Thursday, December 29, 2011

Remembering Those Whom God Remembers

Retired Bishop Packard leads OWS over church barricade breaking down barriers between people of faith who seek peace and justice.

How is the church responding to its primal horizontal ethical response to the current global and domestic nonviolent protests, namely a revolutionary emergence via the Occupy movements? Will the church faithful comprehend the current events while not dissociating from the real issues/people who are always remembered by God (vertical), the outcast, the suspects, the maltreated, the powerless, the oppressed, and the reviled who suffer outside the walls of the Christian church. Recalling here that “the church is the church only when it exists for others” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison).

Like the Korean church faithful, the American church faithful needs to develop its own comprehension of a Minjung theology that offers real promise for the ongoing enculturation of the gospel in our own land with today’s suffering and oppression by the dominant powers. The big question is whether the church faithful can truly comprehend with radical openness the reality of God’s reconciliation in Jesus Christ with the world, a reality that is presented as the hope of a great reversal during the Advent season (see The Magnificat).

Let the conversation begin and may justice flow down like waters (torrents) and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

Photograph: Retired Bishop George Packard climbs over the fence guarding Duarte Square, owned by the wealthy landowning organization Trinity Church.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Yuletide Venn Diagram

A humorous visual for a Christmas seasonal smile from JamesWhyte, a Yuletide Venn Diagram showing groups/items sharing common properties.

Re-blogged gratefully by Dan Seifert

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Coming of an Alternative-Counter Script in Christian Tradition

Having been greatly helped and prodded along by Walter Brueggemann’s 19 Theses, I yield to their prophetic voice allowing them to speak into the life of Scripture and life itself as a way of detouring conventional, popular notions about God and the church (with their strong warning against the idolatry of nationalism). Here I have interjected (parenthetically) theses 3, 8, 14 and 15 as a way of drawing out meaning while reading Psalm 33:13-22.

The LORD looks down from heaven;
he sees all humankind.
From where he sits enthroned he watches
all the inhabitants of the earth —
he who fashions the hearts of them all,
and observes all their deeds.
A king is not saved by his great army;
a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
The war horse is a vain hope for victory,
and by its great might it cannot save.

(3 - The dominant scripting in our society is a script of technological, therapeutic, consumer militarism that socializes us all, liberal and conservative.)

Truly the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,
to deliver their soul from death,
and to keep them alive in famine.

(8 - The task of descripting, relinquishment and disengagement is accomplished by a steady, patient, intentional articulation of an alternative script that we say can make us happy and make us safe.)

Our soul waits for the LORD;
he is our help and shield.
Our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.

(14 - The entry point into the counter-script is baptism. Whereby we say in the old liturgies, “do you renounce the dominant script?” 15 - The nurture, formation, and socialization into the counter-script with this illusive, irascible character is the work of ministry. We do that work of nurture, formation, and socialization by the practices of preaching, liturgy, education, social action, spirituality, and neighboring of all kinds.)

Artwork: White Crucifixion

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Was Hitchens a gentle cynic?

Hitchens certainly was a cynic. My immediate thought upon hearing of Hitchens death was that we can thank him for sharing his ardent distaste for and attack on fundamentalism in religion and the threat they pose on American democracy, yet his disdain of what were essentially idolatries (hypocrisies) inflicted on humanity by religion blinded his vision to see the noble religious experiences and traditions in history. His limited lens for viewing religion under a primary rubric of tribalism resulted in him missing crucial nuances and depth of religious faith. He did make some wonderful points worth contemplating. Some examples . . .

"The noble title of 'dissident' must be earned rather than claimed; it connotes sacrifice and risk rather than mere disagreement …"

"Do bear in mind that the cynics have a point, of a sort, when they speak of the 'professional naysayer'."

"To be in opposition is not to be a nihilist. And there is no decent or charted way of making a living at it. It is something you are, and not something you do." – Letters to a Young Contrarian, 2001

"The search for nirvana, like the search for utopia or the end of history or the classless society, is ultimately a futile and dangerous one. It involves, if it does not necessitate, the sleep of reason. There is no escape from anxiety and struggle." – Love, Poverty, and War: Journeys and Essays, 2004

A good text on Hitchens, Chris Hedges, I Don't believe in Atheists, Free Press, 2008 at Goodreads: