Tuesday, February 5, 2013

God on the Mountains

How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of the messenger who announces peace,
who brings good news,
who announces salvation,
who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.’
-Isaiah 52:7

My friend Sam helpfully put this passage from second Isaiah in its exilic context during his chapel sermon this morning. It reminded me of the way apocalyptic literature functions to comfort oppressed and suffering people with the proclamation of God's universal authority vis-a-vis the humiliating political might of pagan rulers like Babylon and Rome. This passage is so frequently used in reference to Christian evangelism (I think Paul uses it somewhere in Romans) that it made me think of the connections between preaching the gospel and comforting the oppressed.

This cuts both in the direction of what is sometimes thought of as classical evangelism--Jesus died for your sins--and social gospel evangelism--Jesus calls his followers to support and fight for those in need. Both are ways of saying that the evil and the cruel powers of the world don't have the final say, but rather the merciful and just God of Israel.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Man in the Mirror

"He was given to fits of rage, Jewish liberal paranoia, male chauvinism, self-righteous misanthropy, and nihilistic moods of despair. He had complaints about life but never any solutions. He longed to be an artist but balked at the necessary sacrifices. In his most private moments, he spoke of his fear of death, which he elevated to tragic heights when in fact it was mere narcissism."

~Woody Allen, Manhattan