Grace and Responsibility

Some days ago, a friend shared with me a lecture that Jacques Barzun had given in 1969 entitled “Present Day Thoughts on the Quality of Life.” It had just recently been rediscovered and was published this month in “The American Scholar." In it he speaks of, for all their questionable tendencies, the valid critique of western culture that inhered in the revolutionary movements of the late 60’s and early 70’s. Given the secular and rational-functional reductionism of our culture, we have come to identify usefulness with human value. And if this was true in 1969, it is even more true[read more]

Pathos and Responsibility

Both the Lord in Genesis and Jesus in Mark’s gospel are presented in today’s readings as apparently frustrated. In the very anthropomorphic presentation of God in Genesis, the Creator is presented as experiencing regret for having created free human beings. In Mark’s description of Jesus’ attempting to teach his disciples to avoid the hypocrisy and self-alienation of the Pharisees and Herod, we hear of the pain that the disciples’ obduracy evokes in him. It is striking to ponder the fact that Jesus and God might experience the pathos that is so painful an aspect of our own experience. It is[read more]

Unfettered Speech

As a developing child, I was very slow to begin to speak. Although my parents told me about it, we never really spoke about what might have contributed to this, aside from my mother saying the pediatrician would always encourage her by saying that I would begin to speak when it was the right time for me. Now I can well imagine that a part of my hesitancy was the birth defect that would not be repaired until I was five or six. This made it difficult for me to make certain sounds, and it also, I think evoked anxiety[read more]

Responsibility and Judgment

“People will collapse from fear and from dread of the things that are coming upon the inhabited world. For the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with power and great glory. When all these things start to happen, stand up! Life up[read more]

Attention and Responsibility

Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged!  The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior; he will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his love.  He will sing joyfully because of you, as one sings at festivals. Zephaniah 3:17 In his book Existence and Love, the sociologist William Sadler[read more]

Appraising The Way

We set sail from Troas, making a straight run for Samothrace, and on the next day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, a leading city in that district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We spent some time in that city. On the sabbath we went outside the city gate along the river where we thought[read more]

Responsibility and Community

The people, however, refused to listen to Samuel’s warning and said, “Not so!  There must be a king over us. We too must be like other nations, with a king to rule us and to lead us in warfare and fight our battles.” 1 Samuel 8:19-20 It is not easy to be responsible for one’s[read more]

Word and Deed

“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. And everyone who listens to[read more]

Love and Responsibility

Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right? As you go to a magistrate with an adversary, try to make things up with him while still on the road. Otherwise he might drag you before the judge and the judge will hand you over to the bailiff and the bailiff will throw you into[read more]

Responsibility and Judgment

But thanks be to God that, although you were once slaves of sin, you have become obedient from the heart to the pattern of  teaching to which you were entrusted. Romans 6: 27 And the servant who has known the desire of the master yet has not prepared or done anything in accordance with his[read more]