frgavin on April 10th, 2012

Theological???Speculations again. thanks to Stand Firm

More detritus from Holy Week. This one appears on the Sojourners blog, and consists of a Baptist pastor letting the world know that he hasn’t got a clue why he does what he does for a living:

I have no idea what Jesus meant by giving himself over like this. We read the scripture last night at the Maundy Thursday service at First Baptist. “Not my will but your’s.” Lord, have mercy. Someone asked the question as someone does every year, “Why would God want Jesus to die? If it’s God’s will…Why would God will this to happen?” I have some practiced answers. This year I offered them as I usually do.

“First, let me tell you what the tradition says…” I give a theological gloss and watch their eyes glaze over. Right. Of course. This isn’t an answer any more than a stump speech is an indication of what will actually happen if one of these people in the news are elected to public office. So, I move on.

“Well, what do you think…” Sometimes there’s an answer waiting. Sometimes people just want a chance to tell the Pastor what they think. I like hearing how God’s faithful have worked out this stuff. There is always wisdom here.

“Now let me tell you what I think…” is my last response. It goes something like this:

I don’t know. I don’t want to say “It’s a mystery” because that becomes the great theological copout. No. I say that I don’t understand. Why? Because I don’t. The whole story is insane. It’s madness. God has gone insane. Jesus has followed God right there to the looney bin. Peter is in denial. Judas goes off the deep end. The dysfunction of the community following Jesus is exposed in this dramatic turn of events. The Sanhedrin goes nuts. Pilate goes nuts. The women of Jerusalem are told, by Jesus no less, that it will get worse before it gets better. Insane? You think this is insane? You think this is worth your well-trained bereavement? Just wait. This is when we honor insanity. So…I don’t know what the hell it means. I don’t know God’s will. I’m not sure I ever have.

It’s insane. There’s nothing “Good” here.

The whole world has gone mad. Even God.

This is Revelation.

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No, this is crap, not to put too fine a point on it. What’s the one word missing from this rant? “Scripture” or “Bible” (he mentions “the tradition,” but there’s no telling what that means, especially from a Baptist). Instead, it comes down to, “let me tell you what I think.”

The older I get, the less interesting I find my own speculations on religion, and the more interesting I find God’s revelation of Himself in Jesus Christ, conveyed to us through inspired witnesses to the events that God’s Word addresses. It’s kind of a neat book, when you get into it. I hope that Tripp Hudgins, the writer of this tripe and (of course) a Ph.D student at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, takes time from his liturgical studies to glance through it now and then.

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