On last Thursday’s (9.13.18) special edition of Reach Out, we asked, “What is socialism?” In a discussion ranging from the juxtaposition of socialism and religion, cooperation vs. competition in humanity’s origins, and how class is what primarily divides people, Bill and I, along with special guest Matt Reedy, barely scratched the surface of answering that question but realized its enormity and complexity.
In modern times it may not even seem like an issue if a Christian can or cannot serve in the military, clearly Christians today and for many centuries do, so what would the issue be? On the other hand, anyone who has honestly read the gospels must recognize that the issue of violence is at the very least problematic in Jesus’s teachings. One would simply have to point to the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:38–47) or the Sermon on the Plain (Luke 6:27–31), or his teaching on the one taking the sword dying by the sword (Matthew 26:52), to recognize that Jesus tended to reject violence.
“Empty entertainment/worship sung by pretty people. Doctrinally-correct sermons devoid of power. Sunday-only Christian lives barely distinguishable from the world. All these and many more ills are symptoms of a disease Art clearly identifies in this message. It’s such a fundamental thing, our understanding of the cross. It’s an indictment of our lives and the current impotence of the church. In the final analysis, unless we know Christ and Him crucified, our knowledge of God will be false.”
Probably the most famous parable by Jesus is the parable of the speck in your brother’s eye as opposed to the beam in your eye. Often this parable is taken to simply be about not being a hypocrite and not being personally judgmental against other individuals. However, this saying was not only used by Jesus and the early Christians, it was also a saying within rabbinic Judaism—seeing how they used it can shed some light on what Jesus meant with it. The saying is recorded the sermon on the plain in Luke 6:41–42: Continue reading →
I would argue that the best summation of Christian ethics is found in the sermon on the plain in Luke 6:20–49. What I love about the sermon on the plain is just how radical it seems on the surface, it seems almost impossible; however, when you think about what it’s saying, and think about it deeply—it makes sense. Probably my favorite example of this is found in Luke 6:34–35 (NRSV): Continue reading →
Jesus of Nazareth (Italian: Gesù di Nazareth) is a 1977 British-Italian television miniseries co-written (with Anthony Burgess and Suso Cecchi d’Amico) and directed by Franco Zeffirelli which dramatizes the birth, life, ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus largely according the Christian Bible’s New Testament Gospels. It was filmed in Tunisia, Morocco, and Mexico and was produced by Lew Grade and Vincenzo Labella on a budget of an estimated US$12 million to $18 million.
Speech to Kairos group, Union, Columbia
[Edited version for clarification, January 23, 2017]
The focus of my talk today will be Jesus’ first sermon and the long background behind it that helps explain what he was talking about and what he sought to bring about. I’ve been associated with Harvard University’s Peabody Museum for over thirty years in Babylonian economic archeology. And for more than twenty years I’ve headed a group out of Harvard, the International Scholars Conference on Ancient Near Eastern Economies (ISCANEE), writing a new economic history of the ancient Near East.
Today, Pope Francis released the annual World Day of Peace Message for January 1, 2017, called “Nonviolence—A Style of Politics for Peace.” This is the Vatican’s fiftieth World Day of Peace message, but it’s the first statement on nonviolence, in the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—in history.