Archive for the ‘Spirituality’ Category

Good Friday Reflections 2013

Friday, March 29th, 2013

Following is my annual set of brief statements about Good Friday, with some additions for this year:

What makes Good Friday “good”? Or, what is the meaning of Good Friday?

The first thing to say is that it is good only in light of Easter. Given the reality of Easter, it is good because it reveals the depth of God’s love and communicates that love to us in order to liberate us from Sin and Death and to give us life in abundance and life eternal.

Volumes have been written on this, including some by yours truly. Here are just a few reflections summarizing some of what I have written elsewhere at greater length:

1. The main purpose of Jesus’ death was to create the people of the new covenant, who would be empowered by the Spirit of God to resemble Jesus himself: faithful to God and loving toward their neighbors and enemies.

2. The cross is not only the source but also the shape of our salvation. This is the essential meaning of “cruciformity”–daily likeness to the self-giving, life-giving divine love manifested on the cross.

3. The cross reveals the love, power, wisdom, and justice of God, and it does so, paradoxically but powerfully, in weakness.

4. The cross is not only the signature of the Risen One (so Kaesemann), but also of the Holy One of Israel; that is, the cross is not only a christophany but ultimately a theophany–the ultimate divine self-revelation.

5. Thus cruciformity is ultimately theoformity; Christlikeness is Godlikeness; through participation in the cross of Christ, we are transformed most fully into the image of God. This is sometimes called theosis or deification.

6. The fact that Jesus died as the Jewish Messiah on a Roman cross means that his death contains within it a political theology and spirituality.

7. When the cross is used for anything that contradicts its character as divine love, power, wisdom, and justice displayed in weakness, it is being used blasphemously.

Finally: When I survey the wondrous cross, love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.

Inaugural Lecture PLUS a Seminar on Paul Nov. 8-9

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

Nov. 8: Raymond E. Brown Inaugural Lecture and

Nov. 9: A Morning with the Apostle Paul (and Friends)

If you are anywhere near Baltimore, you are cordially invited!!

On Thursday, November 8 I will deliver my inaugural lecture as the first holder of the Raymond E. Brown Chair in Biblical Studies and Theology at St. Mary’s Seminary & University. The topic will be “The Death of the Messiah: Theology, Spirituality, Politics.” A book sale and signing will precede the lecture at 7 p.m., and a period of dialogue will follow. This event, which is also this year’s Dunning Lecture, is free and open to the public.
Click for lecture information.

On the morning after the lecture, the conversation will continue as other biblical scholars and theologians (Richard Hays, Kathy Grieb, Fr. Tom Stegman, and Brent Laytham) will join me for “A Morning with the Apostle Paul (and Friends),” a discussion of some of the themes from my work on Paul and their significance both for understanding Paul and for the life and mission of the church today. Advance registration for this seminar is required, and space is limited.
Click for seminar details and registration form.

Bible and Spirituality Symposium in England

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

I have just finished participating in a stimulating international symposium on the Bible and (Christian) spirituality at the University of Gloucestershire in Cheltenham, England. It was sponsored by the University’s Centre for the Bible and Spirituality and the British Bible Society. Participants and topics included (not the full list):

  • Stephen Barton (retired, Durham): Joy in Luke-Acts and Paul
  • Richard Briggs (Cranmer Hall, Durham): Daniel as spiritual reader of Scripture
  • Stephen Chapman (Duke): The Amalek texts and Christian spirituality
  • Ellen Davis (Duke): Literal Jerusalem in Christian spirituality
  • Pieter de Villiers (Free State, S. Africa): Love in Galatians
  • Andrew Lincoln (Gloucestershire): Colossians and spiritual formation
  • Gordon McConville (Gloucestershire): Spiritual formation through the Psalms
  • Walter Moberly (Durham): Job and spiritual wisdom
  • Lloyd Pietersen (Gloucestershire): Spirituality of persecution in 2 Tim and the Anabaptist martyrs
  • Sandra Schneiders (GTU Berkeley): Method in NT spirituality
  • and yours truly: The this-worldliness of NT spirituality

The conversation was wonderful, collegial, and promising. The papers will be published in a volume from Wipf and Stock, due out in about a year.


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