Sermon: She was not: The Bible’s most vividly brutal story, and why we must read and remember it

 

concubine in Judges 19Ken Sehested, Circle of Mercy, 9.19.05
Judges 19:1-30

There have been two special occasions in my life when I have become agonizingly aware of the special fear women feel over the threat of sexual assault.

The first happened when Nancy and I were counting the days before our wedding in 1973. Every couple weeks she came in from where she went to school in New Jersey to meet me in a chaplain’s office in New York City. We were doing a series of premarital counseling sessions. Continue reading

A Harmless, Non-Offensive Ornament

ConeFrom James Cone’s The Cross and the Lynching Tree (2013):

Unfortunately, during the course of 2,000 years of Christian history, this symbol of salvation has been detached from any reference to the ongoing suffering and oppression of human beings—those whom Ignacio Ellacuría, the Salvadoran martyr, called “the crucified peoples of history.” The cross has been transformed into a harmless, non-offensive ornament that Christians wear around their necks. Rather than reminding us of the “cost of discipleship,” it has become a form of “cheap grace,” an easy way to salvation that doesn’t force us to confront the power of Christ’s message and mission. Until we can see the cross and the lynching tree together, until we can identify Christ with a “recrucified” black body hanging from a lynching tree, there can be no genuine understanding of Christian identity in America, and no deliverance from the brutal legacy of slavery and white supremacy.

They were once men

Ringwraith(s)Frodo: What are they?

Strider: They were once men. Great kings of men. Then Sauron the deceiver gave to them nine rings of power. Blinded by their greed, they took them without question. One by one, they fell into darkness and now they’re slaves to His will. They are the Nazgûls, Ringwraiths. Neither living nor dead. At all times, they feel the presence of the Ring. Drawn to the power of the One, they will never stop hunting you.

  • The Lord of the Rings.

Truth Warriors and the Renewal of Vocation

IMG_0971By Bill Wylie-Kellermann, an excerpt from the newly released Principalities in Particular: a Practical Theology of the Powers .

The New York Times has begun to sell “truth.” Advertisements come to my email. You can read them in print. You can see them on TV: The truth is hard. The truth is hard to find. The truth is hard to know. The truth is more important than ever.” (Even “The truth is: alternative facts are lies.”) Though I myself have railed against the paper and know it needs to be read critically as liberal or neo-liberal corporate media, I’m actually thinking of getting a real world paper subscription. The truth is, as a paper of record, I’ve relied on it in this writing.

Will the attacks on journalistic integrity, on mainstream news as fake news, on the media as the “enemy of the people,” actually prompt a yearning within the fourth estate for the renewal of the journalistic vocation? Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Judgment and Joy

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Photo credit: Laurel Dykstra

Proper 24(29)
20th Sunday after Pentecost
Psalm 96

by Calvin Redekop

I love to return again to the Scriptures, to those visions seen by the prophets and apostles and singers of Israel about the “peaceful reign of God.” There is a strange concatenation of judgment and celebration in some of the Psalms, especially Psalms 96 to 99 and 104. Psalm 99 beings, “The Lord is king; let the people tremble!” In many Christian circles it is today politically incorrect to speak about God as king, as reigning, as judging, and instead God is portrayed as a morally nondiscrimination, indulgent Santa. Such and attitude represents the deliberate denial of a theme that runs through the Bible from beginning to end. “The Lord is king,” and one of the functions of a king was to be a judge, to dispense justice.

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Live by the Gun, Die By the Gun: But Can We Make Peace Living With the Gun?

RandyBy Rev. Dr. Randy Woodley (photo right),a Keetoowah Cherokee teacher, poet, activist, former pastor, missiologist and historian

*This piece was originally posted at HuffPost.

Full disclosure: I am a committed peace activist who often hunts for his food and has valid concealed carry permits recognized in 36 states. I have never been a member of the NRA.

I won’t take the time here to explain the details above except to say they are deeply held, carefully thought through convictions. Hopefully, my disclosure causes some cognitive dissonance. Because I do not believe the issue of violence in our country is going to be resolved by advocating the talking points of either extreme, it may be helpful to create a sense of disequilibrium. I believe the problem of gun violence in America can be effectively addressed by looking deeply at all perspectives and by finding meaningful and practical compromise through a renewed sense of spirituality.
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