Tag Archives: jesus

Taxes, Caesar and Living Like Hobbits: Jesus’ take on the Culture Wars.

Here is a guest post in our series on the culture wars from a friend, one time fellow barista, and former student of mine, Fr. Matt Boulter. More about Matt can be found at his blog: Religiocity.

In about the year 6 AD in ancient Palestine, with winds of revolution blowing in the air, a Jewish militant called Judas of Galileerose up in defiance of the oppressive Roman government, at that time brutally plaguing the Jewish people. In his revolutionary zeal Judas does three things:

Judas the Galilean image from Universität Wien

  1. Rids the Temple of Gentiles by force.
  2. Preaches for people to forsake Caesar in favor of hi view of the Kingdom of God.
  3. Calls Jews to refuse to pay some taxes to Caesar.

Shortly after his anti-Imperial mutiny, Judas was summarily attacked, captured, and executed. His revolutionary followers, thus, disbanded and went home. Fast-forward the story about a quarter century, when we encounter one Jesus of Nazareth who does some very similar, and yet entirely different things. Continue reading

Bumper Stickers Don’t Change Hearts, and Other Reasons the Culture Wars are Hurting Everyone.

Bumper sticker car parked in Santa Cruz, Calif...

Bumper sticker car parked in Santa Cruz, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What good are bumper stickers?   So far in my life I have never seen anyone pull the car over and say to the passenger, “You know what? You CAN’T hug the world with nuclear arms, can you?” or, “I just visualized world peace and it was awesome.”

They are not really arguments, let alone compelling ones.  Bumper stickers don’t really change people’s lives.  Nevertheless it is nearly impossible to go anywhere for a short drive in just about any town and not see the simple black “W,” a Shepherd Fairey, “Hope”  illustration of Obama, a name followed by a “2012,” or a pithy statement about how just such-and-such a position makes the most obvious moral sense or that ridicules the opposition.   So I’ve been wondering, if these little traveling slogans don’t really change things, why do they keep showing up everywhere, and more importantly, what are they really trying to tell me?  Continue reading

How my relationship with Jesus is, and is not, personal.

When I was young I would go to camp or a youth service where I was told that what I needed was a personal relationship with Jesus.  It made a kind of sense as a lot of things do for children because I was still relying on other people to teach me how to make sense of things. So I agreed, with no regrets.

Buddy Christ

Buddy Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

However, I happen to be the kind of person, and have been since childhood, to throw myself headlong into the task at hand whatever it may be.   So I was bound and determined to have the most personal relationship with Jesus a person could have. This is a dangerous prayer.  The trouble began when I took it so seriously it started to take my life in some surprising if not shocking directions that none of my youth pastors had anticipated. Continue reading

Reasons for my Faith. …from someone who has nothing to prove

 

J. Douglas Harrison. The Patient

In the next few weeks  I will occasionally be posting some reflections on what it can mean to have faith in a time when the Christian faith may seem, at least to many people, quite unreasonable.

I won’t try to provide irrefutable evidence in favor of the Christian faith.  I will not be presenting argumentative ‘facts’ or try to show that Christianity is obviously intellectually superior to everything else as others may  have tried to do.  I have nothing here to prove.   I have nothing here to buy or sell.  Instead, I believe there are different genres by which we come to see what moves people to live as they do. Continue reading

Five Un-truths of Easter


There are somethings we can mistakenly embrace about Easter that distract us from the real hope that can help shape our lives.  These things are worth evaluating, not to deflate us, but to focus us on where the real hope lies. Continue reading

The Impossible Will Take A Little While.

It is harder than it looks to know how to take Easter. On the one hand it feels like an easy home run, a touchdown, a triumphal entry.   But those were the kinds of thing we were celebrating last week. How then is this week different?   For one thing it amazes how few people  to whom Jesus appeared after the resurrection.

The first to arrive.

One would think he would be taking out billboards all over town that said, “I told you so!”  but he doesn’t.    The first to see Jesus would be the last we would expect.   It was not the disciples, not even his family, but one of the worst outcasts of all of his company: Mary Magdalene.

Continue reading

Manic Maundy: How you can prevent waging a personal war-on-Easter.

ora et labora

It is springtime and it seems the hectic demands I usually have around Christmas are beginning to over take Holy Week as well.  Besides my normal work obligations I have time sensitive art projects, volunteer work, some important events with my friends and of course, church services.  I feel like I am waging my own personal  war on Easter trying to figure out what the most Christian choices I can make are.  I suspect that I am not at all alone in this.  I find myself asking familiar questions about what Christianity is all, “about,” Continue reading

Face-Palm Sunday: How sincerity can keep Christians from being Christian.

Nearly every Palm Sunday sermon I heard growing up emphasized the inevitable hypocrisy of those  who would be shouting Jesus’ praise on one day and crying “crucify him!” just days later.  During these sermons I always pictured the crowds as wicked bearded villains (perhaps with pirate hats?).

I most certainly never pictured them being anything like me.   That is why it was so confusing when, without any sense of irony,  we all picked up Palm leaves and cried, “Hosannah!” just like those bearded hypocrite-pirates that we knew turned on Jesus later.  I knew that there were sides but I lost track of whose side to be on. Sunday? Friday? Continue reading

What Withered Hands Can Heal: How John’s profoundly disabled body kept me in the game.

John’s body was less like mine than anyone else’s in the room.  In that room full of people with some very unique bodies and abilities, that was saying a lot.   It was the end of a weekend I spent on retreat with L’Arche, which is a set of communities of people with disabilities and the people who choose to build a life with them.

A picture of another celebration at L'Arche Antigonish, Canada

L’Arche retreats are celebrations that, in some ways, put Burning Man to shame in creating an environment where everyone can unapologetically  be themselves.  I knew the people in room were experts in living with unique limitations and gifts, but I still could not imagine how the evening would unfold in a way that John could fully play along. Continue reading