The Season of Advent
December 3-24, 2023
One of the translations I love of the first letter of Peter in the Christian Testament of the Bible refers to Christians as a “peculiar people” (2:9). Or to paraphrase Forest Gump, peculiar is as peculiar does. Living as a Christian ought to set one apart from the ordinary and expected. The Gospel of Jesus Christ calls for radical change and transformation–a lifelong process of conversion for the sake of a whole wide world of thriving and flourishing for all of God’s creatures.
I created this blog to offer occasional reflections on how the peculiar character of Christian faith can renew the Church and, in the process, change the world. And not a moment too soon. The world is reeling from unrelenting violence, an epidemic of despair, an unprecedented gap between rich and poor, and planetary environmental collapse. I believe the world’s religious traditions were made for just such a moment as this–to inspire and help facilitate healing and renewal. (To read my latest blog posts, click on “Commentary” in the menu above.
As a living tradition rather than a museum exhibit, Christian faith can still create communities of bold faith, vibrant hope, and sustaining love. I’ve seen it. I’ve lived it. And now is the time to retrieve those resources for a world in need.
In this blog, “peculiar” will sometimes mean odd and strange, but also something like “queer.” These are synonyms in most dictionaries, even though today “queer” usually gets tossed around like an insult for people who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). I prefer the old-fashioned definition, which “peculiar” captures much better. To be sure, LGBT people often have some great insights into what that means and looks like, both in the wider society and in Christian churches–and I’ll draw on some of those insights here. But I have a much larger horizon in view. I’m eager to retrieve the most peculiar bits of Christian history for the sake of renewing Christian witness in the world today.
You can read a bit more about this and about me by clicking on the “About PF” tab above. For my latest blogging posts, click on “Commentary.” And please join me in this conversation, which may seem new but is really many centuries old – and still compelling!
“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” – John 10:10
“Let nothing trouble you, let nothing scare you, all is fleeting, God alone is unchanging. Patience everything obtains. Who possesses God nothing wants. God alone suffices.” – Teresa of Avila (16th century)
“All will be well, and all will be well, and every kind of thing will be well.” – Julian of Norwich (14th century)
“Si comprehendis, non est Deus.” (If you understand it, it’s not God.) – Augustine of Hippo (4th century)
“Concepts create idols; only wonder understands anything.” Gregory of Nyssa (5th century)
“The finger is not the moon.” – A Buddhist saying, referring to doctrine as only pointing toward the reality it wants to evoke, which is just as true for Christian doctrine
“When I became a man, I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.” – C. S. Lewis (20th century)