I love living in a big city: the energy, the pace, the sirens. I love being able to walk or ride a bus to work, or catch a train to the airport. I love crowded sidewalks, tourists craning their necks to see skyscrapers, businesspeople with briefcases and iPods weaving their way through the maze of shoppers and lookers and dawdlers conferring over city maps.
When I read Romans 12:9-21, I think: this is the best of it, this is
what marks and makes a good Christian. Love truly and even more
generously than the next guy. Seek out goodness and turn your back on
evil, be untiring in service to God, be hopeful and steadfast in the
face of disappointment, be compassionate and humble. Universal and
timeless, these instructions are the real deal.
About 150 years ago, Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard observed,
"There is nothing with which every man is so afraid as getting to know
how enormously much he is capable of doing and becoming." The biblical
texts for this Sunday all have something to do with being and becoming,
with living as you are, in who and how you are, whatever the
circumstances, and in so doing, contributi
Students of Shakespeare know that the bard didn’t create his material solely out of his own imagination, but instead masterfully recrafted stories that were centuries old. And Shakespeare’s own dramas have been repeatedly reimagined in contemporary settings.
I struggle with the story of Jesus encountering the Canaanite woman. I
don’t know if it’s the lack of compassion in Jesus’ voice or the
exploitation of power or the tone of condescension, but if this were
the only story I knew of Jesus I’d be turned off.
Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, a French Catholic, says that if you don’t show up early for mass at his parish in Paris, you might have to sit on folding chairs in a spillover space or even sit on the floor. There’s nothing unusual about his parish priest, although he does have Pope Francis’s spirit of generosity. Gobry’s parish is like other urban areas in France. Despite the country’s reputation for secularism, Gobry thinks the French church may be on the verge of a time of renewal (The Week, January 15).