Archive for July 2012

The Web of Humanity   1 comment

Above:  Credit Mobilier Scandal Editorial Cartoon from 1873

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Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236

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The Assigned Readings:

Isaiah 9:7/8-10:11 (depending on versification)

Psalm 122 (Morning)

Psalms 40 and 67 (Evening)

1 Peter 5:1-14

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Some Related Posts:

Isaiah 9-10:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/09/15/week-of-proper-10-wednesday-year-2/

1 Peter 5:

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/forty-third-day-of-easter-seventh-sunday-of-easter-year-a/

Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/06/26/where-cross-the-crowded-ways-of-life/

Jerusalem:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/08/01/jerusalem-by-william-blake/

O Lord, You Gave Your Servant John:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/08/06/o-lord-you-gave-your-servant-john/

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Ha!

Those who write out evil writs

And compose iniquitous documents,

To subvert the cause of the poor,

To rob of their rights the needy of My people;

That widows may be their spoil,

And fatherless children their booty!

What will you do on the day of punishment,

when the calamity comes from afar?

To whom will you flee for help,

And how will you save your carcasses

From collapsing under [fellow] prisoners,

From falling beneath the slain?

Yet His anger has not turned back,

And his arm is outstretched still.

–Isaiah 10:1-4, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures

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Humility towards one another must be the garment you all wear constantly, because God opposes the proud but accords his favour to the humble.  Bow down, then, before the power of God now, so that he may raise you up in due time; unload all your burdens on him, since he is concerned about you.

–1 Peter 5:5b-7, The New Jerusalem Bible

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The reading from Isaiah spells out doom for Israel (the northern kingdom), Judah (the southern kingdom), and the Assyrian Empire.  Embedded among that gloomy news is yet another condemnation of economic injustice.  If I seem to beat this drum often in my devotional posts, I do; so do the texts from which I write many devotions.  The repetition of this theme ought to tell us to pay attention, correct our ways, and reform our legal, economic, and political systems accordingly.

Each of us bears the image of God.  This, I am convinced, constitutes the best basis of equality and mutual respect and humility.  God cares for all of us, so we ought to care for each other, not to use each other for selfish goals.  As the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., reminded us,

…injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.

What happens to my brother or sister affects me, for my brother or sister and I, although physically distinct, are not as separate as we might seem.  We are all connected to others, so what affects one person has consequences for others.

May we, by grace, make them positive effects.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 3, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN OWEN SMITH, UNITED METHODIST BISHOP IN GEORGIA

THE FEAST OF SAINT FRANCIS XAVIER, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY IN ASIA

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Adapted from this post:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/devotion-for-december-3-lcms-daily-lectionary/

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Light in the Darkness, Part I   1 comment

Above:  A Candle Stump

Image Source = J. Samuel Burner

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Candle_stump_on_holder.jpg)

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Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236

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The Assigned Readings:

Isaiah 8:9-9:6/7 (depending on versification)

Psalm 24 (Morning)

Psalms 25 and 110 (Evening)

1 Peter 4:1-9

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Some Related Posts:

Isaiah 8-9:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2010/09/29/third-sunday-after-the-epiphany-year-a/

1 Peter 4:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2011/07/16/week-of-8-epiphany-friday-year-2/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/forty-third-day-of-easter-seventh-sunday-of-easter-year-a/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/fortieth-day-of-lent-holy-saturday/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/07/16/week-of-proper-3-friday-year-2/

Hope of the World:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/08/02/hope-of-the-world/

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There will be grave trouble for Judah one day, Isaiah said.  It might not happen soon, but that day will come.  And it did.  Yet, in the midst of that gloomy prediction, there was a second, happy one:  There will be a ruler through whom God will deliver the people.  Scholars debate what the vague references meant, and the reading assumes a certain character if one reads it outside of Christological interpretations, but none of that is germane to my purpose here, today.  My point is this:  There is hope in the darkest darkness, thanks to God.

