Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Irony of Holy Saturday
[via IdeaJoy]

Through the Great Three Days

It was a gift from God that we had the divine service that day, for without that, I don’t know what I would have been doing. My pastor stayed with me as much as possible. I was a zombie, barely conscious, yet fully believing that there was no way I could get out of this, no way I could recover from such a blow. If I didn’t have the time and space I needed to heal, then I would only get worse. What was the point?

But God is merciful.

I lived. Somehow our Lord got me through the Great Three Days.{the rest...}
[via I Trust When Dark MY Road]

Friday, March 21, 2008

Author Tony Campolo’s most famous message declares, “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s Comin’.” But what happens when it’s Sunday and we’re still facing death and despair? {continue...}
[via ThinkChristian.NET]

In Order To Stand

regardless of the holes, i still believe in Jesus. i still believe in the weird and crazy ways of the Spirit, the unexplainable way God brings hope and peace and freedom to darkness and brokenness and emptiness. the upside-down ways expressed in the sermon on the mount still resonate in deep places in my heart and stir up a desire to live this short life on earth differently. i believe in the power of Jesus’ love and that it gets expressed in many diverse and wonderful ways that cross over our limitations of language and expression and culture. i do still really love the power and conviction and hope scripture sometimes brings.

and when i think of the power of the cross this holy week, it is comforting to me in ways that all of my cynicism about weird religious stuff and church politics can’t take away.

i don’t have new answers to all of the jenga pieces i have taken out over these past few years. it’s not like i just replaced the blocks with new certain, stronger, better ones. i am living in the tension of a lot of holes, a lot of uncertainty about things that somehow don’t seem to matter as much as i thought they did. some blocks i’ve looked at for a while and put back in. they didn’t need to come out all the way. others, i honestly don’t think they are going to be finessed back into place or placed back at the top; they’re pretty much out of the game.

when i reflect on Jesus’ ministry in the gospels i am reminded that he didn’t really have a long list of pieces that i needed to have in my jenga tower in order for it to stand. in fact, he sort of honed in on what was enough to focus on: love God, love people, including ourselves. honestly, for now, that is plenty to play with.
[via the carnival in my head]


They are the outsiders. The non-Christian or non-practicing Christian visitors who swell the ranks of almost every Christian church on Easter weekend. And on this Good Friday I'd like us as a community of faith to start praying for them.

Some of them are there because they have to be; their parents or siblings or spouses or partners have dragged them to the "just this once, please" service. Some of them are there because they believe Christian folk are supposed to have a corner on what's right in the world, and there isn't much going right in their world right now. And some of them have heard just enough of the story of this Jesus person to want to be there - to see what all the big deal is about....

Not everyone will come in as friends, and many will feel as strangers. With our help, and our prayers, and our loving actions, perhaps they will leave feeling that they might just be able to come back and find a place among us. That they might find a home. That they might know we are Christians - by our love, and by our welcome.

I know I did.
[via Ragamuffin Ramblings]

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Torn Together

“Eleven o’clock Sunday morning is the most segregated hour, and Sunday school is still the most segregated school of the week” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In his speech yesterday, Barack Obama referred to these words. At the time that Dr. King uttered them it was true. Is it still?

....In his speech, Obama referred often to "the black community" and "the white community". Will that ever end? Will there ever be a time when we are an "American Community"? Will there ever be a time that to refer to "the black community" will be just as silly sounding as "the red headed community"?

....I don't think Obama used Dr. King's words in quite the same way that Dr. King meant them. In Dr. King's day, white churches were keeping blacks out while preaching racial reconciliation. Dr. King was challenging white churches to practice what they preach. Reading Obama's excerpt from his first book that he quoted in this speech, it seems that Obama chose his church partly because it was segregated, not in spite of it. That it was by African-Americans for African-Americans was important to him. I respect that. But that's the reason for the "segregation".

