Sunday, December 09, 2007

Last Gig in Seattle (for a while)

I'll be preaching next weekend in West Seattle - my last preaching gig stateside for who-knows-how-long. Come see the blowout sermon!

A going-away reception will be held afterwards (from 1-4PM) complete with cake from the El Salvadorean Bakery (yummm!).

December 16, at 10:30AM, at the Highland Park congregation (8611 11th SW), right next to Highland Park Elementary School and Playfield.

The theme is "Leap for Joy." How can you leap for joy knowing this is my last sermon in the States for (perhaps) years? Come and find out! :-)

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

bound to the city

A brief reflection inspired by John Caputo's On Religion.

In the radical Yes to possibility is the implicit sacrifice of status quo, of normal, predictable existence. When we open ourselves to the possibility of love, when we make ourselves culnerable so as to live the Yes, we are taking a risk, making ourselves uncomfortable, binding ourselves to the passion of God - a passion which, at least in the Christian tradition, leads to The Passion, namely a hill, a cross, a conviction, a crucifixion. The Yes is a path so uncertain that we risk nothing less than everything. Any "religion" that demands anything less than everything ought to arouse suspicion. "We are supposed to be crucified to the world" says John Caputo in On Religion (54). This is a path where victory is always ironic, triumph always suspect.

Here, at the end of Christendom, we who find ourselves in the so-called "mainline" churches are discovering anew what the cruciform path looks like. Could it be that from the belief of victory through death, we too, in our triumphant religion, have inevitably reached the point where we must allow Christianity itself to be crucified as/with Christ? Ought the task of churches really be "survival" or "growth"? I would argue that a posture of openness to possibility, embodied in and through radical hospitality, is our proper work in the world - not survival or growth. We must allow ourselves to be humbled, levelled, bound by the love of God.

The city is perhaps one of the best examples of where radical hospitality is most needed and where it is put to the greatest test. There is no more important place for "religion without religion" (Derrida), for religion without the dogmatics, victory cries and dominations. Today we are called to do theology - and likely implicit, not explicit theology - in all of the places where justice must be enacted in the city, where devoted service is needed.