Rich

Stubborn

I looked up the word stubborn in the dictionary this week and found my picture next to the definition. In Hosea 11, God accuses his people of being wayward. He calls, and like undisciplined teens, they ramble farther away. They stubbornly cling to idols and consult false teachers who tell them only what they want to hear. We too can be stubborn when we double-down on a wrong choice, fail to ask directions when we are lost, and drive the people around us crazy by claiming to be right, even after we have been proven wrong. This trait is the one we are most likely to inherit from our parents, and the one we will make damn sure to pass on to our kids. We hate this persistent obstinance in others, but think it is an indispensable feature of our own character. God hates it equally in everybody.

 

Sunday, July 31, 2016
Pentecost 13

Up or Down, a Show of Hands

Most religious beliefs aren’t suited for Yes/No, no qualifiers, interrogations. The Republican field of candidates was asked to indicate by a show of hands whether they would support the nominee if it was not them. Simple question, answer Yes or No.  In the Baptism ritual we ask a series of similarly simple — no grey area — questions. Beyond this, what other assertions deserve this treatment? In James 2:5, a rhetorical question is asked and James assumes that we will answer confidently, “Yes.” That question goes like this:

 

“Do you believe that the poor actually have been chosen by God to be rich in faith?” and, “Don’t you realize that the poor have a special place in God’s Kingdom?”

 

You know that the answer should be yes, because Jesus (James’ brother) says:

Sunday, September 6, 2015
Pentecost 8
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