Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Just look up

The sky over Troy, MI, not considered a particularly "scenic" place. I guess all you need is sky.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Since the New York Times did not publish it, here is the letter I sent them which begins...

...Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori gets a bum rap from Mark Oppenheimer in “For Episcopal Church’s Leader, a Sermon Leads to More Dissent”, on June 22, who quotes a Baylor University scholar as saying “she interprets the text in a direction the author (of  Acts) would not recognize.”

 Well duh! Would any of the Old Testament authors have recognized the way their words were interpreted by the Christians? Acts says nothing whatsoever about the fate of the fortune-telling slave girl exorcised by Paul, except that she had been deprived of her livelihood. Oppenheimer’s scholar generously ascribes to Paul the role of the girl’s “liberator”, which might be justified if the apostolic author had shown any interest  whatsoever in her fate.
As it is, it is up to Jesus and the Presiding Bishop to show concern for those considered unworthy of notice by religious authorities in their respective times. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Timothy Radcliffe, O.P. "Stretches Open Our Way of Talking"

"But the journey does not end  there [with the Old and New Testaments]. The Word has been made flesh and dwelt among us, but all the rest of history will be catching up to this event... . The Bible... invites us... to enter into a conversation which stretches open our ways of talking. We are forever searching for words that will let us delight in the particular and reach out to the universal. The movement that we saw beginning in the Old Testament and finding its culmination in the New carries on. We go on searching for words that are precise enough for the particularity of Jesus and spacious enough for his universality."   "The World Shall Come to Walsingham", in Sacred Space, ed. John & Eric North

Monday, July 15, 2013

More Tmothy Radcliffe, O.P.

"So my thesis, vastly oversimplified, is that the slow dawning of monotheism generates [a]...double movement. There are no stories of the gods. There is just the story of God's entanglement with this particular people...Israel. And the story of Israel is not just of a particular people, but of God's relationship with humanity. And this double movement towards the particular and the universal finds its astonishing culmination in that particular human being whom the the Father declares his beloved and in whom he delights. You cannot get more particular than that! But this particular being is one in whom, according to St. Paul, 'there is neither Jew nor Greek...slave nor free...male nor female' (Galatians 3:28). Christ is the one in whom there is a place for everyone. He is both unique and universal."   Timothy Radcliffe, O.P., "The World Shall Come to Walsingham," in Sacred Space, ed. John & Eric North.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

More on Mrs. Beeton by Timothy Radcliffe, O.P.

“The words of the biblical authors are not simply written down and frozen. They evolve and develop, like trees headed toward the light…The prophecy of Isaiah grew over generations, constantly being adapted, extended. It is rather like [iconic English writer of cook books] Mrs. Beeton. Long after the original sturdy Victorian matron died, her corpus continues to flourish, with new books appearing all the time. When I read of ‘Mrs. Beeton’s microwave cooking’, I thought of Trito-Isaiah! So the words of the Bible are on a pilgrimage, headed towards the Word made flesh…”.  “The World Shall Come to Walsingham”, Sacred Space, ed. John & Philip North

Thursday, July 11, 2013

More from Timothy Radcliffe, O.P.

“Most people, when they begin to read the Bible, expect to learn facts. Fundamentalist Christians read Genesis to learn facts about the creation of the world. And even if one grows beyond a literal interpretation of the Bible, one may still hope for facts about God. Rather it is entering into conversation with God. What matters is not so much the accuracy of the text as the fidelity of the speaker, who transforms us by engaging us in conversation. Gabriel  Josipovici (in The Book of God: A Response to the Bible)  says ‘We have to trust the book itself and see where it will take us...The Bible guides us if we will only let it, towards the answers it contains but can only show, not tell.’ One surrenders to the narrative, and it carries us onwards, towards a revelation that is always somehow in the future, yet to be fully given.”
TIMOTHY RADCLIFFE, O.P. “The World Shall Come to Walsingham”, in Sacred Space: House of God, Gate of Heaven, ed. John North and Philip North, Continuum Books

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

TIMOTHY RADCLIFFE, O.P. “The World Shall Come to Walsingham”, in Sacred Space: House of God, Gate of Heaven, ed. John North and Philip North, Continuum Books

“Every Christmas we sing the genealogy of Christ. It goes on and on. I find myself counting on my fingers, to see how many more begettings there must be before Jesus arrives. Will it never be over? But it took all that time for there to be a language in which the Word could be made flesh. It took centuries of people struggling to put into word praise and dejection, victories and defeats, liberation and exile, before the language was ready to receive the Worde made flesh. It took all those prophets and scribes, soldiers and farmers, husbands and wives before the language was ready to be fertilized by the Spirit. There were generations of unknown people, borrowing words from foreigners, from Egyptians and Canaanites, Babylonians and Persians, Greeks and Romans, reshaping them from Israel’s faith. Jesus could no more have been born earlier than one could expect a baby Shakespeare to write Hamlet. (italics mine). The gestation of the Word took centuries. And the Incarnation is not the end of the story. We are still learning how to be at home in God’s Word. It is still stretching open our language, so that it may be capacious enough for God. God became flesh in our words, and we are still learning how to be at home in his Word"  
Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham

Monday, July 8, 2013

   This morning at Morning Prayer we heard a terrifying story about how King Saul forfeited his kingship by failing to completely slaughter the men, women, children, infants, and livestock of a rival kingdom. According to his chaplain and mentor, Samuel, God wanted everything killed, no exceptions. Saul tried to bend the rules, sparing the "best of the sheep and the cattle," as well as the defeated king. When Samuel appears, Saul tries to placate him by suggesting that the surviving animals be sacrificed to Yahweh, but Samuel is not to be appeased. He pronounces a sentence of deposition upon Saul, and proceeds to hack the captive king in pieces.
    It is from this bloodthirsty episode that the great King David emerges to become Israel's ideal ruler. Interestingly, David (with at least one glaring exception) seems to have shared some of Saul's tenderheartedness. But the whole story stands out as an example of how religion, even true-blue biblical religion, can contribute to the darkest kind of political violence.
    The incarnate word of God is present in this story, but not in the "official" editorial line of its author/redactor. Christ is present in the murdered infants, the slaughtered lambs, and the dismembered king. Still is.