September 15, 2023

I have written about New Testament texts and the historical Jesus in the context of life in early first-century Palestine. (See here, here, and here for examples and links to more posts.) So I felt fortunate to discover a Bible scholar doing similar work in a broader context. Warren Carter studies New Testament writings in relation to the dominating Roman Empire. This post introduces the prolific author Warren Carter and his work. A following post will examine one work in... Read more

August 8, 2023

The news source Axios reports on young workers in Asia. They seem to be turning away from factory jobs in large numbers. A story that originates with the Wall Street Journal says brands like Lowe’s and Hasbro “are having a hard time recruiting and retaining younger [Asian] workers.” It’s a problem in places that include India, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. This trend, if it continues, will have consequences for consumers worldwide.  Our multinational corporations will have to pay more either for... Read more

May 17, 2023

Christians say “Credo” and tell a story of God’s work on earth and in heaven. I tell the story again with the help of the Christian Creed. Credo, I believe, in One God, Father and Mother and blessed by many other names, who calls into being lands and peoples with all their powers and beauties, who walks with us through joy and suffering, staying with us even in the tragedies of sin and death, disciplining us with constant love, guiding... Read more

April 21, 2023

On Wirzba, This Sacred Life: Humanity’s Place in a Wounded World What is humanity’s purpose in this world? Or are we the end for which every other thing exists. Can we find purpose in the universe, given that science isn’t geared for anything like purpose? Or is competition for limited resources the rule for all life forms and for individuals within our species as well? Would the right answer to questions like these help turn around a world bent on... Read more

April 13, 2023

My parish makes a big deal out of what to call the two forms under which we receive Communion. When the bread and wine have been consecrated, can we still call them bread and wine? The consensus among parish leaders and teachers is that we cannot. Transubstantiation means that the bread is no longer bread, and the wine is no longer wine. In my parish we can say “form of bread” and “form of wine.” Without that technical language, we... Read more

April 3, 2023

On Thursday, March 30, the Church formally rejected the Doctrine of Discovery. I learned about the Doctrine of Discovery from a folksinger in Montana. Jack Gladstone, a member of the Blackfeet tribe is Montana’s official troubadour and storyteller. In regular performances in Glacier National Park he would often describe and censure this hateful doctrine for his mostly white audiences. I have written about Jack Gladstone before. Much earlier, in Catholic grade school, I learned about the “demarcation line” that Pope... Read more

March 28, 2023

When I was a child, Lent for me was a time to meditate on Jesus’ suffering. I was pretty good at it. I could imagine mountains of suffering far beyond what the Bible describes. And I could imagine loving Jesus all the more because of his extreme suffering for me. When it came to bearing up under his cross of suffering, Jesus rocked – in my imagination. What occasions this memory of my childhood? Two words from The Gospel for... Read more

March 14, 2023

And some thoughts for Eucharistic Revival Two books by William R. Herzog II have been the subjects of several posts here. At the end of this study I am more convinced than ever of the importance of historical Jesus research. If God became incarnate in particular flesh at a particular time, then we should know about that history. Jesus’ death is a central event for Christians; therefore what Jesus did that led to his crucifixion must be near that center.... Read more

February 28, 2023

One of the charges against Jesus during his trial is that he forbade payment of the tax to the empire. William R. Herzog II says it’s one of the two charges that probably were true. (The other is threatening to destroy the temple.) But the gospels give us Jesus’ famous statement that seems to endorse paying taxes: “Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” Ched Myers (see this earlier post) says a Judean theologian would... Read more

February 20, 2023

These essays on William R. Herzog’s Jesus Justice and the Reign of God have delved into Jesus’ politics and economics. They showed Jesus taking the side of peasants and landless laborers in their struggles under economic, political, and religious oppressors. Jesus castigated these latter groups for not acting justly toward the poor. But what about personal morality? Surely Jesus also expected peasants to act justly in their village lives even as pressures from power centers made that life difficult. Did... Read more

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