The Pope's First Jesus Book– Chapter Five— The Lord's Prayer

The exposition by the Pope on the Lord’s Prayer in Chapter  Five is about as lengthy as the whole rest of the exposition of the Sermon on the Mount (pp. 128-68), and here we see the Pope wearing a more pastoral hat, so to speak.   After dealing with Jesus’ warnings about how not to pray (ostentatiously drawing attention to yourself,  verbosely, again drawing attention to yourself), the Pope reminds us that Jesus is teaching us to pray as he prayed ( a fact we can see in Jesus’ prayer in the Garde … [Read more...]

The China Doll


The china doll perched, perilous, upon the fireplace ledgeHer beauty unquestionable,  but pale  and with an edgeHer outlook seemed serene,  surveying her domainAs if there were no challenges, no  antagonists remained.Shining bright in morning light, no equals met her gazeShe glimpsed an unimpeded path to always brighter daysYet watching dark and dangerous, a creature lurked belowSilently he stalked her, ignoring her ‘no’.The leap on high took seconds,The fall w … [Read more...]

The Google Exodus

Thanks to alert viewer Jason Myers for the lead on this one.  Great! … [Read more...]

The Pope's First Jesus Book—- Sermon on the Mount 4.2

At the beginning of the discussion of the Torah of the Messiah (p. 100) the Pope takes on the difficult saying in Mt. 5.17-19, about Jesus coming to fulfill not abolish the Law and the Prophets.   The first thing I would want to stress about this is that the verb fulfill is the eschatological language meaning come to pass, complete, bring to pass (in the present).  Secondly, Jesus does not just refer to the Law, but to the Law and the Prophets, probably shorthand for the whole Hebrew Sc … [Read more...]

The Pope's first Jesus Book– Chapter 4.1– Sermon on the Mount

The longest chapter thus far in the book is  Chapter Four on the Sermon on the Mount (pp. 64-127)  and it doesn’t end there because there is a whole separate chapter on the Lord’s prayer (pp. 128-68).  This is one of the areas of Catholic theology that Wesleyans and Anabaptists have the most resonances with Catholic approaches, because the Sermon on the Mount is foundational for their whole approaches to things as varied as holiness and pacifism.The Pope begins on p. 64 with the important point … [Read more...]



I have always loved the music of Paul Simon, and those 60s and 70s albums with Art Garfunkel were magic in a bottle.   And then there were the powerful  solo albums, especially  Still Crazy after All These Years,  Graceland,  and The Rhythm of the Saints, and most recently  Surprise (which was).But about this latest album  So Beautiful or So What ---   what shall I say,  it is transcendent!   It will transfigure and transfix you if you give it half a chance.    It reminds me of John Donne’s p … [Read more...]

The Pope's First Jesus Book— Chapter Three

Chapter Three takes on the issue of the Gospel (euangelion) and the Kingdom of God—the subject of  Jesus’ proclamation.   As the Pope says euangelion was a term with a history—it was used of all the Emperor’s official messages, whether they involved particularly positive or cheerful news or not.  The translation ‘good news’ in that context could be quite ironic--- ‘good news’ the Emperor has just conquered and plundered your country and sent you a procurator to rule over you, and sent off various … [Read more...]

The Pope's First Jesus Book—- Chapter Two

At the beginning of Chapter 2 which proposes to discuss Jesus’ temptations, the Pope makes the point that the Spirit abiding on Jesus reflects his anointing for the messianic office.  Nothing is said about the Spirit driving Jesus out into the wilderness to be tempted, but the Pope does pick up the Edenic motif and Jesus being out there with the wild beasts.   Jesus has been empowered for ministry, but his ministry will be characterized with identifying with the lot of fallen humanity, even in th … [Read more...]



Today,  150 years ago exactly, gunshots were heard over Fort Sumter, and the worst war America has ever been involved in began.  We lost 2% of our entire population in that war. Indeed, by one count we lost more men in that war than in all subsequent wars we have fought in—combined.  It was that horrific, and it only lasted four years, not like the interminable war we are embroiled in in Afghanistan now.As a son of the old South,  my folks took me to battlefields when we went on vacation--- I … [Read more...]