Douglass Church - Douglass Blvd Christian Church



Every Sunday @ 11am in Louisville, KY, Rev. Derek Penwell broadens our minds with his sermons. Now, thanks to the interwebs, we can share them with you.


  • When Your Faith Makes People Nervous (Mark 3:20-35)


    "For too many people in our culture, being Christian means obsessing about what average people do with their genitals, while ignoring what wealthy people do with their checkbooks. "It means embracing people who say 'Merry Christmas,' while ignoring babies born into squalor and poverty. "Christianity, for too many people today, means 'saving souls for Jesus,' while often despising those same souls until they have the decency and good sense to become more like you." Subscribe to us on iTunes! Sermon text: [ web][1] | [ doc][2] [1]: [2]:

  • No Cheap Grace (Isaiah 6:1-13)


    We live in a world where the deck has been historically and consistently stacked against those who haven’t had the power to protect themselves and their children. Racism, huge disparities in wealth and opportunity, xenophobia, misogyny, vast repositories of prejudice against LGBTQ people and the disabled. These are wrongs that can’t be fixed with well-intentioned expressions of regret. Sometimes, when things are bad enough, historically entrenched enough, systems need to be dismantled and rebuilt. Jesus called such a dismantling and rebuilding “the reign of God.” According to Isaiah, according to the Gospels, when “sorry” isn’t enough to fix the old world, we need a new world. Subscribe to us on iTunes! Sermon text: [ web][1] | [ doc][2] [1]: [2]:

  • A New Unsettling Force (Acts 2:1-21)


    The temptation is to believe that if you’re doing the right thing for all the right reasons that you should win everyone’s approval. How can anybody be mad at you? You’re just trying to do the right thing? But that’s not how it works. Sometimes doing the right thing can get you fired. Ask Jesus, sometimes doing the right thing can get you killed. I want to say to folks who claim that Jesus makes everything better: 'Have you ever actually met this Jesus? I don’t know about you, but every time I bump into him he’s stomping around in steel-toed boots, busting up furniture and smashing the good dishes.' Subscribe to us on iTunes! Sermon text: [ web][1] | [ doc][2] [1]: [2]:

  • Re-drawing the Circle (Acts 8:26-40)


    The circle of the beloved community isn’t wide enough until the poor and the powerless get to sit at the same table with the rich and the powerful. It isn’t wide enough until that corner of the lunch room where they sit has been moved to the center, and the kids who’ve never had a voice get to sing like angels.

  • True Healing (Acts 4:1-12)


    A new power has been unleashed against the powers and principalities—a new reign of justice and peace, a confrontation of the powers who, at worst, punish those who are broken and cast off, and at best, ignores them. And all it takes are a few ordinary people willing to stand up by the power and name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth to the rulers of this world and offer true healing. A few words can make a lot of noise. Subscribe to us on iTunes! Sermon text: [ web][1] | [ doc][2] [1]: [2]:

  • The Three Saddest Words (Luke 24:13-35)


    Easter is God's unwillingness to abide a future defined by loss and grief. Easter opens up a new horizon where oppression and exploitation no longer rule, where the machinery of the state no longer serves only the powerful and the wealthy, where hope is no longer mindless dreaming but the promise of a new world built on love and justice. Subscribe to us on iTunes! Sermon text: [ web][1] | [ doc][2] [1]: [2]:

  • What Happens When You Let the Holy Spirit Loose? (John 20:19-23)


    In other words, when structures and organizations, when systems and laws, when policies and procedures are put in place to make sure the people in power stay in power while simultaneously making sure that the people who are 'supposed' to stay on the outside stay on the outside, the Holy Spirit shows up and starts making trouble. Every time. Subscribe to us on iTunes! Sermon text: [ web][1] | [ doc][2] [1]: [2]:

  • On This Mountain (Isaiah 25:6-8)


    Isaiah also seems to think there’s more to see. We’ve lived with a vision of reality that includes the clutching, grasping, irresistible pursuit of Death—not only the death of the body, but the threat of death that makes us hate and fight and fear. But Isaiah sees more. Isaiah sees a world where God reigns on a holy mountain. And on this mountain Death no longer calls the shots. Subscribe to us on iTunes! Sermon text: [ web][1] | [ doc][2] [1]: [2]:

