In the Feb. 3 New Republic, Alan Wolfe, the magazine's
go-to reviewer on matters of religion, seems to buy into the account of Dietrich Bonhoeffer that Eric
Metaxas gives in his new biography Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy.
This is not a Sunday for soft-pedalling the gospel. Moses and Jesus
portray the life of faith as a "yes" or a "no" to God with lives that
obey or that disobey. It is little wonder that it is common to summarize
Jesus' teachings in the Sermon on the Mount with one verse, the "Golden
Rule" (Matthew 7:12).
A recent comment suggested that language in the Bible such as
storehouses of snow, the dome over the earth, the earth's immovable
character, and so on, might all be metaphorical. After all, we use such
language metaphorically today.
But our use of it is a hangover from a bygone era when that language was presumed to be literal.
It always feels a bit odd to me to pray for justice in the world--better to work for
justice and to pray for the courage and wherewithal to keep at it. Of
course, I know that my power to effect change is relatively small, and I
believe that God's is infinite. So I pray for justice, even though mere
words seem too easy even as I'm saying them.
I hope that the courageous statement
on LGBT equality in the church by Rev. Dr. Arlo Duba in the January 24,
2011 issue of The Presbyterian Outlook is widely read and pondered
upon. It has certainly provoked much reflection on my part.