A Pastoral Letter for Holy Week 2013

The story was going a certain way.
Sure, there were some detours along the way
and things didn’t always go totally as expected,
but the overall plot remained clear.

It was all about home.
It was all about being in exile from home
and longing for a return home.

Truth is, everything is about home.
Really, when it comes right down to it, what else is there?

And if it is about home, then it is, of necessity about story.
Stories that tell us the memories of home.
Stories that shape the contours of home.
Stories that will lead us home.

But sometimes these stories meet a dead end.

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Wine Before Breakfast – Therefore … party!

In what is undoubtedly his most oft-quoted statement, Alasdair MacIntyre once said,
“I can only answer the question ‘What am I to do’ if I can answer the prior question, ‘Of what story or stories do I find myself a part?’”

Paul has just spent eleven chapters addressing the prior question of what story or stories his Roman hearers find themselves in.

And it really is a matter of plural stories.

They find themselves a part of a Roman story rooted in imperial myths.
This is a story of conquest and the gods;
of imperial justice and the Pax Romana;
of Caesar and the pater familias.

And they find themselves grafted in to a Jewish story of a crucified Messiah.
This is a story of covenant and the God of Israel;
of righteousness and shalom,
of Jesus and a Father who keeps his promises.

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Wine Before Breakfast – Coming Home

“Many of us are still suffering PTSD from the language of salvation.”

So I was told last week after our WBB service.
Post-traumatic stress disorder from the language of salvation.

I get that, even though it is not my experience.
I get it that the language of salvation has been a tool of manipulation,

rooted in an abusive spirituality of guilt,
and constructed for social control.
I get that.

But rather than abandoning the language of salvation
(and I appreciate that some folks just have to do that,
at least for a time),
I’d like to reclaim it.

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