Stranded on Olympus

Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23

Mark 7:24-37

James 2:1-10, (11-13), 14-17

 

The appropriate response to the depiction of Christ’s suffering and broken flesh is not empathy leading to philanthropic action or political activism on behalf of the less fortunate other.  Rather, it is meant to provoke repentance and conversion.                                                                

                                             Luke Bretherton

There are two kinds of people in the world, the saying goes ‚Äď those who divide people into two kinds and those who don‚Äôt.¬† The saying is, of course, tongue-in-cheek; a satire of, say, candidates who draw dishonestly simplistic false dichotomies for political gain, or of ‚Äúexperts‚ÄĚ who presume a perspective from which they omnisciently categorize the world.¬† At best these folks are pretentious.¬† At worst, they are the ones who make ‚Äúdistinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts‚ÄĚ (James 2:4).

The lectionary readings unabashedly speak of two kinds of people Рthe poor and the rich.  Far from making a false dichotomy, the texts shine light on what is perhaps the primordial divide.  Read more

The Metaphysics of Discipleship

Perhaps the recurring issue in discussions of Christian discipleship regards simply whether or not it is something that Christians should think they can actually do. Not long into the established church’s history the notion became prominent that the ethics of Jesus, particularly as recorded in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7) and other prominent texts in the gospels (cf. Luke 6:17-46; 14:15-34), simply cannot be done by people who live in the real world. They are rather “counsels of perfection” which are either only for a specific clerical or monastic caste (as in Medieval Catholicism) or they are simply there to remind us all of our complete inability as sinners to conform to God’s commands (as in Luther and most of Protestantism after him). Read more