A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
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I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

In Defense of Christian Tribalism: A Lectionary Reflection on a Corinthians 1:10-18

1 Corinthians 1:10-18

The church in Corinth was divided over many things: worship, spiritual gifts, sex, social status and more. They are Divided with a capital D and unified with a lowercase u... if even that. They are even divided over the sacraments of Holy Communion and baptism. Paul will address the problem the Corinthians have at the Lord's Table in chapter eleven, but at the beginning of the letter he takes aim at how the Corinthians have used even baptism-- the equalizing rite of initiation for all Christians-- into a spiritual competition that is anything but unifying.
For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. What I mean is that each of you says, 'I belong to Paul', or 'I belong to Apollos', or 'I belong to Cephas', or 'I belong to Christ.' Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.)
By the time of 1 Corinthians, Paul may have already written Galatians, but if not surely the church by that time would have utilized some form of the baptismal formula Paul refers to in Galatians 3:28-- "There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus." Baptism was an initiation into a new community in which all the distinctions so important in the world no longer mattered. The dividing walls of class and ethnic loyalties that divided people even to the point of hostility had been erased in the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Letter from Birmingham Jail

Martin Luther King. Jr.
Letter From Birmingham Jail

April 16, 1963

MY DEAR FELLOW CLERGYMEN:

While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities “unwise and untimely.” Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statements in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Scriptures and Prayer for the Second Sunday after the Epiphany

Old Testament: Isaiah 49:1-7

Psalter: Psalm 40:1-11

Epistle: 1 Corinthians 1:1-9

Gospel: John 1:29-42
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Steadfast God, you have enriched and enlightened us by the revelation of your eternal Christ. Comfort us in our mortality and strengthen us to walk the path of your desire, so that by word and deed we may manifest the gracious news of your faithfulness and love. Amen.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Saturday at the Cinema: God on the Prowl

Scriptures and Prayer for the Confession of St. Peter the Apostle

First Reading: Acts 4:8-13

Psalter: Psalm 23

Epistle: 1 Peter 5:1-4

Gospel: Matthew 16:13-19
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Almighty Father, who inspired Simon Peter, first among the apostles, to confess Jesus as Messiah and Son of the living God: Keep your Church steadfast upon the rock of this faith, so that in unity and peace we may proclaim the one truth and follow the one Lord, our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Scriptures and Prayer for the Baptism of the Lord

Old Testament: Isaiah 42:1-9

Psalter: Psalm 29

Epistle: Acts 10:34-43

Gospel: Matthew 3:13-17
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Lord God, you revealed your Son in the waters of the Jordan and anointed him with the power of the Holy Spirit to proclaim good news to all people. Sanctify us by the same Spirit, that we may proclaim the healing power of the gospel by acts of love in your name. Amen.

Monday, January 06, 2020

Scriptures and Prayer for the Epiphany of the Lord

Old Testament: Isaiah 60:1-6

Psalter: Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14

Epistle: Ephesians 3:1-12

Gospel: Matthew 2:1-12
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Radiant Morning Star, you are both guidance and mystery, Visit our rest with disturbing dreams, and our journeys with strange companions. Grace us with the hospitality to open our hearts and homes to visitors filled with unfamiliar wisdom bearing profound and unusual gifts. Amen.

Sunday, January 05, 2020

Scriptures and Prayer for the Second Sunday after Christmas

Old Testament: Jeremiah 31:7-14

Psalter: Sirach 24:1-12 or Psalm 147:12-20 or Wisdom of Solomon 10:15-21

Epistle: Ephesians 1:3-14

Gospel: John 1:(1-9), 10-18
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Gracious God, you have redeemed us through Jesus Christ, the first-born of all creation, whose birth we celebrate as the child of Bethlehem. Bless us with every spiritual blessing, that we may live as your adopted children and witness to your glory with unending praise and thanksgiving. Amen.