Theology Announcement for the Week of May 13

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Dear friends in Christ,

Out of Egypt: Reading Exodus Theologically

On May 13, the Sunday class continues its study of the book of Exodus in the Old Testament. In addition to being a record of the central event in Jewish history – the exodus from Egypt and journey towards the Promised Land – the book also provides a prime case study of the benefits of a utilization of the traditional “four senses” of scripture: the literal, the typological, the moral, and the mystical. This week we look at Moses’ objections to God’s call to him, and the way God replies. Five objections countered by five promises that God would be with him. The class meets on the fifth floor at 10 a.m.

Saint Thomas Book Group

The next meeting is on Wednesday, May 16 at 6:30 p.m. in Andrew Hall. They will discuss Chinua Achebe’s Arrow of God. The only requirement to attend the discussion is that you have read the book. Other books to be discussed in coming months are listed here.

The Body of Christ

We continue to celebrate the Ascension for the ten days between that day and Pentecost. The bodily ascension is as essential to Christian salvation history as the bodily resurrection. And both are as scandalous to the pagan religious imagination as the bodily incarnation, the idea of God taking on flesh. This isn’t a new scandal. Along those lines, I was recently sent an article, written by a friend of a friend, on the widespread Gnosticism of modern life – even and especially within Christian communities. Gnosticism here is defined as a distrust of, and even feelings of disgust at, the body and embodiment. But, as the article points out, the source of sin isn’t the body, but the soul. This has been the classical Christian theological position since the time of the patristic authors, including Augustine and Cyril of Alexandria. To summarize Augustine, “to see the flesh as more sinful than the soul is to follow the way of the flesh.” The author writes,

The apostolic tradition carries a radical message that defends the truth of human personhood against the secular tide of pessimism about the flesh. Safeguarding that message requires entering into the mysteries of the Incarnation and the Resurrection….

And, I would add, the mystery of the Ascension.

Yours in Christ,
Joel