Speaking of difficult times, the audience of 1 Peter knew suffering for the faith (4:12-19).  Yet God was with them, not only spiritually via the Holy Spirit, but also through each other.  We human beings ought to help each other to, in the words of 1 Peter 4:8,

preserve an intense love for each other (The New Jerusalem Bible)

and use our gifts from God for the common good.  What does Jesus look like?  Hopefully, he looks like you, O reader, like me, and like many other people.  As we prepare, to celebrate the arrival of Christ nearly two thousand years ago, may we first recognize those through whom Christ is present with us today.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 3, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN OWEN SMITH, UNITED METHODIST BISHOP IN GEORGIA

THE FEAST OF SAINT FRANCIS XAVIER, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY IN ASIA

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Adapted from this post:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/devotion-for-december-2-in-advent-lcms-daily-lectionary/

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Posted July 28, 2012 by neatnik2009 in 1 Peter 4, Isaiah, Isaiah 9, Psalm 110, Psalm 24, Psalm 25

Tagged with ,

Blameless in the Sight of Our Lord and Father   1 comment

Above:  An Ocean Storm

Image Source = Mila Zinkova

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Jeremiah 33:14-16 (New Revised Standard Version):

The days are surely coming,

says the LORD,

when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah.  In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.  In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell in safety.  And this is the name by which it will be called:  ”The LORD is our righteousness.”

Psalm 25:1-9 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

1  To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul;

my God, I put my trust in you;

let me not be humiliated,

nor let my enemies triumph over me.

2  Let none who look to you be put to shame;

let the treacherous be disappointed in their schemes.

3  Show me your ways, O LORD,

and teach me your paths.

4  Lead me in your truth and teach me,

for you are the God of my salvation;

in you have I trusted all the day long.

5  Remember, O LORD, your compassion and love,

for they are from everlasting.

6  Remember not the sins of my youth and my transgressions;

remember me according to your love

and for the sake of your goodness, O LORD.

7  Gracious and upright is the LORD;

therefore he teaches sinners in his way.

8  He guides the humble in doing right

and teaches his way to the lowly.

9  All the paths of the LORD are love and faithfulness

to those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.

1 Thessalonians 3:9-13 (New Jerusalem Bible):

How can we thank God enough for you, for all the joy we feel before our God on your account?  We are earnestly praying night and day to be able to see you face to face again and make up any shortcomings in your faith.

May God our Father himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, make it easy for us to come to you.  May the Lord be generous in increasing your love and make you love one another and the whole human race as much as we love you.  And may he so conform your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless in the sight of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus Christ comes with all his saints.

Luke 21:25-31 (Revised English Bible):

[Jesus continued:]

Portents will appear in sun and moon and stars.  On earth nations will stand helpless, not knowing which way to turn from the roar and surge of the sea.  People will faint with terror at the thought of what is coming upon the world; for the celestial powers will be shaken.  Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.  When all this begins to happen, stand upright and hold your heads high, because your liberation is near.

Jesus told them a parable:

Look at the fig tree, or at any other tree.  As soon as it bud, you can see for yourselves that summer is near.  In the same way, when you see all this happening, you may know that the kingdom of God is near.

Truly I tell you:  the present generation will live to see it all.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

The Collect:

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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Advent is about what God has done, is doing, and will do.  God–in the form of Jesus–became human and dwelt among us.  God is present with us in the form of the Holy Spirit.  And we have the promise of a return of Christ.  Much of the New Testament reflects the unfulfilled expectation that he would return nearly 1,900 years ago.  Many times since then predicted dates for the Second Coming have passed without Jesus making a repeat appearance.  God’s timing is not ours.  So be it.

We who call ourselves Christians bear the responsibility to be salt and light in the world, to leave our part of it better than we found it.  We are at our best when we do that rather than slaughter each other over doctrinal disputes.  So may we be the best salt and the brightest light we can be, so that, regardless of what God’s timing turns out to be, we

may be blameless in the sight of our God and Father.  (1 Thessalonians 3:13, The New Jerusalem Bible).

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 3, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN OWEN SMITH, UNITED METHODIST BISHOP IN GEORGIA

THE FEAST OF SAINT FRANCIS XAVIER, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY IN ASIA

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Adapted from this post:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/first-day-of-advent-first-sunday-of-advent-year-c/

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Posted July 28, 2012 by neatnik2009 in 1 Thessalonians 3, Jeremiah 33, Luke 21, Psalm 25

Tagged with

A Relatively Orthodox Heretic   1 comment

Above:  The Author in August 2009

Photograph by Bonny Thomas

Among my favorite possessions is a shirt which reads

HERETIC.

I wear it proudly.

