Theology From Exile-Volume II The Year of Matthew – A Review

Bookmark.2013

by Fred Plumer, President Progressive Christianity.org

I must admit for twenty three years in the pulpit, I was not a great fan of Lectionary commentaries. The commentaries always seemed too contrived, were overly concerned with nuance and often seemed dated in the scholarship. And now as someone who has spent nearly a decade in the pews in possibly a hundred churches, I have grown weary of pastors struggling to create a sermon out of the lectionary selections, often trying to force two or three of the selections into something meaningful.  So when I agreed to do a review for Sea Raven’s second year set of commentaries, I was hesitant. However, I was delighted to discover that Sea Raven has created something of great value here. Drawing on some of the best and latest scholarship available, she brings new life to words and texts that have lost their meaning and their intention for far too many people, including those leading churches. She accomplishes this with clear and even simple language and a clarity that I find rare with scholars.

As in her first commentary, The Year of Luke, Sea Raven frames her commentaries by responding to four questions: 1) What is the nature of God? Violent or nonviolent? 2) What is the nature of Jesus’s message? Inclusive or exclusive? 3) What is faith? Literal belief, or commitment to the great work of justice-compassion? 4) What is deliverance? Salvation from hell, or liberation from injustice?…