In case you missed these or are new to following this blog, I wanted to share some of my favorite posts from the past year. They’re not necessarily the most read but ones that I feel particularly good about for one reason or another. I feel that this year even more than previous years I worked hard to develop my theology of Jesus and community more clearly.
Any violence against your true self is sin. Sin is anything that keeps you living in the illusion of the false self. And it is so tragic because it is the very violence we commit against ourselves and one another that suffocates the image of God within each of us.
It’s one thing to have a bottom-line to meet, staff to pay, and a reputation to uphold, it’s quite another thing to write as a prophetic act, to write because one is compelled to write, to publish because to not publish is to leave the ground fallow and let the seeds of new life become stale.
I don’t think we need a vast PR plan – I’m fine with advertising and letting people know we’re here, but the primary focus should always be meaningful engagement with those around us – we can’t expect to exist just because we’ve been here in Camas for 75 years. We can’t assume the world needs Quakers now, because the world needed Quakers back in history.
One of the ways we have heard these last events [of Jesus’ life] taught is that it all had to happen this way, but I want to raise the possibility that the game wasn’t rigged for Jesus. That these final events weren’t “destiny” as we often suppose, but rather the outworking of certain mechanism within human society that Jesus sought to unmask.
I want to wager that Jesus is telling this story as a bit of a key or clue for what to look for – when there are events or persons who come and try to divide, who work to create more victims and scapegoats, then we know that this cannot be of God. This groom is not Jesus.
The sacred engine, which is run by the conductor, shapes the nature of what it means to belong on this train. You do as he says, you remain where you are, and everything functions according to plan. Exile is inscribed into this system. Question that, challenge that, and all hell breaks loose. And as we learn in the film, to question “preordained particular position” is to jeopardize the stability of the entire train.
The only thing that can make matters worse is to have outsiders come in and have a better sense of your own tradition than you do. To tell you that maybe you’ve got it wrong and have missed the mystery. But that’s what going on here with the magi here who are the real misfits in the story. These pagan astrologers are more attentive, more open and have a better grasp of what is unfolding than the people who teach that tradition for a living!