Saturday, August 31, 2013

Deep Memory, Exuberant Hope

Deep Memory, Exuberant Hope: Contested Truth in a Post-Christian World by Walter Brueggemann on Amazon

deep memory, exuberant hope coverThis is the third and final offering in a trilogy of reflections on our lives together by Walter Brueggemann, published by Fortress Press at the end of the last century, beginning of this one.

In memory and in hope, "We are forever re-imagining and retelling and reliving our lives through the scandal of Friday and the rumor of Sunday." Preaching as sub-version: a life-giving word within a death-dealing situation. Staying in Egypt is not our only option, and remember, [the exilic] 2nd Isaiah "funded Handel's Messiah!"

In this last book of the series that began with The Covenanted Self, and continued with Texts that Linger, Words That Explode, Walter Brueggemann asks why on earth anyone would want to "delete YHWH" [page 119] in relating these stories, these sagas, if you weren't proclaiming YHWH's agency and part in them? Well, if it weren't for YHWH, we wouldn't be reading or talkin' about any of these mighty acts of creation, liberation, homecoming, and resurrection because they wouldn't have happened; we couldn't begin to envision the possibility of daily bread for which we do not owe empire. In fact, if you do leave YHWH out of everything, "...not much that matters remains."

All three books in this series would be outstanding preaching and teaching resources; they even include detailed endnotes, as well as author and scripture indices.

my amazon review: deep memory, exuberant hope

Texts that Linger, Words that Explode

Texts That Linger, Words That Explode: Listening to Prophetic Voices by Walter Brueggemann on Amazon.

In the first book of this 3-book series of collected lectures, The Covenanted Self, Brueggemann discussed creation in covenant with Creator—especially regarding the life-giving words of the Ten Commandments of the Sinai Covenant and their later interpretation by Jesus of Nazareth as the Great Commandment to love God, Neighbor, and self. texts that linger words that explode coverIn Texts that Linger, Words that Explode, the second group of considerations of (mostly) texts from the Hebrew scriptures, the author emphasizes prophetic words, warnings, and promises from the Hebrew bible, relates them to the "fully-texted" [page 8] community of the New Testament, and insists upon the ongoing necessity of obedient, covenantal life in our own commodity-saturated context.

It's a logical continuation to contemplate dangers and outcomes of not following the Spirit of the Sinai Covenant, of not living justly with one another and with all creation, of not making God and neighbor a priority, of succumbing to temptations of fear, anxiety, and those still-present spurious allurements of consumerism and bling. As he almost always does, Walter Brueggemann reminds us the baptized, gospeled, "fully texted" community in which we gather around word and sacrament is the foundation of our own lives in resistance to death-dealing temptations, in embrace of resurrection-risking obedience. It's impossible to highlight and cite the 80% – 90% of everything in this series I found interesting and important, so I trust you'll consider reading these books for yourself. Deep Memory, Exuberant Hope, is the third and last book of this series.

my amazon review: words that linger, texts that explode

Friday, August 30, 2013

first times 5

For the very last time ever on blogger, Mary Beth hosts first times five.

1. first "place" - apartment, dorm room, home with a new spouse, the first place where you really felt like a grownup:
my undergrad habitat on Clark Street with its "first floor" (continental terminology) location atop Anastasi Bros Banana Warehouse. A 2 minute walk to the Prado with statue of Paul Revere on horseback, another minute to Old North Church of Paul Revere fame, "Christ Church in the City of Boston."

2. first time away from home. Construe this any way you want. College? Girl Scout Camp? Study Abroad?
How about my first solo flight as a passenger to DTW – Detroit Wayne County airport – to visit relatives when I was in 8th grade.

3. first job in your field of endeavor (so, not baby-sitting, unless you are A Professional Baby Sitter today):
A few paid free-lancing design gigs during HS.

4. first time hosting. Again, construed broadly, this could be a dinner for the in-laws, your first time to have guests for a holiday meal, etc.:
The first party I hosted during high school. Making the guest list, planning the entertainment (music and games), determining the menu and creating the food.

