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Fritz Wendt

Essays

Learning Shalom

During this season of Lent the pandemic gives us quite a taste of the Exodus journey of our mothers and fathers in the faith. Even though there are signs of hope (the vaccine being one of them), we are like those walking around in the wilderness without having much hope or orientation.

White Supremacy is a False God

Abraham did pass the test from God in this story, but not in the way it has been interpreted for so long. Rather, Abraham passed the test by hearing and obeying the voice of the true God at the end, telling him to stop.

The Politics of Burning Hearts

We must remember that even when the pandemic is over, this nation will still be under threat by people and forces who have declared war on everything and everyone it defines as “other”. We must remain committed to being hospitable to the stranger, and caring for the most vulnerable.

The Politics of True Discipleship

In following Jesus, they would break the chains of doing things the way they were always done, and they would have a chance to form a new community. But they were to leave behind all the comfort and security.

Christ the King/Reign of Christ

Compassion and solidarity make for a powerful bond between God and humanity.

Subverting the “Justice of This Earth”—Luke 16:1–13

We must learn to subvert the economic model of our rulers by reconnecting with older models based on reciprocity, hospitality, and love.

Meet the Sodomites—Genesis 18:20-32

Properly to hear the story of Genesis 18-19, we must first unlearn all that we thought we knew about the Sodomites.

Addressing Poverty when the System Fails—John 5:1–9

In our own world, the Bethesda story reminds us of the fact that social and economic systems meant to assist the needy often keep them in poverty. Our story suggests that the 40 million Americans who live in poverty will need to doubt and challenge the system, and to look for help outside of it. Further, our sermons will need to speak life into death as a reminder that there is life beyond the system.

God’s Generous Invitation—Isaiah 55:1–9

We are called to proclaim God’s word in such a way that we offer a nourishing alternative to the scarcity that all too often is dished up by our capitalistic, technologically-obsessed, and media-saturated society. As the People of God we are called to proclaim a new world order, one characterized by abundance and joy, by justice and lovingkindness, without any restrictions, without any boundaries.

The Joy of the Lord is our strength—Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10

Nehemiah 8 reminds us that hearing the word of God is an occasion for joy, not sorrow and regret.

Christ the King—Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14

In a hateful political climate, it’s easy to feel defeat. However, Daniel 7 teaches us that God is present in the midst of oppression and intervenes as a liberator God. We must join in this liberation to defy feelings of defeat.

Receiving the Kingdom as a Little Child—Mark 9:30-37

When we stop clinging to what we know and what we are, we can go out into the world without fear, insecurity, resentment, and judgment, as true Children of God. The image of a playing child helps us see alternatives to our childish attitudes.

Embodying Compassion—Mark 6:30-56

The power of state in both Greco-Roman times as well as today hinges upon a hierarchal power structure. Jesus, however, calls us to compassion in a horizontal social structure.

Crossing Over to the Other Shore—Mark 4:35-41

Christ is the Lord of the storm. We can leave fear behind and cross over to the other shore.

“Here Am I; Send Me!”—Isaiah 6:1-8

Isaiah the prophet received his call; we must be prepared to receive ours.

Under New Management—Psalm 23

‘Under New Management’: The perfect way to describe people who are led by the Good Shepherd, rather than by the false shepherds of this age..

The Beginning of Another World—Philippians 2:5-11

As we are prepared to empty ourselves, we can experience “the beginning of the other”, the Reign of God.

Following the Crucified One—Mark 8:31—9:9

It is the crucified Christ who sends us out to his sisters and brothers who are being crucified by the powers-that-be every day. Are we willing to do what Jesus requires and die in the process? Or will we deny Jesus in order to save ourselves?

The Politics of Divine Disruption—Luke 1:46b-55 (Fritz Wendt)

The Magnificat is a song of divine disruption, the song of God’s revolution.

The Politics of a Love beyond Dualism—Matthew 25:31-46 (Fritz Wendt)

While often read merely as an account of judgment, heaven, and hell, the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats reveals a love that overcomes dualism.

The Politics of Taking a Knee—Matthew 22:15-22 (Fritz Wendt)

Jesus’ trick answer to the Pharisees concerning the paying of taxes to Caesar speaks to the Christian’s appropriate posture to American Civil Religion, which has been provoked into a fuller revelation of itself by Colin Kaepernick’s protest.

The Politics of Unearned Grace—Jonah 3:10—4:11 (Fritz Wendt)

The prophet Jonah receives a lesson about the richness of God’s grace and our duty to welcome it, not only in our own lives, but also in the lives of our enemies.

The Politics of Giving Hope—Isaiah 51:1-6 (Fritz Wendt)

No matter how established we may think we are in this life, we are always on the way to another. To steady our step and to guide our path, we need to practice hope.

The Politics of the Source of Life—Genesis 28:10-19a; Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

All of humanity comes from the Source and all our journeys will lead us back to the Source. The story of Jacob’s Ladder reminds that God is not far away but right here in the ordinariness of our everyday struggles, the answer to our desire for oneness.

The Politics of a New ‘Family Values’—Matthew 10:24-39 (Fritz Wendt)

In his challenge to the rich young ruler, Jesus also challenges conservative family values politics, offering us an alternative vision of relations in the kingdom of God.

The Politics of Faithful Waiting—Acts 1:6-14 (Fritz Wendt)

The story of the Ascension in Acts alerts us to the task of faithfully waiting and witnessing.

The Politics of ‘Doubting Thomas’—John 20:19-31 (Fritz Wendt)

Real faith knows and embraces doubt and questioning. Rather than locking ourselves in, as the disciples first did, we should learn from the curiosity of Thomas. The opposite of faith is not doubt but fear, and it is time to shed our fears.

The Politics of Overcoming Sacrifice—John 9:1-41 (Fritz Wendt)

In the healing of the blind man in John 9 and the response of the religious leaders and teachers that follows, the power of scapegoating is revealed, as is the assurance that Jesus will overcome it.

The Politics of Transfiguration—Matthew 17:1-9 (Fritz Wendt)

There is such a thing as a ‘near-life experience,’ a transforming encounter with the light of life. The Transfiguration describes a remarkable encounter of such a kind, an encounter that may find pale reflections in our own lives, much needed at the current time.

The Politics of Inauguration and Surrender—Matthew 4:12-23 (Fritz Wendt)

The call of Jesus to his disciples required a surrender of all they had previously understood their identities to be.

The Politics of Divine Presence—John 1:1-14 (Fritz Wendt)

God who became one of us so inconspicuously is still walking among us, very quietly, making our lives special.

The Politics of Advent—Romans 13:11-14 (Fritz Wendt)

Advent declares that the time has come upon us, that the King of Kings is about to arrive. The Advent claim that Jesus is Lord is a fundamental orienting claim for all of our politics.

The Politics of a Name—Luke 16:19-31 (Fritz Wendt)

Jesus’ story of the Rich Man and Lazarus is a challenging account of the one neglected at the gate, who ends up being exalted, while the one at ease within is cast out. This story has a particular contemporary resonance in the context of the recent events surrounding the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

PTN Mentoring Festival

On Saturday April 24th, the Political Theology Network will be hosting a virtual Mentoring Festival for graduate students, dissertation writers, and other emerging scholars.