For those who are uncomfortable with any suggestion that our future is in our own hands, this might be one of those weeks to abandon the assigned texts on theological grounds. (It is extra tempting given the occasion of “Rally Sunday.”) In Deuteronomy we hear that if we obey we shall live and be blessed, but if our heart turns away we shall perish. And then very directly, “Choose life so that you and your descendants may live.”
James Fallows is impressed with Obama’s decision to go to Congress. So, presumably, are the almost 40,000 people who signed this MoveOn petition. And sure: if your main concern is (1) constitutionality, (2) the growing power of the executive branch, and/or (3) legislators’ ability to make a lot of noise about (1) and (2) without having to actually record a vote one way or the other, then this is welcome news.
A church I once served was born in a cheese warehouse, grew, purchased property, built a building, grew some more, plateaued, added an addition, declined and closed—all in a 50-year timespan. Now its building sits vacant, as much a liability as an asset to its judicatory.
When scholars of religion are feeling provocative, they like to point out that there is no such thing as “religion”—only “religions.”Like language, religion cannot be merely an abstraction; it must always be expressed in a particular way.