5. Your first love. That can be a person or something else!!:
Mine relates to (3): color! line! pattern! design! I wanted to design textiles! I was about 4 years old.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Covenanted Self

The Covenanted Self: Explorations in Law and Covenant by Walter Brueggemann on Amazon

covenanted self cover The Covenanted Self is the first of a three-book series of Hebrew Bible-focused articles that continues with Texts that Linger, Words that Explode, and concludes with Deep Memory, Exuberant Hope. In a formal sense, "Covenant" in the title mostly refers to the brokered-by-Moses Ten Commandments of the Sinai Covenant between Yahweh and Israel. We first hear the words of the Decalogue in Exodus, and then again in the book of Deuteronomy, where we also read accounts of real people working out life in obedience as dangers to their own freedom and threats to the Lordship of YHWH surround them. And now, as a baptized people, we follow the commandments in our own daily journeys of life together at home, in church, in nearby community, and in the larger world.

Whatever the context then or now, there or here, Brueggemann emphasizes how those flexible, dynamic, yet explicit guidelines for just, sustainable, life together within the spirit of the law could not run more counter to the consumerist debtor economy most of us in the West were born into. We need to trust God's promise depends upon grace, but also upon our obedience. The book includes excellent endnotes, an author index, and scripture references.

my amazon review: The Covenanted Self

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Finding God in a Bag of Groceries

Finding God in a Bag of Groceries: Sharing Food, Discovering Grace, the book, on amazon, by Laura Willis.

finding god in a bag of groceries cover How many people have found meaning, purpose, and pleasure in ministries that involve food—stacking and distributing boxes, bags, and cans, providing or hosting a meal to guests? Contributing to the annual letter carrier's food drive? If you've been there, done that, you'll enjoy reading about this ministry that began as a "small pantry start" at a rural church in Sewanee, Tennessee, and grew to a sizable enterprise, while always engaging each individual and each family as unique. I love how the people in each chapter come as alive on the pages as those in almost any novel! Finding God in a Bag of Groceries will resonate with anyone who has volunteered for municipal thanksgiving dinner. Folks who have gone with their church a day or two each month to help with lunch at St Vincent's, Salvation Army, or Father Ryan's. If you've helped out with federal commodities in the church gym or Nearby Christian Center.

Although Laura Willis barely references chapter or verse of scripture, her actions and words demonstrate a living sense of ways people who give food – and people who receive that essential stuff of creation – discover the presence of a gracious Creator in the Spirit-led disciples who minister food. She's not preachy at all, and freely admits the steepness of her own learning curve at some junctions along the way. Excellent choice for a church council, session, consistory, or vestry, for the board of directors at Nearby Christian Center to study and consider.

my amazon review: essential ministry

Friday, August 09, 2013

VBS 2013 day 5

Pictures from the last day, day 5 of Vacation Bible School at Church Around the Corner, "CAC." These open full-size in a new browser tab or window, "depending on your settings."

vbs 2013 names
vbs 2013 singing vbs 2013 cupcakes vbs 2013 wall sitting
vbs 2013 singing vbs 2013 sitting
vbs 2013 towels vbs 2013 markers outside
vbs 2013 friday towels vbs 2013 friday leaving vbs 2013 church sign

Thursday, August 08, 2013

VBS 2013 day 4

A few pictures in order of their happening at day 4 of Vacation Bible School at Church Around the Corner, "CAC." Just as with the other VBS pics, these open in a new browser tab or window.

vbs 2013 kingdom rock poster vbs 2013 under the tree
vbs 2013 bagels
vbs 2013 circle time vbs 2013 markers outside
vbs 2013 talking vbs 2013 tree outside vbs 2013 finale

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

VBS 2013 day 3

A few pictures in order of their happening at day 3 of Vacation Bible School at Church Around the Corner, "CAC." ...all these pics open more or less full-size in a separate browser tab or window.

vbs 2013 towels vbs 2013 doorkeepers
vbs 2013 fun and tree 2 vbs 2013 registration
vbs 2013 tree and seek vbs 2013 feet and towels
vbs 2013 final sing vbs 2013 courtyard 2

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

VBS 2013 day 2

A few pictures in order of their happening at day 2 of Vacation Bible School at Church Around the Corner, "CAC."

vbs 2013 greeting vbs 2013 playing
vbs 2013 leading vbs 2013 singing vbs 2013 finale

Monday, August 05, 2013

VBS 2013 day 1

A few pictures in order of their happening at day 1 of Vacation Bible School at Church Around the Corner, "CAC."

vbs 2013 castle crowd vbs 2013 singing vbs 2013 gathering vbs 2013 shirts vbs 2013 perfect circle