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Book: Luke

Luke 13:31-35 – The Politics of Place

And so it is to Jerusalem that Jesus must go. Why Jerusalem? How would the scene have played out differently if the Pharisees, in their plotting, had simply arranged to have Jesus murdered on the road – on his way to the city? What if Jesus had never come to Jerusalem? To the temple? What if he died and even was resurrected while preaching the good news of God’s Kingdom in Galilee? What’s so special about Jerusalem?

The Politics of Transfiguration: Transformation’s Shadow Side (Luke 9:28-36)

In the lectionary, Transfiguration follows the season of Epiphany with one last display of light. The lights flare brilliantly and momentarily and then are dimmed. The gospel then sends readers on their way, on the road through Lent following Jesus toward Jerusalem and the cross.

Is God a Socialist?  The Politics of 1 Cor. 12:12-31a and Luke 4:14-21

Is God a Socialist? And if so, what kind of socialism does God espouse?

The Politics of Baptism (The Baptism of Christ, Yr C): Luke 3. 15-17, 21-23

“Faith is the womb that conceives this new life, baptism the rebirth by which it is brought forth into the light of day. The church is its nurse, her teachings are its milk, the bread from heaven is its food.” Gregory of Nyssa’s words are both beguiling and poetic, but in my own urban context, those who bring their children forward for ‘baptism’ often seem to understand it through two, less theologically nuanced notions…

The Politics of Luke 1:39-45

For three weeks now, I have been listening to Mary’s Magnificat sung as a part of the mid-week evening prayer service in my congregation. Last week, I leaned over to my five-year-old and told her, “This is the story of Jesus’ Mommy when she was pregnant with him.” Rereading a paper that I wrote on this text in college, I critiqued an over spiritualization of these words that are “a vivid proclamation of God’s eternal justice and intention to uplift the weak and lowly in a ministry of love…a call to social action on behalf of humanity.” Now, as I sit with the text, I can only say that it is all of this and more…

The Politics of Luke 3:7-18

This is what is at the heart of the story. John comes preaching a message of the kingdom in the strongest possible terms—You brood of vipers! As part of his message, to which people seem to be responding, is that they need to “bear fruit worthy of repentance.” That is, don’t just sit there saying you did wrong. Get up and show that you understand by doing something different. And of all the people who might have grasped this message, low and behold, its those nasty tax collectors, the worst people imaginable, who come and ask what they should do to show they really mean what they say about having been transformed. Which is to say, that the narrative presents the very embodiment of a social outsider, confronting the epitome of the empire in the form of the tax collector, who is fundamentally transformed by the encounter.

Wild Listening and the Politics of Scripture: Luke 3:1-6

God chose to speak through a wild man known as John the Baptizer who dressed in animal skins, ate wild honey, and probably had the most unruly hair. The biblical description of his dress and style resembled the prophet Elijah found early in Second Kings. Why then do we ignore God’s trend of speaking through those who diverge from the status quo?

Talk of legacy has been abuzz in the news lately as the American presidential race continues to gear up. This was even more true in first century Palestine. Without a legacy, without a tradition to follow in, a person was lost—outcast. […]

This kid is a nobody from nowhere. Yet it will be this forgettable, easily dismissed kid whom God will raise up to be the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the greatest of all who ever lived and ruled, but nothing like any who have gone before him in those roles.