The loved one is in prison, the hospital, hospice, quarantine, or serving abroad. Some extended families face all of these circumstances at once right now. Yet the scriptures don’t avoid the expectation to feel joy.
Endorsing, pledging one’s allegiance, and putting undue hope and trust in a human leader counts as “worshipping and serving,” and idolatry that must be named and renounced. Jeremiah’s words ring as a highly relevant warning at this moment in America.
Genesis 1:27 is significant for those of us who once were blissfully unaware of the depths of abuse in our churches, for it secures our understanding of who and what people are. Despite any theology or ideology or actions to the contrary, people are people. They are not objects.
Fully understanding how American democracy went all the way to the brink in 2020 will take years of study, and we must embark upon it in a spirit of honesty and courage. But in the days between the election and inauguration, scripture is inspiring me to look forward.
How Christianity went from a faith based on sacrificial giving to an institutional blessing of taking will certainly be a challenge for historians untangle. If there were ever a faith with the heft, logic, and compassion to oppose imperialism, colonialism, slavery, and exploitation of every kind, you’d think it would be Christianity.
Theoretically at least, a verse from Leviticus had as much weight as a command from Jesus. This kind of Bible reading has dangerous consequences.
In the Bava Kamma Mishnah (the traditional Jewish interpretation of the law), a slap incurred a fine of 200 silver coins - but a backhanded slap required a payment of 400, the same amount as for spitting on someone. It was more than violence. It was degrading
The best thing that we've known to do is to truly take on that Jeremiah 29. How do we seek the peace and prosperity of those who don't have the option to leave? They are stuck here, and they are struggling to just meet those basic provisional needs for themselves.