This is our Week with Walter in the Transit Lounge. From the various places in our lives we’ve been reading a book penned by Walter Brueggemann together. From our varied locales we’ve crissed and crossed, sharing thoughts on Twitter and now more extended thoughts on our blogs. This lounge is host to yurt-living rebels, Wesleyan pastors, poet-advocates, diligent mothers and fellow writers. This is a space to share as we are on the move, living in transit.
This morning Steven Spears offers his reflection on Sabbath after reading Walter Brueggemann’s Sabbath as Resistance. This is something I’ve come to appreciate about Steven as we interact on Twitter – he thinks deep and personal about theological matters. He takes matters to heart in the best way, not settling for glib answers. He’s brave to share with us what this read prompted for him. I hope we read with equal kindness and courage to enter a rather unexpected Sabbath conversation.
I have always found it intriguing that the Bible critiques itself. Jesus found it necessary to offer corrections to long standing Old Testament Laws. I was captivated by the way Brueggemann observes the work of the Spirit moving in such a way that allowed the prophets of old to do the same after Israel’s return from exile. This begs the question: how did they come to know the authority they had to do such work? In fact, the Pharisees asked Jesus this very same question.
The new social order being inaugurated by post-exilic Judaism seemed to demand a new understanding of who was in and who was out. Another way to put is, to whom is the Kingdom available? Jesus takes this same tack in Matthew 5-7. Here, Jesus answers the question beginning with the Beatitudes. As in our modern cultures, the ancients seem to have the understanding that there are some among us who are unblessable.
What Jesus offers in his sermon is so scandalous that it eventually got him killed. We do not know for sure, but Rabbinic tradition tells us Isaiah was martyred for the message he preached.
Religious people have always worked hard to draw the line of demarcation on who is in and who is out. Brueggemann offers four categories where the church still offers some resistance to who can be included (Blessed) in the kingdom: women, immigrants, people of color, and gays.
Steven Spears is a Pentecostal pastor on journey. He grew up in the Tampa Bay area and lived overseas for a short spell. He and his wife, Darlene, now reside in NE Alabama. One of Pastor Steve’s favorite pass-times is discussing theology with his adult children who have challenged his thinking in many ways.