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
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, February 21, 2017

On Not Making a Show of It: A Lectionary Reflection on Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 for Ash Wednesday

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

Every one of us is motivated by something. We have motives as we go about our employment. We have motives in our various relationships. In fact, we are motivated by something in everything we do. Some persons work a particular job primarily because they love it. They could not imagine themselves doing anything else. Others may not care for their job and would retire tomorrow if possible, but they need to earn money to put food on the table. I know some professors who are motivated to pass wisdom on to their students; and because they are so motivated, they go the extra mile for their sake. I know some other professors who would prefer to spend their days in research and never teach a class if possible, but they have to eat and pay the bills and tutelage is the only way to do so.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Fulfilling Israel's Story for the Sake of the World: A Lectionary Reflection on Matthew 17:1-9

Matthew 17:1-9

On the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus is placed at the center and above two of Israel's greatest historical figures-- Moses and Elijah. Moses represents the Law, Elijah the prophets. But in Matthew's account of this story he is not simply claiming that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law and the prophets, but that he is greater than the Law and the prophets. Matthew is clearly more interested in connecting Jesus to Moses throughout his Gospel than Jesus to Elijah, but the significance of Elijah as the epitome of the prophetic office in Israel and as the one to prepare the way for the Messiah should not be ignored.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Scriptures and Prayer for the Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany

Old Testament: Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18

Psalter: Psalm 119:33-40

Epistle: 1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23

Gospel: Matthew 5:38-48
O God most holy, in Jesus Christ you have laid a foundation upon which to build our lives. Help us to follow your perfect law of love, that we may fulfill it and observe it to the end. Amen.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction: Tom Brady Has Infested the House

Atlanta zoo names cockroach after Patriots QB Tom Brady

From Associated Press
February 14, 2017 12:53 PM EST

ATLANTA (AP) — More than a week after the Falcons fell victim to the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history, an Atlanta zoo has named a cockroach after Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Zoo Atlanta says on its Facebook page that it had a bet with Rhode Island's Roger Williams Park Zoo that called for the loser to name a baby animal after the winning team's star quarterback. Both zoos figured the loser would be pretty bitter about the game, so they agreed the animal in question would be a Madagascar hissing cockroach.

The zoo introduced a whole family of cockroaches in a video Monday , including a tiny Tom Brady.

Brady and the Patriots came back from a 25-point deficit to defeat Atlanta 34-28 in overtime to win the team's fifth Super Bowl title.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Yes, The Church Leaks a Whole Lot, But It's Still the Best Thing Afloat

There's an old story that I and more than a few preachers have used in a sermon at one time or another-- that Noah's Ark was not a very pleasant place to be during the flood with the smelly animals and the stale air and being cooped up with no place to go. But as difficult it must have been for Noah and his family, the Ark was still the best thing afloat at the time.

It is an obvious observation-- the church is far from perfect. That is not an excuse; it is just a fact. And while we the church need to be going on to perfection, such perfection continues to elude us this side of the Second Coming. The church is a very leaky boat.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Preachers Take Note: The Real World Is Not "Out There"

Many years ago in their book Resident Aliens, Stanley Hauerwas and William Willimon contrasted the theological agendas of Paul Tillich and Karl Barth.

Tillich (along with Bultmann) assumed in his work that Christianity in its traditional form was a problem for the modern world. Thus he embarked on a theology of translation in which the ancient metaphors and symbols could be "translated" (Bultmann; demythologize) into language and ideas that could be believed in the twentieth century. Hauerwas and Willimon reject such a project. They write,

Monday, February 13, 2017

God's Will: A Road Map or a Canvas?

Too many Christians often compare God's will to a road map with very specific directions from the Almighty they need to discover-- God wants you to turn left here and go right there-- God only has one spouse in mind for you and only one profession you must enter. And while I do believe that at times God may call certain persons to specific things because the Bible itself contains such callings, God's call is often more open and elastic.