Weekender: June 24, 2017

Weekender: 06/24/2017

Welcome to the weekend! Each week, we like to offer a few quick highlights from our week that we think will give you something worthwhile to think about over the weekend. Enjoy this week’s Weekender and add to it in the comments below!

Quote Worth Repeating: “You must feel with sorrow all the dishonor done to Christ in his holy Word, all the misery of Christendom, all the unjust suffering of the innocent, with which the world is everywhere filled to overflowing. You must fight, work, pray, and — if you cannot do more — have heartfelt sympathy. See, this is what it means to bear in your turn the misfortune and adversity of Christ and his saints.” From “The Blessed Sacrament of the Holy and True Body of Christ” by Martin Luther (1519).

Blog Post to Read: Christian Century published an essay by Lutheran theologian Paul Hinlicky, reflecting on Luther’s understanding of the Cross. “Getting us out of the religious marketplace,” writes Hinlicky, “was exactly Luther’s point.”

Theology Forum Flashback: A year ago, I wrote a short essay on the theological significance of crying. Revisiting this post after a year was helpful for me — maybe for you too! “Jesus, you might notice, did not ask who this woman was or what she believed. He encountered a weeping woman and offered her compassion. It is my hope that Jesus, who dwells together with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, still sees all of us who grieve — without discrimination — and still meets us with compassion.”

Questions to Ponder: I was fortunate enough to attend part of Huntington University’s “Veritas Theological Institute.” First of all, well done to the people who planned the week, to the people who worked it, and to all of the top-notch scholars who participated. Veritas is an effort to help high school students who may be perceiving a call to ministry clarify and nurture that calling. This two-part question stems out of my experience with these students.

  • How did/do you discern your calling and how has it changed along the way?

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!

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Crying and its Theological Significance

In her book Gilead, Marilynne Robinson’s character John writes these words. “It is an amazing thing to watch people laugh, the way it sort of takes them over. Sometimes they really do struggle with it. I see that in church often enough. So I wonder what it is and where it comes from, and I wonder what it expends out of your system, so that you have to do it till you’re done, like crying in a way, I suppose, except laughter is much more easily spent.” She is correct at all points. Laughter does take over the body; laughter does expel something; crying and laughter are similar. The last point is probably the most obvious: laughter is more easily spent than crying. We could draw this point out in a slightly different direction. Laughter is more easily spent and it is also much easier to participate in — it is “an amazing thing to watch” and, as the old cliche goes, laughter is contagious. Crying, on the other hand, is difficult to watch and not something in which people will gladly join. Robinson’s observation, about both laughing and crying, illuminates the reality that these actions have a deep significance to them. Neither crying nor laughing are merely responsive, as if we only cry because something sad happened. Something more seems to be happening when we laugh and when we cry.  Continue reading