I used to have Jeremiah 29:11 in a frame on my wall. I don’t anymore.
Ellen Davis is full of surprises. Some are delightful, others raise questions for further study, and still others throw up stumbling blocks.
There are many people with whom I have not had an affair. Billions. There is also one man in particular.
This month, the Federal Communications Commission voted to open debate on new rules regarding net neutrality, the idea that Internet service providers (Verizon, Comcast, etc.) should treat all data equally, regardless of its source or destination. Net neutrality advocates argue that the Internet is best when it operates on a simple first-come, first-served basis. The FCC's proposal, however, includes provisions for ISPs to allow "paid prioritization," otherwise known as an Internet "fast lane," when such service meets a threshold of "commercial reasonableness." This means that ISPs can negotiate massive payments from large-scale purveyors of online bandwidth.
Kathleen O'Connor's daringly imaginative rereading of Jeremiah reveals a community experiencing the classic accents of trauma.
"Not God bless America, God damn America!" bellowed Jeremiah Wright from his former pulpit. "That’s in the Bible for killing innocent people." This sermon quote--actually, usually just the "God damn America" part, stripped of any context whatsoever--created a media frenzy, earned death threats for Wright and jeopardized a then-parishioner's presidential campaign. "I don't think God will continue to bless America," said Rick Santorum the other day, "if we continue to kill 1.2 million children every year." Unlike Wright, Santorum is himself a candidate for president. Yet two days later Google offers mostly crickets.
The thing about serving as a prophet is that you are forever stuck between what God wants and what the people want.