The walk of a smaller economy

I recently read an article by the indefatigable Wendell Berry in The Atlantic.  In the article, Mr. Berry continues on his quest for a change in the modern economy and the rules that govern it.  Instead of looking to bigger, badder, better, Berry suggests that the only hope for abundant life is to look to smaller models.  By establishing numerous smaller economies, the life of the world will once again begin to thrive precisely because the smaller scope of the economies lend themselves to practicing the virtue of neighborly love.  In his closing paragraph, Mr. Berry says,

“We have an ancient and long-enduring cultural imperative of neighborly love and work. This becomes ever more important as hardly imaginable suffering is imposed upon all creatures by industrial tools and industrial weapons.”

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A Journey into Death…and Life

The room is set.  The table is ready to receive its guests and to share its bounty with the few that gather around the table.  The host, Lazarus, is present to welcome friends into his home and to serve them a dinner in honor of their friend Jesus.  As the the guests arrive, the aromas of the table begin to waft through the air.  The smell of the foods fill the entire house as people prepare themselves to receive the hospitality of their host.  The dinner conversation creates a murmur as the members around the table engage in table fellowship and share in the meal offered to them.  The sounds of people taking food, cups being raised and set back down, the smell of the food, and the warmth of being together for this final supper.   Continue reading

Making time for a difficult conversation

The following blog was published originally on Seminary of the Southwest’s blog.

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” – John 15:12-13 NRSV

“Do you have time to talk? I would like to discuss something that is really important to me.” The stomach drops. Instinctively, you expect a difficult conversation –the “difficult” conversation with a friend.

The United States needs such a conversation. We need an honest, heart-wrenching conversation about race in America, and yet, it is the very conversation that we Americans run away from the most. It seems there is no way to have a true dialogue, a true sharing of experiences between members of different races in this country. Continue reading

Who is the ‘Son of Man?’

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory.

It is a curious saying “the Son of Man.”  Naturally, we equate the saying as synonymous with Jesus or Christ or Son of God or Messiah.  However, what if we were to back away from that leap and actually consider the saying “Son of Man?”  In other words, the real question before us today is a question raised earlier in Matthew’s Gospel.  In Matthew 16, the gospel writer tells us that Jesus asks his disciples, ““Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And of course, the disciples respond, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”  Jesus continues the dialogue by asking the disciples, “But who do you say that I am?”  It is an interesting question – and it is interesting that Jesus has replaced “Son of Man” with “I” in the second portion of the dialogue.  It is interesting not simply because Jesus claims the title of Son of Man.  It is also an interesting question for us today.  Who do we say that Jesus is?  Who is the Son of Man? Continue reading