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2. St. Paul on the Logos of the Cross

John D. Caputo Indiana University Press ePub

Wherever possible, I invoke the authority of St. Paul, from whose protective cover I never stray any more than necessary. I am above all in Paul’s debt for what he calls the “logos of the cross” (logos tou staurou, 1 Cor. 1:18), which is quite central to the idea of the weakness of God.1 But Paul inscribes his idea of the weakness of God that is revealed in the cross in a larger economy of power—“for whenever I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10) and “God’s weakness is stronger than human strength” (1 Cor. 1:25)—from which I will, with fear and trembling, take my leave as circumspectly and inconspicuously as possible so as not to attract the attention of the authorities.

The strong point about weak theology is that it is a theology of the cross. In the Christian tradition, the force of the event that calls to us and overtakes us in the name of God arises crucially from the cross, where all the lines of force in Christianity intersect (cross). The life and death of Jesus are interwoven with defeat and death, and not simply death, but a humiliating public execution reserved for the worst criminals. God’s mark is upon an executed man, suffering an agonizing death, taunted as a king and dressed mockingly in purple, his “kingdom” being, from Rome’s point of view, a joke, which is not to say that Rome did not wish to cruelly crush it all the same. God crossed out by the cross, the kingdom of God as a kingdom of the crucified. Surely there is as much askew in an unnuanced celebration of God’s power in Christian theology as there is in the gold-and-diamond-studded crucifixes worn by corpulent clerics or the luxurious life styles of the televangelists. That is so much rouged theology. The notion that Jesus could come down from the cross had he wished belongs to the unbelieving, uncomprehending Romans who taunted him, as if Jesus were a magician, whereas the genuine divinity of Jesus is revealed in his distance from this request for magic, in his helplessness, his cry of abandonment, and above all, in the words of forgiveness he utters.

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Medium 9781609942922

Dealing with Change Riding the Waves of Impermanence

Franz Metcalf Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Riding the Waves of Impermanence


There is a wonderful little story about two monks who lived together in a monastery for many years; they were great friends. Then they died within a few months of one another. One of them got reborn in the heaven realms, the other monk got reborn as a worm in a dung pile. The one up in the heaven realms was having a wonderful time, enjoying all the heavenly pleasures. But he started thinking about his friend, “I wonder where my old mate has gone?” So he scanned all of the heaven realms, but could not find a trace of his friend. Then he scanned the realm of human beings, but he could not see any trace of his friend there, so he looked in the realm of animals and then of insects. Finally he found him, reborn as a worm in a dung pile … Wow! He thought: “I am going to help my friend. I am going to go down there to that dung pile and take him up to the heavenly realm so he too can enjoy the heavenly pleasures and bliss of living in these wonderful realms.”

So he went down to the dung pile and called his mate. And the little worm wriggled out and said: “Who are you?” “I am your friend. We used to be monks together in a past life, and I have come up to take you to the heaven realms where life is wonderful and blissful.” But the worm said: “Go away, get lost!” “But I am your friend, and I live in the heaven realms,” and he described the heaven realms to him. But the worm said: “No thank you, I am quite happy here in my dung pile. Please go away.” Then the heavenly being thought: “Well if I could only just grab hold of him and take him up to the heaven realms, he could see for himself.” So he grabbed hold of the worm and started tugging at him; and the harder he tugged, the harder that worm clung to his pile of dung.

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Medium 9780253015709

6 The Language of Racial Bodies in Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz’s The Colors of Jews

Ken Koltun-Fromm Indiana University Press ePub

6   The Language of Racial Bodies in Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz’s

The Colors of Jews

The term “Jew” I associate with white people. I have some conflicting emotions about that. If I say I’m not Jewish because Jewish people are white, it’s as if I’m accepting that all Jewish people are white people. Yes, not all Jewish people are white people, I do know that, but at the same time the term “black Jews” doesn’t work for me either because it seems to assert that Jewish people are “normally” white. You have these terms, these labels that other people give you, that don’t quite work for you, and so you establish your own terms, and those terms are sometimes in reaction to terms that already exist.

