This one from conference magician, Jim McNeely.
The time for the most wondrous conference – the Mockingbird NYC spring conference – has rolled around again, and the powers-that-be have condescended to let me come and do a breakout session! I’m going to talk about a book I’ve been writing for 3 years now called “The Word of the Cross.” I’m very excited about this material!
The Cross is our Solution?
The Corinthian church was a mess. There were divisions and theological quarrels and pride about obscure knowledge. Gross sexual sins were being tolerated. Church members were suing one another. There was idolatry, overeating…
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From Fleming Rutledge’s masterful new work, The Crucifixion, this comes from her chapter “The Godlessness of the Cross” (ht LM):
Yet at the most fundamental level—and this can’t be emphasized too strongly—the cross is in no way “religious.” The cross is by a very long way the most irreligious object ever to find its way into the heart of faith. J. Christiaan Beker refers to it as “the most nonreligious and horrendous feature of the Gospel.
The crucifixion marks out the essential distinction between Christianity and “religion.” Religion as defined in these pages is either an organized system of belief or, alternatively, a loose collection of ideas and practices, projected out of humanity’s needs and wishes. The cross is “irreligious” because no human being individually or human beings collectively would have projected their hopes, wishes, longings, and needs onto a crucified man.
The math behind the cross is a little confusing. As a kid, I went to church every Sunday and recited: “In dying you destroyed our death, in rising you restored our life.” I’d known since day one that Jesus had died for my sins, but the equation itself—how the death of a man two thousand years ago could be related to me drinking the last ounce of milk and getting in a fistfight with my brother about it—has always been just a little beyond my reach.
Until American Horror Story, that is. For those struggling with the idea of substitutionary atonement,…
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This comes from her collection of mind-melding meditations, Gravity and Grace.
The cross as a balance, as a lever. A going down, the condition of a rising up. Heaven coming down to earth raises earth to heaven. A lever. We lower when we want to lift.
…It is human misery and not pleasure which contains the secret of the divine wisdom. All pleasure-seeking is the search for an artificial paradise, an intoxication, an enlargement. But it gives us nothing except the experience that it is vain. Only the contemplation of our limitations and our misery puts us on a higher plane. ‘Whosoever humbleth himself shall be exalted.’ The upward movement in us is vain (and less than vain) if it does not come from a downward movement.
…When the whole universe weighs upon us there is no other counterweight possible but God himself–the true God, for in this case false gods cannot do anything, not even under the name of the true one. Evil is infinite in the sense of being indefinite: matter, space, time. Nothing can overcome this kind of infinity except the true infinity. That is why on the balance of the cross a body which was frail and light but which was God, lifted up the whole world. ‘Give me a point of leverage and I will lift up the world.’ This point of leverage is the cross. There can be no other. It has to be at the intersection of the world and that which is not the world. The cross is this intersection.
I can’t tell you how many times in the past couple of months I’ve been in a conversation with friends talking about The Wire when the threat of a “spoiler alert” intrusively rears its head. This happens mostly out of necessity; I have previously learned of the death of a much-beloved character when my friend inadvertently let out an ill-timed sigh of nostalgia.
But despite this obsession over spoilers, it seems that new research suggests that spoilers might actually make the viewing/reading experience better, rather than worse. Rather than spoiling the ending, knowing what will happen actually builds interest and anticipation…
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A little article from Everydayhealth.com, entitled “Boosting Your Willpower,” caught my eye the other day, and, lacking the willpower to resist reading articles about boosting my willpower, I read it. It reminded me of some of the stuff that we’ve been posting about ego depletion recently.
The gist of the article is: do these things (start small, start slow, build a support network, change your environment), and you will slowly boost you willpower, until, subsequently, you can conquer bad/develop good habits. It’s that easy. Period. A total “duh.”
But is it that easy?
As a theologian of the Cross, I can’t help…
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