Daily Archives: April 4, 2018

Karl Barth for Easter-‘the proclamation of a war already won’

[Easter]…is the proclamation of a war already won. The war is at an end ”“ even though here and there troops are still shooting, because they have not heard anything yet about the capitulation. The game is won, even though the player can still play a few further moves. Actually he is already mated. The clock has run down, even though the pendulum still swings a few times this way and that. It is in this interim space that we are living: the old is past, behold it has all become new. The Easter message tells us that our enemies, sin, the curse and death, are beaten. Ultimately they can no longer start mischief. They still behave as though the game were not decided, the battle not fought; we must still reckon with them, but fundamentally we must cease to fear them anymore. If you have heard the Easter message, you can no longer run around with a tragic face and lead the humourless existence of a man who has no hope. One thing still holds, and only this one thing is really serious, that Jesus is the Victor. A seriousness that would look back past this, like Lot’s wife, is not Christian seriousness. It may be burning behind ”“ and truly it is burning ”“ but we have to look, not at it, but at the other fact, that we are invited and summoned to take seriously the victory of God’s glory in this man Jesus and to be joyful in Him. Then we may live in thankfulness and not in fear.

–Karl Barth Dogmatics in Outline (New York: Harper and Row, 1959), p. 123

Posted in Christology, Church History, Easter, Eschatology

Martin Davie–Reimagining Reimagined – A Review Of Justin Welby’s Reimagining Britain

Contrary to what is said in the blurb on the back cover of the book, the Archbishop is not offering ‘a radical vision for 21st century Britain.’ If all that he proposes came to pass, British society would not actually change that much. What he is offering is a modest proposal for the development of existing British society and government policy along lines that have also been put forward by a large number of other writers on this topic.

What is helpful about the Archbishop’s proposal is that he identifies a number of key issues which anyone concerned with the development of British society needs to bear in mind.

Practices must reflect values and virtues.
In order to flourish Britain needs to be a society marked by the practice of love and by the values of community, courage and stability.
There need to be Intermediate institutions (including households and religious groups) that exist between the individual and the state.
Families, education, health, housing, and economics and finance are the basic building blocks of British society and problems in these five areas need to be addressed.
Britain needs to express its values in relation to immigration and integration, foreign policy and climate change.
It is important that churches and other religious groups should be given the freedom to challenge a liberal hegemony and be encouraged to bless society through their activities.
The specific policy proposals made by the Archbishop, such as giving greater support to those caring for family members, ensuring that those responsible for new housing encourage the development of community life and rebalancing the British economy so that it is less dependent on the financial sector, are also sensible and would have widespread support.

The Archbishop’s policy proposals are lacking in detail.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Books, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Yahoo News) Honoring Martin Luther King Jr., evangelicals weigh their response to racism

On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., evangelicals gathered in Memphis on Tuesday to assess where their movement stands in relation to King’s mission and ministry. The consensus of the speakers was they were falling short.

“Why is American evangelicalism so white and so middle class?” asked Russell Moore, an evangelical leader who was an outspoken opponent of Donald Trump in 2016. “Why are we not cultivating the future? Why are we not bearing one another’s burdens?”

Moore took direct aim at tolerance for racism and systemic injustice within the white evangelical church, and said that the failure of the white American church when it comes to healing and rectifying the ills of racism have caused a “crisis of faith” for many younger Christians.

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

(WBUR) Chris Madson–Buzz, Beep, Chirp: Phones Are An Epidemic In Our Schools

Recently I asked a hardworking, though often distracted, high school student named Amina how many text messages she received that day during school.

Her answer? 106.

Each text received a response. Two-hundred and twelve tiny messages read and felt, or composed and sent. Links clicked; short videos watched. The perfect song found. Snapchat streaks edited and shared.

Assuming 10 to 15 seconds are lost with each text, Amina skips school for about 45 minutes — roughly the equivalent of one class period — each day without ever leaving her seat.

Amina is in the majority. And the numbers are shocking.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Science & Technology

A Superb PAW profile piece on MicroLender and Activist José Quiñonez

[Isabel] Caudillo’s is a true American immigrant tale. She came to the United States in 2001 from Mexico City with nothing except a love of cooking. At home she would prepare traditional foods such as stews, beans and rice, and her mother’s mole verde that reminded her of home. A San Francisco community group helped her open a small stand in the Noe Valley Farmers Market, but the low profit margins made it impossible for her to grow.

An industrial steamer, which she needed to make her tamales, cost $1,400, far more than Caudillo had saved. Through a friend, she heard about the Mission Asset Fund (MAF), a community nonprofit organization headed by José Quiñonez *98 that administers “lending circles,” small person-to-person savings groups, to help low-income people put aside money and build credit.

Not only was Caudillo able to save enough to buy a steamer, but by reporting her lending-circle payments to credit agencies, the MAF made it possible for her to build a high credit score, which in turn enabled her to obtain a bank loan she used to open her second location.