Yet reality is more complex than that anecdote indicates alone.  Yes, my inquisitive nature, complete with interests in theology, church history, and epistomology (how we know what we know) led me down paths some of my fellow church members in certain rural South Georgia United Methodist congregations considered heretical.  Even my father proved cold to some of my honest inquiries; that hurt the most of all.  There was no need to shut me down over an honest question.

The relationship between religion and intellect has been a frequently troubled one, for free inquiry is often the enemy of dogma, as it ought to be.  A dogma is a doctrine beyond discussion or debate.  But who decides what is merely doctrinal and what is dogmatic?  This is a question worth exploring without determining the value of the dogma first.  And one should also apply rigorous epistomological standards to any doctrine without fear; truth will hold up well under scrutiny.  That it holds up well tells me that it is truth.

I have not changed my mind significantly about theological matters in over a decade.  The main alteration has been the acceptance of the reality of Single Predestination, but my Christology, as before, continues to meet Western Christian standards  more often than not.  I am neither an Arian nor an Adoptionist, for example.  I, once a relative heretic in South Georgia, am now relatively orthodox in my parish in Athens-Clarke County, Georgia.  I was bound to, at some point in time, find a band of professing Christians, many or most of whom are to my left, and to associate with them.  They are wonderful company.  I do not call them heretics, either.  To the best of my knowledge, there is nary an Arian nor an Adoptionist among them.

If the Virgin Birth of Jesus and Penal Substitutionary Atonement are vital elements of orthodox Christianity, I am a heretic.  If Jesus said that one must affirm the Virgin Birth, nobody recorded that saying in the New Testament.  And the New Testament and writings of Church Fathers contain at least three understandings of the Atonement.  My doubts regarding Penal Substitutionary Atonement do not condemn me; no, they place me in excellent and ancient company.

I wonder, what is the proper standard of orthodoxy according to which I should evaluate myself?

“Heresy” comes from a Greek word meaning “choice,” with a subtext of fractiousness.  The first heretics where those who chose what to believe and thereby broke with the budding Christian hierarchy.  Quite often these heretics were truly mistaken; I am glad they lost the arguments.  Yet sometimes heretics (such as Copernicus and Galileo) were correct and the hierarchy was objectively wrong.  Human standards of orthodoxy seem to be unreliable much of the time.

I claim the label “heretic” proudly, treating it as an affirmative thing.

Yes, I am a heretic.  Do you have a problem with that, you Donatist?

That is fantasy rebuttal to more than one annoying person.  I have never used it, but the mere thought of it satisfies me.  Above all, I want to be righteous more than I want to be right or to win a theological argument.  Besides, I suspect that everybody is, to some extend, a heretic by God’s standard, the only rule which should matter.  And grace stands ready to forgive a great deal.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 22, 2012 COMMON ERA

PROPER 11:  THE EIGHTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARY MAGDALENE, EQUAL TO THE APOSTLES

Change and Tradition   4 comments

Above:  Light Bulbs

Labels interest me.  More to the point, the relative nature of many of them intrigues me.  Thus “conservative,” derived from “conserve,” indicates an opposition to change, at least according to the denotation.  Liberals favor change within the system, revolutionaries propose to create a new system, and reactionaries prefer a previous system.  Pundits and politicians confuse matters by using these terms inaccurately, but I proceed from the notion that words ought to mean what they mean, not what is convenient for us.  And one can hold a fairly consistent set of opinions over time and receive a variety of labels.  In pre-Revolutionary France, for example, support for a constitutional monarchy was a revolutionary idea.  It became conservative in 1789 and reactionary by 1792.  Some labels are so relative as to be of limited value.

Here is an old joke:

Q:  How many fundamentalists does it take to change a light bulb?

A:  CHANGE????

One of the Episcopal Church variations on the

How many ____________s does it take to change a light bulb?

joke tells me that between 200 and 300 of us are necessary.  There must be service with a special liturgy and choir anthem.  And some traditionalists will march out in protest, found their own Anglican church, and join the Society for the Preservation of the Light Bulb.  That answer hits close to home in many Episcopal Church circles.

Just as change for its own sake is bad, so is opposing change reflexively.  An organism which does not change is dead.  And the trademark words of a dying church are

We’ve never done it that way before.

Change is part of life, so how we handle change matters greatly.

