Tuesday, January 22, 2013

God In Our Midst

Daniel R Hyde, God In Our Midst: The Tabernacle and Our Relationship with God on Amazon

God In Our Midst coverWho would disagree with Professor David P Murray telling us in his foreword, "I expect any interpretation to start with the original context and park there for a while." Murray also looks for "...a book that follows Jesus' and His disciples' example in using the New Testament to interpret the Old." And "...the book must connect Old Testament believers with the New Testament church by demonstrating that both Old and New Testament saints were united in being saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone."? God In Our Midst maintains that faithfulness and more!

Author Daniel Hyde's introduction by itself provides sufficient material to teach and preach for quite some time, pondering historical, geographical, theological, practical, literary, and Christological aspects of Exodus 15 through Exodus 40. Martin Luther insisted, "what preaches (...drives us to, moves us to) Christ" (was Christum treibet) in scripture has more value to Christians than the rest of the bible; however, despite his canon within the canon, Luther discovered and uncovered types, foreshadowings, hints, and signs of Jesus Christ in *almost* every verse of both Hebrew Bible and New Covenant scriptures. Tabernacle? From pages 3-4:
The tabernacle (Latin, tabernaculum, "tent") was the Lord's temporary dwelling place during the Israelites' forty-year wilderness wandering and their first three hundred-plus years in the land of Canaan. ... It is called "the sanctuary," "the tent of the Lord," the "tent," "the tent of the testimony," "the tent of meeting..."
We recently celebrated God's incarnation in the infant Jesus at Christmas, and we're still in the liturgical season of Epiphany, so what an appropriate time to consider God's presence in the world, amongst all creation from the beginning of recorded time through this second decade of the 21st century! Καὶ ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο καὶ ἐσκήνωσεν ἐν ἡμῖν. // The Word became flesh and pitched a tent among us. John 1:14

Timothy Braun tells us Jesus was totally into Camping

"So when they had come together, they asked him, 'Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?' He replied, 'It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.'" Acts 1:6-8

We know the constant abiding presence of Jesus Christ in Word, in Sacrament, and in People who, like Jesus, pitch their tents in the world, in the power of the Spirit of Pentecost walk through the world as the presence of the crucified and risen Jesus Christ, as God In Our Midst.

Daniel Hyde is a pastor in the United Reformed Churches in North America, a conservative Reformed church body, but I cannot imagine any Christian – mainline, liberal, progressive, emerging, evangelical, Roman Catholic, orthodox... – not finding abundant treasures here. Preachers and teachers will find helpful ideas in the Appendix: Preaching the Pentateuch – Preach Expositionally [chapter by chapter; verse by verse]; Preach Plainly; Preach Christologically. There are ample endnotes and a substantial bibliography. A scripture index covers a full range of OT and NT; the extensive subject index also could be helpful in teaching and preaching.

I won't begin to enumerate any of the details that will increase your own understanding of God's self-revelation in Jesus Christ, and will increase your comprehension of almost every bit of scripture you encounter. This is a book you need to read for yourself, a book that deserves a rare 5+ stars!

my amazon review: A Rich Resource!

Friday, January 18, 2013

smile!!! friday 5

Jan hosts today's perfectly timed (it's still winter in the northern hemisphere, even though days are getting longer) what makes you smile? Friday 5, "Remembering that Meister Eckhart said that if you pray 'thank you' that that is enough of a prayer, share with us five things, memories, or activities that bring you smiles and gratitude.

I have an image for almost every one of these, but I'm not taking time to include them right now... maybe later today.

life stuff button1. sun and sky
Subtly hued sunrise skies; when stars come out in the late afternoon.

2. earth and ocean
Sand under my feet; surf splashing on my face!

3. silence and sound
A still desert night under a sky blanket of stars; this new Katie Armiger CD, Fall Into Me

3. savory and succulent
Multi-layer burritos; ripe summer tomatoes.

