This evening we are gathering to discuss chapters 1 and 4 of Presiding Bishop Curry’s book Crazy Christians – A Call to Follow Jesus. Within this book, Curry gives us his opinion of what it means to actually follow Jesus in our daily lives. Although Curry firmly grounds his opinions in the Scriptures and the Creeds, his purpose is to show us the practical implications of our beliefs.
Related to Curry’s call for crazy Christians in Chapter 1, is the ancient Christian tradition of the Holy Fool. I have attached the chapter from Bishop Kallistos Ware’s book The Inner Kingdom discussing this tradition of the Fool in Christ. pp.153-80. The Fool is that person who takes Jesus’s admonitions to renounce the world to the extreme, including renunciations of material possessions (usually even clothing), respectability, intelligence, and even his sanity. But within this extreme renunciation, the Fool becomes a prophet of God who can speak God’s truth to those in power. The most well-known Fool is St. Basil of Moscow (for whom the Cathedral in Red Square is named) who in his renunciation of the world was able to both confront Czar Ivan the Terrible and comfort those whom Ivan persecuted. If you have time today, please read Ware’s chapter to see the spiritual strength that comes from being a crazy Christian.
In chapter 4, Curry speaks of the dream of a God who seeks “reconciliation, reunion, and communion” between all of us whom he created in his image. In the Scriptures, this dream is best seen in Paul’s letter to the Galatians. The church in Galatia had both Greeks and Jews. Jewish Christian teachers came to this congregation from Jerusalem and instructed the congregation that to be real Christians they had to obey the black-letter rules laid down by God in the Scriptures. Not only did this teaching corrupt the good news, but it also caused divisions between the circumcised and uncircumcised, those who kept kosher and those who did not, between natural-born Jews and converts. In this letter Paul seeks the unity of the church by emphasizing that the “whole law is fulfilled in one word ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Gal. 5:13) and that within the Church there “is neither Greek nor Jew, is neither slave nor free, is neither male nor female; for we are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28). Therefore, today please think through how we fulfill God’s dream in the Church today. Think about who are the Judaizers who set up walls to keep others out, and who are the Greeks in Christ to whom these walls are directed. And think through how we, like Paul, can bring about this reconciliation.
*** Trinity choir is celebrating an Epiphany Evensong on Wednesday. There is an organ recital at 6:00. Evensong at 6:30. A cookie reception to follow. ***
*** This Sunday night is our second installment of Beer & Hymns. The festivities are at Liberty-Broadway beginning at 7:00. Please join us for drinks, food, and song. (Neither drinking nor singing is required) ***
Dinner is a 6. The menu is Pennsylvania Dutch New Year’s dinner of pork and sauerkraut. Discussion about 6:45. Compline before 8. Hope to see you here, and please invite someone new to join us.
I therefore beg you to lead a life worth of the calling to which you have been called, with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in Love, eager to maintain the Unity of the Spirit in the bond of Peace. There is one Body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one Hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all.Ephesians 4:1-6