In church circles change pertains usually to theological/social and liturgical issues.  I recognize no clear distinction between theological and social matters.  So, if I say that I affirm the image of God in every person and am honest, I obligate myself to support a variety of causes.  In my mind, this list of causes comes down to civil rights and liberties, which extend properly to matters of race, ethnicity, gender, economics, and education.  Such a stance requires me to oppose discrimination against anyone.  So, in the love of Christ, I support homosexual rights.  Today such a statement proves controversial.  So be it.

In many ways I am a liberal or a revolutionary.  Parts of the Church used to justify slavery in the United States by quoting the Bible.  Then their heirs recycled those arguments and added new ones to justify racial segregation.  (This has been a field of extensive research on my part.  I still have all my notes.)  Two generations ago, when the Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS), the old Southern Presbyterian Church, began to affirm civil rights for African Americans, that denomination’s right wing protested vehemently.  One generation ago, part of that right wing founded the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) over that and other issues.  (This has been a field of extensive research on my part.  I still have all my notes.)  Now, of course, civil rights for African Americans prompt little or no negative reaction or response and the PCA has rejected the racism of many of its founders.  Much change is good.

Liturgically I am slightly left of center with a conservative streak, I suppose.  The Book of Common Prayer (1979) is a spectacular resource, but subsequent Prayer Books (notably New Zealand from 1979 and Ireland from 2004) have surpassed it.  I refuse to worship from the 1928 Prayer Book, an artifact for me and an idol to many others.  Liturgical renewal did occur; we ought to get with and/or remain with the program.  And many of the alleged innovations of the 1979 Prayer Book were actually returns to pre-Reformation patterns; they were reactionary.

I, as a student of liturgy, collect liturgical books.  Among my favorite volumes is Companion to The Book of Worship, a 1970 explanation of the 1965 Methodist (later United Methodist) Book of Worship.  Lance Webb, Chairman of the General Commission on Worship of The United Methodist Church in 1970, wrote,

Some persons think all liturgies considered valuable in the past should be disregarded today in favor of completely new creative or contemporary liturgies.–page 8

He disagreed.  Neither did he oppose all new liturgies.  Webb affirmed that new rites must emerge from an appreciation for older ones, the liturgical wealth of the Church.  And he was correct on all counts.

Old prayers used to be new.  Western Christians did not always say or sing the Agnus Dei.  Change can revitalize worship or impoverish it, reducing it to a lowest common denominator of excessive emotionalism and praise choruses with seven words one sings eleven times.  (I keep thinking of the youth pastor from Saved! (2004):

All right! All right! Who’s down with G-O-D?

Worship should not resemble cheerleading.)  A proper mix of tradition and change is necessary to maintain an equilibrium.  So “thee” becomes “you” and a litany from the 1500s looks in its modern form very much like its original shape while a new Eucharistic rite in the 1979 Prayer Book speaks of

…the vast expanse of interstellar space, galaxies, suns, the planets in their courses, and this fragile earth, our island home.–page 370

The English Language changes; why not pronouns in prayers?

Neither theology nor liturgy should become as museum pieces or fossilized insects frozen in amber.  No, they ought to be living traditions–rooted in the past and changing to meet the needs of the present day while retaining the best which the past has to offer.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 17, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF BENNETT J. SIMS, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF ATLANTA

THE FEAST OF THE MARTYRS OF COMPIEGNE

THE FEAST OF SAINT NERSES LAMPRONATS, ARMENIAN APOSTOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF TARSUS

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM WHITE, PRESIDING BISHOP OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH

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Hope and Fear   1 comment

Above:  The Harrowing of Hades

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Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236

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The Assigned Readings:

Isaiah 7:10-8:8

Psalm 90 (Morning)

Psalms 80 and 72 (Evening)

1 Peter 3:1-22

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Some Related Posts:

Isaiah 7-8:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2010/09/15/fourth-sunday-of-advent-year-a/

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2010/09/15/advent-devotion-for-december-20/

1 Peter 3:

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/thirty-sixth-day-of-easter-sixth-sunday-of-easter-year-a/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2011/07/24/first-sunday-in-lent-year-b/

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/when-i-survey-the-wondrous-cross/

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He [Jesus Christ] suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried.

He descended to the dead.

On the third day he rose again.