  • A Contrast Between Two Parades (Mark 11:1-11)


    Pilate represents a king who rules the masses through fear and intimidation, a king who’s quick to unleash violence upon those who might question his reign. Surrounded by the engines of war, this king demonstrates his weak hold on power, knowing that if he lets down his guard for even a moment, if he lets any slight go unanswered, the oppressed will rise up against. But Jesus, he’s a ruler 'who will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war-horse from Jerusalem.' Jesus, riding on the back of a donkey, promises a political alternative to the blood and cruelty of Caesar—a promise of peace to the nations—a release from governments that oppress and destroy the weak and the vulnerable. Two different parades going on simultaneously—one that sought to maintain the power of the state to crush the powerless, and another that gathered the voi

  • The Weight of Glory (John 12:20-38)


    There’s no room in the economy of God for self-promoters and glory hounds. It's easy to think that it's all about me, about what's in it for you-know-who. So when I come looking for Jesus, what I see still surprises me. In Jesus, the powers and principalities behold God’s countering of this world’s glory with glory of God’s own. Because God doesn't always see glory in the things that we we value, in the people we hold up as 'winners.' Subscribe to us on iTunes! Sermon text: [ web][1] | [ doc][2] [1]: [2]:

  • Surely, Jesus Didn't Mean Everyone? (John 3:14-21)


    The good news of the gospel is that Jesus announces that a party’s being thrown in the light, a party the whole world’s invited to—even those people the cool kids are convinced don’t have any business being there. Are you sure he meant the 'whole' world? Surely, Jesus didn’t mean everyone. That seems unnecessarily generous, don’t you think? Yep, the whole world. And no, I don’t think it’s unnecessarily generous. It sounds like good news to me. Subscribe to us on iTunes! Sermon text: [ web][1] | [ doc][2] [1]: [2]:

  • Righteous Anger (John 2:13-22)


    Don’t let anyone fool you. When Jesus went into the temple that day, it was an explicitly political act. It was an ancient Near Eastern version of John Lewis marching across the Edmund Pettis bridge. So, knowing that the people who are the most vulnerable are the ones getting fleeced by the folks in power, maybe the question shouldn’t be 'How can Jesus be angry?' but 'How could he not?' Subscribe to us on iTunes! Sermon text: [ web][1] | [ doc][2] [1]: [2]:

  • Altering the Landscape of Our Expectation (Mark 8:31-38)


    Once you start talking about LGBTQ people having the same rights and protections as everyone else, you’ve put yourself in the crosshairs of everyone who likes the world the way it is. Just say what should be obvious to everyone—that Black Lives Matter—and you’ll start experiencing the power of the people who employ crosses as a threat. Speak up and tell the world that children ought to be free to go to school without the fear of some aggrieved loner with an AR-15 busting in, or that houseless people ought to be afforded the space to live and retain their dignity, or that people who come to this country in search of a better life for their families ought to be received with hospitality and the love for the foreigner that God commanded of us, and you’ll witness the assembly line that mass produces crosses fire up in earnest. Our cross to

  • Out in the Wilderness with the Wild Beasts (Mark 1:9-15)


    When Jesus meets us out in the wilderness, he doesn’t magically cure all the violence, doesn’t stopper the mouths of the wild beasts who reside there. Instead, he provides healing … which is a different frame, one that offers hope where before there was only the inevitability of fear and death. Healing gives us enough space to consider new possibilities, to truly see those with whom we were formerly at war as themselves children of the God who breaks in on all of us. God ripped open the heavens, the Spirit descended, and drove Jesus out into the wilderness. And in the world Jesus is busy announcing, now those stranded out in the wilderness will finally be find a home. Subscribe to us on iTunes! Sermon text: [ web][1] | [ doc][2] [1]: [2]:

  • Why Can't We Just Stay Here? (Mark 9:2-9)