—Navonah, in Kaye/Kantrowitz, The Colors of Jews

Mrs. I, a married mother of two children, joined Prophet Frank S. Cherry’s Church of the Living God in Philadelphia in the late 1930s. She fully participated in Passover observance, accepted two resurrections (the one for good, the other for bad people), and relied on Prophet Cherry as a source of knowledge who could “seal” a person’s fate. Conversant in both Yiddish and Hebrew, Prophet Cherry believed he and his congregation of black Jews could trace their lineage within the Hebrew Bible. Like many other black Jewish communities, this one (originally founded at the turn of the twentieth century) appropriated freely from both Jewish and Christian beliefs and practices, and so established a vibrant syncretism of Talmudic lore, baptism by immersion, and Christian hymns together with faith in a black Jesus. When Arthur Huff Fauset introduces Mrs. I in his Black Gods of the Metropolis, he notes how his description “closely follows that of the informant,” and he offers this telling remark: “Mrs. I. argued with a Jew over a Jewish star she was wearing on her dress. The Jew said that she had no right to it. She upheld her right, and finally she told him that even if he claimed to be white, his damned mammy was a black woman.”1 When Mrs. I and this Jewish white man confront each other, what do they see? How do whiteness and blackness appear to them? Is Jewishness a color, one attached to skin? What claims to authenticity, culture, race, and heritage map onto black and white colors?

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Medium 9781442252189

Technology as Principality: The Elimination of Incarnation

Joseph Mangina Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Technology as Principality: The Elimination of Incarnation

Travis Kroeker

In an Easter op-ed in the New York Times, Simon Critchley, Hans Jonas Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research, compares the Christian hope of the resurrection and Prometheus the Titan, who stole fire from the gods and gave it as a gift to human beings.1 In Aeschylus’s version, not only is Prometheus thus responsible for the gift to humans of “technology” (all the arts of progressive human civilization), he is also responsible for a second, more “spiritual” gift: “I stopped mortals from foreseeing doom,” says Prometheus, “I sowed in them blind hopes.” According to Critchley, the apostle Paul inadvertently confirms this second Promethean gift in asserting that the Christian hope in resurrection is precisely a blind hope: “Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?” (Rom 8:24; cf. Heb 11:1). The problem, Critchley implies, is that when blind hope of a spiritual kind is tied to civilizational arts and especially political ideals, we are in danger of being deluded by the most blatant and painful forms of unreality that prolong human bondage and suffering.

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Medium 9780253011510

7 Life and Death in Reichskommissariat Ukraine

Jeffrey Veidlinger Indiana University Press ePub

On June 22, 1941, as the first light of the second longest day of the year appeared in the east, over three million German troops stormed across the Soviet border along a line that stretched from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Black Sea in the south. Having ignored the German troops amassing on the border, the Red Army was taken largely by surprise; despite the paranoia that had led Stalin to order the murder of many of his top generals on the eve of the war, the Soviet leader had displayed an unwavering trust toward, of all people, Adolf Hitler. All references to the barbarism of fascist Germany had been purged from public discourse after the conclusion of the Soviet–German Nonaggression Pact of 1939, by which the two states had divided Poland between themselves, with the Soviet Union adding significantly to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic through its annexation of what had been eastern Poland. This pact provided the green light for Germany to invade Poland on September 1st, occupying the country up to a line roughly following the rivers Narva, Vistula, and San. Seventeen days later, the Soviet Union easily secured its half of Poland. As a result of the 1939 pact between the two states, when Germany launched its invasion in 1941, neither the military nor the citizens of the Soviet Union had sufficient warning of the coming cataclysm.

