Category Archives: scripture

Good News For All?

Trees

This Advent season I’m writing reflections on the lectionary Gospel readings for Light Reflections and reposting them here. Please feel free to borrow and steal anything from these that might be helpful in your own Advent sermon, teaching, etc., work.

Luke 3:7-18
7 John said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our ancestor”; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. 9Even now the axe is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.’

10 And the crowds asked him, ‘What then should we do?’ 11In reply he said to them, ‘Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.’ 12Even tax-collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, ‘Teacher, what should we do?’ 13He said to them, ‘Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.’ 14Soldiers also asked him, ‘And we, what should we do?’ He said to them, ‘Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.’

15 As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah,* 16John answered all of them by saying, ‘I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with* the Holy Spirit and fire. 17His winnowing-fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing-floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.’

18 So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people.

————————————————————————————————–

So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people!

This image of Christ with a winnowing fork, clearing the threshing floor and burning the chaff with unquenchable fire doesn’t immediately ring of Good News to me. It doesn’t quite match up to the vision I too often Continue reading

The Enchantment of Nostalgia

In his beautiful book, Berlin Childhood around 1900, Walter Benjamin endeavors to narrate his childhood years without the tinge of nostalgia, but nevertheless, in a way that is enchanted. Nostalgia, he implies, and I agree, does not enable but, rather, undoes the magic of enchantment. Nostalgia – the past idealized – is a weapon easily employed by fascism. It paralyzes our ability to live with our past integrated honestly with our present. It undermines the possibilities of liberation in our future.

Theological themes of memory and nostalgia captivate my imagination. How can we remember well? Continue reading

Between Ignorance and Desire

I mentioned in a previous post that I have been reading Wendy Farley’s, Gathering Those Driven Away: A Theology of Incarnation. The book is beautiful, full of gems that stimulate the imagination to theological pondering. In one section that particularly gripped my thoughts, she writes of the Christian propensity to hold our beliefs too tightly by the presumed (but erroneous) power and authority of our own knowledge. It is hubris, she argues, and I would agree, to think that we can know anything about God – the deep, profound mystery of Divinity – with any semblance of certainty. Walking by faith encompasses walking by doubt, I interpret her as saying. But she frames this relationship in a much more compelling way than I have previously heard articulated: “Instead of reifying any authority,” she notes, “we might explore faith as our capacity to dwell in the breach between our ignorance and our desire” (42).

I loved this image: faith dwelling in the breach between ignorance and desire. Continue reading