Palm Sunday, too

A Token Performance

Palm Sunday
Passion Sunday

Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29
Mark 11:1-11

Hang on to the wheel
for the highway to hell
needs chauffeurs for the powers that be
– Mark Heard, “Rise from the Ruins”

Early in my years as a pastor, I was conscripted to be in a pageant as part of a gathering of area churches. Several of us chosen ones wore either a crown of rejoicing, a crown of righteousness, a crown of glory, or a crown of life. As the appropriate Scripture passage was read, each one of us, dressed as royalty, processed down a long auditorium aisle and placed our crowns on a stage altar. The producer/director/stage manager/costume designer (the sister had a lot invested) was as earnest as the day is long in wanting to portray visually a Revelation-like casting crowns before the throne. My wife hesitantly had to admit afterwards that the overall visual message was more like “Elvis impersonators are in the building.”

I think of that night as another processional draws near. Read more

Slowing Down and Reflecting Cross-generationally

Jason Fischer reflects on Slow Church:

“…I find it appropriate to confess that as a youth and family director my divided heart has been tempted to compare the programs I have created at church against those in other churches. The youth directors over at the other church always seem to have so many kids, small groups, and elaborate worship services while I struggle to keep cranking out the multitude of marginally-attended events at my own congregation. Maybe Pastors have been double-minded in this way as well, but I soon realized that my frustration with low turnout and the endless cycle of busyness was not allowing me, or our congregation, to share the best of what God had given us with each other.”

read the full post here: EP guest post, Patheos Slow Church

The White Savior Industrial Complex

Teju Cole is the author of Open City, which won this year’s PEN/Hemingway Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He expounds on the sentiments behind his tweets regarding the Invisible Children / Kony 2012 videos at The Atlantic website.

I disagree with the approach taken by Invisible Children in particular, and by the White Savior Industrial Complex in general, because there is much more to doing good work than “making a difference.” There is the principle of first do no harm. There is the idea that those who are being helped ought to be consulted over the matters that concern them.

read the entire article here: The White Savior Industrial Complex

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The Deep Hope of Easter

Fifth Sunday of Lent

Jeremiah 31:31-34.

What is the new covenant that God has made in Christ and what does it mean for our life in Christ today? This question is an essential one raised by today’s Old Testament text.  The ways in which Christians have answered this question through the centuries have often led to anti-Semitic attitudes and oppression of the Jews.  The gist of the reasoning has been that the Jews screwed up and God had to start over from scratch and now the Christians are the people on whom the blessing of God rests (and, of course, the Jews are outsiders, heretics and the ones who had Jesus crucified, and thus worthy of having all manner of violence inflicted upon them).

Is this really the sort of God, covenant and people that Jeremiah is proclaiming here?  I hope not, but let’s look a little deeper.  Gerhard Lohfink, in his classic work Does God Need the Church?: Toward a Theology of the People of God sheds some light on this passage:

Read more

The Problem with Rowan Williams

From Australian theologian Ben Myers who writes at the blog Faith and Theology:

It is often said that Williams is an unusual churchman – too scholarly, too ponderous, too sensitive to complexity – but it should equally be said that he is an unusual scholar. Although he has made important contributions to several academic disciplines – not only theology but also history, political philosophy and literary criticism – his deepest commitment has always been to the cultivation of community rather than to any particular intellectual project.

If his critics complained that he was an unusually academic archbishop, Cambridge will also find him to be an unusually priestly scholar.

To read the rest click here.