Tag Archives: sermons

Redemptive Violence and 24

A few weeks ago I listened to a Robcast about the “lie of redemptive violence.”  In this podcast, Rob Bell explains how this idea of redemptive violence–that violence in retaliation for wrong-doing can be justified–is deep in our society…and even in our theology.  But it’s really a myth, and he goes on to talk about how the “Jesus narrative” provides a powerful alternative to this myth of redemptive violence.

So I had this podcast in my mind and was pondering this concept of redemptive violence, when I had a brief window in my regular schedule of television shows and was looking for something to watch.  So (don’t judge me) I settled on the final season of the show 24.  In this final season, counter-terrorism expert Jack Bauer is called on once again to save the U.S. from the threat of a terrorist attack.  Jack Bauer spends the next 24 hours trying to neutralize the threat in order to preserve peace.  And, of course, in quality mediocre television drama fashion, lots of people are tortured and killed in the race against time.  And at the last minute, the president of the United States has to decide what lines can or cannot be crossed for the sake of a signed document called a ‘peace treaty’.  To the show’s credit, it does not tie all the pieces together nicely at the end, and the whole thing ends with a bit of a question about who exactly ‘won’ after all that fighting and revenge.

Continue reading Redemptive Violence and 24

liturgical calendar

The rhythm of faith and life

One of the things I love about being part of a liturgical church is that the rhythm of the church year teaches me new stuff about the ongoing life of faith.  In the context of writing a sermon recently, I was reflecting on it again.  This is the bit that didn’t get into the sermon: Continue reading The rhythm of faith and life

Is that what we call a paradox?

If there is one theological concept that is really hard for me to wrap my head around, it’s this concept of God’s radical love for humanity.  More than humanity…God’s radical love for ME.  Mind you, this is something I teach about all the time.  Recently, I even preached about it.  But that sermon definitely became one of those, “as I’m preaching it, I’m being convicted” kinds of sermons.  In the back of my mind as I was saying these things I was thinking, “what if I really let this stuff change me?  What if I honestly held nothing back and stepped fully into what I’m laying out for people here…what then?”

This tension lives within me, of both believing and struggling to believe this concept of God’s love.  I can confidently say that there’s something really significant in this central understanding of God’s character.  I can also confidently say I don’t really understand it…it’s all fairly abstract to me…and I’m fairly sure I don’t always live it well.