacies of a congregation’s context, setting, and ethos. All of this is true, and yet Peterson reminds us that there is still value in reading a sermon secondhand or putting the preached Word in published form, and that a ‘prayerful imagination can and does supply much’ of what might be lost when transported into a book. We Presbyterians are people of the Word and people of the word. We are people who are shaped and formed by the preaching and hearing of the gospel, but we are also people of the written word, people formed and shaped by the witness of scripture and the beauty of written language. As such, we place a high value on the use of words that express the Christian faith in ways that lead us to think and act and live beyond the presenting possibilities. So while these sermons and their words may be one step removed from the event of the gospel and the context in which they were proclaimed, I trust they are of some value to the reader’s life of faith. By engaging them with a prayerful imagination, I hope these sermons can offer a window into the ways I believe Christ is at work through the pages of scripture, through the voice of the preacher, and through the ministry of the congregation, moving beyond us and moving us beyond, into the life of our world, where we are called to be Christ’s church ‘out there.’

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Chris Currie serves as pastor/head of staff at First Presbyterian Church of Shreveport, Louisiana. Born in Scotland and raised in Texas, Chris attended Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina. After teaching high school history and humanities, Chris attended Princeton Theological Seminary where he received his Masters of Divinity. Chris served in ministry for six years at Calypso Presbyterian Church, Calypso, North Carolina (2004-2010). From 2010-2013, Chris and his family lived in Edinburgh, Scotland where Chris pursued a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology at the University of Edinburgh, School of Divinity.

After receiving his Ph.D. in 2013, Chris returned to parish ministry at First Presbyterian Church, Shreveport, Louisiana, where he serves as pastor/head of staff, 2013-present. Chris is married to Stephanie Smith Currie, a licensed speech therapist who serves in the Caddo Parish Public Schools and on the faculty of Louisiana State University, School of Allied Health Professionals. Together Chris and Stephanie have three children, Thomas (13), Harrison (10), and Corinne (8).

Chris is also the author of The Only Sacrament Left to Us, (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2015). This book of sermons comes from a year of preaching ministry at First Presbyterian Church, Shreveport (2017-2018), and seeks to sketch a path of discipleship in this particular time between Christ’s resurrection and Christ’s return.

 

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