Wine Before Breakfast
Wycliffe College Chapel, 5 Hoskin Ave.
November 9, 2010
Empire, Money and Anxiety
Last week I went to hear Brian McLaren speak at the Church of Redeemer and in response to a question about atonement he began, “When Constantine converted Christianity …” and then paused. “When Constantine converted Christianity, not when Constantine converted to Christianity, things in our view of atonement changed.”
Now this email isn’t about atonement theology, as interesting as that may be, but rather about what happened when Constantine converted Christianity. Well, one of the things that happened was that the Sermon on the Mount had to be relativized, reinterpreted, spiritualized, marginalized and, in the end, fundamentally dismissed.
Okay, so the church historians out there (are there any church historians on the WBB email list?) are bristling at this gross overstatement. But think about it.
“You cannot serve God and wealth.”
How can a church wedded to empire ever possibly believe such a thing? I mean the church has been proving Jesus wrong on this one for centuries upon centuries. Heck, we take the folks who have most clearly managed to serve God and wealth and appoint them to the boards of our churches and Christian organizations, and when they give enough money we name buildings after them!
So then when he concludes this section of the sermon by saying “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you” we actually manage to interpret this as a guarantee of prosperity!
Well if last week’s section of the Sermon on the Mount cut through the bullshit of much of our prayer life then this week is going to cut through the bullshit of how we relate to money and wealth. And Jesus is also going to deconstruct much of the anxiety we have when it comes to security, money and status.
Bethany Osborne will be preaching and has also written the prayers.
David Julien will be breaking the bread,
and Sara DeMoor has crafted the liturgy with Deb’s well chosen music.
Rich faire, but not the kind of riches that Jesus is telling us to shun.
Hope to see you in the morning.
Wine Before Breakfast
Wycliffe Chapel @ 7.22am
Breakfast to follow.