–The Apostles’ Creed

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Christ himself died once and for all for sins, the upright for the sake of the guilty, to lead us to God.  In the body he was put to death, in the spirit he was raised to life, and in the spirit, he went to preach to the spirits in prison.  They refused to believe long ago, while God patiently waited to receive them…..

–1 Peter 3:18-20a, The New Jerusalem Bible

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The reading from Isaiah tells of the births of two boys.  Immanuel’s arrival marked hope that the Syro-Ephraimite threat to Judah would end soon.  It also contained a promise of divine judgment; read 7:17.  The arrival of Maher-shalal-hash-baz marked the doom of the Syro-Ephraimite thread at Assyria’s hands.  Hope and judgment, bound together, were part of the same message.  The author of the Gospel of Matthew read a different meaning into Isaiah 7, relating it to Jesus.  The combination of hope and judgment is also present there.  That is sound New Testament-based theology.

As much as judgment is potent, so is mercy.  1 Peter 3:19 is one basis (see also 1 Peter 4:6) for the line (from the Apostles’ Creed) about Jesus descending to the dead.  This passage indicates that Hell, at one time at least, had an exit.  And it might have one again.  There is always hope in God.  If God does not give up on us–as I suspect is true–may we extend each other the same courtesy.  Final judgment belongs to God, and I do not presume to a station higher than the one I occupy.  But I do propose that certain ideas we might have heard and internalized relative to divine judgment might be mistaken.  With God all things are possible; may we embrace that mystery.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 3, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN OWEN SMITH, UNITED METHODIST BISHOP IN GEORGIA

THE FEAST OF SAINT FRANCIS XAVIER, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY IN ASIA

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Adapted from this post:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/devotion-for-december-1-in-advent-lcms-daily-lectionary/

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Subversive Compassion   1 comment

Above:  Christ with Beard

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Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236

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The Assigned Readings:

Isaiah 6:1-7:9

Psalm 102 (Morning)

Psalms 130 and 16 (Evening)

1 Peter 2:13-25

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Some Related Posts:

Isaiah 6-7:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/09/07/week-of-proper-9-saturday-year-2/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/09/15/week-of-proper-10-tuesday-year-2/

A Prayer for Compassion:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/a-prayer-for-compassion/

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I have covered the reading from Isaiah already, so I refer you, O reader, to the labeled links for them.  At this time and place I choose to say the following:  A pressing question for many Christians in the latter portion of the first century C.E. was whether one could be both a good Christian and a good Roman.  Also, the author of 1 Peter assumed that Jesus would be back quite soon to sort out the world order.  As I write these words, our Lord has not returned. The world order is what we have made it; may we exercise our agency responsibly to improve it.  This does involve resisting authority sometimes, as in the case of tyrannical governments.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer plotted to assassinate Adolf Hitler.  Many faithful Christians–Protestants and Roman Catholics–sheltered Jews and resisted the Third Reich.  And, throughout church history, bishops have called monarchs to account.

We who read and interpret the Bible must be careful to read it as a whole, not to fixate so much on certain passages that we ignore inconvenient ones and distort the composite meaning of the texts.  There is something called confirmation bias, which means that we tend to pay attention to evidence which supports our opinions and ignore or dismiss that which does not.  I look for this in myself and try to safeguard against prooftexting, the confirmation bias method of misreading the Bible.

I keep returning to the example Jesus set.  (I am a professing Christian, literally a “partisan of Christ.”)  He violated many religious customs, some of them from the Law of Moses itself.  He seems to have favored compassion over any other factor when they came into conflict.  And he taught this ethic with his words.  So we have in our Lord the union of words and deeds favoring compassion above all else in guiding our actions toward others.  Compassion trumps all else.

As much as I disagree with those aspects of Christian traditions which deal favorably with tyrants and dictators, justify servitude, and smile upon gender inequality, I find Jesus to be the strong counterpoint to them.  Somewhere–very soon after our Lord’s time on the planet ended–the church began to accommodate itself–frequently in ways inconsistent with Christ–to the Roman Empire.  Jesus was a subversive.  I mean this as a compliment.  I follow the subversive, or at least I try to do so.  If I am to be an honest Christian, this is what I must do.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 3, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN OWEN SMITH, UNITED METHODIST BISHOP IN GEORGIA

THE FEAST OF SAINT FRANCIS XAVIER, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY IN ASIA

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http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/devotion-for-november-30-in-advent-lcms-daily-lectionary/

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