Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Good News?!

Recently I decided ecological theology would be my newest focus. Discussing Water Buffalo Theology by Kosuke Koyama partly inspired me! Then, I was searching to discover what Paul Santmire, one of my earliest influences, currently was doing. As a very confident and arrogant (even then!) undergrad music performance major I'd sometimes attend Krister Stendahl's early Wednesday morning eucharist with breakfast and discussion afterwards; Paul Santmire, who at the time was protestant chaplain at Wellesley College was a frequent participant and the group as a whole encouraged me to consider some kind of career in theology ... they probably thought anyone who didn't even grow up in the church but who had the chutzpah to talk theology with the dean of Harvard Divinity School had to be too crazy to lose to the Church! Anyway, in my searching online I discovered Paul Santmire has written a lot of ecological theology so I'm going to read some of it. A roundabout way of saying I so resonate with GodisStillCreating.com!

And before that, (Marian), you asked,

is the Good News of Jesus Christ better news to those of low estate? Does God in Jesus Christ really lift up the lowly, fill the hungry with good things, and send the rich away empty?

A short response for now:

For a very long time Ernesto Cardenal's 4-volume Gospel in Solentiname has been one of my favorite commentaries, though these days I don't draw on its rich and perceptive dialogues nearly as much as I used to and still need to be doing. These past Lenten Wednesday evenings I attended Vespers at the biggest ELCA church in town (updated 11 years later to say that church now is far from the biggest ELCA in these here parts); each time while we're singing the Magnificat and afterwards as well, I ponder the live possibility of Jesus' gospel of radical inclusiveness, restoration, Divine provision and sustenance possibly being better news for the economically and socially marginalized than for those not-so-much-so. I ponder it while I'm in that congregation's recently renovated sanctuary surrounded by the rest of the newly redone buildings on campus, and the clearly very middle-class congregation: IOW, surrounded by affluence The idea of good news to the marginalized stays with me the rest of the evening, too So do I copout and describe all of us everywhere as at least spiritually needy? I don't think so – because from early on at First Mariners' American Baptist Church I learned to read scripture with an economic lens, so right now I'm simply thinking out loud and on paper, or more accurately on the 'puter :p

Part of me agrees with people being considered simply people, and I also resound with evangelizing for intentional diversity – but fact is our protestant mainline church bodies are overwhelmingly White middle-class to upper-middle-class in culture, and, for the most part in the actual physical appearance of their constituencies, despite a few discrete ethnic or "other" congregations. And sad to say, for the most part "discrete" describes them accurately, in the sense of their being apart from the mainstream mainline local churches...

No comments: