Jeremy Duncan

Jeremy Duncan

Lead Pastor
jeremy@commons.church

You can read my Blog below

I'm a husband, father, pastor and theologian (in that order). I also get the incredible privilege of helping to lead our team here at Commons. I look after most of the Sunday teaching and I work with our elders to help chart our course as a community. I'm kind of a theology nerd and my graduate work is in theories of non-violence particularly relating to how we understand the atonement and the book of Revelation. My wife Rachel and I have a son and a dog (both adopted and both amazing). Generally, Thursdays are marked off in my calendar to meet with people from the community, so if you ever want to grab a coffee, shoot me an email, I'd love to hear a bit of your story. Grace and peace.

jeremy


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Staff Team

Was Jesus Naive?

Was Jesus Naive?

I've been reflecting on last week's post and the response I've gotten to it. 

The thing is, the more I talk about nonviolence the more I realize that a lot of Christians think Jesus was a nice guy with a good heart but his ideas don't really work in the "real world."

The problem is part of following Jesus is believing that his "way" in the world his a viable political option. That's what it means to call him Lord.

Nonviolent Social Resistance

Nonviolent Social Resistance

With all of the uproar over the #TakeAKnee protests across the NFL it could me thinking about the conversation we have been having about nonviolent social resistance in the book of Jeremiah.  In chapter 29, God's advice to the exiles taken into Babylon is to build a house, plant a garden, celebrate weddings, and pray for the peace of the city. This is what Daniel L Christopher-Smith calls a manifesto for "nonviolent social resistance" and this is still exactly what we are called today.

The Nashville Statement

The Nashville Statement

So, a group of Evangelical leaders under the banner of The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood put out a statement this week that not only called for traditional understandings of gender and sexuality but also took it upon themselves to deny the title Christian to those with more progressive positions. The statement also seems to at least suggest that egalitarian believers who do not see a hierarchy in the relationship between men and women are not truly "Christian" either.

While I find the text of the Nashville Statement decidedly unpastoral and frankly unkind it does not surprise me or even bother me that a group would call for a traditional understanding of sexuality in itself. Many faithful Christians for thousands of years have held these views, the majority of faithful Christians in the Global South hold these views today. However, to reduce "Christianity" to agreement on these issues is an unfortunate misreading of what orthodox means. James K. A. Smith has written a good article exploring the problems with expanding "orthodox" beyond the historic creeds of the faith [read it here] and indeed, at Commons, we hold to those historic creeds as our statement of faith [read it here]. There are always going to be issues of disagreement within the body of Christ and we must remain faithful to each other if we are to remain faithful to Christ. [Jn 17:20-21]

In that spirit I offer my response to the Nashville Statement adapted from the work of Father James Martin. The intent is to express a kind, pastoral and gracious expression of orthodox Christianity that any faithful follower of Christ could and should affirm.

I affirm: That God loves us all. I deny: That Jesus wants us to insult, judge or further marginalize LGBTQ people among us.

I affirm: That all of us are in need of grace. I deny: That LGBTQ people should be in any way singled out as chief among sinners.

I affirm: That when Jesus encountered people on the margins he led with welcome not condemnation. I deny: That Jesus wants any more walls between him and those he loves.

I affirm: That LGBTQ people are full members of the church. I deny: That God wants anyone to feel that they don’t belong especially if they choose Jesus.

I affirm: That LGBTQ people have often been made to feel less than by many churches. I deny: That Jesus wants us to add to any suffering.

I affirm: That LGBTQ people are some of the holiest people I know. I deny: That Jesus wants us to judge each other, when he clearly asked us not to.

I affirm that the Father loves LGBTQ people, the Son calls them and the Holy Spirit guides them. I deny nothing about God’s love for them.

Is God Really Too Holy For Us?

Is God Really Too Holy For Us?

Sometimes we have some really unhealthy ideas about God's holiness and how it separates us from him. As part of our series in Romans we came across Romans 3.23 which talks about how all have fallen short of the glory of God. Now that's a sobering verse but taken in context we looked at how this is part of Paul's polemic against thinking that one group (jews or gentiles) are better than the other. We are all in the same predicament and all offered rescue in Jesus. So what about some of the other verses that seem to talk about our separation from the divine?

God of the Breasts

God of the Breasts

In honour of mothers day, let's see what El Shaddai is really all about. This is actually a title that translates to something like God the Breasted One, or God of the Breasts, but the intent here is to provide a feminine image of God's care and nurture.

What is a clerical stole?

What is a clerical stole?

If you have ever watched any of our sermons during the seasons of Advent or Lent you may have noticed that our pastoral team will wear a clerical stole when they teach. You may have also wondered what that was all about. Well, we wanted to give a bit of an introduction to these religious vestments and some of the tradition and meaning behind them and what they mean for us here at Commons.

What is Lectio Divina and how do I do it?

What is Lectio Divina and how do I do it?

I have been loving our current series in the parables but one of the questions I am often asked is how do you read these stories well? How do you notice the subtleties that Jesus embedded in the story? Well, certainly I get the benefit of spending a lot of my week studying and preparing but there are some simple reading practices like lectio divina that can help us become more aware of what is happening in the text as we read. Here's one of the ways I like to approach the Bible when I read. I hope you find it helpful.

Is tithing a Christian Idea? Generosity and Jesus

Is tithing a Christian Idea? Generosity and Jesus

If tithing isn't part of following Jesus, where does generosity fit into the faith equation?

On Sunday I threw out a quick statement about our relationship to money while I was talking about Jesus' words in Matthew 13. That seemed to intrigue a lot of people so I pulled together a quick video with some of the thinking behind what I was saying.

You can also check out this full sermon where I broke down some of the specific scriptures related to tithing and generosity and how we approach them at Commons.