The Common Good

savior

Marks

Editors Note: The following poem by Trevor Scott Barton was written while he was living in Africa and reading The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi.

Holding you in the palm of my hand
I see your tiny feet and hope you'll live and walk these stony paths
To the pump to get water.
Blessing you in your meekness and gentleness,
You are Jesus to me today.

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Is a Messiah’s Work Never Done?

The Jews believe that the Messiah is yet to come.

Christians believe the Messiah is coming back.

Those of other – or no – religions haven’t noticed much difference and don’t really care.

But all would agree that there is plenty of work left to be done.

We, by any standard, are far from an age of any Messiah — an era of justice, peace, and restoration seems as distant or alien or even incomprehensible as a blockbuster sci-fi film.

But perhaps, in some odd way, that is the point.

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The Wizard We Need

Like the masses, we flocked this past weekend to the megaplex for the opening of another would-be blockbuster, pleased to discover that the much-heralded and sometimes-maligned Oz prequel is even more good and wonderful than it is great and powerful.

Acting, plot, intrigue, color, mystery, and special effects: all these measure-up under the fantastic mastery of director Sam Raimi. But beyond the eye-candy, sensitive audience members might be as mesmerized by the movie’s deeper myth and redemptive meaning as by its cinematic technique.

Of course, if we remember the original movie and its myth, the wizard has issues, for there’s a man behind the curtain who is much more about a confession of subdued humility than a profession of supernatural agility. The prequel takes us back before the main myth — to see the man inside the man behind the myth.

Somewhere in the magical middle of this movie, the not-yet-wizard Oscar Diggs (James Franco) makes his confession: “I'm not the wizard you were expecting, but I may be the wizard you need.” We can apply this maxim everywhere. This truth uncovers the human simplicity of the Oz legend and its relevance to all our longings in realms related to power and spirit.

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Andrew Marin answers, "What is an Evangelical?"

andrew-marin

The reason the word Evangelical has become so poisonous is because the answer to the above question comes from a conversion-based model of cultural engagement - political, theological and social. Too many Christians believe, and have wrongly been taught, that those "others" and "opposites" who have made an active choice not to believe in "our" teachings are justifiably: 1) left to their own devices as we wash our hands of them because of their bad choice (think in terms of blood-on-their-own-head); or 2) uninformed, so much so that their "no" is an illegitimate answer.

Evangelicals care more about positions -- whether progressive or conservative -- than people. We lack nuance. We have become either all Scripture or all Justice. I don't know where the balance was lost in terms of holding Scripture in high authority and, simultaneously, loving with reckless abandon?

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Afternoon Links of Awesomeness: Get Your Click On!

It's Oktoberfest. A frosty papal pilsner, perhaps? [caption id="attachment_34148" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Photo by Cathleen Falsani"][/caption]
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Let's Not Forget: It's Not About Us

I'm very fond of this season in the Christian calendar because I can mention the word "ass" during my blog post and sermon and still keep all the fundamentalists off my back.
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The Spiritually Viral Hunger Fast

The hunger fast for a moral budget has gone spiritually viral. Ten days ago, we announced at the National Press Club that the budget debate had become a moral crisis.
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Seeking Justice: Does it Really Matter?

Yesterday morning, I arrived at Q Cafe as I do on nearly every work morning to begin a new day.
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Naming Jesus Again and Again

While discerning a vocation to Roman Catholic religious life years ago, I had the opportunity to go on retreat with a group of women religious.
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Why Glenn Beck is a Danger to True Evangelical Theology

I watched the Glenn Beck show on Fox News yesterday. His topic was how churches that are using the term, "social justice" are misinterpreting scripture in order to spread Marxism.
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