Showing posts from August, 2018

Communicating Solidarity:
Romero's Final Ecumenical Gesture

By Frankjh [CC BY-SA 3.0 (] From Wikimedia Commons The last person to receive communion from Óscar Romero was an Episcopal priest from the United States. The Rev. William Wipfler (as we learn here ) served many years as a social justice activist with the National Council of Churches, heading consecutively its Caribbean and Latin American Department and its Human Rights Office. Wipfler was part of a U.S. delegation, who met with the archbishop and participated in Romero's last Sunday mass, on March 23, 1980, before he was killed the following day while celebrating the Eucharist in the chapel at the hospital where his modest residence was. Assassination of a Saint: The Plot to Murder Óscar Romero and the Quest to Bring His Killers to Justice , by Matt Eisenbrandt (Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2017). I was struck by Wipfler's emotional account of meeting Romero found in Matt Eisenbrandt's gripping, yet ha

“We must become the prayer”: an anonymous missive on the pastoral task after the death of God

Note from the editor : You may recall, gentle readers, a previous anonymous missive published here at DET. The full title of that post was “‘Jesus was a failure: an anonymous missive on the possibility of faith in the modern world.” That same anonymous author has once again been in touch to submit a second missive, which you will find below. It is a powerful re-conception of pastoral work after the death of God. Consequently, we have once again decided to publish the piece in accordance with the author’s wishes. – WTM There is only one Messiah who redeems us from the irony, the travail, and the limitations of human existence. Surely he will come. He is the Angel of Death. Death is the true Messiah and the land of the dead the place of God's true Kingdom. Only in death are we redeemed from the vicissitudes of human existence...Only death perfects life and ends its problems. - Rabbi Dr. Richard Rubenstein Public Domain , via Wikimedia Commons We're all alone. There

New Review: Undomesticated Dissent by Curtis W. Freeman

The Christian Century has published my review of Undomesticated Dissent: Democracy and the Public Virtue of Religious Nonconformity by Curtis W. Freeman. This superb study of the religious and political dissent in radical English Protestantism ends with a constructive proposal about how this heritage continues to inform protest movements, for the good of the commonwealth, today. Here's a teaser: In the 1580s, religious dissenter Henry Barrow languished in London’s Fleet Street prison, taunted by Anglican divine Lancelot Andrewes for his stubborn refusal to acknowledge the spiritual headship of King James I. Across the pond and the centuries, Baptist farmer-preacher Clarence Jordan endured derision and threats in the rigidly segregated rural Georgia community where he founded Koinonia Farm, an experiment in Christian communal living. What thread ties these two together? Ac­cording to Curtis Freeman, both Barrow and Jordan stand in a living stream of faithful religious dissente

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

…or, Something to keep you busy over the weekend… …or, The Past Fortnight in the Theoblogosphere. *maniacal cackle* Ok, ok. So it’s been nearly three months since the last link post . One of the things that university professors rarely see is just how much administrative work happens over the summer. Even if things haven’t been as hectic, I’d say that I’ve been pretty much as busy this summer as I was over the past academic year. Anywho, there has been a trickle of DET – and DET-related – happenings this summer, and this post will catch you up. Does this mean that you can expect an immediate uptick in activity? I’m not making any promises. Before we get to the links proper, I want to highlight two things in particular. First, Kim Fabricius died over the summer. Ben Myers has written a nice reflection on Kim’s life . Kim was like a playfully cranky and ridiculously insightful uncle for my generation of theology bloggers, and I was privileged to meet him once (in company w

Preaching the Scandal: Romero on Agrarian Reform

By Douglas Radamez Barahona, Giobanny Ascencio y Raul Lemus Grupo Cinteupiltzin CENAR El Salvador (Mural pintado con acrílico y óleos) GFDL , CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons Lately, I've become increasingly engrossed with the life and legacy of Óscar Romero (1917-1980), the martyred Archbishop of San Salvador soon to be beatified by the Roman Catholic Church. I am finding this material both inspiring and challenging, and am moved to ponder what this recognition means for the history of Christianity in the Americas -- indeed, for the Christian churches worldwide. In that vein, I've been ruminating on a short volume of excerpts from Romero's diary entries and homilies, which were broadcast from the archdiocesan radio station and served as a life-line of prophetic critique, journalism, and resistance in the months leading up to the civil war in El Salvador. The Scandal of Redemption: When God Liberates the Poor, Saves Sinners, and Heals Nations , By Oscar Romero (e