The Crucified God

Micah IconBy Tommy Airey

God will again have compassion upon us;
God will tread our iniquities under foot.
You will cast all our sins
into the depths of the sea.
Micah 7:19

At the heart of the prophetic proclamation there stands the certainty that God is interested in the world to the point of suffering.
Jurgen Moltmann, The Crucified God (1972)

*This is the final installment in our series on Micah posted every Wednesday during Lent.
In the midst of Holy Week, we pause to remember our 6-week Journey through Lent thus far. Our daily trek towards the Divine starts with stripping down so that we can vulnerably and transparently take inventory of our weaknesses, copings and inconsistencies. We summon the strength and focus to study the ways social, political, economic and religious systems enslave and devour humanity and the land. We ask ourselves how we are complicit and benefit from these arrangements. Then we expose oppression, injustice and greed while casting a vision and creatively constructing another Way.
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The Prophetic Script

Micah IconBy Tommy Airey

With what shall I come before the Lord,
and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt-offerings,
with calves a year old?
…He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justly, and to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God?

Micah 6:6, 8

*This is the sixth installment in a series of seven pieces on Micah posted every Wednesday during Lent.
Throughout the Hebrew Bible, there’s a contest over just how one might access the Creator and Redeemer God. Surely, there must be magic words to say or rituals to perform? Micah blows the roof off of priestly religion. Keep your sacrifices to yourself, thank you very much. All God really wants is a Life congruent with the Love that makes the world go ‘round: justice, mercy and humility. That’s all.
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In The Hands of an Angry God?

Micah IconBy Tommy Airey

On that day, says the Lord,
I will cut off your horses from among you
and will destroy your chariots;
and I will cut off the cities of your land
and throw down all your strongholds…
And in anger and wrath I will execute vengeance
on the nations that did not obey.

Micah 5:10-11, 15

*This is the fifth installment in a series of seven pieces on Micah posted every Wednesday during Lent.
Small town Micah portrays a big time God whose anger and wrath fuel justice. This God, thankfully, is not apathetic or indifferent to the plight of the vulnerable and marginalized. This God is passionate and determined to level the playing field, to eliminate the weapons of war driving the false security apparatus and unjust killings all around us. Continue reading “In The Hands of an Angry God?”

A Prophetic Imagination: Right Here, Right Now

Micah IconBy Tommy Airey

…they shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
and their spears into pruning-hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more;
but they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees, and no one shall make them afraid;
for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.

Micah 4:3-4

*This is the fourth installment in a series of seven pieces on Micah posted every Wednesday during Lent.
As we travel the Lenten road of death and resurrection, we continue to inventory both the personal and prophetic. The more we pursue the personal the more we realize that the addiction, abuse and alienation in our homes are symptoms of the wider systems in our world—the social, economic, political and religious structures that organize and, ultimately, pulverize our lives.
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Micah IconBy Tommy Airey

…you who hate the good and love the evil,
who tear the skin off my people,
and the flesh off their bones;
who eat the flesh of my people,
flay their skin off them,
break their bones in pieces,
and chop them up like meat in a kettle,
like flesh in a cauldron…

Micah 3:2-3

*This is the third installment in a series of seven pieces on Micah posted every Wednesday during Lent.
Surely, Micah wasn’t winning any popularity contests by openly comparing political and religious leaders to Jeffrey Dahmer. The prophet homed in on two socio-economic atrocities. First, the decisions that social, corporate, political and religious elites make have a direct effect on the livelihood of everyday people. Masses of people are trying to survive slave conditions. Many live and work in toxic and hazardous environments. Those who can do something about this almost always don’t.
Continue reading “Cannibals”

The Prophetic In The Face of Plunder

Micah IconBy Tommy Airey

Alas for those who devise wickedness
and evil deeds on their beds!
When the morning dawns, they perform it,
because it is in their power.
They covet fields, and seize them;
houses, and take them away;
they oppress householder and house,
people and their inheritance.

Micah 2:1-2

*This is the second installment in a series of seven pieces on Micah posted every Wednesday during Lent.
This week, Micah takes us from the personal to the political. I write from a church office with a cold, crisp view of downtown Detroit. Just on the other side of the skyscrapers, a man worth $100 million lives in a 14,500 square-foot mansion. He is buying cheap land from the city to plant a tree farm. He is hailed as a job creator and a blight reducer. But there’s more to the story: banks, land developers and young middle-class white folks coming in from the suburbs are targeting certain (poor, black) neighbors through city-imposed tax foreclosure & water shut-offs. These powers (including the multimillionaire tree farmer) are not innocent bystanders. Their intentions inevitably create unintended consequences. They prosper off the misery of poor people.
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Full Frontal Prophetic Nudity

Micah IconBy Tommy Airey

For this I will lament and wail;
I will go barefoot and naked;
I will make lamentation like the jackals,
and mourning like the ostriches.

Micah 1:8

If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.
Virginia Woolf

*This is the first in a series of seven pieces on Micah posted every Wednesday during Lent.
Like us, Micah was living during imperial catastrophe and, like us, the reasons for the destruction and dysfunction were contested. In this prophetic leaflet, what Dan Berrigan calls “a torrid, icy mix of threat and promise,” Micah does what prophets do: he comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable in pointed, specific ways. To reclaim a phrase from the Religious Right who hijacked it from Gandhi who resurrected it from Augustine: “He loves the sinner, but hates the sin.”
Continue reading “Full Frontal Prophetic Nudity”