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, June 30, 2020

Sisters and Brothers in Christ, Let's Face It: At Times Jesus Is Just Not Nice

I like nice... nice is...well... nice. To Quote Major Frank Burns in M*A*S*H, "It's nice to be nice to the nice."

But nice is really boring.

Jesus wasn't boring. The crowds didn't follow him all over Judea and Galilee hanging on every word he spoke because we was just nice. Nice hardly attracts crowds. Nice doesn't radically transform lives. Nice doesn't get one strung up on a cross.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Faith-Filled Scholarship: A Tribute to James D.G. Dunn (1939-2020)

I first met Jimmy Dunn face-to-face in October of 1991. We had been conversing by letter in the days before email for several months about coming to Durham University as one of his doctoral students. And now I sat in his office for the first time to begin my work.

After all the pleasantries of meeting for the first time, we began conversation. I initially wrote to Jimmy of my interest in New Testament ethics, particularly of my desire to do something focused on Christology and ethics. I had just finished a Th.M in theological ethics from Duke University under the supervision of Stanley Hauerwas, and I shared Stanley's concern at the time that there had not been enough interdisciplinary work on the relationship between the New Testament and ethics as a mode of theological reflection (that has long since been corrected). Too many treatments of New Testament ethics were overly formal focusing on ethics as decisionism lacking reflection on questions of identity and character. Jimmy was very interested in the topic so we began to outline my work for the next few months.

Scriptures and Prayer for the Feast of St. Peter and Paul

Old Testament: Ezekiel 34:11-16

Psalter: Psalm 87

Epistle: 2 Timothy 4:1-8

Gospel: John 21:15-19
Almighty God, whose blessed apostles Peter and Paul glorified you by their martyrdom: Grant that your Church, instructed by their teaching and example, and knit together in unity by your Spirit, may ever stand firm upon the one foundation, which is Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Sunday Afternoon Poetry: “The Church and Me”

from Lindsey Funtik, Coordinator of Volunteer Ministries, Ashland First United Methodist Church, Ashland, Ohio
She and I both
wear tattered veils that we
then repaired,
with our own jagged needles,
our own greasy
fishing line.
We call it “good enough.”

Scriptures and Prayer for the Feast of St. Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons

See the source imagePsalter: Psalm 85:8-13 or Psalm 145:8-13

Epistle: 2 Timothy 2:22b-26

Gospel: Luke 11:33-36
Father, give perfection to beginners, understanding to the little ones, and help to those who are running their course. Give sorrow to the negligent, fervour to the lukewarm, and a good consummation to the perfect. Amen-- Ignatius of Lyon (130-202)

Happy Birthday, Father John Wesley!

John Wesley was born 317 years ago today! If you are interested in learning more about the founder of Methodism and reading some of his writings, check out the link below.

Scriptures and Prayer for the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Old Testament: Genesis 22:1-14 or Jeremiah 28:5-9

Psalter: Psalm 13 or Psalm 89:1-4, 15-18

Epistle: Romans 6:12-23

Gospel: Matthew 10:40-42
Faithful God, your love stands firm from generation to generation, your mercy is always abundant. Give us open and understanding hearts, that having heard your word, we may seek Christ's presence in all whom we meet. Amen.