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Posts tagged "Romans"

The Celebration Department

The Celebration Department

I want to be clear about something from the very start: I adore my cell phone. From the very first time I found myself in the grocery store, not knowing if my wife wanted tuna fish packed in water or in oil and I was actually able to call and find out, I was in […]

Hopelessly Devoted: Romans Chapter Fifteen Verse Seven

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Today’s entry in The Mockingbird Devotional comes to us from Dylan Potter:

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. (Romans 15:7, NIV)

The topic of Romans 14:1-15:13 is love and Christian liberty. Those who are “strong,” Paul says, tend to look down upon the “weak,” and their attitude is counterproductive to genuine Christian community. It’s certainly no less tempting now to gauge others: in the work place or in church Bible studies, the everyday appraisals are everywhere. In the previous chapter, Paul reminds the church in Rome not to allow their familiarity with grace to become a “stumbling block” to other believers— I shudder to think that he is writing about me.

Acceptance is a word we value in principle, but we’d rather not act on it. Acceptance simply goes too far for our tastes: we talk about “tolerance” or “hospitality,” but to think of acceptance in terms of Christ’s self-emptying kind of acceptance is veritably repulsive. At every corner we are inclined to say we have earned our stripes, that we have merited the privileges we so quickly withhold from those around us. A pastor once told me we only invite presumption and promote despair when we impose metrics upon others. He is correct because the word “accept” in 15:7 seems as if God is asking me to accept others as I’ve been accepted, and that acceptance isn’t one of my character traits.

The New Testament records numerous accounts when the early believers stumbled over this very same stone: Jew and Greek, male and female, slave and free. In fact this section is essentially Paul’s call for the Jewish believers in Rome to accept their Gentile counterparts, not as interlopers, but as brothers and sisters. The curious thing is that there is something about accepting the other that brings praise to God, perhaps because it best summarizes the condescension of Christ—to accept the other in Christ is to tell another person that we are just as shocked that God would welcome us. To view ourselves as Gentiles—this is still our stumbling stone! But most importantly, who knew that his resurrection was itself the confirmation that we are accepted by the Father every bit as much as he is accepted?

Forgiveness and Death, Remembering Paula Cooper

Forgiveness and Death, Remembering Paula Cooper

Wow, strap in—this is a heavy one. Last week, an article in The New York Times provided some insight into the life and times of Paula Cooper, with whom journalist Amy Linn had made personal contact last spring. When she was fifteen, allegedly drunk and high, Paula robbed 78-year-old Ruth Pelke and stabbed her 33 times with a […]

Hopelessly Devoted: Romans Chapter Six Verse Five

Hopelessly Devoted: Romans Chapter Six Verse Five

This morning’s entry from The Mockingbird Devotional: Good News for Today (and Every Day) comes from none other than Gil Kracke: If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. (Romans 6:5, NIV) I try to imagine how to approach a […]

John Calvin Does the Thing He Hates

John Calvin Does the Thing He Hates

From the Genevan Doctor’s commentary on Romans 7–as a quick disclaimer, he was better at thinking than writing too sympathetically: He now comes to a more particular case, that of a man already regenerated… But though the will of a faithful man is led to good by the Spirit of God, yet in him the corruption […]

Everything Is Not OK (on <i>Parenthood</i>)… the Bad Thing Is Already Happening

Everything Is Not OK (on Parenthood)… the Bad Thing Is Already Happening

Have you been watching the new season of Parenthood? This show continues to deliver the goods, which mostly come in the form of true-to-life suffering, chaos, loss, and grace, love, and peace amidst it all—very much in line with the Mockingbird conference last week in Charlottesville. Spoiler alert! Don’t read on if you are a […]

Artificial Intelligence, Imputation and the Desperate Need to be Heard

Artificial Intelligence, Imputation and the Desperate Need to be Heard

In 1966, MIT computer science professor Josef Weisenbaum wrote a very simple computer program named ELIZA. ELIZA was designed to mimic an empathetic psychologist, mirroring back key words to users in the form of questions, encouraging them to go deeper with their emotions. For example, if the user mentioned, in passing, that they were feeling […]

Hannah Arendt Explains Paul's Discovery

Hannah Arendt Explains Paul’s Discovery

By popular demand, a couple more quotations taken from the chapter “The Apostle Paul and the Impotence of the Will” in the second volume of her The Life of the Mind: The Apostle Paul’s discovery, which he describes in great detail in the Letter to the Romans, again concerns a two-in-one, but these two are […]

The Subjective Power of an Objective Gospel

The Subjective Power of an Objective Gospel

This little reflection by Mbird’s Jacob Smith and David Zahl has made the rounds recently, first in Logia: A Journal of Lutheran Theology and second on The Gospel Coalition (where it generated quite the conversation!). We thought we’d repost it here for, you know, posterity: The great Southern novelist Walker Percy once asked in his […]

Living Bread not Living Dead

Living Bread not Living Dead

Romans 5:6-8 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. […]

Do You Have A Zombie Plan? Part V

Do You Have A Zombie Plan? Part V

As I promised in the last post, we now venture into the many fearful layers of our psyche … the land of the walking dead. Sigmund Freud once wrote an interesting little ditty called “The Uncanny“.  In it, he set up an inner conversation between what he called Heimlich and Unheimlich. Heimlich, says Freud, is […]

Fat Children Took My Life

Fat Children Took My Life

A provocative piece on the obesity epidemic via Slate’s new Hive project, in which author Daniel Engbar compiles a startling amount of data about the ineffectiveness of ‘tough love’ when it comes to dealing with this issue. In fact, the evidence of “the law increasing the trespass” (Romans 5:20) is pretty egregious here. A classic […]