This blog has since 2006 to provide resources for Bible teaching and study, a forum for the arts of writing and film, and a space for ranting about politics. Barbara G. Tucker is the mind and heart behind this blog and solely responsible for the content, which
does not reflect the views or mission of her employer, church, or affiliations. She has many personal (wife and mom to start with) and professional roles (related to higher education and writing.) Enjoy and participate.
I am reading the book of Matthew and journaling everyday; perhaps I will share some here. I have been in the Beatitudes this week, trying to read them as they are, not as I have been told to read them. I think that is the best way to approach the gospels: experience them afresh without all the baggage of past preaching that tries to explain away what Jesus did and said rather than explain it.
Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.
The key behind it is that we will be comforted. We are not blessed because we mourn (although
maybe sometimes we are) but because we will be comforted. The blessing is not inherent in mourning, but
in what living with Jesus as king of one’s life provides in mourning.
We might, however, be blessed in mourning. First it means we have someone close enough
to mourn over when we lose them. We have enough sensitivity of spirit to do so,
a sensitivity I fear is being lost with an increasingly narcissistic generation
(and I don’t mean millenials) and the everyday presence of news reports of mass
killings somewhere at home and abroad.
For Jesus’ audience, mourning was a common experience because people were
likely to die from medical conditions or die younger or even from political
reasons. They also had a stronger sense
of community and family and a weaker sense of (if any) individualism and
However, the emphasis here is being comforted, so we must
ask what about the kingdom of God that Jesus is bringing in comforts those who
community who cares
he mourns too
I saw in my Bible that I had put the words “over sin” over
the word “mourn.” (why do we feel the need to add words to the text?) There seems no reason to add that,
really. Mourning is ultimately mourning over
sin anyway; if there were no sin there would be no mourning.
However, we live in an age where mourning is feared; we are
supposed to “move on,” which makes those who mourn longer feel like freaks who
need therapy. Let’s not move on so
How's that for a title? Thought it might get some hits. However, this post is dead serious. Last night I taught, for the first time, this fascinating "tale," which might be called an allegory. I taught it in conjunction with "A Good Man is Hard to Find" by Flannery O'Connor. Both must be read in light of the Christian world view or metanarrative, that of perfect creation, fall, redemption through Christ, and an eventual return to a perfect creation. As I told my students, different churches interpret that sequence differently but all hold to the same basic sequence.
But of course, they are very different stories. "Young Goodman Brown" is set in the Puritan landscape and more specifically in Salem. This is not just any New England town in the 17th century, but the site of the hysteria and hypocrisy of the witch trials, a time engrained into American consciousness especially through The Crucible and the McCarthy times. (These are, of course,…