Wednesday, March 29, 2023


Dear All of Us,

What should we make 

of a father like this?

Clean as a whistle.

High minded, 

works hard

to support his sons,

sets a high bar for them.

When a son misbehaves,

he takes him to the garage

and beats him.

What should we make 

of a God like that,

one who requires 

his son to suffer

and die for the

misbehaving of humanity?

Scripture seems 

to say such of God -

Jesus is tortured and killed, 

and thus pays off 


blood justice debt 

to God the Father,

saves us all and

is raised from the dead.

Slaughter for salvation.

Is this "Abba"?

Is it true that

"God is love"?

We need to look

many agains

and much deeper.

Slaughter Dad

is neither singular 

nor exceptional.

Scripture says 

all sorts of things 

in all sorts of ways

which call for 

a deeper interpretation

to get at the core truth -

probing things such as their 

linguistic, historical, 

cultural context,

the limits and liabilities,

the persuasions and  

personal experiences

of the writers.


  - creation in six days,

  - God's violence in 

    many parts of 

    the Hebrew Scriptures,

 -  cutting off you right hand 

    if you sin with it

    (how is it that there are 

    so many right handed people 

    in church on Sunday??).

Well, let's have a go at 

a bit of a 

deeper interpretation

of Jesus death 

and resurrection.

On a practical, 

political level

Jesus was getting 

a larger and larger 


That was a concern 

for the Roman authorities

at a time of zealots 

and uprisings 

opposing their occupation

of Palestine.

Jesus was healing many,

was critical of 

the temple elite and their 

shallow show religiosity,

was preaching 

a beautiful and new 

kingdom of God.

He was getting large crowds, 

even right in the temple.

All this meant 

state and religious leaders

might lose their jobs, 

so Jesus had 

to lose his life.

At a much deeper level

Jesus is Emmanual, 

   God With Us 

right in the midst 

of our human 

mix, marvel and mess,

one of us,

one with us,

one for us.

Jesus lived 

a holistic realness 

that righted wrong. 

Sin, evil of any 

and every sort,

death itself, 

are the absence 

of the real, of life, 

of good, of God.

Jesus responded to them

in the Love that is God,

suffered them,

poured himself out for them,

emptied himself,

to fill the void

of sin, evil, death,

righting them real.

He taught and lived 

a life of such pure love 

that it has the bounce 

to rise from the dead.

Jesus invites us 

into this wonder.

     We are 

"baptized into his

death and resurrection",

    he with us,

    we together

      in him.

Jesus saved us

from a vacuous hell,

here and hereafter.

Richard Roher puts this all 

so clearly and well:

    Jesus is, in effect, saying,

   "This is how evil is 

    transformed into good! 

    I am going to take 

    the worst thing and 

    turn it into the best thing, 

    so you will never be 

    victimized, destroyed 

    or helpless again! 

    I am giving YOU 

    the victory over all death!" (1)

Over the years I had 

more than 

a few fathers 

in the congregation

who beat their sons

when they misbehaved.

So sadly sick,

evil compounding evil.

We don't have 

an Abba at all like that.

He shares his Son.

His Son shares 

God Goodness.

His Son Saves!

His Son loves the deadly 

and death itself to life.




    We find a quiet, 

      private place.

     We still down to 

       Soul Center

    We stop thinking, 

    figuring, planning.

   We gaze at the cross




We ask for an infusion of 

         GOD LOVE

         to enliven 

 the dark dead corners 

       of our minds 

       of our feelings

       of our behaviors

       of our relationships

       of our families

       of our churches

       of our nation

       of our world community


      We not only ask for

         an infusion of

           GOD LOVE

         We open to it.

   What does that look like?

   What does that take?

Let's be honest and actual

          about this.



(1) Things Hidden, 

      Scripture As Spirituality

      Richard Rohr, 2008, 

      Franciscan Media, p.188 

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