Pithy quotes from our current reading which give us pause to reflect

Even a couple of Caltech scientists who initially tried to disprove this eventually basically converted. They started to look for this planet because it kind of made sense.

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For what it may be worth I found this uplifting:

A handful of times in a lifetime, if you are lucky, an experience opens a trapdoor in your psyche with its almost unbearable beauty and strangeness, its discomposing unlikeness to anything you have known before. Down, down you go into the depths of the unconscious, dark and fertile with the terror and longing that make for suffering, the surrender that makes for the end of suffering, not in resignation but in faith. It is then that the still, small voice of the soul begins to sing; it is then that the trapdoor becomes a portal into a life larger, truer, and more possible — a kind of rebirth.

From: The Wild Iris: Nobel Laureate Louise Glück on the Door at the End of Your Suffering – The Marginalian

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I am reading N.T. Wright’s and Michael Bird’s Jesus and the Powers right now. Thanks for more to read, @Terry_Sampson.
This book is, in part, an application of much of what Wright talked about in his Gifford lectures. I’m sure Wright and Bird will say things I find hard, annoying, challenging. But I’m reading the book to learn, not to have all my views affirmed.
In spite of my goals, I really liked this:

Yes, Jesus’ kingdom is not like the kingdoms of this world. It doesn’t originate the same way or behave like the kingdoms of this world. But Jesus’ kingdom is still for this world, for the benefit and blessing of this world, for the redemption and rescue of this world. If Jesus were an earthly king of this age, then there would be soldiers killing to bring about his kingdom, just as they do for every other earthly kingdom: victory through violence. Yet that’s not how Jesus’ kingdom will come. The kingdom will come rather through the imperial violence done to him on the cross and through the anti-imperial, death-reversing, justice-loving power of resurrection. Then the kingdom spreads, not through conquest, but through the spirit’s life-giving and liberating power being experienced by more and more people and through their life-giving contributions to the world. At the heart of John’s kingdom-theology is God’s love revealed in the death of his Son, the Lamb, the Messiah. This is conquest, but by love. This is power, but in weakness. This is kingship, but in self-giving suffering for others. This kingdom is not one that arises from within the world. But as it advances, as it spreads, it dispels and displaces the dark forces in the world.

If Jesus’ kingdom is of such an order, not from this world but for this world, then keeping out of politics is impossible. We must be political in some sense because the kingdom of God has political implications for proclamation and poverty, for justice and judgement, for Congress and Church, for love and liberty. While Church and State are separable, there is always going to be a connection between religion and politics because of the intersection of values and voting. Religion is going to be part of the political conversation whether everyone likes it or not.

Wright, N. T.; Bird, Michael F… Jesus and the Powers: Christian Political Witness in an Age of Totalitarian Terror and Dysfunctional Democracies (pp. 35-36). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
Emphasis mine.


We must be political in some sense because the kingdom of God has political implications for proclamation and poverty, for justice and judgement, for Congress and Church, for love and liberty

for economic fairness and desert

I’d love to see someone who has worked out the implication of their coequal status.

  • I’m not surprised.
  • As an amateur transcriber of transcripts, I find the most annoying things they say are: “Uh” or “Um” (Wright) and “Like” or “You know” (Bird). :laughing:
  • Challenging? Trying to come up with real-word applications for “speaking truth to power” and “excercising my free will” “humbly” and “patiently”, I suppose.
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Feel free to find what you’re looking for and report back to the thread when you do.
Or post quotes from something else you’re reading that would be meaningful to others.
Or engage with what was actually posted, rather than adding sideways, gnomic filler.

Only @Klax is able meaningfully to turn a discussion on its head with a one-word crow bar.

I am looking forward to Wright and Bird addressing this as well.

In my life, politics is unavoidable. And we all bring ours with us, wherever we go. I regularly read in an attempt to better inform my thinking as a christian who votes and participates in life in a liberal democracy. Neither popular culture nor my church leaders give guidance that is very helpful to me. Or that would help me reflect my understanding of Christian participation in the day to day world.

My other encounters with Wright have been encouraging. He and Bird may have some valuable points that will help me do a better job.


Have you read any political theory to consider the significance of their coequal staus? Rawls?

  • Whose “coequal status”? Wright’s and Bird’s?
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The coequal value of economic fairness and desert. Something that jumped out for me as an undergrad reading the Cohen and Nozick debate, as well as Rawls’ Justice as Fairness. Then in Paul I saw fairness (2 Cor 8:14) and desert (2 Thess 3:10) being equally upheld.

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One way I wish Wright would describe the advance of the kingdom, is in how God so often does it by humiliating the powers that be.

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I’m reading Wright and Bird right now. I will be quoting from that book and any of the many others I am reading at any one time. Feel free to quote from Rawls or anyone else you are reading. I am, however, not reading Rawls. Nor do I need to in order to quote competently from Wright and Bird.

Maybe you would be interested in reading Wright and Bird, if you intend to comment on quotes from them.

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My point was that if you were familiar with political philosophy you could have a better appreciation for my “gnomic filler”

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You didn’t make a point. Just some gnomic comment with no context. If you can’t be bothered actually to make a point, then it’s just off topic, gnomic filler.

The point of my question was not in regard to your compentency to quote Wright and Bird

This is not a question or a point:

Just some gnomic comment out of context.

Please, don’t worry yourself about the gaps and inadequacies you identify in my knowledge or understanding. I will muddle through somehow. Someone else might better value your services.

Feel free actually to provide information that adds to a discussion and post it to a thread. You know; actually participate in discussion.

I meant that sincerely and it wasn’t directed at you personally

  • Is “gnomic filler” the 21st century version of “psycho-babble”?

Some more from Jesus and the Powers

But they had pulled apart what belonged together, the cross and the kingdom. The result was a series of unhelpful dichotomies: the atonement or healing, crucifixion or crown, God’s forgiveness or God’s transformative love.
The problem is not merely that well-meaning people are sometimes unaware of how Jesus’ cross and God’s kingdom sit together. It is far more than that: they do not understand that cross and kingdom do not make sense without each other. Grasping this is vital for a proper theological understanding of Christian mission. For only after we have understood how the cross and the kingdom go together will we be equipped to consider how Christians carry with them the marks of Jesus’ death and the message of Jesus’ kingdom. We can’t be content with being either a cross-centred church or a kingdom-centred church. We must have both, otherwise preaching will be impoverished, and our faith will lack deeds infused with Jesus’ kingdom-ministry. That’s why we need a regular diet of the Gospels in the Church’s life. The Gospels tell the story of God becoming King, in King Jesus, and the crucifixion is the centrepiece in that story.
Wright, N. T.; Bird, Michael F… Jesus and the Powers: Christian Political Witness in an Age of Totalitarian Terror and Dysfunctional Democracies (pg. 79). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

I am from a tradition that has a truncated understanding of kingdom building, focusing on salvation and right living. Matters of social justice and related works of benovelance are regularly seen as “liberal” - particularly if they don’t require some commitment to maintain particular moral codes.

I appreciate Wright’s and Bird’s challenge to that view. I look forward to them fleshing this out more.

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To indulge myself in a bit of Greek, the Kingdom is not ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου (ek tou kosmou) but it is πρὸς τὸν κόσμον (pross tohn KOZ-mon) – not “from this world” but “for this world”.

[Some may recognize the parallel of the second phrase with John 1:1.]