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Medium 9780253342935

41 Pursuit and Escape from Sobibor

Yitzhak Arad Indiana University Press ePub

Disorder and chaos prevailed in the camp until late into the night of October 14. The darkness that fell over the camp soon after the mass escape of the prisoners and the lack of electricity, which had been cut off by the rebels, made it very difficult for the few remaining SS men to take control and reinstate order in the camp. Only two of the five surviving SS men, Frenzel and Bauer, were active. Dubois was wounded, and the two others, Franz Wulf and Willi Wendland, were somewhere in hiding during those hours. It took Frenzel and Bauer two to three hours to organize the Ukrainians and to gather part of the prisoners who had remained in the camp and lock them up in a barrack under strong guard. In the camp there were still prisoners who continued to resist; some of them were armed with axes or firearms. Searches were conducted to locate the killed SS men and hours passed until their bodies were discovered and gathered in one place.

While all this was going on, efforts were also made to contact the German security forces, who were stationed in the vicinity of Sobibor, request their help in restoring order in the camp, and organize a pursuit after the escape. However, only close to eight o’clock in the evening did Frenzel and Bauer succeed in reestablishing telephone communication with the outside world and issuing a call for help.

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Medium 9780253013835

4 The Persistence of the Trace: Interrogating the Gods of Speculative Realism

Clayton Crockett Indiana University Press ePub

Steven Shakespeare

ABRAHAM STOOD ON a hill above a wide plain. It was familiar, but he was rather surprised to be there, as he had been dead for three thousand years. A voice spoke from behind him. “I assume you remember our previous conversation here?” Abraham shuddered. “Oh. It’s you,” he said. “I might have known. I do remember now. I remember that I haggled with you for the lives of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. You said that you would spare them if there were fifty righteous among them. I bargained you down to ten. Not that it stopped you.” By this time, the Lord stood at Abraham’s side. He smiled, but did not answer. Abraham cleared his throat. “So why am I here now?” “Things have become interesting once again on the plain of Sodom and Gomorrah,” said the Lord. “Look down there.” Abraham looked. There was a multitude of tents and awnings scattered among trenches and quarries and piles of earth. God sniffed. “Archaeologists. They’re digging, mining for answers. Going below ground to get the dirt on yours truly.” Abraham asked, “What do you mean?”

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Medium 9780253013132

1 The Miraculous Healing of the Mute Sergei Ivanov, 22 February 1833

Heather J Coleman Indiana University Press ePub

Christine D. Worobec

POSTHUMOUS MIRACLES BEFORE SAINTS’ RELIQUARIES AND AT gravesites that local believers thought contained the remains of holy individuals were ubiquitous across early modern and modern Orthodox Russia. They attested to the need and desire of communities to have their own protectors and intercessors before God in an uncertain world of illnesses, epidemics, and chronic conditions. Although miracles during or after the life of the holy person provided evidence of God’s grace and rationale for sanctification, the process for sainthood in the medieval and early modern periods was not regularized. The political objectives of the monastic institutions’ princely patrons, as well as local community and monastic interests, spawned petitions for canonization, to which the pre-modern church generally acquiesced.

Beginning with the mid-seventeenth-century church reforms and culminating in Peter the Great’s 1721 Spiritual Regulation and replacement of the patriarchate (established in 1589) by the Holy Synod to oversee ecclesiastical affairs, changes in the official recognition of saints occurred. Skepticism about certain devotional practices and beliefs among the laity and fears about false miracles and saints, as well as unregulated saints’ cults, made ecclesiastical hierarchs hesitant to acknowledge new saints and accept new miracles without verification. Such concerns were fueled by the growing strength of the Old Believer movement, which opposed the seventeenth-century church reforms, and the development of sectarian movements, along with the influences of the Protestant Reformation, Catholic Counter-Reformation, and Enlightenment. Accordingly, the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries witnessed few canonizations.

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Medium 9780253342935

29 Social Life

Yitzhak Arad Indiana University Press ePub

In the shadow of the gas chambers and the mass burial pits of the camps in which thousands of people were buried almost every day, orchestras of Jewish prisoners made the lives of the SS in the camps more pleasant—and their melodies accompanied those on their way to the gas chambers. In the same small section of the camp, a few meters from the place where the women undressed on their way to their death, only a few meters from the gas chambers, the orchestra rehearsed, plays were produced, arts and sports events were held, and love affairs blossomed. All this was at the initiative of camp authorities and with their encouragement. This was perhaps the most horrible paradox of the extermination camps, the ultimate combination of the Nazi character: cruelty, tragic irony, and torture.

