Jesus seems like the kind of guy who starts off his day by putting blueberries in his oatmeal.
Light looked down
and saw darkness.
“I will go there,” said Light.
Peace looked down
and saw war.
“I will go there,” said Peace.
Love looked down
and saw hatred.
“I will go there,” said Love.
the Lord of Light
the Prince of Peace
the King of Love
and crept in
- Cloth for the Cradle, Iona Community
|—||William Sloan Coffin, Credo|
What is your interpretation of Matthew 18:23-35 - insofar as
 What the Kingdom of Heaven is like and
 What, if anything, this passage says about punishment (in this life, purgatory, hell, etc.)?
“Somehow, vertical forgiveness (between God and man) is related to horizontal forgiveness (between man and man). How does this work?”
Read Abbie’s Response →
“Dropping the language of interpretation and hermeneutics, simply put, I reject Matthew’s reading, I think he is wrong.”
Read Justin’s Response →
“The takeaway for me is this: the kingdom of heaven doesn’t have a place for cruelty.”
Read Emmy’s Response →
From This American Life, episode 188, Kid Logic
It all began at Christmas two years ago, when my daughter was four-years-old. And it was the first time that she’d ever asked about what did this holiday mean? And so I explained to her that this was celebrating the birth of Jesus. And she wanted to know more about that. We went out and bought a kids’ bible and had these readings at night. She loved him. Wanted to know everything about Jesus.
So we read a lot about his birth and his teaching. And she would ask constantly what that phrase was. And I would explain to her that it was, “Do onto others as you would have them do unto you.” And we would talk about those old words and what that all meant.
And then one day we were driving past a big church and out front was an enormous crucifix.
She said, who’s that?
And I guess I’d never really told that part of the story. So I had to sort of, yeah, oh, that’s Jesus. I forgot to tell you the ending. Well, you know, he ran afoul of the Roman government. This message that he had was so radical and unnerving to the prevailing authorities of the time that they had to kill him. They came to the conclusion that he would have to die. That message was too troublesome.
It was about a month later, after that Christmas, we’d gone through the whole story of what Christmas meant. And it was mid-January, and her preschool celebrates the same holidays as the local schools. So Martin Luther King Day was off. I knocked off work that day and I decided we’d play and I’d take her out to lunch.
We were sitting in there, and right on the table where we happened to plop down, was the art section of the local newspaper. And there, big as life, was a huge drawing by a ten-year-old kid from the local schools of Martin Luther King.
She said, who’s that?
I said, well, as it happens that’s Martin Luther King. And he’s why you’re not in school today. So we’re celebrating his birthday, this is the day we celebrate his life.
She said, so who was he?
I said, he was a preacher.
And she looks up at me and goes, for Jesus?
And I said, yeah, actually he was. But there was another thing that he was really famous for. Which is that he had a message.
And you’re trying to say this to a four-year-old. This is the first time they ever hear anything. So you’re just very careful about how you phrase everything.
So I said, well, yeah, he was a preacher and he had a message.
She said, what was his message?
I said, well, he said that you should treat everybody the same no matter what they look like.
She thought about that for a minute. And she said, well that’s what Jesus said.
And I said, yeah, I guess it is. You know, I never thought of it that way, but yeah. And it is sort of like “Do onto others as you would have them do unto you.”
And she thought for a minute and looked up at me and said, did they kill him, too?
|—||Christian Wiman in this article recently published in The American Scholar (via sierramussperamus)|
God made marriage to be sure. But he made it as a sign, not a club. The story of marriage in the Bible is splotchy and confusing. After Abram had pawned off his wife Sarai a couple of times, Sarai returned the favor by shopping her husband’s harem to find him a fertile lover. Old blind Isaac was duped by his clear-eyed wife. Jacob had two wives and a mess of problems. David had plenty of wives, but he would kill for that bathing beauty, Bathsheba. Ezekiel was told not to shed a tear for his dead wife, and Hosea was commanded to marry a hooker. Peter dropped his nets—and his wife—and wandered down the road with Jesus. My point here is that, while marriage is depicted in scripture as a beautiful, sacramental gift of God, it’s more complicated than that. So before you sound off about the Bible endorsing a unilateral pro-marriage and pro-family agenda, I would recommend paying closer attention on your next fly-by.
“Family” is the euphemistic code du jour for “Evangelical Christian.” “Focus on the Evangelical Christian” and the “American Evangelical Christian Association” didn’t have the same zing to them as their familiar twins. The watchword for these organizations is the preservation of “traditional family values,” which are, in a nutshell, white American family values from a period of 1939 to 1964. The family values constituency longs for a return to the virginal time before the Civil Rights movement, the Women’s Liberation Movement, the Vietnam War, the War on Poverty, the War on Drugs, John Lennon, and Rock Hudson made the world a more complicated place.
When I read the Bible, I get the distinct sense that Jesus wasn’t interested in saving the nuclear family from a windy onslaught of liberal opinions. I rather get the impression that he was concerned with diving headfirst into the unvarnished messiness of the human condition and saving us—as individuals, as families, as communities, as people—from our own unhinged self-absorption and festering lovelessness.
- Ben Ponder, “Idolatry of the Family”