Jesus and John Wayne by Kristen Kobes Du Mez

Jesus and John Wayne is the eye-catching title of a book by Kristen Kobes Du Mez. The subtitle is even more provocative: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation. It’s a fine historical account written for a general audience detailing exactly what the subtitle says, with extensive documentation of sources. I lived through much of it what she is writing about. It is troubling, indeed, and helpfully contextualizes much that is troubling in the church today.

To learn more about the author, one can find a set of four interviews Skye Jethani did with Kristen Kobes Du Mez on The Holy Post podcast. These interviews summarize some of the points covered in the book:

  1. Cold Warriors: The 50s and 60s
  2. Culture Warriors: The 70s and 80s
  3. Tender Warriors: The 90s and 00s
  4. Fallen Warriors: The 10s and Today

Lastly, Jim Lyon did a really fine, more personal, interview with the author on the All That to Say podcast. He interviews Kristen Kobes Du Mez about her background and faith in a very wholesome and helpful manner. I found this interview quite helpful.

This is a book that many are talking about, and rightfully so. Kristen Kobes Du Mez will take some heat for this work – just like her Lord did, when He told the truth.

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W. H. Auden on Change

We would rather be ruined than changed.
We would rather die in our dread
Than climb the cross of the moment
And let our illusions die.

– W.H. Auden, The Age of Anxiety

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Job 28 – Wisdom and Understanding

I tend towards reading (or listening to) scripture in wider and wider context. More at one time. Sometimes, however, a jewel can be lost in the wider scope of a ….narrative? Poetry? Whatever one wants to consider the Book of Job in the Hebrew Bible, what we call chapter 28 is a gem that ends in an even more precious gem. Here it is, from the NIV translation.

1 There is a mine for silver
and a place where gold is refined.
2 Iron is taken from the earth,
and copper is smelted from ore.
3 Mortals put an end to the darkness;
they search out the farthest recesses
for ore in the blackest darkness.
4 Far from human dwellings they cut a shaft,
in places untouched by human feet;
far from other people they dangle and sway.
5 The earth, from which food comes,
is transformed below as by fire;
6 lapis lazuli comes from its rocks,
and its dust contains nuggets of gold.
7 No bird of prey knows that hidden path,
no falcon’s eye has seen it.
8 Proud beasts do not set foot on it,
and no lion prowls there.
9 People assault the flinty rock with their hands
and lay bare the roots of the mountains.
10 They tunnel through the rock;
their eyes see all its treasures.
11 They search the sources of the rivers
and bring hidden things to light.

12 But where can wisdom be found?
Where does understanding dwell?
13 No mortal comprehends its worth;
it cannot be found in the land of the living.
14 The deep says, “It is not in me”;
the sea says, “It is not with me.”
15 It cannot be bought with the finest gold,
nor can its price be weighed out in silver.
16 It cannot be bought with the gold of Ophir,
with precious onyx or lapis lazuli.
17 Neither gold nor crystal can compare with it,
nor can it be had for jewels of gold.
18 Coral and jasper are not worthy of mention;
the price of wisdom is beyond rubies.
19 The topaz of Cush cannot compare with it;
it cannot be bought with pure gold.

20 Where then does wisdom come from?
Where does understanding dwell?
21 It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing,
concealed even from the birds in the sky.
22 Destruction and Death say,
“Only a rumor of it has reached our ears.”
23 God understands the way to it
and he alone knows where it dwells,
24 for he views the ends of the earth
and sees everything under the heavens.
25 When he established the force of the wind
and measured out the waters,
26 when he made a decree for the rain
and a path for the thunderstorm,
27 then he looked at wisdom and appraised it;
he confirmed it and tested it.
28 And he said to the human race,
“The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,
and to shun evil is understanding.”

Job 28

Wow. Once more.

And he said to the human race,
“The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,
and to shun evil is understanding.”

This reminds me of the transfiguration of Jesus. God speaks, and He says Mark 9:7:

This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”

Simple, eh? As usual, the theory is simple but the practice more challenging. May you and I be blessed in the challenge.

