I decided to write about the Joel reading in my Century column for this week, because I find his language and imagery—like that of many of the prophetic books—so rich and inspiring. But if I were preaching myself (not that I ever have to) I would probably choose to address the omissions from the Jeremiah and Timothy readings.
Nearly every comic about Jesus attempts to clone him. As a character, Jesus has been reproduced endlessly and shuffled about, pasted into all sorts of locales and warped beyond recognition. The graphic form allows readers and artists to experience his significance in situations far removed from earlier forms.
Recently in my Sunday school class, we continued a discussion that started the previous time, sparked by Hebrews 12, which depicts God as one who disciplines—or more literally “whips” or “flogs”—his children for their benefit. There was general agreement that, while some ancient people may have viewed misfortunes that came their way as divine punishment, there are good scientific, moral and even biblical grounds for challenging that viewpoint.
The New York Times recently published an article about the revived process of accountability in the Mennonite church between our now-deceased, famed theologian John Howard Yoder and the victims of his sexual abuse. I’m not an expert on Yoder, and, like most people, I too am realizing that there is much I didn’t know about the extent of Yoder’s sexual coercion—both its content and its reach.
But I have been surprised by the number of people who were unaware this was part of Yoder’s past.
The Century just published a longer piece of mine on lectionaries, which traces some of the Revised Common Lectionary's history but focuses mostly on recent alternatives to the RCL. The article draws from interviews with the people behind these lectionary projects, and I had hoped to also include feedback from pastors and other worship leaders who have actually tried them. But my draft crossed the 5,000-word mark before I even got to the latter, so I let it go.
I will, however, post some such view-from-the-ministry-trenches items over the next week or so.