In the last months of the camp’s existence, when camp authorities were already aware that Operation Reinhard was almost over, that in a short time all the prisoners in the camps would be killed, the Germans attempted to delude the prisoners, to prevent them from thinking about their end, which was near, about escape, or about any kind of resistance. They therefore encouraged activities such as the orchestra, “entertainment,” and love affairs between the prisoners. This was the general policy instituted in all the Operation Reinhard camps and was not merely a local initiative of the SS in a specific place.

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Medium 9781609942922

The Care and Feeding of Employees Your Team as Your Sangha

Franz Metcalf Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Your Team as Your Sangha


Until you’ve come to know the spiritual state of living beings, don’t assume anything about the shape of their abilities. Do not wound the healthy. Do not force those wishing to walk the wide world onto a narrow path. Do not try to pour the deep ocean into a cow’s hoof-print…. Do not confuse the glow of a glowworm for the light of the sun. And do not force those who love the roar of a lion to listen to the cry of a jackal!

—Vimalakirtinirdesha Sutra 3

APPEARANCES CAN BE very deceiving, especially when it comes to human beings! The Buddha is saying here that unless you’ve done the work that hiring takes, you just might judge a book by its cover. Big mistake.

Most organizations waste enormous amounts of time, money, and energy cleaning up the mistakes they have made by hiring people without due diligence. Far too many managers still hire on the basis of “a gut feeling” that an applicant has the requisite skills. Far too little attention is paid to checking out the job applicant’s work history, ability to learn and grow, and, most important, ability to work well with other people.

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Medium 9780871781345

Sarah Righter Major

Various Brethren Press PDF

dunkerguide-history-complete35/27/104:55 PMPage 491808 -1858Sarah Righter MajorPreaching with power by Pamela K. BrubakerHer ‘uncommon’ ministry stretched boundaries of Annual MeetingSarah Righter Major (1808-1884) was the first known Brethren woman to preach publicly. Her story is not only inspiring; it also offers insight into church polity and practice among 19th-century Brethren.Sarah was born to John and Elisabeth (Stern) Righter on August 29, 1808, inGermantown, Pa. She was not yet a member of the church when she heardHarriet Livermore preach in August of 1826. Livermore was a writer, teacher, and traveling evangelist who called herself “The Pilgrim Stranger.”Livermore had been invited to preach by Peter Keyser Jr., pastor of theGermantown and Philadelphia congregations. Sarah’s son later wrote, “Here it was that my mother heard The Pilgrim Stranger and as the first fruits of her labors in Philadelphia was the conversion of my mother whom HarrietLivermore ever afterwards called ‘my daughter’ as Paul called Timothy his son, and was not lacking in parental solicitude for her welfare.”

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Medium 9781442261150

Kilby versus Balthasar: A Cultural Divide?

Joseph Mangina Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Kilby versus Balthasar: A Cultural Divide?

Étienne Vetö

Reading Karen Kilby’s Balthasar: A (Very) Critical Introduction is a must. It is one of the clearest and most instructive introductions to Balthasar. The two chapters on the “central images” of his theology are uniquely illuminating in the realm of balthasariana.1 Its criticism is exemplary as it leads us to think outside the box and helps us understand the nagging feeling we’ve all had reading Balthasar and sensing something wasn’t quite on track, without being able to pinpoint exactly what. At the same time she always tries to offer counterarguments to defend Balthasar—though these acts of mercy, because in the end they do not save him, effectively buttress the criticism. I agree with too many of the shortcomings Kilby points out—Balthasar’s difficulty in determining the Holy Spirit’s place, the way he tends to “distort” what he reads and the great epistemological promises he does not live up to, his exaggerated insistence on suffering and pain, for instance—to name them all.

