Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Let's express intimacy, inclusion and appreciation

At the end of February 2017 Skylight Paths Publishing releases the second book in Thomas Moore's translation series GOSPEL  ― The Book of Mark: A New Translation with Commentary, Jesus Spirituality for Everyone. While waiting for this, read a response by Benjamin Wood to Moore's earlier book Writing in the Sand: Jesus and the Soul of the Gospels (2009). At the time of writing Wood was "a Research Associate at the Lincoln Theological Institute, University of Manchester."

Wood writes "Jesus the Epicurean: or Why the Personal really is Political" , 13 November 2014 for Political Theology Today. His comments seem particularly poignant at this time in American politics:
"Thus, the Gospel, like the rest of society, tends to be caught in the trap of obscurity and generality; stripped of the intimacy so many crave. What is the solution? Seeing Jesus through Epicurean eyes suggests to us that the Church desperately needs to return to the kind of home-spun patterns of inclusion exemplified by the early Christians and the ancient Epicureans, if its politics is going to be transmitted and sustained in the midst of the crowd. Perhaps, the most radical thing the Church can do is to re-discover the integrity of the agape-meal as a ‘meal’, and not just an archaic ritual. In summarising the effect of an Epicurean vision of Jesus on our lives, Moore puts it this way: ‘That Jesus was an Epicurean contrasts with the tendency of some of his later followers to be only ascetic or puritan, denying the value of pleasure and desire. Indeed, the above description of walking in the shoes of this Jesus could transform the way people understand every word of the Gospel.’ [Writing in the Sand page 43]