Sunday, May 24, 2009


Thought about this today (because of this: John vii, 37-39):

Just as the altar on which the water was poured out represents a mountain with rivers flowing from it, so Christ's gift of "rivers of living water" flowing out of the hearts of believers indicates that they become these river-mountains.

That is to say, as river-mountain imagery is Edenic-temple imagery, Jesus turns believers into temples of the Living God.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Lord's Food

Dr. Joel explains (in a much more developed and clear way) things which I have tried to say (concisely and cryptically) in the past couple years:
Though the ethics of our patterns of food production and consumption are worthy of serious reflection, I'm interested at present in the notion of food as story. The idea that what we eat connects us with other places and to larger stories about the world is central, I think, to understanding the spiritual character of eating in general and the nature of the eucharist as a sacrament in particular. Indeed, the eucharist reveals to us the ultimate meaning of eating, the way in which God's grace takes up and transforms creation.

When we, as the gathered body of Christ, share bread and wine set upon a table, we not only engage in a token, ritual meal that might nourish our bodies in some small way, but we are also caught up within a larger story that nourishes our sense of identity and community within the mission of God.


In the case of the eucharist, the experience of bread and wine betokens the range of complexity in human food-making. Bread reminds us of our most basic needs, the simplicity of grain, harvested from the field, refined by human labor, and worked and baked into a simple, yet nourishing and sustaining meal. That's part of the story of bread.

Wine, by contrast, comes at the end of a process: the planting of vines, their growth and development, the complexity of the grape corresponding to the age of its vine, the gathering of the clusters, and finally that grand process of crushing, fermenting, casking, aging, and blending what will become a delight to the palate and a source of relaxation to the body. And that's part of the story of wine. [source]
Oh please do yourselves a favor and read the whole thing: The Sacramentality of Food.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Vanity of Vanities!

Whether it be theology, marriage, or beer, I've never loved anything without it causing controversy and great emotional stress to my own person as well as others. Christ have mercy.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


When will we have the courage to admit that the main reason we believe all these things is because we read it in a book, or an essay, or a blog that was written by someone who shares in the same prejudices and loves as ourselves? When will we confess that the appeal of our favorite writing, be it poetry or prose, is that it reinforces these same prejudices and loves - our deepest insecurities - that it affirms us in all our weaknesses? When will we be forthright about the fact that the vast majority of our "certainties" are masked images of our own selves, reflecting less the glory of the Divine, and much more the shallow echoes of our own voice - idols?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Word and Sacrament : A Parable

In the beginning, there was nothing. The "world" was barren and empty - that is, until the first day, when the Father spoke. That day, billions of particles (tiny bodies of substance) came into being. The Father continued to speak, day after day, each day altering and enhancing the world that he brought into being, moving the creation from one glorious existence to a newer, more glorious existence.

Once upon a time, there was a womb. The womb was barren and empty - that is, until the day that the Father spoke the Gospel. That day, billions of particles (tiny bodies of substance) came into being and formed the body of a Son.

In the latter days, there was a desolate place. Its name was "Jerusalem" and it was the heart of man, a city of many evil sons - that is, until the day that the Father's Son began to speak the words of the Father to the people. Indeed, it was very fitting that the Son spoke the words of the Father, for the Father had named him such - The Word. As the Word went out, it eventually died - but it died with a promise, the promise that, as the Word is true, the Father will raise it up and bring it together again in a newer, more glorious body. After three days, the Father made good on his promise (because the Father is Good). The Word was not only reborn, but he was exalted, made a king in heaven, ruling over every body the Father ever made.

Before the Word ascended to his throne, he appointed representatives, "apostles." These men he chose were to go into all the world and speak the Word to everybody. As they did this, many of them eventually died - but they died with a promise, the promise that, as the Word is true, the Father will raise it up again in a newer, more glorious body. Every seven days, the Father makes good on his promise (because the Father is Good). The Word is not only reborn, but he is exalted, celebrated as the Lord of heaven, ruling over every body the Father ever made. We call this day the "Lord's Day."

On the Lord's Day, every body gathers to hear God's Word. This Word brings together many bodies (where there was once only emptiness) into one Body, a body under one Head (the Beautiful Son), and together they rejoice in the goodness of the Father, having prepared before them the rich feast of his own Son's Body and Blood. Through feasting upon the Son's Body, the many people that make up one body (we call it the "Church") share in the life of the Son, and will one day - on the Day of the Lord - share in his second birth, being raised up again into newer, more glorious bodies.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


For the record, the guy who gets his head chopped off here was a bit of a role model for me from about 18 to 23. I also made him a Java Chip Frappuccino back when I lived in O-town. That was surreal.

Still Thinkin' Through This

From the Luderan Josh:
Both anti-clericalists and clericalists tend to exalt the role of the high priest in the OT as some kind gatekeeper to God's house. But this inverts things--in his sacrificial role, the priest represents the people, not God. The sacrificial priesthood is superseded by Jesus because there is no one more qualified to offer sacrifice to the Father than he is, nor is there anyone more qualified to represent us than him.

Now, the author of Hebrews sees the priesthood as being fulfilled in Christ. And it is. But remember, the entire people is called "priestly" in Leviticus. It's not that in the bad old days, people had to go through priests, it's that certain priestly roles that could only be executed in a hamstrung, halfway manner by the people because of sin have been completely superceded by Jesus. The priestly role of the people of Israel has expanded to the Church. The role of the ordained ministry most resembles that of the non-priest Levites, whose primary role was to assist in the distribution of the sacrificial gifts and the day-to-day care of the people. Viewing the Levitical structure as a hierarchical ladder of mediators streching from the people to God is a projection of pagan, neoplatonic categories onto the text and results in either a tyrannical, sacerdotal priesthood or chaotic anti-clericalism. [source]
This sounds very similar to Dr. Swain's discussion of ordination as being an appointment to a position of "Servant of the House of God."

Saturday, May 2, 2009

My Sentiments Exactly

If she genuinely believes that Christ is the lord of history, then she will live simply, enjoy life with her friends, and trust providence. [source]
Live simply and simply live.