Saturday, November 5, 2016

Fooling with Scripture, Ep 13 -- Bodies, Limits, and God's Weakness

This week's episode of Fooling with Scripture is once again brought to you through a partnership with Crossroads United Methodist Church as part of their Faith Beyond Belief: Reclaiming the Art of Christian Practice series.

Each week for the next few weeks we'll be fooling with a text from John's gospel. This week we're looking at John 1:9-14, which tells us that the divine logos (remember the first episode of this particular series?) "took on flesh and lived among us." So we're talking about flesh this week -- about bodies, limits, and divine weakness.

A quick note about the translation I just linked to -- it uses the male pronoun to talk about the logos (Word), but it doesn't have to. If you want to hear more about that, and about some of the other details of this text, you can check out the short intro I did for this week's Faith Beyond Belief session.

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Have a question, a comment, or a scripture you'd like "fooled with"? Send me an email!

A few references came up in this week's podcast that I wanted to say a bit more about.

There are hundreds, even thousands, of possible resources I could point you to if you're really interested in the historic debates within the Church about how Jesus can be both human and divine at the same time. If you really want to get into the weeds on this, I'd suggest Jurgen Moltmann's critical take on it in the second section of his book The Way of Jesus Christ. And if you're really, truly, irredeemably geeky, email me and I'll send you the Christology I wrote up for my systematic theology class in seminary. [[nerd]]

I once again relied on Dr. Sharon Ringe's excellent book, Wisdom's Friends, for this episode -- this time in reference to connections between Wisdom (hokhma/sophia) and Word (logos) in John's gospel. If you're interested in that, she does a much better job than I at explaining it, so check out Wisdom's Friends.

Here's a Huffington Post article by Rabbi Arthur Waskow about the Jewish festival of Sukkot and its connections to vulnerability and fragility. He writes:
Every night, Jews pray to YHWH, the Holy Interbreathing of all life: “Spread over us the sukkah of shalom.” Not a fortress of invincibility, a palace of triumph and security, a temple of orderly and muttered prayer — but these huts where anything might happen. From outside, a storm. A robber. From inside, an “O!” of radical amazement at the awesome beauty, awesome terror, of the world around us. A breath of some new way of praising the One Who Breathes us. The teaching: We, all humankind, live in a sukkah, vulnerable. No great Twin Towers, no Pentacle of Power, is invincible. Only the shared knowledge of that truth can bring us peace.
Next week will be the last week of the John series in cooperation with Crossroads UMC, so be sure to tune in next week to talk about breath and breathing. And remember to breathe, and to take care of your fragile, vulnerable body and the fragile, vulnerable bodies of those around you this week, especially as this anxiety-inducing election season comes to its climax. Be gentle with yourself and with each other. Peace.

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