Archive for April, 2015

Many Years Ago…

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

When I was young and I heard an older person begin a sentence, “Many years ago,” my eyes would glaze over and I would begin to tune out; I doubt that I ever heard the end of the sentence.

Now as an old person, I find that I often invoke the past myself! I hereby pledge to try NOT to do this unless absolutely necessary to save life and limb. The least I can do is to try not be a boring old person.

More important, always thinking of the past keeps us from living in the present. And the present of course is where God calls us to serve and to love. —J. Douglas Ousley

One Year Later

Monday, April 13th, 2015

Tomorrow night, April 14, the Empire State Building will appear in red lights, reminding the public that most of the Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists have been in captivity for one year.

Our congresswoman, Carolyn Maloney gave a press conference today outside the UN to urge Nigerian authorities and other influential parties to press for the return of the girls. Sadly, there is evidence that some of the young women have already been enslaved or killed or given as wives to jihadis.

Still, credit is due to the #BringBackOurGirls movement and other groups dedicated to end the violence against women. Our newly-appointed assistant, the Rev. Adrian Dannhauser, who arrives at Incarnation in mid-July has been a leader in this movement in the Diocese of New York. May we keep the poor girls and other Christian victims of terror in our prayers. —J. Douglas Ousley

Jesus Lives. Really.

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

One of the most interesting theological developments of recent years has been the return to traditional beliefs about the Resurrection. Following in particular the British scholar, N. T. Wright, it is not at all uncommon for biblical critics, theologians, and philosophers to argue that Jesus really did rise from the dead.

To some laymen, this will come as a surprise because they assumed that is what all Christians believe. But since the 19th century, liberal scholars have interpreted scriptural references to the Resurrection as “myth.” Scientifically-minded philosophers have pointed out that people don’t naturally rise from the dead.

But against these and other arguments, Wright points to the uniqueness of the claim and the vast array of evidence that could be cited in favor of the belief that Jesus came back to life. For example, the disciples weren’t expecting Jesus to rise from the grave, so it is unlikely they imagined his appearances out of “wish-fulfillment.” (The Gospels themselves note the fear and amazement of the disciples when they see the Risen Christ.)

Add the way we can conceive of persons occupying bodies as analogous to computer software running hardware, and it’s easier than it was 150 years ago to believe that Jesus lives. —J. Douglas Ousley.