God Who is Community

God who is community in Creator, Christ, and Holy Ghost, bless us as we go forth from this place that we might be in community with you, one another, and the whole world. Give us strength, compassion, and conviction as we go that our hearts might break with yours, our passions might stir with yours, and our spirits lift with yours. Let it be so that we might enter into everlasting life with you. Amen.

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The God I Want

One of the earliest images of Jesus from a Coptic church in Cairo.

One of the things you will find when you delve into the life of Jesus of Nazareth is that he is not the kind of Messiah that people expected. When people expected a Messiah, they did not expect God the Son, Person of the Holy Trinity. They expected various things, primarily human: emperors, priests, warriors, etc. I grew up hearing sermons to that effect: Jesus is not who we expect Jesus to be. Jesus is not the Savior we want, but Jesus is the Savior we need. Then we get into conversations from liberals and conservatives alike that claim the other is making Jesus in their own image. In reality, Jesus is not who we want Jesus to be.

Over time, I have grown comfortable with that notion. I have become comfortable with the fact that Jesus makes me uncomfortable. That is obviously a life-long journey and requires the continual effort toward humility. But I was fine with it, so long as we were talking about Jesus. The problem is that when, as Christians, we are talking about Jesus, we are talking about God. Lest we forget that we believe that this human Jesus is unconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably divine, we must remember that when we speak of Jesus, we also speak of God.

Theologian Catherine LaCugna once said: “In Jesus Christ and the Spirit, we do not know a shadow image of God, but the real living God. This real living God who saves — this is God!” Elizabeth Johnson, another theologian, adds, “We know God from the way God has acted in history, through the incarnate Word and renewing Spirit.” Thomas Torrance perhaps put it most simply: “There is no God behind the back of Jesus.”

From Jasna Gora Monastery in Czestochowa, Poland.

From Jasna Gora Monastery in Czestochowa, Poland.

I think we always want there to be a God behind Jesus. We want some idea of God we have to really exist behind Jesus’ back. We want a God playing the strings of the universe like a harp, delicately strumming each string to the melody of a predetermined tune — that way, we do not have to worry about anything because God controls everything. We are thus absolved from our concerns for things to be made right in our lives and in the world, because God is in control. When God is in control, we need not be concerned.

But if there is no God behind Jesus, that isn’t the way it works. Continue reading

Why am I so tired of Matt Walsh?

This is Matt Walsh.

This is Matt Walsh. He has “absolute truth” and “radical thoughts.”

If you haven’t heard of Matt Walsh, bless your heart and don’t bother to read the rest of this post. Who is Matt Walsh? He bills himself as a purveyor of “absolute truths” and the “traditional family.”

This is also Matt Walsh, but not the one we're talking about. I hear this one's funny.

This is also Matt Walsh, but not the one we’re talking about. He’s an actor/comedian. I hear he’s funny.

He enjoys writing headlines for his blog that are senselessly provocative, such as “Robin Williams didn’t die from a disease, he died from his choice” right after the beloved actor’s death, “Barack Obama doesn’t care about black people,” “Just pretend this dead lion is a human baby and you won’t be so upset,” and the article I’d like to focus a bit on today: “Why is everyone so mad at Ray Rice for punching his fiancee?”

This is also Matt Walsh, but he's a basketball player. Don't be mad at him.

This is also Matt Walsh, but he’s a basketball player. Don’t be mad at him. #funwithgoogleimagesearch

When I read Walsh’s take on the Ray Rice situation, one paragraph in the middle really hit the nail on the head as to the question above: Why am I so tired of Matt Walsh? Read:

What if Rice and his fiancée switched sides in this? Unlikely, I realize, but follow the hypothetical. What if Janay spat on Rice and he smacked her in retaliation, and then, after some kind of altercation in the elevator, Janay leveled Rice and left him unconscious on the floor? Would we be equally as furious at the woman in that situation?
Not a chance. You know it. I know it. Everyone knows it.
So if men and women are equal and everything is exactly the same, why would the reaction to this scenario be dramatically different if we changed the sexes of those involved?
There’s no use pretending that our reaction wouldn’t be different. You won’t fool yourself, or me, or anyone. There is a double standard. A different standard. Why?
We might as well just confront this question. It’s a scary thing to do, I realize. We don’t want to look any closer at this because know that the answer will devastate nearly all of our egalitarian leftwing feminist principles.
Why? Well, finally, I’ll propose an answer to the riddle: when we heap extra scorn on the abusers of women, we acknowledge that men and women are separate, distinct, and unique creatures. And we know that to acknowledge our separateness and distinctiveness is to contemplate the possibility that men and women have different roles in society, different duties, different responsibilities, and different purposes.

There are stronger words I would like to use to describe Matt Walsh’s contribution to humanity, but I have settled on the following: he is a unrepentant purveyor of white heterosexual male privilege over and against the rights, hearts, minds, and souls of oppressed people everywhere. Matt Walsh knows nothing of what it is to be oppressed and has chosen to make it seemingly his life’s mission to deny that such systemic oppression has any effect on anyone else’s life. Matt Walsh wants you other white heterosexuals to know that you do not need to feel in any way complicit in oppression or injustice anywhere. Continue reading