What happens when you cross a first-rate New Testament scholar, a genuinely funny guy, and a former fundamentalist?
Some years ago, I made a careless and unintentional comment to one of my students about the deplorable conditions in the city where she grew up. She was visibly offended and although I immediately apologized and tried to take back my comment, I could tell she wasn't ready to forgive me anytime soon.
I worry that Christian faith communities may be missing an opportunity to talk about problems that embed and replicate themselves at the systemic level--problems such as racism and failed measures to ensure police accountability.
What we need now is a priesthood of the imperfect -- in which all of us who are "disqualified" in one way or another (which is to say, I'd venture, all of us) accept and embrace our imperfections, learning from one another and teaching one another what we have learned in the course of our lives.
The Biblical story recounted in Acts 10:44-48 is also a story of transformation and relational border crossing between people who, though not at all strangers, were practiced at holding each other at a distance.
When Moses finished the work, the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting and the presence of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud had settled upon it and the presence of the Lord filled the Tabernacle.
Were I preaching this Sunday, I'd strongly consider preaching from Psalm 137. This Psalm features one of Scripture's most notorious lines: "a blessing on him who seizes your babies and dashes them against the rocks!"
On the Shabbat of May 15-16, the Torah reading (Leviticus 25-27) sets forth the Torah's most explicit and most powerful regimen for healing the Earth from human over-use.
I'm not interested in trying to decide the best and worst "holy" books because all contain both ridiculous and reasonable passages. Adherents can quote portions to justify loving their neighbor or killing their infidel neighbor.
Imagine planning and preparing for your wedding for months, making decisions about guest lists, music, menus, seating charts, and attire. You go to the lone bakeshop in town to talk about your cake choices, only to be told that the baker is not willing to work with you.
It's amazing how many ways Biblical text can be interpreted and the fact that the same people are willing to interpret the exact same text differently for their own selfish and self-serving purposes, as the need arises.
Proof-texting is an intentionally deceptive practice that offers out of context proof while ignoring the greater witness of scripture and any other evidence that might rufute the desired (and predetermined) theological conclusion.
I had the sense, as a child, that God's goodness and mercy would only follow me all of the days of my life if I was "good" and Christian. And I had the sense that good and Christian was a narrow way.
Even after we are healed, the experience of serious illness seriously transforms us, and the Torah's seemingly arcane rituals serve as a timeless reminder of the steps on that transforming journey.
Here are some random but real hints: Sorta not-really bipartisan bill; can't believe they passed up Harry Potter; Chewie's home; and politics and poker. Answers are below the quiz.
What really hurts the Church's witness is proclaiming that all are one in Christ Jesus our Lord while working hard to pass laws that exist for the sole purpose of discrimination.