One Year and Counting

Today is the first day of class, which means I’ve now been in grad school for a full year. I have no idea how that happened.

It also means I’ve been blogging for more than a year – I started this thing in late July 2011, and here I am, somehow still trucking along. In celebration, here are the top 10 posts by pageviews this blog has had since its inception. If you’re newish, maybe you’ll find something you like; if you’ve been here from the beginning, thanks! Maybe you’ll find something you missed or forgot you liked. Or maybe the fact that these posts are the most viewed here will make you once again wonder why you’ve wasted so much time reading this blog.

Without further ado:

No. 10 – ‘Neither Male nor Female, Slave nor Free, Gay nor Straight’?

You don’t have to agree that Paul would have added “neither gay nor straight” to the book of Galatians. But I make this challenge: Are you willing to make homosexuality an agree-to-disagree issue? More importantly, how would this change your treatment of God’s gay children?

No. 9 – If Trayvon Martin Were a Fetus, Christians Would Be a Whole Lot More Upset

Think about this: Christians who support non-violence or even pacifism are confronted with tough questions about the practicality of their beliefs. Who confronts Christians who supported – or even rushed headlong into – the eight-year carnage-filled adventure that was our war in Iraq? Who confronts the followers of a rabbi who preached turning the other cheek when they advocate nuclear armament, saber rattling or, yes, the NRA?

No. 8 – Transgender in the Church

It’s easy to focus on the negative, the sensational, the hateful words of ignorant fundamentalist pastors. And sometimes those things need to be focused on and condemned for the unChristian bigotry they are. But there are many, many kind, caring, warm-hearted members of the church who simply want greater understanding about the tough choices their brothers and sisters face. Let’s not forget to celebrate those people, who are doing no more than simply being Jesus.

No. 7 – Class, Day 1: The Purpose of Worship

Instead, we talk about worship only in the technical sense, he said – whether that song was sung well, whether the prayer sent a chill down our spine. For us, good worship is worship we like; “meanwhile, blocks away, there are people who have no food to eat and no roof over their heads.I don’t think God gives a damn whether we liked it if there are are people who need help that we are not helping.”

No. 6 – Class Wrap: How Should We Worship

The difference probably lies in the importance one places on Isaiah 6. It’s a compelling passage, and it’s easy to see the connection, but Isaiah’s perspective is clearly pre-Christian. Yes, he, like us, finds himself face-to-face with God, a humbling experience indeed, but isn’t our relationship with God different in light of the cross? Our status entering worship is not as those with unclean lips; we have been set free, once and for all, by the power of Christ’s blood. That doesn’t eliminate the need for or benefit of reverence, confession or gratitude – that’s what worship is, after all – but I think it changes how legalistic we need to be in doing those things.

No. 5 – Chaos, Creation and Midterms

The prompt boils down to this basic assignment: A friend walks up to you and says, “Why should I study the Old Testament? I believe it’s the inspired word of God, and I know the stories we learn as kids, so why should I bother learning anything else?” My answer …

No. 4 – Opening Communion for the 3-Year-Olds

The more I think about it, the more I realize: If the God you worship wouldn’t let her take communion simply because she hasn’t gone through whatever steps you think she needs to take, then I don’t think we worship the same God.

No. 3 – Love Wins

Many Christians would likely condemn Les and Scott GrantSmith for their relationship. There was a time I would have, too. But love is a mighty, inexorable power. It leads a man to accept his partner’s new identity, and it leads a man to sacrifice himself for a people who despise him. It saves us all from the slavery of sin and death. When I read a story like Les and Scott’s, I see what I see when I read the story of Jesus: the beautiful, exquisite triumph of love.

No. 2 – Christians Have Power. How Will We Use It?

So we adult citizens of the United States of America have political power. But we Christians living in the United States have not only political power but the power of majority. As I cite in the paper, nearly 80 percent of Americans self-identify as Christian. For all the talk about post-Christian societies and all the fear mongering about impending secularization and persecution, the reality remains: If you are Christian in America, you are most likely comfortable, accepted – and extremely powerful.

The question, then, is what do we do with this power?

No. 1 – The Radical Femininity of Christ

The men didn’t get it. They betrayed, abandoned and hung him on a cross. Yet while he was there, who stayed with him? The women. They got it. They stayed at the cross. They returned to the tomb, and as a result, were the first to see the risen Christ. The crucifixion and resurrection stories do not have a “masculine feel.” Indeed, the whole life of Christ is decidedly opposed to the masculine norms of his day.

So there you have it. Enjoy the trip down memory lane. I sure have!

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