Scandal and Eastertide

Rembrandt’s depiction of the resurrection of Jesus.

“Believing in Christ’s resurrection…does not mean affirming a fact. It means being possessed by the life-giving Spirit and participating in the powers of the age to come.” — Jürgen Moltmann

The scandal of Christianity is a scandal of singularity. Such singularity that resists all universalisation, all reason, all genres and species of logic. Christianity departs from all ‘sacred logic’ that separates “the world” from “the divine” — the gods no longer live above, there is not an order of intelligible, immutable forms: God became flesh, and entered into the depths of that being, into death. God did this in a singular human history, in a singular human personality, in Jesus the Nazarene.

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Sermon Edition: Manifest in Human Life

This is the situation: a foreign people have moved into the land. They dress differently than you. They eat differently than you, and so they even smell differently than you. Some of the countrymen have taken it on themselves to oppose these foreigners, sometimes violently. And there is violence, back and forth, an unstable situation, with untold amounts of human suffering and misery. Now, given this week, this could be Paris, but in fact, it was also the same situation in first century Palestine. Only, of course, those foreigners were the ones in power, and some of the countrymen, the Jews, were complicit in the occupation, leading, of course, to more violence. The baptism of Jesus is situated in this situation, and it speaks to this situation and to human life, complicated with its politics, its ethics, and its symbols. Speaking of, let’s talk first about water here.

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A Celebration of the Body

nativity

 

“Rome was a flea market of borrowed gods and conquered peoples, a bargain basement on two floors, earth and heaven, a mass of filth convoluted in a triple knot as in an intestinal obstruction. Dacians, Herulians, Scythians, Sarmatians, Hyperboreans, heavy wheels without spokes, eyes sunk in fat, sodomy, double chins, illiterate emperors, fish fed on the flesh of learned slaves. There were more people in the world than there have ever been since, all crammed into the passages of the Coliseum, and all wretched. And then, into this tasteless heap of gold and marble, He came, light and clothed in an aura, emphatically human, deliberately provincial, Galilean, and at that moment gods and nations ceased to be and man came into being – man the carpenter, man the plowman, man the shepherd with his flock of sheep at sunset, man who does not sound in the least proud, man thankfully celebrated in all the cradle songs of mothers and in all the picture galleries the world over.” – Boris Pasternak

Merry Christmas! Today is a special day: a day where thousands of yards of wrapping paper gives up its life and beauty to the tearing hands of children; a day where unable-to-cope family members lose themselves in their poison of choice; a day when consumerism is celebrated throughout the western world in a gorging upon new gadgets, tools, toys, clothes and other necessities. I am sounding cynical, and I don’t want to sound or to be that. I am only saddened by these facts, because of what Christmas started out as and what it could be again: a deep, human celebration of being human, of our limited lives and of our bodies and of moral courage in the face of oppression. Christmas was the story of liberation, and I want it to be again.

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Jesus and Green Energy

wind

It is impossible to understand the world properly as creation without a proper discernment of the sabbath. In the sabbath stillness men and women no longer intervene in the environment through their labour. They let it be entirely God’s creation. They recognize that as God’s property creation is inviolable; and they sanctify the day through their joy in existence as God’s creatures within the fellowship of creation. — Jürgen Moltmann

To anyone else, does a wind turbine look like a cross? Especially as they line the horizon, under the light of sunlight, perhaps three across? Or does the reflective screen of solar planes sparkle similarly to gilded icons? Does the thought of tidal power strike anyone as a sort of walking on water? This is not to claim the iconic status of alternative energy, but it drifts in that direction — for Jesus can be seen here.

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Discipleship and the Supra-State

jarius

“There is a wrong way of staying in the world and a wrong way of fleeing from it. In both cases we are fashioning ourselves according to the world.” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer

What makes for a good disciple? What makes for a good citizen? In my earlier post, I commented on the nature of the Kingdom of God and the kingdoms of the world. In this post, I want to narrow down the focus and try to describe discipleship that is occurring today, in light of the growth of the EU and its implications as a supra-national organization. I hope to explore the questions I’ve just posed, as well as a third: which identity comes first?

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