Mary’s song promises that God brings about wondrous reversals in the world: showing favor to the uncredentialed and ignored (“the lowly”); rendering ineffectual the machinations of the arrogant (“scattering the proud in the thoughts of their hearts”); bringing down those who exploit positions of power; lifting up the poor.read more
The trouble with an epiphany is that it often leads to enlightenment! And enlightenment can alter the way one sees the world and one’s relationship to it. As such, anyone who would bend the knee in praise and adoration might do well to consider it can also be a radically subversive act of obeisance and allegiance.read more
Jesus said part of the reason one has to pour New Wine into new wine skins was to preserve the old wine and old wine skins.read more
“Sin” is not about sex, or petty transgression. “Sin” is about the seduction of power-over others; of the gratification of having what others cannot have.read more
It has long been a family tradition to mark the days of Advent and Christmastide seasons with the wood-carved characters appearing in our little crèche one by one, week after week, like unfolding scenes in a two-act drama. But the year one of the three wise men was nowhere to be found when it came for him to enter stage left not only got me wondering about his whereabouts, but what he could have possibly been up to. Such speculation, I would suggest, may be no less credible than Matthew’s fanciful, retrospective tale.read more
* How did monotheistic Jews of the early church come to see Jesus as a part of the unique identity of Israel’s God? Offering an alternative to “functional” and “ontic” Christology, Bauckham convincingly argues that the divine identity—who God truly is—can be witnessed in Jesus’ humiliation, suffering, death, and resurrection.read more
If we are honest, this parable of the wedding guests is perplexing and almost beyond understanding. It weaves here and there, turning expectations upside down and just when you think “I’ve got it!” – no you haven’t because it twists again.read more
What is seldom noticed by traditional Christians is that consignment to hell is not the payback for “sin”; it is the consequence of not believing that Jesus was the one Anointed by God to return the world to God’s covenantal rule. If you don’t believe Jesus was the one – according to Matthew – you won’t follow Jesus’ teachings, and when the transformation comes, you will be found in the company of the goats.read more
The process the early followers of Jesus went through that resulted in the Church of Jesus Christ is fairly long, fairly obscure, and full of pitfalls for those who seek to recreate it.read more
In 1907, a physician name Duncan MacDougall from Haverhill, Massachusetts, set out to not only prove the existence of the human soul, but that it had a physical presence and substance, much like the heart and lungs, flesh, bone and blood. With the use of a large scale he recorded the weight of terminally ill patients at the moment of death, and discerned a drop of ¾ of an ounce. He deduced the fleeting soul not only existed, but left the body for who knows where, weighing a mere 21 grams.
The human heart has always longed to believe little ‘ol me is made up of something more than the dust of the earth, to which all mortal flesh returns. It has been part of the stuff of religious thinking since the beginning of human thought. For all its persuasive power to drive human beings to believe what cannot be known, and behave in the most radically extreme ways sometimes, the promise of an afterlife and immortality often remains void of much critical examination.
This commentary build on the earlier article, “Moving Heaven and Hell,” which can be found in the Center’s Library.
The term “resurrection” has come to stand for what Christianity is all about. But a close look reveals that it should not be understood monolithically, but rather as a pluralistic and diverse phenomenon.read more
It seems that Jesus’ body was hardly cold before his revolutionary, counter-cultural teachings were watered down and made safe for a society interested in economic survival in a controlling empire; in conforming, not transforming; in collaboration not covenant.read more
Paul’s interpretation of who Jesus was probably never crossed paths with the later gospel writers. Or, if it did, most of his theology was misunderstood.read more
The events in the life of Jesus of Nazareth did not happen in a vacuum, nor are these events history as history is now defined.read more
The events and characters that are described in Revelation are infused with a certain fundamental archetypal significance that can be applied to a wide array of individuals and situations—including ones in the present-day.read more
Matthew 16:13-28; Romans 6:5-11 This commentary is going directly through Matthew without regard for the traditional Christian liturgical year, so will not skip to the end of the gospel to Jesus’ “great commission” to “make followers of …read more
Even where two or three are gathered, if the spirit is present- that spirit of fire, and power, and passion, and love- then amazing things will happen. Unexpected things.read more
Harold Camping says that the rapture described in 1 Thessalonias 4 will occur on May 21, 2011, and that God will destroy the entire Universe on October 21, 2011. Unlike John the Baptist and Jesus, Camping offers no chance for salvation.read more