Posts in Code
Until the Doors of God Are Thrown Open

How shocked many modern day church-goers would be to discover that their deific notions of God have more to do with ancient pagan philosophy than Biblical Christianity. The institutional church of the first centuries (primarily in conjunction with Emperor Constantine) tried to pour the infinite fluidity of the Trinitarian God into the stoic stone container of the Greek’s god in the sky. And as time has passed, to most card-carrying Christians, the container is all they now remember.

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No Destinations; Only Seasons

There are no destinations.  Only seasons.  And for this season we are here. If this affirmation of the truth frightens you, brings out condescension or disdain, if you feel as though “we have better things to do than be here and now,” than you can know that you are much like I am, having absorbed the cultural values that are driving us all further down a road to destinations we don’t even understand.

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SOUL: The Attractions and Aversions that Define Us

This question of the lines (more like fuzzy fogs) where one of us ends and begins is what we—in ThirtySixWords jargon—call SOUL.  Soul is a notoriously tricky word because it is used in such multivocal ways, even in the Bible.  It is sometimes used to refer to the deepest part of person (what we call HEART), sometimes used to encompass the emotions, and sometimes is used as we use it here, to define something more amorphous and fluid: the sum total of our acquired personality and character.  We find it easier to grasp not that you have a soul (an immaterial object that you own which may or may not live on into eternity) but that you are a soul which is being made and defined by your drives, passions and interactions with the world around you.  In short, the SOUL is your deep HEART made public.

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The Beginning of Kindness

As I sit at my desk after a long weekend of writing, editing, designing and reflecting, I am most palpably aware of how insufficient it all often feels.  Particularly in these days.  Regardless of one’s political persuasions it would be an abdication of reality to ignore the escalation of fear and the ease of offense which permeates our existence. 

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No, Seriously, Love Your Enemies

Extensive writing has been done as to which side of this election people of faith should stand on.  There are blogrolls the size of the Great Library at Alexandria on what “true” pro-life means, and even more so on the relative merits or lack-thereof of various political candidates, candidates’ spouses and candidates’ confidants’ sexual exploits.  You can easily find strongly worded essays, tweets and podcasts on the role of the Supreme Court in religious liberty, justice for refugees through the actions of the State and the important role that misogyny and latent racism has played in this election and every other in human memory.  I am happy to say that I have nothing to add to all of this. Nothing.

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Liberating a Rich Man

Below, we address one of the most controversial of New Testament passages (Mark 10:17-31), a story used to justify class warfare, to establish power differentials between paid church staff and laity and all-too-often as a lever for guilt and shame as people haven't "Let go" of enough to earn their way to the Kingdom.  As you can see from the retelling below, this modern day frame on an ancient text couldn't be farther from the rich meaning cased within.

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Did Jesus Come to Forgive Sins?

A Look at Atonement through the Words of Mark

I have been spending the last 4 months with a committed group of 12-15 folks who are working through the Gospel of Mark as a committed spiritual practice intended to open us up to the transformational work of Jesus.  This effort has been rich and multi-dimensional and reminiscent of similar journeys I have taken through this exact text with other groups in the past.  At certain points in the journey I will take a moment and consider the implications of Jesus' actions and Mark's explanation of them.

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The Glory of Being Dissatisfied

It was an age and epoch not far from our own, though its remoteness cannot be measured by time or distance. It could have happened in a galaxy far, far away or once upon a time or both, though neither one describes things entirely. It was a time of everything and nothing, of darkness and light, an era of openness and repulsion, of rightness and crookedness. The goodness of things only stood so brightly as to reveal the shadowed truth of the entanglement of things, and for all those who lived in such a beautiful time and place, it was simply the way things were.

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