We have well traveled this path to the feet of the teacher. Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted — blessed are the merciful for they shall be shown mercy. The Sermon on the Mount. The longest text, the crux, of Jesus’ teaching in the New Testament.
But come with me, dear reader, down the other slope. Maybe the following isn’t completely true, for positive statements need not imply their negative corollaries. However, walk with me and note the tracks of other New Testament voices here and there.
A group of Evangelical leaders released the “Nashville Statement” on gender and sexuality last month, sparking a host of outrage (and the formation of response statements like Christians United). What may be less immediately obvious, however, are the groups behind Nashville’s drafting.
The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood drew signatories for their release from organizations such as The Gospel Coalition, the Southern Baptist Convention with its seminary and college (Boyce), Together For The Gospel, and a variety of schools, churches, and public figures. The CBMW itself appears to be cross-pollinated by mutual publicity and financial ties to many of these. Notably present within the list of signatories are the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Family Research Council, both deemed hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
This was a fascinating read. The authors attempt to make a clear distinction between a biblical portrayal of God’s relationship with the world and the influence of Greek philosophy upon Christian theology, specifically in regard to God’s experience of things like time, change, emotion, and knowledge.
“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked. “Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.” “How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice. “You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
-Lewis Caroll, Alice in Wonderland
My Childhood Demons
Peering out from beneath a pile of stuffed animals, I saw the shadowy figure sitting at the foot of my bunk bed. It stared at me from between the rungs of the ladder which led up to my snoring little brother; I felt the shadow watching me. A few days later, two more shadows would join the first and crowd around me.
I sunk further into my animals, desperate to avoid its gaze.
So goes my earliest memory and the beginning of my night terrors.
This is the transcription of a sermon that I preached at Elk Grove Congregational Church on 6/29/14. It is, in fact, the first transcript I’ve ever shared and the form is different from what I normally post on an irenicon. [Lectionary: Jer 28:5-9 | Mat 10:40-42]
Good morning, friends.
Thank you, James, for this opportunity to speak and, as he says, “it’s better when we’re together.” It’s good to be with you all.
My name is Allen and, as some of you know, I am a recent seminary graduate. In my past life I was a youth pastor, had even received my bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies, but attending Seminary has given me a new (and ever growing) appreciation for the significance of what we do.