According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson
We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord
Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Brueggemann: The OT Law Pertaining to the Year of Release - The Forgiveness of All Debts

The Most Important Command in the Old Testament isn’t what you think
In Deuteronomy 15, you get a law about seven years. It’s called the Year of Release. It says that at the end of seven years, if a poor person owes you money, cancel the debt.
Uh, what? That’s the most important? A law about releasing debts? What about the Shema? The 10 Commandments? Whatever. If you break this seven-year-release law, the United Methodist Church won’t even put you on trial.
So c’mon, how on earth is this the most important commandment? Brueggemann continues:
I’ll give you a little Hebrew grammar–I know you’ve been waiting for this. Biblical Hebrew has no adverbs. The way it expresses the intensity of the verb, it repeats the verb. So if it says give and you want to say “really give” it says “give give” right in the sentence–”give give.” 
This law about the Year of Release there are five absolute infinitives that you can’t spot in English. There are more intense verbs in this law than anywhere else in the Old Testament. This is Moses saying I mean this
[The law] says to not be hard-hearted (or tight fisted) about granting poor people space to live their lives, because you were slaves in Egypt and the Lord God brought you out into the good place.
So grammatically, the Old Testament scripture with the most emphasis as in “you must must must must must do this” is a passage about forgiving debts.
Is it the greatest command? Clearly not, I completely agree with Jesus on this point.
But the command in the Bible that warrants the most emphasis, the most literary focus, the crescendo that storytellers and givers of oral tradition gave the biggest exhortation to…is a little passage about releasing debts in the seventh year.
To Brueggemann, this emphasis means that for a society composed of God’s people that there should not be a permanent underclass but the economy should be organized so that everyone has a viable chance. So that every seven years, there’s a chance for the people to get a leg up and have past errors forgiven. It’s the original social safety net, and it’s more painful to the rich than any progressive tax code in American history.
To me, it means that we follow a God who knows our sins, who knows our hard-heartedness, who knows our short memory, who knows that we bully those most like us, who knows that the mighty will always try to hide injustice behind fairness.
And we are always called to live a life that follows God’s pattern: to strive for six days a week, and relax on the seventh. To build up for six years, and release it to be whatever it ought to be on the seventh. And to trust that our plans, our schemes, and our dreams should always be planned with space for God to work among us in that chaotic, uncontrollable seventh day, year, or moment…because that’s how a life centered on God just is.
Do you? Thoughts?

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