The Canaanite woman: Recognizing kinship

Samaritans

In 2015, writing about “Christian Universalisms,” I explained that Jesus

was from Galilee in northern Palestine, child of Aramaic-speaking peasants, not of the “proper” Hebrew-speaking Jews from Judea in the south. His [initial] concern was that his own Galilean people not feel excluded from God’s blessing because of their not being part of the Jerusalem-centered Temple cult.

As we find in teaching stories like “the woman at the well” (

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Seeing beyond Identities

Originally published on 10/4/2015 on Quaker Universalist Conversations

In “Seeing beyond the Projections” (9/7/2015), I voiced my concern that modern Friends across the spectrum tend to perceive liberal or universalist Quakerism as representing anything but Christianity. As Wendy Geiger has put it so gracefully in her comment, I wanted to suggest an alternative view, a way “to keep one’s heart-mind supple and expandable and inclusive.”1

To give the discussion historical

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Seeing beyond the Projections

Originally published on 9/7/2015 on Quaker Universalist Conversations

Some recent conversations with Friends revealed that they considered Quaker Universalism to represent anything but Christianity. This is not surprising either psychologically or historically, yet it misses the core premise of universalism: inclusion.

Psychologically, our pattern-seeking brains prefer boundaries and distinctions, and their cognitive shortcut is to divide things into either/or categories. Historically, if I came to Quakerism from outside of the Christian community, or

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The Empty Day

Nothing convicts me in my heart more than the contemplation of Jesus as a historical person.

All my decades of wrestling with spiritual paths and theologies are self-indulgence, compared with the blessèdness and horror of that man’s life. Every day’s news is full of the brutality and painful neediness of humankind. That Jesus walked compassionately into the midst of it all is reason enough to follow him—and to be dismayed whenever I fall short of doing so.

Last

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Palm Sunday

I’ve been pondering the significance of the “Palm Sunday” story, and it was in my thoughts during Quaker meeting for worship this morning.

The earliest surviving version of the story is in the Gospel of Mark, written around 66-70 C.E., possibly in Syria, and excerpted here from The Complete Gospels: Annotated Scholars Version (Santa Rosa, CA: Polebridge Press, 1994, pp. 39-40):

When they get close to Jerusalem, near Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, he sends

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Weeds (Part III)

Part I: The parable of the weeds in the field
Part II: Religion or belief
Part III: Wilderness and cultivation

Wilderness and cultivation

“Religion in its purest form is a vast work of poetry.” (Carse, 111)

The first draft of “Weeds” was one long post. It began with my reaction to Matthew’s version of the weeds in the field parable, proceeded immediately with those insights from James Carse which now comprise the second half

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Weeds (Part II)

Part I: The parable of the weeds in the field
Part II: Religion or belief
Part III: Wilderness and cultivation

Religion or belief

In Part I, I laid out a problem—really a faith challenge—presented to me by the parable of the weeds in the wheat field, as told and interpreted in the book of Matthew (13:24-30, 36-43). The significance of this parable for me is that it sets up an irresolvable contrast

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Weeds (Part I)

Part I: The parable of the weeds in the field
Part II: Religion or belief
Part III: Wilderness and cultivation

The parable of the weeds in the field

In a July post on Walhydra’s Porch, I built a story around the troublesome contrast between a new Lutheran pastor’s doctrinally correct sermon and the palpable, all-inclusive embrace of an image of Jesus which spreads its arms over the sanctuary where the sermon was preached.

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