4. bright and comfortable
Splashy patterned shirts and skirts; patchwork quilts.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Word on the Street

The Word on the Street: Performing the Scriptures in the Urban Context. Stanley P Saunders and Charles L Campbell, authors; foreword by Walter Brueggemann

I read the ©2000 version of this book; this image I found online is for the 2006 edition. I love that this book has footnotes rather than endnotes! It also includes a select bibliography, index of names and subjects, and scripture index, always useful in this type of book. A few woodcuts from Artist Christina Bray's Street Prayers / Spiritual Journeys exhibit during 1999 at Columbia Theological Seminary accent text and tales.

The Word on the street where you live, the street where I live, any of the streets we frequently or occasionally walk or drive. This Word on the Street book by a couple of professors who still teach at CTS in suburban Atlanta, Georgia is about Open Door Community – whose daily performance of Scripture brings life in the midst of death – on the particular Ponce de Leon Street in Atlanta. In some quarters, "What's the word on the street [called Wall]?" is a daily concern. Far more urgently we need to know, what's the redemptive word and reality of God's Word of Life, of death and resurrection, on the streets in your world? In mine?

Ten years ago I read Word on the Street from Campbell and Saunders, and felt inspired to reread it this past week. In the decade since summer 2002, online interactions, social networking status updates, and virtual theological discussion have became daily fare for many of us, yet again I found absorbing chronicles, sermons, and reflections printed between the covers. I remembered this is where I'd become reacquainted with William Stringfellow's "tokens of the resurrection" in the eucharist; An Ethic for Christians and Other Aliens was one of my most majorly revelatory reading experiences prior to seminary!

In his foreword, Walter Brueggemann insists, "For starters, that [a trio of vignettes from the book] gives baptism, Eucharist, and resurrection as a prism for public theology. The bread is thin and the wine is poured out, and Easter is fragile news wherever it is told and trusted. None of that is compelling, unless one is on the street to see it, unless one is free to discern it, unless some are bold enough to sing it and say it. This act of evangelical reconstrual is daring and always uphill, but in no other way will the street be seen to be congruent with the word." [xv]

"Then Moses went up to God; the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, ... 'These are the words that you shall speak to the Israelites.' So Moses came, summoned the elders of the people, and set before them all these words that the Lord had commanded him. The people all answered as one: 'Everything that the Lord has spoken we will do.'" Exodus 19:3; 6-8

Simon and Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water: "When you're down and out; when you're on the street; when evening falls so hard, I'll comfort you; I'll take your part.
Oh, when darkness comes, and pain is all around, like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down."

How will we preach, be, and perform the reconciling word of life on our own streets? Everyone has a physical place in measurable longitude and latitude, even if not a more-or-less permanent one, yet the main cultural meanings of "on the street" still relate to financial markets and falling on tough economic or personal times. Many themes throughout the book resonate with my own longings of this past decade. You need to interpret scripture (on the street?) where you live, but in order to do that you need to have some kind of place. The authors show us how society has removed the reality of a place from many of the poorest of the poor, who for structural and/or personal reasons find themselves without a street address. I've almost made a habit of quoting Cornel West's "dangling people." From page 198 of The Road to Daybreak by Henri Nouwen: "[California] is a land to which people go to be free from tradition, constraints, and an oppressive history. But the price for this freedom is high: individualism, competition, rootlessness, and frequently loneliness and a sense of being lost." True, but that's only a minor proportion of what I've been experiencing, and likely an even more negligible segment of what lots of others on urban streets feel and know.

The last chapter of Word on the Street reminds us, "Justice Is Important, but Supper Is Essential": Solidarity, Hospitality, and Urban Spirituality. Well, yes, and food is part of justice. At least once on this blog I've mentioned how for the past few months I've been helping preparing the weekly Thursday evening community dinner at Church around the Corner. Demographically and geographically, this is a culturally and ethnically diverse working class suburb, yet most Thursdays we've served at least a handful of "street people." I love being in the kitchen, and worked as a line chef for a while. Trying again to start building some context for myself with Thursday dinners, preparing a meal to feed all comers, seemed so Jesus-y and glamorous, and I was excited to begin! How will we preach, be, and perform the reconciling word of life on our own streets? In the officially constituted and incorporated churches on the corner, alongside the bay, by the riversides, and on market street?

