OWAAT July 8: Freedom in Christ…from what? For what?

This week we wrap up Jeremiah, reading through the oracles against the nations, and the fall of Jerusalem and its aftermath. Following that, we begin, and nearly finish Lamentations.

Daily Bible readings:

July 8 – Jeremiah 50
July 9 – Jeremiah 51
July 10 – Jeremiah 52
July 11 – Lamentations 1
July 12 – Lamentations 2
July 13 – Lamentations 3
July 14 – Lamentations 4


As we leave Jeremiah, Renita Weems ends her commentary in the Global Bible Commentary with some challenging thoughts:

Jeremiah insists that we all have a stake in what happens to our country. We do not have to have degrees from the illustrious Kennedy School of Government or the Wharton School of Business to have an opinion about the moral future of our country. For too long we have left it up to the so-called experts. We have a duty to speak, to dissent, and to demand a better case for compromising our most fundamental principles as Christians and citizens than has thus far been made. As citizens we must demand a better excuse than fear and greed. We must love this world too much to see countries complicit in their own worst stereotypes. … We must return again and again to the book of Jeremiah because he reminds us of what is so unimaginable at times – that out of ruin can come resurrection and out of an evil heart can come compassion and empathy for the other. (p. 264)

Traditionally speaking, it makes sense to read Lamentations in companion with Jeremiah, as Nysse notes, “In both Jewish and Christian tradition the book is attributed to Jeremiah. That claim has been challenged with reason, but it has not been completely displaced.” He remarks on the importance of Lamentations to a living faith: it “…challenges all piety that commends passive, silent suffering. … If biblical faith is understood as living in an ‘already – not yet’ tension, Lamentations demands that readers not gloss over the suffering and horror of the ‘not yet.'”


How’s your experience with centering prayer going? Have you tried the centering prayer app? What I like about the app is that if you have a hard time remembering the steps from it, it clearly lays them out for you as you begin, then guides you through the steps, and reminds you of guidelines to keep in mind as you pray:

Centering Prayer Steps
Centering Prayer Steps
Centering Prayer Guidelines
Centering Prayer Guidelines









What have you heard from God in your experience with centering prayer?


Oh my word, are we ever being called to act on our faith these days in public, visible ways. Biblical and other translation matters. In Justice in the Burbs: Being the Hands of Jesus Wherever You Live, Brian McLaren’s meditates on the translation of the word dikaios:

In Spanish, French, Italian, and most other human languages, the New Testament word dikaios is always translated “justice,” a sturdy and social word that evokes fairness, integrity, right treatment, and equity in human relationships. But in English, translators often choose to translate dikaios as the word “righteousness.” this is unfortunate, even tragic, because many people hear the word “righteousness” and think only of personal and private “piety” or “religiousity” or “personal morality.” As important as these things are, they are not dikaois. (p. 31)

How might your perception of justice change if you thought of righteousness as justice?

Check the Think! Pray! Act! calendar for ideas and things to do.

Check out the Find Your FBCO Map to find your local faith-based community organizing affiliate and connect with the people who are working together to live out their dreams of a more just world!

What’s going on in your living of the Gospel? Let us know in the comments, in our e-mail discussion group, or on social media.

“Family Separations: A Word to the Church.” Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), n.d. https://disciples.org/resources/justice/immigration/family-separations/.

“Reclaiming Jesus.” 17 January 2017. http://reclaimingjesus.org/home.

Broockman, David, and Joshua Kalla. “Durably Reducing Transphobia: A Field Experiment on Door-to-Door Canvassing.” Science 352.6282 (2016): 220–24. http://science.sciencemag.org/content/352/6282/220.

Calhoun, Adele Ahlberg. Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2015.

Digital Theological Library. “Open Access Digital Theological Library | a Virtual Library for Theology, Religious Studies, and Related Disciplines.” Open Access Digital Theological Library, n.d. http://oadtl.org/.

Fretheim, Terence E. “Old Testament: Jeremiah.” Enter the Bible, n.d. http://www.enterthebible.org/oldtestament.aspx?rid=44.

Guest, Deryn. The Queer Bible Commentary. Edited by Robert E. Goss, Mona West, and Thomas Bohache. London: SCM Press, 2011.

Henderson, Silas. “Religion Is Always Political, but It Can Never Be Partisan: What’s Jesus Telling Us Today?” Aleteia — Catholic Spirituality, Lifestyle, World News, and Culture, 21 October 2017. https://aleteia.org/2017/10/21/religion-is-always-political-but-it-can-never-be-partisan-whats-jesus-telling-us-today/.

Luther Seminary. “Enter the Bible,” n.d. http://www.enterthebible.org/.

Luther Seminary. Jeremiah. Vol. 22 of Word & World. Saint Paul, MN: Luther Seminary, 2002. https://wordandworld.luthersem.edu/issues.aspx?issue_id=88.

Nysse, Richard W. “Old Testament: Lamentations.” Enter the Bible, n.d. http://www.enterthebible.org/oldtestament.aspx?rid=45.

Paretsky, Pamela B. “We Say We Want Free Speech and Civil Dialogue.” Psychology Today, 11 January 2017. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/happiness-and-the-pursuit-leadership/201701/we-say-we-want-free-speech-and-civil-dialogue.

Samson, Will and Lisa. Justice in the Burbs: Being the Hands of God Wherever You Live.  Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2005.

Society of Biblical Literature. “Bible Odyssey,” n.d. http://www.bibleodyssey.com/.

Tea, Kristen. “To My Friends Who Are Sick Of Politics.” MotherWise, 15 August 2017. https://motherwiselife.org/to-my-friends-who-are-sick-of-politics/.
Weems, Renita J. “Jeremiah.” Pages 251–64 in Global Bible Commentary. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2004.