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On the Cost of War: A Demonstration of Extreme Love and Loyalty at Great Cost

A recent trilogy of Rough Translation podcasts tells an amazing story of two people who make great sacrifices. I was struck by the display of the often unseen cost of war and violence and by the great display of love demonstrated by one who joined in with the sacrifice of a hurting veteran for whom she grew to care a great deal. There are many dimensions to the story and its implications; I’m still processing. The humanity, vulnerability, loyalty, love, sacrifice…

Here are links to the three podcast episodes that tell this story. They are worth your time. Beware if you are squeamish; the first episode tells the story of terrible injury and suffering in war.

  1. Battle Rattle
  2. Battle Lines
  3. Battle Bourne
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The crucifixion is not a defeat.

“The crucifixion is not a defeat to be overturned by resurrection. The crucifixion is a victory revealed by resurrection.”

– Brian Zahnd
@BrianZahnd

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Lectio Divina between Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday

Well, I don’t believe any one week is holier than another, but here’s a set of links for the Long Beach Friends Church lectio divina readings from 2020 at the start of the pandemic, one for each day of the week leading up to the Sunday on which many Christians traditionally celebrate Jesus’ resurrection.

What happened to Saturday? There are no videos to watch or audio tracks to listen to for Saturday, the day after Good Friday. Traditionally this is a day of silence to remind us of when Jesus was in the tomb. If you missed any of the week’s readings, Saturday might be a good day to catch up.

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Women’s History Month articles at Barclay College

Barclay College has put out several short blog articles for Women’s History Month. Check them out!

The first one is a brief comment on women in pastoral and other forms of leadership in the church and in society. It opens with an introductory defense of women in leadership and closes with a call for the church to do better at supporting God’s call to women in leadership positions. It is confounding that there are a few churches today claiming to be Friends who do not allow women as elders or in senior pastoral positions, in spite of our Faith and Practice! What?

The second is a short article on Margaret Fell, one of the first Quakers and a great early leader whose writings on women preaching remain relevant today. She’s not called the “mother of Quakerism” for nothing!

And lastly, there is a very short article on Mary Fisher, a pioneering Quaker missionary who undertook a dangerous mission to travel overland to meet with the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire to tell him about Jesus. Even some of her supposed “helpers” tried to undermine her efforts! But she was faithful to her calling, met with the Sultan, and afterwards refused his offer of protection: she was already was under God’s protection!

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Mom (Formally Speaking)

Below is the obituary that I put together for my mother shortly after she passed in early February. It’s not really much in the way of special memories or deep thoughts – though I captured a couple of hers in very brief form. It’s more the formal obituary that one finds in the newspapers. Or used to find in the newspaper and now one finds…. where? Well, here at least.

My sister Janice and my brother John and I called her (unsurprisingly) “Mom.” Mom was the branch for my ancestral Quaker roots, and her father Albert the one through whom much of the lifeblood of the Quaker incarnation of following Jesus flowed to me. Family. Anderson First Friends Church. Mom and Dad began taking in foster kids when I was in middle school, I think. It was just a thing we did…

Services in these strange and tragic times are difficult for family spread across the country and we are still working that out. Well, I said this was the formal part, so below is Mom’s obituary.

Rachael Ann Ginder, 83, of Anderson, passed away on  February 3, 2021, at Community Hospital of Anderson. She was born on December 8, 1937, in Anderson, the daughter of Albert E. and Cicely (Lancaster) Pike. Rachael was a member of First Friends Church in Anderson for much of her life and later attended Madison Park Church of God.

Rachael retired from Gaither Music, Alexandria after several years of service. She served on the board of several non-profit organizations and was a Court-appointed special advocate for a number of years. Her primary life-calling was as a mother to foster and adopted children, many with serious special needs. Over the years, with her husband Ron, she cared for over 200 children. In 1986, she received the Golden Deeds Award given annually by the Exchange clubs. She also received the Foster Parent of the Year Award twice. Featured several times in published interviews, she would emphasize, “My daily goal is to be sure disabled and dying children are not alone… You can find beauty when you allow God to give you the ability to see these little ones… as he does.”
 
