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Showing posts from May, 2009

Gambling with leadership

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Albert Einstein is famously quoted as saying he could not believe that God plays dice with the universe. Not so, apparently, with apostolic succession!

“And the believers cast lots, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.” Acts 1:26

I like this story. It is, of course, possible to read this in a determinative way that sees God as in charge of every last detail of the universe, therefore the dice had to land the way God wanted them to, ensuring that the "right" disciple replaced Judas to complete Jesus' twelve-man leadership team. For me, this approach runs counter to my faith, and begs way too many questions. (If the Twelve were so important to Jesus and in Acts 1, whatever happened to that institution? And a myriad of issues related to predestination and theodicy. Did God "set up" Judas as the betrayer and did God demand the murder of Jesus? If God is in charge of everything, is not God then the author of evil? And this theo-logic…

The Word goes where it will

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Notes on Acts 8:26-40 for the fifth Sunday in Easter.

Everything about this story is incredible. Did you really expect to see an Ethiopian eunuch, a man at once powerful and marginalized? Add to this the fact he is either a very marginal Jew, or a God-fearer who has found in the God of Israel something that speaks to him. And speaks strongly enough for him to acquire and study the holy writings of Israel. Have you ever tried to read a Hebrew scroll while bouncing along a wilderness road? The appearance of the water itself is a surprising thing in the desert – but perhaps not as exalted or lush as painters have imagined it. We picture an oasis, but it might just as easily be a humble waterhole.

The eunuch asks: "What is to prevent me from being baptized"?

Well, almost everything. The eunuch is missing the sign of the covenant (circumcision) for Jewish males. And, missing his testicles, he would not have been permitted in the Temple to worship. He could never be a "full memb…

Augusto Boal

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Augusto Boal, actor, activist, teacher, humanitarian, died early on Saturday, May 2nd.

Augusto Boal is best known internationally for developing Theater of the Oppressed (T.O.), what he called a "grammar" of theatrical methods, related to Paolo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed. T.O. aims to help people, using their senses and bodies, perceive, analyze, and transform situations of oppression. It invites spectators to become spect-actors, fully involved not simply in theatrical performance, but in the life-work of liberation.

Because of his work, Boal was viewed as a threat by Brazil's military rulers. Iin 1971, Boal was kidnapped, tortured, and eventually exiled to Argentina, then self-exiled to Europe. This period of exile led to the publication of his first major theater text, Theatre of the Oppressed, and to the spread of his method to Europe and North America. Since then, T.O. has literally traveled aroud the world, with active and beautiful work on every contine…