Warlords and Saints

Sunday’s first reading from the Old Testament opens by telling us, “The Lord was pleased to crush him.” What kind of Lord is so pleased? A warlord. The reading goes on, “If he gives his life as an offering for sin … the will of the Lord will be accomplished.” What Lord’s will is accomplished … Continue reading “Warlords and Saints”

Conscience and Consequence

The disciples have recently returned from sharing Jesus’ Way of communion, love, and healing power with people. One consequence is disciples being targeted for persecution. Another consequence, perhaps worse, is disciples being targeted for acclaim. Thus, Jesus says to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest.” He doesn’t want them to … Continue reading “Conscience and Consequence”

Peacemaking Pioneers

Jesus is sending out disciples to spread his Way. His Way is one of communion and so he sends out people in pairs to nurture community. His Way is one of compassionate love and so he sends out people who are poor to nurture loving vulnerability. His Way is one of creativity and so he … Continue reading “Peacemaking Pioneers”

Animal Sacrifice

Sacrifice is the theme of Sunday’s readings. Sacrifice means the priestly ritual of “offering something (especially a life) to a deity” to lessen its wrath and violence. The taking of sacrificed life in death rituals, is the primary ritual of the religion of militarism and is practiced throughout the Old Testament. It includes human and … Continue reading “Animal Sacrifice”

A Higher Loyalty?

Sunday’s first reading includes the warlord Yahweh ordering his supporters to “keep his statutes and commandments.” The people believe Yahweh deserves their loyalty because he “took a nation (Israel) for himself…by testings, …by war,…and by great terrors.” Jesus’ Gospel also includes commands, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to observe all that … Continue reading “A Higher Loyalty?”

The Challenge To Change Our Values

Authors of the Old Testament portray Israel as the chosen people of their god, Yahweh. The people value Yahweh in the same way they value the warlords who invented him – he is their savior, their protector – as long as they are obedient. Warlords, of heaven and earth, are believed to have enabled a … Continue reading “The Challenge To Change Our Values”

The Challenge to Change Our Leaders

Scripture scholars treat Moses and his deity, Yahweh, as leaders. Moses is a military leader, a warlord, as is the Yahweh deity he invented. They dominate, inflict suffering, and kill. Their military leadership is evident in Sunday’s first reading concerning the 10 Commandments. From Yahweh, “I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God, inflicting … Continue reading “The Challenge to Change Our Leaders”

Taxing Decisions

Trick questions are always…tricky. Some are amusing or thought provoking; What’s another word for Thesaurus? Why doesn’t glue stick to its bottle? A definitive trick question however is drawn from cunning and intends to deceive or trap. It is with that intention that religious rulers who are plotting to kill Jesus ask him a trick … Continue reading “Taxing Decisions”

The Weight of Rulers

Who are the people who wait for rulers to come and save them? It seems the people of Israel are such people. It’s a reoccurring theme in the Old Testament and part of this Sunday’s first reading, “shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem! See, your king shall come to you; a just savior is he, … Continue reading “The Weight of Rulers”

The Misguided Concern for Personal Salvation

Jesus is always showing concern for others and models it for disciples. Out of concern for others he’s willing to lead a dangerous life. He intentionally challenges the world’s political, economic, and theological status quo. That status quo is devised by militarists. It is devised to assure benefits to themselves and to inflict harm on … Continue reading “The Misguided Concern for Personal Salvation”