Then Moses took the book of the covenant, and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, "All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient." Exodus 24:7

"For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, 'This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.' In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.' For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes." 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

"The exhibition of the kingdom of heaven to the world?" The exhibition of the kingdom of heaven to the world!

my amazon review: Doing the Word

Friday, January 11, 2013

baptism of Jesus 2013

Baptism of Jesus, Baptism of Our lord; Baptism of the Lord; Luke; synoptics; gospel; gospels; New Testament; Trinity; Theophany

baptism of Jesus 2013

Friday, January 04, 2013

resolutions 5

First Friday 5 of this new year 2013 is about resolutions, absolutions; Pat R hosts


0. shake it out! ...Florence + The Machine

life stuff button1. I don't know that I've ever had a most – or least – successful, beneficial resolution in terms of my way of being in the world, but I'm planning one for 2013: I was happy to receive a cargo collective (virtual place and space for artists/designers to showcase their work and interact with other artists and their art) invitation and hope to publish my own site there; that'll be a spring project. I'm close to ecstatic to have 1200 individual and 400 page likes on my facebook design page, and (of course) I have a standalone site and twitter account, but need to be my own agent, publicist and friend!

2. With regard to my physical health, this year I hope to stop telling myself as I have for the last 5 years, "as long as I don't gain any weight" (I haven't) and actually lose some. My goal is 20# in the next 12 months. If I can work out more and lose the appearance of 30# that'll be a great extra! Spiritual health: pray more, meditate more...

3. I need to find a non-virtual family that will become a [primary] place of mutual emotional sustenance. How's that for a major resolution?

4. Over the past year I've been hangin' some at 3 communities of faith, none of which has become my own primary, and have a specific hope for each of them, but would rather not make these public. "They're in my prayers," though.


5. For an area where I need to offer myself more grace, and make more demands (have I previously blogged this?), I'll quote a TV show from a few years ago. It was Dr Keith TV, a clinical psychologist talking to a young guy, who said to Dr Keith Ablow, "I'm not trying to act like a victim!" Dr Keith replied, "you're not acting like a victim at all; you're acting like The Strong Guy, but you need to demand more of others and more of yourself." My situation exactly.

Thanks, Pat! I started writing a couple hours ago, decided I didn't have anything sparkling or insightful to say, decided not to play, and then thought "why not?"

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Angela and the Baby Jesus

Angela and the Baby Jesus by Frank McCourt on Amazon

"Angela" is Angela of McCourt's award-winning Angela's Ashes. There are two versions illustrated by different artists of this true adventure Frank McCourt's mother had as a little girl in Limerick, Ireland—one for adults, another for kids; I have the young(er) readers' edition.

angela and the baby jesus
The Sheehans would have been a traditionally religious working class family in turn-of-the-twentieth-century Catholic Ireland; Angela has learned their practices of piety, church, and caring for others—her distress about baby Jesus shivering in the nativity scene at St Joseph's parish forms the main idea of the book. Angela figures out a way to snatch the Jesus figurine from the manger, then carries Jesus to her home to warm and care for him; after she's found out, her siblings and mother go with her to return the infant to the church.

Frank McCourt's bland writing and the story line both disappointed me; nonetheless, Raúl Colón's superlative illustrations with their tertiary color palette and exquisite chiaroscuro play of light and shadow make this book a winner!

I'm delighted to have another new-to-me book about God's incarnation in Jesus of Nazareth this Christmas season; subsequent readings of Angela and the Baby Jesus just may increase my appreciation for the story itself.

my amazon review: disappointing story, matchless illustrations