So Bible scholarship has finally come down to……seances? Visions of, and interviews with, the dead? That’s what you’d think from reading or hearing the words of Sylvia Browne, a psychic, whose books on religion, the afterlife and, now Jesus, are based pretty much, as far as I can tell, on the authority of her claims to have spoken with the departed and thus clear up many mysteries of history. But she’s part of a bigger picture, one in which the currently and culturally admirable parts of Jesus are claimed, even while his claims to absolute and ultimate authority are not. Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code is another example of this.
To be fair, some of this is actually a scandal over the church and it’s claims to Jesus’ authority. The abuse of Christ’s name for things like the Inquisition, the Conquest of the Americas, the Crusades, and more current revelations of clergy sex abuse in many denominations helped set us up for new and competing claims of ultimate spiritual authority by psychics and novelists.
So do we eschew all claims to truth, authority and belief? That would be only to cede the ground to other claims of truth, authority and belief. The challenge before us is to be as bold about Jesus as he was, while being equally as humble about ourselves. How do we do that? Check out last Sunday’s message at Emmanuel Mennonite Church (March 16, 2008) for Palm Sunday, at Download palm_sunday_08.doc and let me know if I hit the balance, or the symbiosis, of humility about ourselves and boldness about Christ. Or not.
Mathew Swora, pastor
Emmanuel Mennonite Church