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)

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Scriptures and Prayer for the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

Old Testament: Genesis 25:19-34 or Isaiah 55:10-13

Psalter: Psalm 119:105-112 or Psalm 65:(1-8), 9-13

Epistle: Romans 8:1-11

Gospel: Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
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O God of mercy, in Jesus Christ you freed us from sin and death, and by your Holy Spirit you nourish our mortal bodies with life. Plant us now in good soil, that our lives may flower in righteousness and peace. Amen.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Saturday at the Cinema: Is Belief in God Irrational? A Philosophy Professor's Perspective

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Brave Person Knows Fear the Coward Never Will

I love the Book of Esther. I realize the climax of the story (9:1-17) is morally problematic, but I think the character of Esther generally is to be admired. Here was a young woman who had no say-so over her life, as most women in that time and place; and yet, for Esther it was even more so. Choices were made for her all her life and now she was faced, for the first time, with a monumental decision, one that was a matter of life and death for her. And yet, she realized that while she had a choice, honor and character demanded that once again there was no option before her. She must go to the king, and risk herself for others. There were no other options and she knew that as she uttered her last words to her uncle before going to see the king, "If I die, I die."

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Let's Not Diss the Church in the Name of the Kingdom.

Scot McKnight's book, Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church, is a much needed corrective to much current understanding of the kingdom of God as it relates (or for all too many, doesn't relate) to the church. In a post that he writes over at his blog, Jesus Creed, Scot speaks of what he calls "the biggest mistake in kingdom talk." He writes,

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Giving Life to Mortal Bodies: A Lectionary Reflection on Romans 8:1-11

Romans 8:1-11

Human beings have two problems that are related. First, we are mortal. We will die.... as the adage goes, "Not one of us will get out of life alive." Second, we are flesh and for Paul that does not mean physical flesh covering bones, but living life that is not in character with God's will and desires for human beings. For Paul, life in the Spirit means that flesh and blood human beings can live a life that is not according to the flesh.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Instruction and Indictment: The Sermon on the Mount and Discipleship-- The Beatitudes (The Meek)

A better translation of the Greek word tapeinos is "gentle." Meekness can imply a sheepish demeanor which is not the case with the 5:5. In Matthew 11:29, Jesus uses this word to refer to himself: "Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Jesus was hardly meek in his criticisms of the religious leaders (see Matthew 23), but he displayed the quality of gentleness that he expected from his followers in this third beatitude. If the poor in spirit rely totally upon God, then so do the gentle. Clarence Jordan suggests that a good translation of tapeinos is "tamed," that is the wills of Jesus' followers have been "tamed by God's will."(1) Because they will not assert their own desires and become singularly focused on God's will, they do not engage in the kind of power politics the pagans engage in to force others to bend to their wills-- "wrath, anger, violence, acquisitiveness, rapaciousness, theft, violent takeovers, and brutal reclamations of property."(2)

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Scriptures and Prayer for the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Old Testament: Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67 or Zechariah 9:9-12

Psalter: Psalm 45:10-17 or Song of Solomon 2:8-13 or Psalm 145:8-14

Epistle: Romans 7:15-25

Gospel: Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
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We rejoice, O Christ, for in your tender compassion you shoulder our burdens and ease our heavy hearts. Give us the strength to carry each other as you have carried us. Amen.