While the Judahites were the recipients of physical violence, they only had the power to return rhetorical, fantasized violence. They were forced to entrust actual retribution to other powers: to God, and perhaps to the Persians (envisioned as God’s agents).
A truly progressive society is one that is able to feel the wounds and pain of the most marginalized and excluded. Such a society’s task, consequently, is to heal and anoint the wounded. Perhaps, that task is better undertaken by embracing the work of mourning.
The God of Israel does not get so caught up in the national agenda that God neglects the prayers of individuals in pain. The best antidote to politics-as-usual is proper worship. Praising YHWH can keep our feet flat on the floor. As we worship the God who sees and the God who acts on behalf of the downtrodden, we seek to become like God. YHWH, rather than the human powers that be, becomes our model. In worship we become attentive to the things that God attends to, such as the grieving woman whose empty cradle signals an uncertain future.
To be neutral in this world is similar to being cruel and being, ourselves, the oppressor. Following Jesus signals an end to neutrality.
The concept of “hospitality” is inherently asymmetrical. Ones who see themselves as hosts get to determine to whom hospitality can be offered. Viewed from the guests’ perspective … there is no shared humanity in the unbalanced notion of hospitality.
Luke’s wordplay allows us to see this story as something larger than a particular Jesus event with a particular woman in a particular synagogue on a particular Sabbath. A one-off, straightforward healing event can be described without such wordplay. Through the creativity of his storytelling, Luke makes this moment a signal event, about a Daughter of Abraham and the work of the Christ.
Who produces American history textbooks? Beyond historians’ work, this question demands a reckoning with political partisanship that creeps into the publication process of history textbooks. A comparable phenomenon can be traceable in ancient textualization of sacred memory. Acknowledging political forces in knowledge production helps renegotiate one’s perspectives on sanctioned discourses of historical memory in modern and ancient worlds.
Isaiah’s condemnation of vain worship is not a promotion of faith over works. Rather, it’s a vision of faith as constituted by the work of justice.
The ecclesiological model that emerges from reading Paul and Mouffe could allow us to position the church itself as a politically and theologically diverse community within the larger society. The role of the church is not to strive towards articulating one uniform voice, both within or in public spaces, but highlight various and even rival voices.
There is more to the ‘fruit’ image than a mere word play, for a basket of summer fruit is itself a potent symbol with political-theological connotations. This text about the vision of ‘a basket of summer fruit’ is a vision of contestation for the cause of justice.