Four Questions For the Apocalypse
These questions address what might be seen as apocalyptic times for humanity on Planet Earth. The 21st Century – much like the First Century – finds human social structures embroiled in political, social, spiritual, and theological issues that demand serious consideration of the answers to those questions. Unlike the First Century, 21st Century humanity is also confronted with the distinct possibility of a holocaust that is not confined to individuals, tribes, or nations, but threatens the existence of planetary life as humanity has known it for 100,000 years.
1) What is the nature of God? Violent or non-violent?
2) What is the nature of Jesus’ message? Inclusive or exclusive?
3) What is faith? Literal belief, or trust and commitment to the great work of distributive justice-compassion?
4) What is deliverance? Salvation from hell, or liberation from injustice?
Two Choices arise from the answers to these four questions. If the answers are Violent, Exclusive, Literal belief, and Salvation from Hell, then the context for personal, social, and political life is Empire, and the theology of Empire, as defined by John Dominc Crossan in his work on the historical Jesus and the Apostle Paul: Piety, War, Victory, Peace.
If the answers are Non-violent, Inclusive, Trust, and Liberation, then the context for personal, social, and political life is participation in the ongoing work (struggle) for distributive justice-compassion (Covenant). The Covenant is with a non-theistic, kenotic god, a force which — in Crossan’s words — is the beating heart of the Universe, whose presence is justice and life, and whose absence is injustice and death.
Who Are The Elves?
A clergy friend, frustrated with the seeming unrelatedness of many of the liturgical readings proposed by the Revised Common Lectionary, describes the cherry picking among the various portions of scripture as having been put together by drunken elves.
This is by no means an insult to the nobility of those of the Elven Race as described by J.R.R. Tolkien, who long ago abandoned Middle Earth to its fate — a caution to those who use proof-texting to justify compliance with Empire.