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Chapter V: The Cowtown Christ Jumps the Shark

Matthew 21:12-17

Isaiah 1: 12-17

Cowtown Christ is a sermon series that reimagines the stories of Christ in the gospels as though they were happening today, right here in Fort Worth, dealing with the issues of our times. The Cowtown Christ is Jesse, a Mexican American woman with a group of followers she calls her Close Companions.

 After this sermon, we’ll take a hiatus from this series for Palm Sunday and Easter, and for the next two Sundays, I will return to my normal preaching style. But following Easter,  we will finish the story of the Cowtown Christ.

 Jesse, the Cowtown Christ, turned to her close companions, those who’d followed her for some time, those who had been there at Oakwood Cemetery when they saw her revealed as some sort of supernatural being, and had heard a voice say, “This is my Daughter–Listen to Her.”

Jesse turned to them and said, “Who do people say I am?”

]Read More »Chapter V: The Cowtown Christ Jumps the Shark

Let Us Go to the Other Side

November 11, 2012
St. Mark 4:35-41

Several years ago when I lived in Virginia, I paid a visit to an interesting little church, Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in Roanoke, VA. Fifth Avenue is a historically African American church, founded over a hundred years ago. When I visited, it was a small struggling church, and maybe it still is, but when I was there I was struck by a stained glass window in its sanctuary. It’s a picture of a beautiful, calm, river scene with, of all things, Civil War tents on one side and a wooded area on the other. I asked what it was and discovered to my surprise that this stained glass window depicted the Rappahannock River going through the Civil War battlefield of Chancellorsville, and that the window was dedicated to one of the Confederacy’s greatest generals, Stonewall Jackson.Read More »Let Us Go to the Other Side

What to Do When Jesus Leaves–John 6: 1-15, 30-36

By Rev. Dr. Fritz Ritsch

John 6: 1-15, 30-36

July 29, 2012

St. Stephen Presbyterian Church

Fort Worth, TX

Last week (and the week before–someone this morning commented that anybody who preaches the same passage three times is bound to get it right eventually!) I preached on this same story as it’s told in Mark. I pointed out that though the disciples advise Jesus to send the crowd out to get food, Jesus says no. He knows they’re sheep without a shepherd, and he has compassion for them, because he knows that what they really need only he can provide. They need the assurance of God’s love and the spiritual nourishment of staying together as the Beloved Community, united by their certainty that God loves them. These are things only Jesus can provide, and He provides them.

Then the Gospel of Mark says, Jesus “immediately” sent the crowd one direction, the disciples another, and himself left to pray. (Mark 6: 45)

He was the glue that held them together, but then He left and exploded the crowd after all, the very thing He’d not wanted to do at the beginning.

What do you do when Jesus leaves?

Read More »What to Do When Jesus Leaves–John 6: 1-15, 30-36

The Politics of Death: The Mystery of Pontius Pilate’s Strange Behavior

John 18: 33-19: 16

Passion/Palm Sunday

St. Stephen Presbyterian Church

Fort Worth, TX

April 1, 2012

Rev. Dr. Fritz Ritsch, Preacher


The names are familiar, even if you are not a churchgoer at all: Pilate. Caiaphas. Jesus. The three main characters who comprise a First Century version of “Law and Order:” Jesus, the accused traitor, insurgent and potential rebellion leader. Caiaphas, high priest, arresting officer, and prosecuting attorney. And Pilate, Roman magistrate, judge.Read More »The Politics of Death: The Mystery of Pontius Pilate’s Strange Behavior

Don’t Leave–Transfiguration Sunday

2 Kings 2: 1-12

Mark 9: 2-9

Rev. Dr. Fritz Ritsch, Preacher

When I started as pastor of a small church some time ago, I wanted to kick off with an officer’s retreat that dealt with some of the issues that the congregation had left over from when the previous pastor left. I had a conversation with the Christian educator, who’d been there several years and was quite sharp. He explained to me that people were extremely angry and felt betrayed that the previous pastor had left them. We agreed that a Biblical look at betrayal and abandonment would be a good start.Read More »Don’t Leave–Transfiguration Sunday


Rev. Dr. Warner Bailey, Preacher

Ezekiel 34.1-24 Psalm 100 Ephesians 1.15-23 John 10.11-16
November 20, 2011

Before I go any further, I owe you a word of full disclosure. You may remember that you were told prior to the reading of the Old Testament lesson that what you would hear would be coming from the New Jerusalem Bible. If you were following the reading from your pew Bible, you were reading the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible. The Jerusalem Bible comes from the work of scholars who are part of the Eccole Biblique in Jerusalem. The Eccole Biblique is an internationally respected school of biblical study founded by French Roman Catholic scholars. I chose the Jerusalem Bible over the pew Bible for today’s text because of what the Jerusalem Bible says God will do with the fat sheep when the new shepherd comes in judgment and salvation. The Jerusalem Bible says that the shepherd will watch over the fat sheep. The watching over is part of the overall plan to save the entire flock. Your pew Bible says that the savior-shepherd will destroy the fat sheep. Watch over or destroy. Those are pretty big alternatives.Read More »THE NINETY-NINE AND THE ONE