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Medium 9780253012524

3. Anchor or Spandrel: The Concept of the Original Context

Brennan W. Breed Indiana University Press ePub

The prophetic books of the Hebrew Bible have also been interpreted in creative ways and made to refer to whatever crisis people in any given time have found themselves in. But it seems clear that both prophecy and apocalyptic originally had a specific reference in mind, anchored in the period of writing.

—John Barton

Only something which has no history can be defined.

—Friedrich Nietzsche

In light of the biblical text’s pluriformity, textual criticism cannot identify the boundary between the original text and its reception. Alternatively, many scholars locate the boundary between original and reception by means of the concept of the original context. The concept of original context allows scholars to select a particular meaning of a particular text and declare it to be original. A historical context allows scholars to separate meanings proper to an original setting from later, unoriginal meanings that a text could not have had within that context. Original meanings are defined variously as the author’s intention, the understanding of the original audience, or more broadly the interpretive possibilities opened by the semantic, cultural, and historical context of the text’s production. All of these definitions posit a boundary dividing the proper meaning of the text from later meanings, the former constituting the domain of biblical criticism and the latter constituting the domain of reception history. If there is such a boundary, then what forms the barrier between the original context and later contexts? The answer, if deduced, would allow for a rigorous formulation of reception history.

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Medium 9780253018168

13. The Power of Interpretation: Controversies on the Book of Daniel

Mjaaland, Marius Timmann Indiana University Press ePub

A new debate on political theology has emerged since the turn of the millennium, due to a general shift in the understanding of the relationship between religion and secularity in modern societies. After José Casanova’s Public Religions in the Modern World (1994) and Habermas’s speech on faith and knowledge (2001), where he coined the term “post-secular society,” there have been a number of controversies on the issue, including debates on this specific term.1 Hans Joas has pointed out that the term is misguiding, since there has never been such a thing as a secular society, not even in the modern West. Religion has been there all the time, he argues, in various forms, but its constitutive significance even for modern societies has often been neglected by sociologists, political scientists, philosophers, and scholars of religious studies.2

A more differentiated understanding of the secularization process has slowly emerged through major contributions from philosophers Charles Taylor and Giorgio Agamben, sociologist Hans Joas, anthropologist Talal Asad, and a number of others.3 None of these scholars would question that secularization has taken place and still continues as a process of differentiation, but the critical role of religion in understanding global politics and modern societies has been rediscovered and has raised a number of significant controversies across the disciplines. With new genealogies of the secular—indeed, of various secularities—the genealogies of religion are also reconsidered, and we have observed a surprising revival of political theology as a field of interdisciplinary discourse on politics, sociology, philosophy, history, and theology.4 Hence, even traditional controversies like the one between Luther, his Catholic opponents in Rome, and charismatic preachers such as the revolutionary leader Thomas Müntzer receive new interest, although they were writing in a period when the relationship between religion and politics was very different from today. Mark Lilla claims that we now have reached “the other shore” and thus are incapable of understanding, or even imagining, the tremendous problems that used to occupy political theology. He argues that political philosophy has established a totally different theoretical and practical basis for both politics and religion, and that the problems still occupying less modernized and secularized societies (on the “other bank”) puzzle us because we have only a distant memory of what it was like to think as they do.5

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Medium 9781931018234

Chapter II - Mary, Mary Quite Contrary

Leon J Jr Suprenant Emmaus Road Publishing ePub

In order to tackle common objections to Catholic teachings
about Mary, Curtis Martin leads us into a deeper reading of Scripture. Through
the Scriptural texts that he presents, Martin ultimately highlights the
Biblical foundation of Marian doctrine in the Church. Questions that are
covered include Mary's role as mediator, whether Catholics worship Mary, Mary's
virginity, whether reciting the Rosary is the "vain repetition"
denounced by Christ in the Gospel, the use of sacred images, and the doctrine
of the Immaculate Conception.

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