But race is difficult. Obama's race is irrelevant to me. And I wish it were irrelevant to everyone. But to the black person his or her own race isn't irrelevant. It's who they are. And so we as a society and as churches seem to be embracing racial differences at the same time that we repudiate them. It's weird. It's schizophrenic. It's complicated. And pardon the pun, it's not a black and white issue. There's a lot of gray.
[via The Thinklings, emphasis mine]

Cherish Grace: An Easter Meditation
[via Radical Womanhood]

“God Damn America” in Black and White
[via History News Network, HT: Ponderings on a Faith Journey]

All People, All Others

We’re about 150 years past the time when politicians or preachers could say that the U.S. is the New Israel and claim Godly sanction for either its progress or its sinfulness. Prophecy has gone global. If Wright is going to speak like his namesake, the only Israel he can speak to is the New Israel of the faithful. And in that context, speaking hard words of prophecy to a comfortable but sinful nation means not seeing black skin at all. The hard words would be to say that Barack Obama is neither black nor white—in fact, as a factual matter, he’s half black, half white—and that the Christian is neither black nor white, and that the oppression that Christ hated was not the oppression of the white against the black but the oppression of all men toward all others, the ineradicable hatred in our hearts for those who need our help. That’s what He comes to change. That’s the only kind of politics we should be getting behind.
[via The Wittenburg Door]

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

More Transcendental Love

In Sickness and In Health
[via Radical Womanhood]

We cannot love if we distance ourselves or overlook the damage of another’s sin; neither can we love if we fail to move into another’s world to offer a taste of life.” Dan Allender
[noted via Faith Dance]

Monday, March 10, 2008

We don't need each other to be defined. We need each other to be refined.

How Rough?

[via indexed]

The Greatest Offense

A week from Friday is Good Friday, a most solemn day for Christians. It is also a problem day for Jews, and for the evident Christian majority which is (or wants to be) sensitive to the sensibilities of Jews. For centuries the most painful element in the Roman Catholic liturgy came from the Good Friday litany in the Latin Rite, which began: "Let us pray for the perfidious Jews: That Almighty God may remove the veil from their hearts so that they too may acknowledge Jesus Christ our Lord..." There was also reference to "Jewish faithlessness" and "blindness." In 1960 an offended and thoughtful Pope John XXIII deleted "faithless" (perfidis); in 1970 the prayer was radically altered. So far, so good.

Last summer Pope Benedict XVI allowed for reversion to the world and words of pre-1970, to a 1962 Missal version of the liturgy. This act was received ambiguously by American Jewish leadership. The American Jewish Committee expressed "appreciation" for some of the papal steps forward, but the Anti-Defamation League called the pope's action "a theological setback" and a "body blow" to Catholic-Jewish relations. On February 6 the Vatican announced an emendation of the 1962 Missal. Tradition-hungry Catholics will now pray this revision: "Let us also pray for the Jews: That our God and Lord may illuminate their hearts, that they acknowledge Jesus Christ is the Savior of all men…grant that even as the fullness of the peoples enters Thy Church, all Israel be saved…"

Recently I conversed with a Jewish professor of New Testament at a largely Christian theological school, and expected her to speak of "setback" and "body blow." To my surprise, she said that while all such prayers make Jews uncomfortable, given the painful history we inherit, she thought that the notion of one faith-community praying for the spread of its faith to others was not the highest offense. "Many do it." OK. {continue...}
[via Ponderings on a Faith Journey]

The New Atheism as Inadequate Theodicy
[via, HT: Rumblings]

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Heroes, Martyrs, Fools - Reality or Fiction?
[via You saved my life from a colourless one]

Time travel, Providence, and Lost
[via ThinkChristian.NET]

Our Own Indifference

What has happened to these women that they can say “my voice is worthless, I want to throw it away and give up any chance of using it for good in this world”? I understand fighting for the right to have a voice and overcoming the fear of using one’s voice, but to actively campaign to deny other women a voice is incomprehensible to me. Oh, I know all the intellectual arguments, it’s the basic assumption that women are inferior that I truly don’t get....

On days like today I want to celebrate and encourage women. I want to help women use their voice - for their own sake and for the sake of others. I wish this day could just be a universal celebration alongside women, not tainted with the reminder that our voices are still silenced by some. But for many women there still is a long way to go. That’s why we still need to make a big deal about having a voice - to use our voice and to empower others to use theirs - lest our voices be taken for granted and silenced by our own indifference.
[via onehandclapping]

The Extreme End of Love and Mutual Respect
[via The CBE Scroll]

the hopelessness of god
[via How God Messed Up My Religion]

Double Up

the world handicapped by half
[via Swinging from the Vine]