    Why does he leave—when it’s safer to just camp out here? Jesus goes down the mountain into the valley of the shadow of Lent, because that’s where his presence is needed most. That’s where the last, the least, and the lost scramble to survive. Down there. I suspect he goes down there because he’s heard the voices of people terrified at the thought of what the future holds. Jesus heads down there because that’s where the action is, where the tempest toss’d live in fear of the night. Down there. Subscribe to us on iTunes! Sermon text: [ web][1] | [ doc][2] [1]: [2]:

  • When Sickness Is about More Than Being Sick (Mark 1:29-39)


    If we take the first two stories of Jesus’ ministry in Mark seriously, we’re left to conclude that Jesus understands the right thing to be the restoration to full participation in the community to those who’ve been cut off, left on the sidelines, forced to press their noses against the stain glass windows to try to get a glimpse inside. He offers not just a cure, but what people really need: true healing. Because here’s the thing for those who follow Jesus: there are too many people who’ve been cut off from the community that the church at its best has to offer. The mentally ill, the physically sick, the immigrant, the poor, the imprisoned, and those just too scared or too tired to risk walking up the steps and through the front door. Subscribe to us on iTunes! Sermon text: [ web][1] | [ doc][2] [1]: [2]:

  • How Do We Know a Prophet? (Deuteronomy 18:15-22)


    There are all kinds of people who would love to hear about a God who raises an arm against injustice, who will not tolerate bigotry, who refuses to sit by while the work of the laborers is monetized in ways that only benefit the people in charge, who are desperate for a word from a God who is incensed with a world in which Black parents lie awake at night in fear of what might happen to their children on the way home from school or their families on the way home from the grocery store. If you happen to be one of the people kicked to the curb by the folks in charge, God's outrage may just be what grace sounds like. Subscribe to us on iTunes! Sermon text: [ web][1] | [ doc][2] [1]: [2]:

  • Call Them to What? (Mark 1:14-20)


    As Jesus says, these tyrants and oppressors need to repent, because there's a new ruler who is going to go fishing, hooking the jaws of the unjust and the proud, leaving them out in the wilderness for the carrion-eaters to pick apart. The kingdom of God is at hand. So, when Jesus calls Simon, Andrew, James, and John to follow him and he will make them fish for people, he's issuing a call to a kind of revolution against the powerful enemies of God who have been grinding them and their families to dust beneath the heels of their boots. This call to the very people who've been taxed into starvation, who've been persecuted and killed for any resistance to the king, who've been trampled on and used as beasts of burden is a powerful call to rise up and work toward establishing a new political realm in which God and not Herod Antipas is ruler

  • Your Servant Is Listening (1 Samuel 3:1-20)


    So, this story of Samuel’s courage is an uncomfortable one. It raises questions: "Where are those places in our world where justice has been cast aside?" "Where is God asking us to tell those in charge that they've failed to do what's right, failed to treat those at the bottom of the pile in a manner pleasing to God?” “Where are we when the cries of millions of grieving and terrified Black people tear the night in two, or tens of thousands of immigrant children torn from the arms of their families lift up their plaintive cry?” “Where are we when White Supremacists and White Nationalists answer the call of their benighted leader to tear up our country and punish anyone who refuses to sing the song of the malignant narcissist under which they march and destroy?” Subscribe to us on iTunes! Sermon text: [ web][1] | [ doc][2] [1]: [2]: ht

  • Tearing Open the Heavens (Mark 1:4-11)


    Mark opens and closes the ministry of Jesus in spectacular fashion. He announces that in Jesus—in his life and work and death—God has come among us. God has torn the veil that formerly separated humanity from the divine. And this tearing is no sweet opening of a door. Open doors can be closed again. In Jesus, God has ripped the door off the hinges! God has transgressed the boundaries that separated us from God. But unlike Wednesday, God’s breaking in isn’t about trying to retain the power necessary to exclude the vulnerable. When God breaks in, it’s about making sure that the people who are usually forgotten—the poor and the powerless, the people who try to survive eating only the bread of injustice and drinking the fetid water of bigotry from a cracked cistern—finally get to sit in the places of honor at the table that Jesus sets in t

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