Both Moses in the first reading and Paul in the second believe humans are “depraved,” meaning corrupt, twisted. Both men applied their belief to people who disobeyed them; sinners who, according to them, deserved to be punished. Both men’s belief in humanity’s depravity and necessary punishment is deeply influential and controls institutional Christianity. It does … Continue reading “Depravity”

The Narrow Gate

A person burdened with the baggage of salvation poses a question to Jesus, “Will only a few people be saved?” Jesus is free of the salvation burden. It forces on people a false identity as sinners who must be saved from their condition. Jesus knows each person’s saintliness, their godliness. He knows all the good … Continue reading “The Narrow Gate”

Wealth: Inherited or Shared

When Jesus leaves his trade as a common laborer, he starts traveling as a preacher among mostly poor working people. He has very few things. What he does have he shares with others; his spirituality, his wisdom, his storytelling. Others share their gifts with him; home, hearth, food. Amidst this shared life, a man says … Continue reading “Wealth: Inherited or Shared”

Does U.S. Culture Justify Rape?

Is there ever any justification for a man to treat a woman disrespectfully? A Pharisee in this Sunday’s Gospel who has dealings with a “sinful woman” thinks there is such justification. The Pharisee considers himself just and lives his life judging others. He judges a woman who touches Jesus as unjust, meaning sinful. She is … Continue reading “Does U.S. Culture Justify Rape?”

Beyond Justice and Mercy to Compassion

When Thomas professes a lack of faith in Jesus rising from the dead he’s actually professing faith in something else. Thomas already believes in justice and mercy, and their many gods. Justice is invented and dispensed by militarists; chief priests, elders, Pilates, and other such gods. Their justice consists of writing unjust laws for the … Continue reading “Beyond Justice and Mercy to Compassion”

Executing Christianity

The woman caught in adultery is a well-known Gospel story. Perhaps we have heard it too often to any longer feel its terror. Officials are purposeful about executing a death penalty plan and drag a frightened woman into public. They put her on display in the Temple area. They intend murder and set upon stoning … Continue reading “Executing Christianity”

Who’s Been Gaming the System

There’s an old joke, not so old that Jesus heard it, but old nonetheless – You can tell Monopoly is an old game because it’s got a luxury tax and it’s possible for rich people to go to jail. The possibility of either or both happening is greater in the board game than in real … Continue reading “Who’s Been Gaming the System”

Law and Order or Conscience and the Common Good

Jesus is accosted in Sunday’s Gospel by the ruling class. They are upset with his, and his disciples, lack of appreciation for law and order. Law and order is frequently extolled, even thought godly, but it isn’t as beneficial as supposed. Law and order is another name for military justice. Dominating rulers use law and … Continue reading “Law and Order or Conscience and the Common Good”

Sacred Gifts of the Earth

Jesus is sharing a final meal with friends in this Sunday’s Gospel. During the meal he proclaims the Presence of God within God’s good creation, “he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, gave it to them, and said, ‘Take it; this is my body.’” The celebration of the Real Presence of God within the … Continue reading “Sacred Gifts of the Earth”

Shepherds, Hired Hands, and Wolves

Jesus’ role as a Good Shepherd is addressed in this Sunday’s Gospel. He loves those in his care and is willing to put his life in jeopardy should harm come their way. Jesus’ witness for disciples is that of a committed and loving friend and is easily distinguished from a cowardly hired hand who gives … Continue reading “Shepherds, Hired Hands, and Wolves”