Counting costs: choosing

how much - question in letterpress typeJesus’ command of love makes it unthinkable that he commands hating one’s family all the while commanding to love those we do not know and are even our enemy. As Culpepper [292] notes, one should understand the Semitic hyperbole always uses stark differences so that the contrast is more clearly seen. The term misein (hate) denotes attitudes and modes of action rather than emotions. The point is not how one feels towards one’s parents, but rather one’s effective attitude when it comes to the kingdom.” This becomes clearer in 16:13, “No servant can serve two masters, he will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”  This continues Luke 12:49-52 regarding division with the household caused by the proclamation of the reign of God. Continue reading

Counting costs: conditions

how much - question in letterpress typeMany scholars tag Luke 14:25-33 as “The cost of discipleship.”  They are unique and peculiar to Luke, focusing on the total dedication necessary for the disciples of Jesus. It must be remembered that Jesus on the way to Jerusalem and has already predicted his death; so too should the disciples be prepared to leave all behind and make their commitment to the journey that will unfold before them. Continue reading

Counting costs: context

how much - question in letterpress type25Great crowds were traveling with him, and he turned and addressed them, 26 “If any one comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion? 29 Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him 30 and say, ‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’ 31 Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down and decide whether with ten thousand troops he can successfully oppose another king advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops? 32 But if not, while he is still far away, he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms. 33 In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple. Continue reading

My Life with Asterisks

SwimmingThe Olympics are over…. alas. I have to tell you, I watched every moment of the Rio Swimming that I could. US Swimming, not expected to be all that strong, was amazing – record numbers of gold and total medals. There were a few races that had me on the edge of my seat. It was so much fun. That being said, I can totally beat Michael Phelps.* Continue reading

Who we invite

weddingfeastredhouseThe priest I lived with in Kenya was away for a much-needed break. He assured me it would be a quiet week.  Which is of course a guarantee that something will happen.  Perhaps not monumental in the way of things, but yes indeed is was a memorable week. It was the week the Kenyan Security Forces came looking for the leaders of the Rwandan refugee community – of which my name was on the list.  We were all in a meeting when they showed up. We all slipped out the windows in the back of the church.  All very dramatic, but in truth I don’t think they tried that hard to catch us.  Still, kind of memorable to be on a top ten list if even for an hour. But that wasn’t the most memorable. Continue reading

Honor: reflection

weddingfeastredhouseAlan Culpepper [287-88] offers these final thoughts:

These are liberating words that can free us from the necessity of succeeding in our culture’s contests of power and esteem. They free us from over-under relationships and the attitudes and barriers they create, so that we may be free to create human community and enjoy the security of God’s grace. Continue reading

Honor: hosts

weddingfeastredhouse12 Then he said to the host who invited him, “When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. 13 Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; 14 blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Just as Jesus’ fellow guests had occupied themselves in normal, honor-seeking pursuits upon arrival at the meal, so Jesus’ host had followed ordinary conventions in putting together his invitation list. Invitations served as “currency in the marketplace of prestige and power” [Green, 552] for those whose framework was the world as we know it. See through the framework of the Kingdom of God, a different currency is the “gold standard.” Continue reading

Honor: guests

weddingfeastredhouseIn 14:1–24 Luke depicts Jesus’ enjoying the hospitality of a leader of the Pharisees following a synagogue service on the Sabbath (14:1). Given, first, the importance of social status as determined by the perception of one’s contemporaries, and, second, the importance of the reciprocity of gift and obligation in ancient society, Jesus’ assertions on right behavior undermine the values and expectations that his meal companions would have taken for granted. The consequences of this right behavior leads to the construction of a new vision of life and community. Continue reading

Honor: humility

weddingfeastredhouseThis word comes into our language from the Middle English, via Anglo-French, from Latin humilis low, humble, from “humus” the word for earth. Webster’s offers this as a definition

  1. not proud or haughty: not arrogant or assertive
  2. reflecting, expressing, or offered in a spirit of deference or submission
  3. ranking low in a hierarchy or scale: insignificant, unpretentious –or : not costly or luxurious

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Honor: context

weddingfeastredhouse1 On a sabbath he went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully. … 7 He told a parable to those who had been invited, noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table. 8 “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor. A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him, 9 and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then you would proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place. 10 Rather, when you are invited, go and take the lowest place so that when the host comes to you he may say, ‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’ Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” 12 Then he said to the host who invited him, “When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. 13 Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; 14 blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Continue reading