I've been thinking about the power of a random comment on a blog post to engender what resulted in an exercise in public theology. It started with a comment I made on the controversy around Melissa Harris-Perry's recent "Lean Forward" ad.
The story of the prodigal is about God's ever expanding grace, a grace that will offend our sensibilities and our collective sense of fairness. God's grace cares little for our reputation in this world.
Jesus' summons to repent is not escapism or a minimization of life's hardships. It means coming to discover God as the source of sustenance, belonging, meaning and hope in this difficult life and into future existence.
Just as Jesus refused to let the devil tempt him with Scriptural Literalism in the first century wilderness, we must resist the same temptation in the 21st -- because it makes no more sense now than it did then to take the Living Word of God and misuse it as the Literal Words of God.
In a world where climate change is evidenced in super storms, wildfires, heat waves, droughts and floods, it is urgent that people of faith return to our first responsibility of being stewards of the world in which we live.
When we extend generosity and justice to others, it alters our relationship to them. Especially when those "others" are foreign to us. Hospitality has ways of making the people who receive it come inside and stick around, whether we really want them to or not.
Certain Christians seem compelled to speak for God in disorienting moments like these, and the results are frequently terrible. The rest of the church has a responsibility to get angry and repudiate such statements.
There I was, making our end-of-year donations to charities and development organizations, when I heard the voice of John the Baptist, sardonic and insistent: "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?"
We see other people fulfill or seek to fulfill their desires, and a kind of craving is born for the same object the other wants. This is why television advertising works. Desire is born from a concrete witness.
What would Jesus do at the Masters? For Luke, the story of Mary and Martha is the answer to that question. While the reception history of this text has relegated it to the kitchen, the original intent of Luke was much more revolutionary.
Within this text of love and support for a child, we unmistakably hear the note of justice sounded clearly. Indeed the rising and falling of many has and will occur in terms of their treatment of children.
If there is a war on Christmas, it is not being waged by Walmart and Target. If there is a war on Christmas, I think the assault is both more subtle and more pernicious than perplexed conspiracy theories.
Angels direct, as it were the narrative traffic of both those infancy stories but there is one very special case of angelic intervention found only in Luke. This involves not just a single angel but the entire heavenly choir who descend to earth...
Perkins asserted, first, that Jesus meant this parable to be a positive example for his followers; and second, that the parable demonstrates that Jesus supported unrestricted, free-market capitalism. He was wrong.