Yeah, I have become this person.
FCS-Ian added a whole bunch of hymns to the rotation for Lenten morning prayer service, which I was stoked about. Peter (husband of Rev.Molly, so has been at First Church UCC for over 7 years and probably in the UCC for longer, but grew up Episcopalian) mentioned that he didn't know some of the ones that had been added. I was surprised because I'd thumbed through and had been stoked that I knew all of them (in contrast to hymn selections there often). So FCS-Ian and I sang through the ones that Peter (and/or Althea) didn't know. "Oh Sacred Head Now Wounded" I realized I was sight-reading, but I "knew" it sufficient that when I saw it in the folder I was like, "Seriously?!"
So we got to talking about Good Friday hymns/theology. (Yes, I was ~10 minutes late to work because I was in the church kitchen consuming !Communion bread and grape juice and
As we wrapped up the conversation so that we could all get to work, Peter said to me: "You have a very full Protestant theology, is what it boils down to." (Whereas I had been thinking that I was so echoing CWM/Borg&co. when I was talking about an emphasis on Easter rather than an emphasis on Good Friday, and Jesus' death being as a result of undermining the domination system rather than a requirement for us to be reconciled to God, etc. -- but on later reflection, I think part of what he was reacting to was what I said I hear when I hear hymns like "The Old Rugged Cross.")
During lunchtime phonecall today, I told Ari briefly about my morning, and of course I mentioned "The Old Rugged Cross," because even though I block it out such that I couldn't actually sing it for you from memory if I tried, it's totally my go-to example for classic blood atonement theology hymn (which is maybe unfair of me). She has a lot of positive associations with the hymn, but she has problems with the parts like "exchange it some day for a crown," and so we got talking about kingdom language/theology.
I've recently started reading Borg and Crossan's The Last Week: A Day-by-Day Account of Jesus's Final Week in Jerusalem
(for CHPC adult ed), and so I talked some about what I learned from the first chapter of that book about Jerusalem and the Temple in Jesus' time and the peasants who were Jesus' audience.
I knew from other books that Borg purposely uses "kingdom," knowing that many of his progressive compatriots dislike it. In one paragraph in The Last Week
, the authors pointedly state that Jesus used the term "kingdom of God" on purpose -- that "Jesus could have spoken of the family of God, the community of God, or the people of God, but, according to Mark, [Jesus] spoke of the kingdom
of God" (p. 25, emphasis in original) specifically because it was a political as well as a religious metaphor: "To [Jesus'] hearers, it would have suggested a kingdom very different from the kingdoms they knew, very different from the domination systems that ruled their lives" (p. 25).
I said that I understand this but that I don't think it necessarily makes a strong case for us continuing to use kingdom language, because we don't hear that tension when we hear "kingdom." I said that we (middle-class white folks) hear "kingdom" and think happy shiny King Arthur.
Ari recommended that I read Horsley's Jesus and Empire: The Kingdom of God and the New World Disorder
After she got back to her desk, she emailed me: "We should do a book study together. You know, since we have so many silent hours together that we need to fill." ♥