I’ve Moved!

My blog has moved!

I gave WordPress a try, but I’ve decided to go back to the more user-friendly Blogger. (If you have me on your blogroll, please update it accordingly and accept my apologies for the inconvenience.)

My first new blog post is a reflection on the gospel reading for today, John 2.1-11. One nice thing about the new blog is that you can hover over Bible references and it will show you the text.



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Here Is Something that Deserves to be Shared

Fred Clark at Slacktivist has written a brilliant parody of this response to the startling but welcome news that the prominent British Evangelical leader Stephen Chalke has come out in support of same-sex marriage. With only superficial changes, the letter demonstrates how a lot of the arguments marriage equality opponents use could just have easily have been leveled against Peter’s argument that non-Jews should be allowed membership in the church without converting to Judaism (an argument that appears in Acts 11; see Acts 10.1-11.18 for the whole story on that). It’s something that deserves to be shared, widely.

Read it here.

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Some Important Things I Read Today

From James McGrath at Exploring Our Matrix:

“Many Christians Are Compromised”

In the country I live in, the vast majority of Christians (assuming one is willing to give that label to those who claim it, even if it seems not to affect their core values) are fundamentally compromised with the spirit of the age, with its values, with its aims and assumptions.

Some are so compromised that they line up with the use of secular power to try to accomplish their aims – with the Romans who crucified Jesus rather than with the one who overcame evil not through force or legislation but love.

Read the whole thing.

From Bill Lindsey at Bilgrimage:

“Gay and Christian: Continuing Struggle to Find Home in Unwelcoming Churches”

I’m tired–I’m sick unto death–of Christians who claim that all they’re about is love, when they single out their gay brothers and sisters, focus obsessive attention on the perceived “sins” of those brothers and sisters, preach hate and foment violence against those brothers and sisters, and spend millions of dollars organizing movements to remove human rights from a targeted minority. I’m sick of the lying, self-serving, false talk of love when hate’s the name of the real game these fellow Christians are playing.

Read the whole thing.

From Wendell Berry:

“The Bible, as I pointed out to the writers of National Review, has a lot more to say against fornication and adultery than against homosexuality,” he said. “If one accepts the 24th and 104th Psalms as scriptural norms, then surface mining and other forms of earth destruction are perversions. If we take the Gospels seriously, how can we not see industrial warfare — with its inevitable massacre of innocents — as a most shocking perversion? By the standard of all scriptures, neglect of the poor, of widows and orphans, of the sick, the homeless, the insane, is an abominable perversion.”

“Jesus talked of hating your neighbor as tantamount to hating God, and yet some Christians hate their neighbors by policy and are busy hunting biblical justifications for doing so,” he said. “Are they not perverts in the fullest and fairest sense of that term? And yet none of these offenses — not all of them together — has made as much political/religious noise as homosexual marriage.”

Read the whole thing.

From Fred Clark at Slacktivist:

“‘There’s nothing mutual about it’: White evangelicals, privileged distress and grievance envy”

I don’t know if Muder coined the term “privileged distress” or not, but I learned it from him and I’ve found it invaluable. Privileged distress. The distress of the privileged. The anxiety that the privileged feel when others begin to enjoy the same privileges that had previously been exclusive to them. Ah, yes, that.

As Muder writes, “Once you grasp the concept of privileged distress, you’ll see it everywhere.” Actually, you saw it everywhere even before that, but you just didn’t know how to articulate and classify what it was you were looking at.

Read the whole thing. And read the brilliant Weekly Sift post by Doug Muder he references, too.

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Selective Literalism

Cute cartoon posted on Exploring Our Matrix.

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Some Stuff about René Girard

If you’re not familiar with René Girard, I would encourage you to consider changing that. But don’t make the mistake that I made over ten years ago: I read a little about his work, found it far-fetched, and didn’t give it a second thought until some other theologians that I happen to admire made such a big deal about him that I couldn’t ignore him any longer. And now I think he’s one of the most important Christian thinkers of the last several centuries. That was my major discovery of 2012–better late than never, I guess.

Anyway, I recently discovered a couple of very interesting resources about Girard (h/t Brian McLaren).

The first is a really interesting idea that I wouldn’t have thought would work if I didn’t see it myself: it’s a website by Paul Nuechterlein called Girardian Reflections on the Lectionary. Nuechterlein, who is apparently Lutheran, really knows his stuff, and provides some very insightful commentary on the readings of the lectionary. He follows the Revised Common Lectionary, which is based on the Catholic Lectionary, but differs from it from time to time, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot.

I’ve been thinking about doing a weekly blog offering progressive reflections on the lectionary, and I’m finding it quite challenging. So I was rather impressed to see a similar idea using a much narrower lens (i.e., Girard’s mimetic theory). This is a site I expect to return to often. (There is much else in addition to the lectionary reflections, but I haven’t had a chance yet to read much of it).

The other resource is a five-part CBC Radio series called “The Scapegoat: René Girard’s Anthropology of Violence and Religion,” which originally appeared on the Ideas program in February 2011. I’ve only listened to the first one so far, and it was terrific. (Now I just have to find four hours to listen to the rest of them…)

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