Dear friends:

A number of years ago, a movie called “Fight Club” came out. Edward Norton plays the central character, a recall coordinator for an unnamed auto manufacturer. Investigating fatal crashes caused by defects in cars, he learns the formula for how many lawsuits the company can stand before the expense of a recall is warranted.

It is an awful job, but he does it, until one day he meets a shady character named Tyler Durden, who initiates him into an entirely different kind of life. Before long, the two are living in an abandoned wreck of an old house on the wrong side of town, refereeing "fight clubs" at night. The fights provide the people who come—mostly young men way down on the economic food chain—with a chance both to really feel something (even if it is pain) and to do something more heroic than ring cash registers or drive jackhammers.

Addressing them one night, Tyler Durden looks around at them and says:

"I've seen in Fight Club the smartest, strongest men who ever lived. I see all this potential and I see it squandered...an entire generation pumping gas and waiting tables, slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy [stuff] we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man—no purpose, no place—we have no great war, no Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires and movie gods and rock stars, but we won't. We're slowly learning that fact and we're very, very [angry]."

On the one hand, it’s a frightening speech filled with despair, but on the other, it is a very hopeful speech delivered by someone who knows that life does not consist of the abundance of possessions, and that human beings were made for something more noble than building storage units.

In this week’s parable, Jesus encounters a man who still hasn’t learned that lesson. It’s a fascinating 60-word story loaded with interpretive potential. You can read it here. Then, join us this weekend on our livestream or during Zoom 9:30 worship as we explore it more fully.

One evolution in our Zoom worship is that people are discussing the sermon and service afterwards and expanding their understanding. Last week, the discussion was particularly rich, and I encourage you to join when you can.

In the meantime, please know how grateful I am for your continued involvement and commitment. You truly are an inspiration.

Peace,
P.S. I’m sorry to announce the passing of Doug Oldenburg, senior minister who served Covenant with distinction from 1972 to 1986. A celebration of his life is at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, July 29. A link to the livestream is here.

I hope you’ll join us to honor Doug’s life and service.

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