Without a resurrection, there is no point

By John Bryant 
August 27, 2017

In grad school, I had a certain professor. He was a wild man, a famous author of Appalachian literature. What he loved more than anything, despite his success, was to appear as regular as possible. He dressed down in jeans and T-shirt, wore a baseball cap, smoked during class breaks, and spoke in a down-home country style. He also loved basketball—playing it, watching it, thinking about it. He knew I loved it too, so one day he asked me to short hoops with him at the school gym. It had been a while since I had played, so I was more than happy to accommodate him.

While we were shooting around, he mentioned that he grew up in the church and had enjoyed the sense of community. I told him I was a Christian, grew up Baptist, and was now Anglican. He asked what Anglicans believed. Knowing that he was an academic and a skeptic, I half-jokingly told him, “all the dumb stuff—sin, cross, resurrection—all the stuff we’re supposed to not believe if we’re educated or intellectual. But I still do.” He smiled and said he liked that.

A year or so later, the professor and I had become basketball buds. Every Saturday we and other people in our department would play. One day, after we’d lost a game, he wiped the sweat off his brow and told me he was taking his kids to a local church. “It’s good for them,” he said, “to learn their civic duty.”

I laughed, and as good-hearted as I could, said, “I don’t wake up at 8 in the morning on a Sunday for my civic duty—or for good advice. I’m too depressed, tired, and anxious for that. Unless that man [Jesus] rose from the dead, I’m sleeping in.”

John Bryant is a senior in the Master of Divinity degree program at Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, PA. He served as an intern at All Saints Anglican Church in Cranberry Township, PA, where he delivered a sermon from which this blog has been excerpted.

Comments are closed.