Monday Mull: Revelation 21:1-8

I’m never sure what to do with Revelation. I love the letters in the beginning, once I learned how to read them contextually and not presently. (YOU are not lukewarm, you do not need to worry about being spat from God’s mouth.)

My friend Spiff, with whom I co-host Two on One (a conversation on pop culture, church and the intersections inherent), loves the Jezebel preacher mentioned in the opening letters–there must have been a woman who would not shut up, who cheesed off John of Patmos, and who had a following for her different views.

And there’s the end of the letter–the finale, the word of hope. That God will triumph; when God can say, “It’s over!” there’s a new earth and new Jerusalem and there are no more tears and it is the Zed at the end just like there’s the alpha in the beginning.

I guess I wish more people spoke Greek, or read it? I feel like I’ll be preaching to former frat boys and sorority girls, and the occasional biblical scholar with this text. A-to-Z, or a-to-zed, just doesn’t cut it yet. How do we enclose the full narrative? Tie the beginning to the end? How does one inherit from that which never dies?

What happens when the entire book is a metaphor except this chapter, which is the culmination of hope we need in this current moment, not just against Rome but all Romes? What does a post-progressive do with Revelation and all its baggage?

Full and fair disclosure, friends: I am mulling four separate sermon texts (Hosea and John, Romans 10, and Mark 7) in the same week, as I prepare for a concentrated week of doctoral classes, and then a week of vacation. I am not writing all of these sermons in a week… probably… but if these seem more clipped than normal, perhaps that is why.

Monday Mull: John 14 and Hosea 11

Harmonia Rosales, The Creation of God

Doing this Names of God thing is a little different this summer, though, I shouldn’t be surprised; nothing is going as planned this year, and it is most certainly a gift, no matter what anyone tells us. This is the moment of awakening, it seems, for far too many people far too comfortable with hegemony and the default.

I am one of them, actively trying to stay awake and keep momentum. I have let my sibs and folx down. I reaffirm my call to do justice, to preach bravely, to love mightily.

This Sunday is Father’s Day, and since we’re doing “ways to refer to God,” it makes sense, I think, to talk about patristic language for the Divine. I’m using John 14–already a problematic text because of bad interpretation of Jesus as Way/Truth/Life–and of course, there’s this idea of Jesus running interference to keep people away from God who he calls Father.

Hosea 11 presents God in maternal, traditionally feminine strength and concern. Are these the same God? Of course.

I have no problem with father-language for God, if it is done in conjunction, in intentional balance, with mother-language. A friend once told me that removing paternal language and replacing it with gender-neutral language still excluded women, just from a different approach, and I seek to balance that. I think of the community herchurch in San Francisco, that only uses feminine language for the divine, but will be more accommodating for male language when all the churches using male language first accommodate. (And I love that.) But maybe my beloved community isn’t there yet.

Something to work towards, surely.