Rachael is survived by her loving husband Ronald Ginder, whom she married, July 25, 1953; her children, Joseph (Susan) Ginder, John (Belinda) Ginder; adopted children Susanna Ginder, Rebecca Ginder, and their special sibling, Jana Marie Craig; grandchildren, Laura, Ben, Sam, Brian, Joe, Lara, Monica, Gabriel, and Gene’; and 5 great-grandchildren; her sister Phyllis Van Duyn; and many nieces and nephews.
 
Rachael was preceded in death by her parents and daughter Janice, and adopted children Michael, Melissa, Elizabeth, Patricia, and Alissa. A memorial service will be announced at a later date.

Memorial contributions may be made to White’s Residential and Family Services, 5233 S. 50 E.,Wabash, IN 46992 (or

Rachael Ann Ginder, 83, of Anderson, passed away on  February 3, 2021, at Community Hospital of Anderson. She was born on December 8, 1937, in Anderson, the daughter of Albert E. and Cicely (Lancaster) Pike. Rachael was a member of First Friends Church in Anderson for much of her life and later attended Madison Park Church of God.

Rachael retired from Gaither Music, Alexandria after several years of service. She served on the board of several non-profit organizations and was a Court-appointed special advocate for a number of years. Her primary life-calling was as a mother to foster and adopted children, many with serious special needs. Over the years, with her husband Ron, she cared for over 200 children. In 1986, she received the Golden Deeds Award given annually by the Exchange clubs. She also received the Foster Parent of the Year Award twice. Featured several times in published interviews, she would emphasize, “My daily goal is to be sure disabled and dying children are not alone… You can find beauty when you allow God to give you the ability to see these little ones… as he does.”
 
Rachael is survived by her loving husband Ronald Ginder, whom she married, July 25, 1953; her children, Joseph (Susan) Ginder, John (Belinda) Ginder; adopted children Susanna Ginder, Rebecca Ginder, and their special sibling, Jana Marie Craig; grandchildren, Laura, Ben, Sam, Brian, Joe, Lara, Monica, Gabriel, and Gene’; and 5 great-grandchildren; her sister Phyllis Van Duyn; and many nieces and nephews.
 
Rachael was preceded in death by her parents and daughter Janice, and adopted children Michael, Melissa, Elizabeth, Patricia, and Alissa. A memorial service will be announced at a later date.

Memorial contributions may be made to White’s Residential and Family Services, 5233 S. 50 E.,Wabash, IN 46992 (or whiteskids.org/donate).

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Links to a 2020 Advent series by Max Jeganathan

These brief Advent videos by Max Jeganathan are quite good.

Advent 1

Advent 2

Advent 3

Advent 4

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Is Music Joy? – a Lecture by Dan Chua

This is one of the most remarkable lectures I’ve heard ever, and it is on video at YouTube! It is Dan Chua, a scholar at the University of Hong Kong considering the question, “Is Music Joy?” He is speaking in the Bartlett Lecture Series at Yale Divinity School. Daniel Chua is a University of Hong Kong music scholar who studies the intersection between music, philosophy, and theology. The lecture proper begins after an introduction that introduces an introduction speaker who gives an introduction… Not bad, just not the lecture. These prelims take nearly 4 1/2 minutes. The lecture itself is about a hour. It was for me an hour well-spent! I found it deeply satisfying – even joyful! So, if you are into music in a serious way, or just enjoy thinking deeply, give it a listen. I mean, seriously. Joyfully even!

Quoting the blurb from several Yale Divinity School Bartlett Lecture announcements: “The Bartlett Lectureship was created in 1986 with a gift from the Rev. Robert M. Bartlett ’24 B.D. and his wife, Sue Bartlett. The purpose of the lectureship is to foster understanding of, among other issues, democracy, human rights, and world peace.”

This is the text of the link: https://youtu.be/lNyeA-XsA2E

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