Category: The Politics of Scripture

An intertextual reading of Genesis 12 and Psalm 121 demonstrates that, while our faithful relationship with God may be initiated by our willful act of leaving, our ongoing life journey can be sustained by our attention to nature’s ontological testimony of God’s unequal sovereignty. Just as the Hebrew pilgrims were given strength to live out their faith through ecological awareness and mindfulness, let us emulate this life of pilgrimage and boldly leave our anthropocentric lifestyles.

Humans may very well not survive to the end of the century, but in faithfulness to the Creator, between fasting and serving the Garden, hope is alive. The liturgical season of Lent is such a time.

During the Christian, liturgical season of Lent, essays on the Politics of Scripture will reflect on the intersection between the lectionary texts and climate change.

Our political theology is strengthened by trusting that the words of the Son of Man are a fleshly restatement of what is divinely just and good and holy and lovely. Because Christ has come and his presence is with us, God’s words are even more accessible to us.

The weighty and earnest words of Deuteronomy ring out with welcome clarity in a time of partisan wrangling and division. God cuts to the chase, gets right to the bottom line, and calls out what is important—an invitation to a covenant for the common good.

Embodying the best of the prophetic tradition, the text encourages us to consider that religion, in fact, does have functions: liberation, feeding the hungry, inviting vulnerable strangers into our homes, and undoing injustice.

The prophets serve as God’s messengers, both as conduit of information between people, as well as serving as forerunners, preparing the way for God’s will to occur in the world.

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.

The trouble in American Evangelicalism and in Christianity more broadly, is that standing face-to-face with our Messiah, we find ourselves at a loss of how to serve. What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus? What, beyond the instinctive sense that we are to follow Christ, does it mean to follow? What are we looking for?

Biblical stories about baptism are connected to, but also at odds with, historical theology about baptism as well as the current liturgical practices of baptism. Reading Matthew’s account of Jesus’ baptism together with contemporary theologies offers a glimpse of the radical solidarity of Jesus.

*This post originally appeared on the Politics of Scripture January 2, 2017.

Matthew’s careful quotation of Isaiah 60 urges us to perceive that the birth of the poor, brown boy in a back corner of the Roman empire was the dawning of God’s glory upon humanity. Let us, then, celebrate—not with fear and self-preservation, but with confident investment in human flourishing.

We must develop strategies to resist the political deployment of the image of the innocent victim as a tool of further oppression and we must seek to mobilize the image of the innocent victim towards the end of emancipation and liberation.