Daniel Erlander: Child of God

A special thank you to Marcia Dunigan for passing along the news that Rev. Daniel Erlander passed away in late August. His memorial service was this last weekend and you can access a video recording of it here. His books were clear and clever and were beloved by children and adults. If you haven’t, please order Manna and Mercy now. What a beautiful scripting of the biblical narrative! This is Dan’s obituary from the memorial bulletin.

Daniel Winfred Erlander
Child of God

December 10, 1938 – August 28, 2022 Daniel Erlander’s story is one of art and theology: theology as an embodied art and art as visible theology. Dan was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming in 1938, the second of Ruth and Emory’s three sons, and baptized on February 6, 1939. He was nurtured in faith and life in Lutheran parsonages in Cheyenne, Moline, and La Crescenta, CA. His childhood memories include drawing, especially airplanes, trains and cars.

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Hersistence

By Ched Myers and Elaine Enns

 Note: The gospel reading for this Sunday, October 16, the 19th Sunday after Pentecost in the Revised Common Lectionary, is a poignant and amazing text focusing on the agency of women. We shared these reflections last month with pastors in the Greater Minneapolis Synod of the ELCA, and invite you to delight in this story of persistence that pertains both to our prayers and our politics. 

The story is introduced as a parable. Jesus tended to tackle tough issue by speaking in this particular rhetorical form, as did the Hebrew prophets before him. Unfortunately, most of our congregations still spiritualize this kind of grassroots pedagogy, typically understanding them as—see if you’ve heard this one before—”earthly stories with heavenly meanings.” Thus tales about landless peasants and rich land-owners, or lords and slaves, or lepers and lawyers—or persistent women—are lifted out of their social and historical context and reshaped into theological allegories or moralistic fables that are bereft of any political or economic edge—or consequence.  This functions to thoroughly domesticate the parable under our status quo, such that stories meant to challenge our preconceptions about the world are instead deployed by us to legitimate them. In this way, we effectively disarm one of the Bible’s most powerful rhetorical weapons, whose purpose is to rescue us from our domestication and dehumanization under that very status quo.  But what if parables were actually “earthy stories with heavy meanings” as Ched’s teacher Bill Herzog argued in his wonderful book, now a quarter century old, about Jesus as a pedagogue of poor communities?

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Chronofeminism

By Bayo Akomolafe, re-posted from Facebook (08.14.22)

I’m of the Yoruba people of West Nigeria and some parts of West Africa. We don’t think of time as an arrow of God flowing from a fixed past through the elusive present, and to an always fugitive future. That notion of time being a straight line is missing from our cosmology. Time is slushy. It’s not even cyclical. It’s slushy— it falls in on itself. It’s rhizomatic. And in this sense, the past is yet to come (to quote Karen Barad); the past is not yet done; the future has already happened. This notion of time is melty and trickly. Sugary and sticky. It is what allows us to face ancestry as a serious matter in civilizational endings. It’s the invitation for us to sit with the past—with the crack of time—and do other kinds of work there.

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A remembrance of Will D. Campbell on the anniversary of his birth, 18 July 1924

By Ken Sehested

I was a stranger in a strange land, having left behind a Baylor University football
scholarship for the alluring but intimidating environs of New York University’s
Greenwich Village campus in Manhattan. I was so over being who I was, so eager for,
if frightened by, what was to come. Odd that it was there, so far from home, that I
should encounter the iconoclastic voice of a fellow Baptist-flavored Southerner
whose testimony would come to profoundly impact the tenor of my own.
 
“Here’s somebody you should know about,” said Dr. Carse, my religion department
mentor, as he tossed an open copy of Newsweek magazine across his desk. The
upturned page contained a one-column profile of self-styled bootleg preacher, Rev.
Will Campbell.

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A Monarch Migration in March

By Tommy Airey, re-posted from Easy Yolk

On Fat Tuesday, six days into the Russian invasion of Ukraine, I drove out of Detroit while it was still dark. For the first two hours, the slipped disk in my upper back was screaming. This thorn in my flesh, this messenger from Satan, was signaling a lack of emotional support in a world collapsing with the 4 C’s: capitalism, climate, covid and conflict. I drove through all four time zones as gas prices sky-rocketed and the stealth BA. 2 variant spread. On the road, in this mess, I was trusting in Something greater than myself, a divine Presence percolating the world with steadfast love and solidarity. This Force does not sit on a throne. It hovers low like a nurturing mother bird and runs fast like an open-hearted, emotionally expressive father figure.

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A Stunning Experience of Grace

The introduction to Lee Camp’s latest podcast interview with Janet Wolf. Listen HERE.

“I did not go to divinity school to become a pastor,” says Janet Wolf. “I thought clergy were probably the problem and not the solution. I went to figure out how people could read the Bible and not do justice.”

And yet, at the age of 40, after the end of a struggle with the Boards of Ordained Ministry, she found herself ordained in the Methodist Church and sent to pastor four congregations in Lawrence County, Tennessee.

This was no easy task: she was the first female Methodist pastor the county had ever known.

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After 50 Years, Still Recovering From My PTSD

By Steve Clemens

Got this in the mail this week- it got me thinking:

December of 1971 was the time I completed my academic requirements to graduate several months early from Wheaton College. 50 years is a long time in looking back at that part of my journey – especially in trying to heal from the religious and theological abuse heaped upon my 21-year-old self from the “evangelical” movement as expressed by the school which prided itself as being the “Harvard” of such. I’ve come to realize in the passing years the damage wrought by what I now see as a form of Post Theological Salvation Disorder (or Delusion): PTSD.

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Not a Disembodied Hope

Mt Erbal caves
Mt Arbel Caves

By Wes Howard-Brook and Sue Ferguson Johnson, reposted from Advent 3 2017

Just north of Magdala in Galilee stand the cave-pocked cliffs of Mt. Arbel. Twice in a hundred years, Roman soldiers shot fire into the caves to destroy Israelites who refused to give in to imperial rule. The first occasion was the imposition of Herod as king in 40 BCE, while the second was during the Roman-Jewish war of the mid-60s CE.

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