Before my Great Aunt Esther died, she lived in downtown
Minneapolis in poverty. Oddly, this is not embarrassing to my proper,
upper-middle-class, Christian family. Esther simply continued to live as she
had when her husband, my grandmother's brother Ludwig, was alive.
Security and risk are nothing new. Today's biblical texts deal not with
stocks and bonds exactly, but with living in the real circumstances of
a difficult and uncertain world while also accepting the possibility of
good, of help and support, comfort and security.
I spent most of the day after Hurricane Katrina checking on members,
especially older ones, in and around Clinton, Mississippi, where I
live. Clinton did not sustain serious damage, but we lost all power and
lots of trees and roofs, and there was a palpable sense of fear and
Amos was one prophet who knew how to afflict the comfortable. He seemed to have it in for those who had done all right for themselves. His theological motto could well have been: If it feels good, God doesn’t like it! Amos skips from warning to judgment to condemnation with a kind of zealous glee. Thus says the Lord, “You’re all going to Sheeeoooool!” What a downer.