Violence, Social Tribalism, and Redemption in O’Connor’s “Revelation”

Aside

You should take a few minutes this weekend and read one of the last stories Flannery O’Connor wrote, “Revelation.” You can download the PDF here, or read it in Everything That Rises Must Converge or her Collected Works. It isn’t a long read, but it is provocative.

Main character Ruby Turbin is both someone who is brusque, and is treated brusquely. The oft-quoted line from O’Connor is very true here: “All my stories are about the action of grace on a character who is not very willing to support it, but most people think of these stories as hard, hopeless and brutal.” As you read, consider a theme of pity: Ruby pities Mary Grace, but her final experience is an act of pity/mercy for her.

The castes of Ruby’s world are very offensive to our modern, PC-culture. But I find that reading “Revelation” is revelatory in a very personal way. Tolle lege!

“Still will we not fear, The Lord of Hosts is ever near”

Aside

Martin Luther penned the following poem, inspired by Psalm 46. The hymnologist will note that Luther’s celebrated hymn, “Ein’ Feste Burg ist Unser Gott” / “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” is also based the sacred text. Originally published in The German Psalmody.

God is our refuge in distress,
Our shield of hope through every care,
Our Shepherd watching us to bless,
And therefore will we not despair;
Although the mountains shake,
And hills their place forsake,
And billows o’er them break
Yet still will we not fear,
For Thou, O God, art ever near.

God is our hope and strength in woe;
Through earth He maketh wars to cease;
His power breaketh spear and bow;
His mercy sendeth endless peace.
Then though the earth remove,
And storms rage high above,
And seas tempestuous prove,
Yet still will we not fear,
The Lord of Hosts is ever near.

Bethlehem Pastor’s Conference and App Live

Aside

bcs_pascon19_1920x750-2I just got notice that the #BCSPasCon app is now available to as a FREE download from both Google Play and the App Store. Or, simply search “2019 Bethlehem Conference” and it should come up.

From the app you can:
Connect with other attendees • Post on the activity stream • Read speaker bios • Browse the complete schedule • Read about your favorite exhibitors • Track #BCSPasCon on Twitter • And much more!

The conference is Jan 28 – 30. If you’re going, I’d love to connect with you!

Repetition Needs An Editor

Aside

Schreiner_PaulBookDr. Thomas Schreiner’s magisterial Paul: Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ is one of my favorite texts on Pauline theology (see also Herman Ridderbos). Methodological concerns of a Pauline “center,” etc., are always challenging, but I think Schreiner – and the scholars that he has influenced – are often closer to going in the right direction than many others.

Here’s my question: did his editor see these?!

Some of Schreiner’s words seem nearly identical, mere sentences away from each other.

Here’s a few examples:

Some see this as “stuffy” orthodoxy and a bourgeois ethic.
4 sentences later…
Some may perceive this as a rigid orthodoxy that focuses on tradition and does not comport with the authentic Paul.
(p. 390)

The singular overseer is sometimes seen as distinct from the plural elders, but it is more likely that overseer is a generic term here.
1 sentence later…!
The singular for overseer is likely generic.
(p. 387)

No big deal, certainly, but it still left me bemused!

No big deal, certainly, but it still left me bemused!

Dr. Thomas Schreiner’s magisterial Paul: Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ is one of my favori

Leadership Tweets

Aside

Would you add any others?

How to Pray When The World Gets Evil

Aside

calvin_coinJohn Calvin’s prayer based on Jeremiah 20:7 – 9

Grant, Almighty God, that as at this day a greater and viler impiety breaks forth than at any age, and thy sacred truth is treated with derision by many of Satan’s drudges — O grant, that we may nevertheless constantly persevere in it, nor hesitate to oppose the fury of all the ungodly, and relying on the power of thy Spirit, contend with them until that truth, which thou didst once proclaim by thy Prophets, and at length by thine only-begotten Son, and which was sealed by his blood, may attain its full authority, that as it proves to many the savour of eternal death, so it may also be a pledge to us of eternal salvation, until we shall be gathered into thy kingdom at the coming of the same thy Son Jesus Christ.
Amen.

(HT: Publican Chest | source)

Mapping Out the Zealot vs. the Tax Collector

Aside

How do we apply the fact that Jesus made room in the Twelve for both Simon the Zealot and Matthew the Tax Collector? Certainly, it must remind us that Jesus’ invitation was to a wide and deep mercy in God. Simon, who was ready to take down the institutionalized, status quo, Roman occupation is at one end of the spectrum. On the other, Matthew earned his bread and maintained a social status feeding off of the very institution Simon was seeking to destroy. Both of them need salvation found in Christ alone.

So are these political opposites, with the application being Jesus calls neo-socialists as well as fascists? Democrats and Republicans? Or does Rome function more as an icon of the passing-away-world, and not politics per se? In this case, Simon is the ascetic, jihadist, fundamentalist; Matthew the cosmopolitan, worldly promoter of any/every zeitgeist. Or is there some other taxonomy that these two disciples map on to?