April 17, 2011

The china doll perched, perilous, upon the fireplace ledge Her beauty unquestionable,  but pale  and with an edge Her outlook seemed serene,  surveying her domain As if there were no challenges, no  antagonists remained. Shining bright in morning light, no equals met her gaze She glimpsed an unimpeded path to always brighter days Yet watching dark and dangerous, a creature lurked below Silently he stalked her, ignoring her ‘no’. The leap on high took seconds, The fall was just as… Read more

April 16, 2011

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

April 16, 2011

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… Read more

April 15, 2011

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… Read more

April 15, 2011

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… Read more

April 14, 2011

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… Read more

April 13, 2011

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… Read more

April 12, 2011

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… Read more

April 12, 2011

Having read the second volume of the Pope’s study of the life of Christ,  I was so enthusiastic about it,  I asked my friends at Ignatius Press  to send me the first volume (and there may be a third one on the birth narratives).  So, despite working backwards,  this exercise will be worthwhile.    In the Foreword to the first volume the Pope both stresses the necessity of historical critical study of the Scriptures, but also of the importance of going… Read more

April 11, 2011

In the desperate search for decent movies you can take most anyone to at this time of year, I finally found one that works—- Source Code, and thus far it is my favorite movie of a year filled with bombs.   This movie isn’t a bomb but it is about a bomb,  and there are so many reviewers who like it so much that it seems to be ‘the bomb’ in the theaters just now, if you catch my drift.    Among… Read more

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