Pentecost: The Spirit With and Within Us

Think

Welcome to Pentecost and our sojourn into the book of Acts! About Acts, William Willimon notes, “What first appeared to be history, or apostolic memoir, explodes into a fierce argument about the nature of the church, the meaning of Christian life, and the sustenance of discipleship. And why would you or I still take the trouble to listen and then to teach and preach from Scripture unless we were interested in effecting the same in our church today?” (p. xiii). And: “The church is an imaginative construction which results from acts of imagination that we call stories. … It was not for nothing that the believers happened to be gathered in an upper room at Pentecost. They are part of a story that makes sense, that reveals an author who is someone more than Luke, someone none other than the one in whom ‘…we live and move and have our being’ (17:28). God is not just a character in the story, rather God is the author who makes the story possible and whose nature and purposes are revealed in the telling of the story. … God has been faithful before (history) and will be faithful again (apocalyptic). The story is a stubborn refusal to keep quiet and accept the world as unalterably given.” (p. xx-xxi)

What are you stubbornly refusing to accept as “unalterably given” in your life or in the world around you, and how does God figure into that?

This week we read Part 3,  “Managing Your Fears,” Chapter 8, “Adopting the Three Productivity Behaviors: A Process for Creating Behavioral Change” of the T+P+A Big Read 2019, The Lifelong Activist. If you know me, you understand that I am all about getting processes and systems in place to support our dreams so that we can achieve the goals we set. And Rettig has plenty of helpful words to say on these subjects! In short, she suggests those seeking to make long-lasting change make sure they understand the problem, make small goals, reward yourself for meeting them, and be gentle with yourself if you don’t. Making long-term change is hard work! We continue doing what works for us because in some way or another, it works, even if it doesn’t.

Have you been able to successfully make changes in your life? If so, how did they happen?

Pray

For June and July, in honor of Pride Month (and beyond) we are reading and praying over Our Lives Matter: A Womanist Queer Theology by Pamela R. Lightsey. This week we’re reading the Introduction. For those of you who may wonder what is spiritual about reading a theological book, I have to say that during seminary, some of the deepest periods of reading in my life, were accompanied by some mighty spiritual experiences. I don’t know if that’s the case for those of us who are more academically-inclined or for everyone, but if you haven’t had a spiritual experience while reading, give this a try with us. Lightsey says, “…this work will demonstrate, through experiential narratives and theological resource how the oppression of Black queer women harms the larger society.” (p. xx-xxi). And, “How does the experience of being a member of a distinctly oppressed group impact one’s theological perceptions? … How may it be possible to live in harmony in the midst of distinctions among humanity?” (p. xxi)

Prayerfully consider the ways in which oppressions are related, and where you are in light of oppression / privilege continuums.

C’mon over to People of the Books, our online book club in which we discuss this book and whatever else is on your mind or heart!

Act

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.

Resources

  • Aston, John. “Paraclete.” The Anchor Bible Dictionary 5.
  • Berge, Paul S. “Easter to Trinity with the Gospel of John: Bearing Witness to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” Word & World XVIII.2 (1998): 207-216. https://wordandworld.luthersem.edu/content/pdfs/18-2_Ecumenism/18-2_Berge.pdf.
  • Bohache, Thomas. “Pentecost Queered.” The Queer Bible Commentary. Edited by Robert E. Goss, Mona West, and Thomas Bohache. London: SCM Press, 2011.
  • Brussat, Frederic and Mary Ann. “Easter: Resurrection as a Spiritual Practice,” March 28, 2013.
    https://www.patheos.com/blogs/dailylifeasspiritualpractice/2013/03/easter-resurrection-as-a-spiritual-practice/
  • ExploreFaith.org. “The Divine Hours: A Complete Guide to the Ancient Practice of Fixed-Hour Prayer,” accessed May 6, 2019. http://www.explorefaith.org/prayer/prayer/fixed/index.php
  • Goss, R. Queering Christ: Beyond Jesus Acted Up, 2002.
  • Guest, Deryn. The Queer Bible Commentary. Edited by Robert E. Goss, Mona West, and Thomas Bohache. London: SCM Press, 2011.
  • Hall, Suzanne DeWitt. Transfigured: A 40-Day Journey through Scripture for Gender-Queer and Transgender People. D.H. Strategies, 2018.
  • Hall, Suzanne DeWitt. Where True Love Is: An Affirming Devotional for LGBTQI+ Individuals and Their Allies. D.H. Strategies, n.d.
  • Isherwood, Lisa. “Queer Theology.” Cambridge Dictionary of Christian Theology. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2011.
  • Koester, Craig. “Enter the Bible: John,” n.d.
    http://www.enterthebible.org/newtestament.aspx?rid=5
  • Lightsey, Pamela R. Our Lives Matter: A Womanist Queer Theology. Eugene: Pickwick Publications, 2015.
  • Loughlin, G. Queer Theology: Rethinking the Western Body, 2007.
  • Luther Seminary. “Enter the Bible,” n.d. http://www.enterthebible.org/.
  • Rettig, Hillary. “Adopting the Three Productivity Behaviors: A Process for Creating Behavioral Change” in The Lifelong Activist: How to Change the World Without Losing Your Way. New York, NY: Lantern Books, 2006. http://lifelongactivist.com/part-iii-managing-your-fears/8-adopting-the-three-productivity-behaviors-a-process-for-creating-behavioral-change/
  • White, L. Michael. Scripting Jesus: The Gospels in Rewrite. San Francisco: Harper Collins, 2010.
  • Willimon, William H. Acts. Interpretation, a Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1988.

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