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Friday, February 04, 2011

Praise the Lord and pass the car payment

I am "up to here" in reading and thinking Very Big Thoughts about Jesus, so I don't have much to say today.

I do hope that you will watch this little clip I've appended below. It's from 'Mad TV' about buying a car in the Precious Name of Jeee-sussss.

It's really quite brilliant as well as being absolutely hilarious. (Thanks, Bob from Maine, for sending it along.)

It so clearly illustrates the line between soul and psyche, which can get Very Thin when it approaches the intersections of the church and culture, the sacred and the profane - not to mention sanity and insanity.

So, here it is. Enjoy.


If you don't mind, I'll get back to reading the fourth of six chapters of "Soul Feast" by Marjorie J. Thompson which, along with a few other readings, form my assignment for Pui Lan's Spirituality class next Tuesday.

Then, it's onto reading some assigned chapters about Contemporary Western Christologies in "Christology: A Global Instruction - an Ecumenical, International and Contextual Perspective" by Veli-Matti Karkkainen and reflecting on them in a brief paper for Patrick Cheng's class next Wednesday.

Which, believe it or not, actually brings me to say just a few words about the "precious name of Jesus" and this place called the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, MA.

I've been here for a little over two weeks now and I must say that the thing that impresses me most about the environment here is the centrality of Jesus in the lives of faith of the seminarians I've met so far.

Some might miss that because the way that is lived out, quite predominantly, is in an unwavering commitment to and passion for the work justice, compassion and reconciliation - which is clearly stated in the school's Mission Statement.

That Mission statement finds its incarnation quite predominantly in the work of Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression.

It's really a comprehensive, systemic approach to the work of dismantling personal and institutional prejudice and oppression - in ourselves, in others and in the church we love and through which we seek to serve the whole people of God.

It's daunting work but one that you hear on the lips of seminarians, just 30 minutes into any conversation you have with them.

In a way, I think this video serves to illustrate at least one of the reasons this generation of seminarians is so different from the last, at least in my experience.

We've all been exposed to the kind of 'schlock spirituality' so brilliantly and humorously displayed in this video. This kind of spirituality is, ultimately, not centered in Jesus, no matter how many times his "precious Name" is invoked. Rather, it's about developing a cult of personality which is, in the end, narcissistic and self-serving - if not financially profitable.

It's not about 'me' - but it is about doing the interior work on my own 'stuff' so that I can dismantle my own prejudice and oppression so I can be of better service to the people of God by dismantling systemic prejudice and oppression in order that all God's people can know the liberation promised in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

It is not a linear model, which leads one in a straight line from Point A to Point B, at the end of which one "arrives" - perfect and whole. Rather, it's a circular model which sometimes doubles back on itself, leading one deeper into one's soul and psyche and the very heart of Jesus and out again to a new perspective and passion about Christ's mission in and to the world.

Which is the pathway of discipleship as I read it in the Gospels, Luke/Acts and the Epistles of the Ancient Church.

Well, that's the way it looks to me, anyway.

Did I say I had "just a few words" to say?

Sorry about that. It's really just more wonderful than I know how to say to be here at this 'magical' place at 99 Brattle Street.

Back to the books, to think about self and work in relationship to Jesus in community but not take it all so seriously that I can't take a short sidebar to laugh and be in communication with friends.

Shalom, my friends. Deep peace and joy and passion for God's work be in your hearts and on your minds and fill your lives in return to what you give to God's people in the precious Name of Jesus, full measure, pressed down and overflowing.

4 comments:

Thomas Squiers said...

"God made the Buick, and the Devil made the import." - love it.

it's margaret said...

You said, "It's not about 'me' - but it is about doing the interior work on my own 'stuff' so that I can dismantle my own prejudice and oppression so I can be of better service to the people of God by dismantling systemic prejudice and oppression in order that all God's people can know the liberation promised in the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

Oh yeah --you did write that one for me!
Study well.

wv: bliterel
she was striving to see both sides by being bliterel... poor thang, it had not yet dawned on her that there was a third way. and fourth. and fifth...

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

I LOVE that line, Thomas. Isn't it great?

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Hey, Margaret. No, honey, I wrote it for me - b/c it's all about me - but if the shoe fits, I think I'll be handing out LOTS of shoes. We're in good company, doll. "Blessedly, Bliterled", the whole lot of us.