Suffering and Redemption

The stories of the suffering Maccabees (see here and here) provide some interesting conceptual frameworks for making sense of how Jesus’ death might transform the standing of humanity before God. But there’s another piece that is not so clear in these passages–an important dynamic in early Judaism that suffuses the NT. Eschatology. E. P. Sanders […]

Mercy and Righteousness

Not entirely unrelated to the weekend’s posts on how sacrificial death might benefit the people of God, Karl Barth wants us to hear that the mercy and righteousness of God are not two competing qualities. God is merciful in God’s righteousness. And God is righteous in God’s mercy (ยง30.2). How can we know that God […]

Atonement & Martyrdom

Increasingly, the idea of atonement is a tough one for folks to grab hold of. “Jesus died for our sins” is not only subject to lots of interpretation and reinterpretation. One of the questions we have to keep coming back to in this discussion, at least to get our bearings, is how first-century Jewish people […]

It’s Still Easter

Just a reminder, especially for all the self-inflicting faithful who suffered through forty days of Lenten fasts: it’s still Easter. I know, it’s Thursday. But really. (Of course, in terms of cosmic reality, it really is always Easter and Lent is a sort of game we play to keep us from taking it for granted. […]

The Law, the OT, and Christians

Over the past couple of weeks we have been poking around various issues of the relationship of Christians with the scriptures of Israel. It all started with some musings on why Christians don’t keep Sabbath, and that expanded into the question of Law more generally: [in what sense] do Christians keep the Law? But each […]

Receiving Justice

Power. Too often, power is the enemy of justice. “Justice” is the cry of those who cannot make their own. Power calls itself justice. It makes a thriving land a desert and calls it peace. Power knows how to be rid of a nuisance. It knows how to excommunicate. It knows how to execute. But […]

Our Sin in God

Karl Barth, thoughts on our sin and God, appropriate for Holy Saturday: It is His heart, not ours, which is suffering when we think that we are the sufferers and that we have a right or obligation to lament. His heart is wounded, and wounded through our heart… Sin attains its true form as opposition […]