“Lending circles were our first financial door,” Caudillo says in a testimonial on the organization’s website. “They gave me access to loans to open my own restaurant, which is something I never could have imagined. But more important than that, they helped me learn to manage the financial system to open even more opportunities in the future.”

Quiñonez, a soft-spoken man with a trim salt-and-pepper beard, was brought to the United States illegally when he was a child and grew up poor. Today he has a community organizer’s gift for phrasemaking. He often reasons by antitheses, one of which is this: Being poor is expensive.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Personal Finance, Theology

Rod Dreher–Is Christianity Too Violent For Facebook?

Let’s give Facebook’s nameless content editor credit: he or she may well understand the Crucifixion more truly than do Christians for whom the murder of the incarnate God on a cross has gone from being a scandal to a banality. Facebook is right: the image is shocking, sensational, and excessively violent, because that’s what a crucifixion is! Yesterday in his Palm Sunday sermon (we Orthodox Christians observe Easter a week later this year), my priest said, “We don’t spend this week saying, ‘Those Jews did that to Our Lord.’ We spend it accusing ourselves. We did it to Christ. Every time we sin, we crucify Him. This is on us.” He’s right about that. It’s not a bad thing to be reminded how much He suffered in His body to liberate us from death. What the San Damiano Cross depicts is a murder. But for Christians, it also depicts the defeat of all murder and death, and the necessary prelude to eternal life for all. As we Orthodox sing on Pascha (Easter): “Christ is risen from the dead/Trampling down death by death/And upon those in the tombs bestowing life.”

A Christian culture would know that for the people who revere this symbol, they are looking at an image of death’s defeat, and of eternal life.

But we are no longer a Christian culture, and are becoming less so by the day.

This incident is alarming because of what it reveals about the kind of world that Christians are going to live in. Facebook is one of the most powerful media companies on the planet. If it decides that it will not approve Christian content because it finds that content violent, bigoted, or what have you, then that will have a tremendous potential effect, not only on the ability of Christians to communicate, but (more importantly) on shaping the way the Christian faith is regarded widely in this post-Christian culture.

Read it all.

Posted in --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ethics / Moral Theology, Media, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Katie Ganshert via Ann Voskamp) Why the Church Can’t Keep Turning Away From Our Race Issues: Why We Can’t Put the Past Behind Us–Because It’s Buried In Us

Slowly I started to see what I couldn’t before—a pervasive injustice all around.

“The world is wrong. You can’t put the past behind you. It’s buried in you.” – Claudia Rankine

Slavery. Convict leasing. Over 4,000 lynchings. Jim Crow segregation. White flight and red-lining.

All of it is buried in us. All of it points to an appallingly racist past that has left a racist legacy that manifests itself in policies and systems that disadvantage and oppress specific people groups.

Like our education system, where black and brown students find themselves more segregated than they were in 1968—stuck in schools that are understaffed and under-resourced.

Or a criminal justice system that frisks 85% of blacks and Latinos stopped by police, but only 8% of whites. Those are just two examples of many—the tippity-top of a giant racial iceberg. Statistics I didn’t know until I started to listen.

I had no idea that Sunday remains the most segregated hour in America. I saw a handful of black people inside my church as proof that we were fine. I had no idea that many black evangelicals in predominately white churches report feeling unseen and unheard.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Christology, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Ian Paul–The surprise of the resurrection

It is all such an unexpected surprise. So does Easter Sunday catch you by surprise? As winter is followed by spring, so for us Good Friday is followed by Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday. I don’t suppose anyone woke up this morning and cried out ”˜Easter Sunday””I wasn’t expecting that!’ As the seasons roll on, the church calendar helps us in many ways, but I wonder if in this regard it doesn’t serve us well. You probably expected Easter Sunday, expected an Easter egg, expected to come to church and perhaps even expected to hear this reading.

Yet the message of Easter is not (apologies Mr Cameron!) about taking responsibility, and hard-working families, and doing your duty. It has nothing to do with that! Easter is about the unexpected thing that God does””that he surprises us with his grace. No-one was expecting this. No-one was expecting one person to be raised from the dead, now. Of course, faithful Jews were looking for the resurrection of the dead””but this was going to come at the end of the age, when (as Isaiah prophesied) the heavens and the earth were going to be wrapped up like a worn-out garment, and there would be a new heaven and a new earth””and the dead would be raised, and all would be judged. That is what they were expected””but this, Jesus’ resurrection, caught them completely by surprise.

Read it all.

Posted in Easter, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer of Saint Augustine for Easter

Lord Jesus, I beseech Thee by Thy glorious Resurrection, raise me up from the sepulchre of my sins and vices, and daily give me a part in Thy Resurrection by grace, that I may be made a partner also in Thy Resurrection of glory.

–Frederick B. Macnutt, The prayer manual for private devotions or public use on divers occasions: Compiled from all sources ancient, medieval, and modern (A.R. Mowbray, 1951)

Posted in Easter, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Now after the sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Mag”²dalene and the other Mary went to see the sepulchre. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. Lo, I have told you.” So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Hail!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

–Matthew 28:1-10

Posted in Theology: Scripture