#8: The Call

+ Larry’s List of Dark Corners, Holy Nudges, and Faithful Nonsense +

This ends it.

This is my last weekly “And Yet” posting of my faithful and foolish reflections. Launched in 2007, I published my debut “blog” during the first week of June.

An excerpt from that attempt:

How foolish of me to think that I will be heard in the immense pond of the Internet. With famous writers blogging away, snazzy faith-based websites galore, the 800-pound (and buck naked) gorilla of pornography, keeping up with Paris Hilton, spamming, and the fact that all of us don’t have much time for anything new, who will care about my miniscule contributions? It won’t matter how many brilliantly crafted words-as-pebbles I toss into the web’s pond, the tsunami of everyone else’s actions will hide any ripple I try to make . . .

. . . Jesus, according to the Gospels, wrote only once. In John’s account of Jesus’ ministry, the Nazarene (read Chapter 8) “bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.” He did this as others prepared to hurl rocks at a woman “caught in adultery.” What did he write? What were his scratches in the dirt about? John didn’t say, but whatever it was, people got the message. Even a few words scrawled in mud have the power of transformation.

I suspect no one read the initial post. But writing has fascinated me for a long time.

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#7: As Is

A visit to Yosemite Chapel on our 35th Anniversary…

+ Larry’s List of Dark Corners, Holy Nudges, and Faithful Nonsense +

My long-ago stint in seminary included:

  • Barely surviving a semester of Greek.
  • Forgetting lines in a dramatic reading of a W.H. Auden piece.
  • An esteemed professor, in an aside, declaring I’d be a good preacher.
  • Learning that learning was a lifetime endeavor.
  • Rediscovering Jesus again. (And again.)
  • Meeting beloved friends that are still friends.
  • Arriving married, leaving divorced.

The last one is the punchline with a grimace; a shameful, unavoidably obvious truth.

My time at Claremont School of Theology, all in the 1970s, was a transformational journey. I was raised in a loving Christian family. I attended Sunday school since being “knee high to a grasshopper.” Though declaring my plans to become an attorney before high school started, the parallel nudge of ministry shadowed me. Law faded, ministry blossomed. And yet even with all of my background and support, seminary staggered me.

And some of that involved a divorce.

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#6: Atonement

Abraham & Isaac

+ Larry’s List of Dark Corners, Holy Nudges, and Faithful Nonsense +

Jesus died for our sins.

I no longer believe that. (And yet I could be very, very wrong.)

Though having minimal academic credentials for expounding on the history and theology of the atonement, let me offer a simplistic explanation. Jesus, a good Jew, was part of a religious tradition that included atonement. Jewish religious ceremonies during (and before) Jesus’ era routinely included the ritual sacrifice of animals. There was an ancient belief about blood sacrifice, perhaps most famously depicted in Genesis when Abraham takes his son Isaac into the wilderness. The eventual “first responder” for the three major monotheistic faith traditions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), Abraham was ordered by God to sacrifice—to ritualistically offer and kill—his young son as a demonstration of . . . what? Loyalty? Fidelity? Trust?

In the middle of nowhere, father and son gathered wood for a fire.

An altar of sorts will be created.

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