. . . one more curious snowflake in the information blizzard in which we live
by William W. Schumacher So soon after the sometimes sentimental scenes of the infant Jesus we cherish at Christmas, this unique account of Jesus as a twelve-year-old boy accelerates us toward the mature ministry of the Savior. The sense of leaving infancy behind and jumping ahead toward Jesus’s mission is integral to the text (rather ..
by William W. Schumacher Perhaps the first, obvious thing to say about this text from Ruth is that if we read it in its context it is not exactly a wedding text. The best known part of this peri- cope is, no doubt, the climax of the story in the beautiful words of verse 16: ..
I blog elsewhere about the adventures (and misadventures) of trying my hand with a small hobby farm. Most of the time, the joys and struggles of that life with some land do not intersect in any obvious way with my life and vocation at the Seminary. (Although there are hopeful signs that my worlds might be ..
Coinciding with — I almost said “echoing” — the release of Tim Burton’s new take on “Alice in Wonderland” is a different kind of journey down the rabbit hole. A strange episode is reported from the Florida-Bahamas Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in which a congregation in Florida voted to leave ..
A recent story in The Economist caught my eye, because it describes a very rare phenomenon: a church in Africa which openly welcomes homosexuals. “House of Rainbow” is an independent Nigerian church, founded in Lagos by Rowland Jide Macaulay in 2006. After violence against the tiny congregation and death threats against the pastor, Macaulay fled ..
An Oregon case spotlights the legal conundrum of charting the legal limts of religious faith and practice in America. The facts are as follows:a jury has convicted an Oregon couple of criminally negligent homicide after the death of their 16-year old son. They are members of the Followers of Christ Church, and as such they ..
The other day I found myself wanting to agree with with Stanley Fish (an alarming thought!) when he wrote: “[T]he various projects we pursue and engage in may not all cohere in a single intelligible story. We may not be unified beings.” Well, I thought, that rings all too true. Last week Fish used his ..
By William W. Schumacher The assignment of this text for the festival of the Reformation suggests the question: Was the Lutheran Reformation about freedom? Luther’s famous early work, “The Freedom of a Christian,” developed the idea of the paradoxical identity of one who has faith in Christ: both utterly free and completely devoted to service to ..
By William W Schumacher The vocabulary, grammar, and syntax of this text are rather simple. In fact, a pastor whose Greek has become rusty would be well advised to return his attention to the original languages with this week’s Gospel lesson. The impact and rhetoric of the text are another matter. Embedded in the narrative ..
By William W. Schumacher The season of Epiphany is about the self-revelation of God in Jesus Christ, and the texts of the season relate in various ways how Jesus Christ shows himself to us and to the world. And so, in this Epiphany season, one question we always bring to texts is, “What does Jesus ..
By William W. Schumacher Jesus Christ, the Son of God—that is who Mark identifies in the opening tide verse of his gospel (1:1). As such, of course, Jesus was in no personal need of the “repentance and the forgiveness of sins” attached to John’s baptism (1:4). Yet, there he is, going down into the water ..
By William W. Schumacher, We sketched a connected theme in the previous two lessons, both of which dealt with the struggle of faith in a fallen world. The first focused on “Life by the Spirit of Christ,” and the second celebrated “Hope in the Midst of Suffering.” This third of our consecutive readings turns our eyes ..
By William W. Schumacher, The previous text (Ro 8:12-17) presented us with “Life by the Spirit of Christ.” The present text, the second of three consecutive readings from this chapter, encourages us under the theme of “Hope in the Midst of Suffering.” Paul does not pretend that faith in Christ removes life’s difficulties. In fact, ..
By William W. Schumacher, The texts for Propers 10-12 are consecutive readings from the eighth chapter of Romans, closely related thematically, and therefore can naturally be grouped as a three-week sermon series. All three texts deal profoundly and realistically with a common theme: The struggle of faith in a fallen world. The first part, following this ..