Perhaps not surprisingly, I find thinkers from previous ages more gripping than the moderns. Three especially shine: Augustine, Martin Luther, and Karl Barth. Each made colossal mistakes – with Luther’s chilling essay against the Jews the most inexcusable – but each understood that theology was a discipline offered to the Church at large, not merely to academia. What’s more, each wrestles with God. They’ve glimpsed transcendence. They’re doing theology on their knees. They’re imperfect because they see things through a glass dimly, but at least they’ve tried. I tried finding what each said about Good Friday. It’s allowed me to gaze at the day through their insights.
Tag Archives: Charles Redfern
April 19, 2014
April 17, 2014
I can feel your broken heart, O Lord, as you watched the fingers reach for food in your final Earthly meal with your disciples. You saw the gulf between them and you. Some banally argued over rank and prestige while one tabulated his silver reward. All missed your foot-washing portrait: Brawls over crowns and garlands are for Gentile leaders and would-be CEO’s and partisan kingpins ruled by the latest opinion polls. Such spats are worse than irrelevant. They’re spiritual tear gas. They blind us to your vision of the self-effacing servant with a towel: The first is last and the last is first.
November 25, 2013
Leah Kostamo has liberated me. I can now face my dark side: I love everything from sloths to moss and serve on three eco-friendly boards, but most environmental literature reminds me of toothpaste-flavored herbal tea – with no sweeteners allowed (carcinogens, you know). Guilt is slung like linguini. Humor and joy are banned, and bang the drumbeat of shame on Christians, who supposedly believe in the biosphere’s annihilation.
November 2, 2013
But here’s the punch line: I didn’t appreciate any of that while I was there. Scratch me and you’ll find a frustrated visionary. We visionaries conjure up pristine futures and, if we’re not careful, contrast them with the exasperating present. We pout. We annoy everyone else and we blind ourselves to this morning’s blessings. I couldn’t see the city’s pleasures and opportunities through the fog of my utopian dreams.
February 13, 2013
It’s time I come clean. I’m an evangelical with a secret. A covert “real me” peaks from the shadows and longs to leap into the sunlight. World events compel me to throw caution to the wind and blare my confession: I’m a wanna-be Catholic. There. I feel better. Many are issuing calls for reforms […]
July 18, 2011
Run – do not walk, but run with blistering, heart-attack speed – to the mall’s Rock-em Sock-’em Religious Magazine Store and pick up the latest copy of Christianity Today. There’s hope. Gobs of it. Sanity is making a come-back even amid the shrill cry of the shrinking religious right (“I’m melting!”).
First is the cover story profiling the new Focus on the Family boss. Read the tag line: “Why Jim Daly doesn’t care whether you know who he is or whom he supports for president.” Say whuh? The organization is returning to its original purpose and calling: Nurturing godly families and helping children. No one says Focus employees will be wearing Che Guevara T-shirts (although the old formal dress code has dropped to “business casual”), but at least they won’t implicitly christen the GOP as “God’s Own Party.” Daly’s own compelling personal saga of alcoholic parents and foster-care abuse gives him empathy for the downtrodden.
June 6, 2011
Let’s say hundreds surround you while cameras snap and fans grovel and journalists bark. You might commit a gaffe. You might say “British” when you meant “American.” We’d all understand. Joe Biden put televisions in our Roosevelt-era homes and Jimmy Carter said “Huber Horatio Hornblower” and President Obama called a senator a “jackass.” It was an “oops” moment. Shrewd leaders immediately correct themselves and throw in self-deprecating humor: “I meant to say ‘American,’ but I was distracted because I can see Russia from my house.”
Take that, Tina Fey!
March 30, 2011
My problem: I’m all mush, an absolute coward. I’d stand my ground if I were really courageous. I’d emphasize how all sides push us over the intellectual cliff when they type-cast each other.
February 22, 2011
Breaking news: Don’t believe those Wisconsin workers when they claim they’re only battling for their collective bargaining rights – and do not be lulled by all their concessions. They’ve got hidden motives, and Glenn Beck heaved up his charts and graphs to “prove” it.
February 8, 2011
“I guess I am tired of a “Gospel that protects the injustice of the status quo” (Richard Stearns). I am tired of wealth that perpetuates and sustains itself at the expense of the majority. I am tired of greed that justifies itself by itself . I am tired of a christian culture that buys into consumerism and the creation of desire. I am tired of the problem continually being defined as “poverty” without any consideration of the counterpoints of wealth and greed …”