I’m sorry I haven’t posted recently, but it’s hard work to find ABEs, and I’ve had quite a few other things to do. However, I do want to take the opportunity to highlight three ABEs that have come up in my life recently (besides all the brilliant ABEs I saw at Christ Church during their Maundy Thursday service).
The first is Charles Darwin. Darwin (and his Anglicaness) came up during the Sunday School class I went to at my church back in the Knobs over Spring Break, during a discussion about the relationship between science and religion. Although Darwin did end up leaving the C of E, he could never give up the tradition of having a beard.
Next is the Rt. Rev. N.T. Wright, Bishop of Durham. who in an important historical Jesus scholar. Here are some elements of his model of Jesus:
a. Jesus is Jewish, but not typical
b. Jesus is best initially understood as a prophet bearing an urgent eschatological and apocalyptic message for Israel; he was like the prophets of old, warning of the consequences if there was not a change in direction
c. First-century Jews believed that they were still in exile, being held captive by foreign powers; Jesus announced that their god would soon return to deliver them
d. Jesus’ miracles were prophetic signs, announcing that god was bringing the exile to an end
e. Jesus offered an invitation to repentance and faith, welcome to sinners, a challenge to live as a community that behaves in an distinctive way and a summons to join him in proclaiming the kingdom
f. Jesus’ controversies with the Pharisees are about eschatology and politics, not religion or morality
g. Jewish leaders viewed Jesus as a false prophet, and thus had him executed
h. Jesus believed death was his vocation, and that somehow his death would serve to accomplish the redemption of Israel; the only way to defeat evil was to allow it to do its worse, as evil would win if it was fought on its own terms
i. Jesus had an amazing beard
Wright’s next volume is tentatively titled The Traditions of the Jesus of History in the Church of England: Eschatology and Enthusiasm about Beards. Look for it soon!
Finally, we have the Rt. Rev. J. Neil Alexander, Bishop of Atlanta. The Bishop is the author of This Far by Grace: A Bishop’s Journey Through Questions about Homosexuality. The book offers a wonderful insight into the struggles he’s faced in his development, culminating in the vote on Gene Robinson. He comes to the conclusion that the church must be as welcoming to gays as it is to those with beards.
So see, ABEs continue to be relevant to the issues of today. Thank one today for the work they’re doing in the world!