Quick review of my Lenten disciplines:
Discipline One: Cut back on TV. Not bad. Bit of a challenge with the Olympics on. I received some new books in the mail yesterday and so they distracted me.
1. Apostle to the Conquered: Reimaging Paul's Mission by Davina C. Lopez
2. Postmodernism, or, the Logic of Late Capitalism by Fredric Jameson
3. Up to our Steeples in Politics by Will Campbell
4. Consuming Faith: Integrating Who We are with What we Buy by Tom Beaudoin
I'm starting a thursday night bible study on Paul soon and so I dove right into the Lopez work. Already she has provided much to consider. Lopez does her theology and exegesis from the margins of feminist, queer and post-colonial theory. So I am learning much about those perspectives. So far she has spent a great deal of time discussing the coins, statues, and other various works of art of the ROman period and its political and theological implications. Her point, in the end, is to go back to Paul's use of the self-descriptive phrase 'apostle to the nations' to argue that when Paul used that word 'nations' or 'ethne' his context was wider that simply 'non-jewish' which traditional exegesis and scholarship has assumed. Instead, 'ethne' was a political term to all who were less than the Romans. Should be interesting.
Back to Practices. So I found myself very at peace having no television, or very little yesterday, just a few moments at lunch and after dinner. Amazing how little there really is on. I turned it on before starting this post, and began my usual flip through the channels, then, amazing, just gave it up as a waste of time.
Praying the Hours has been rushed at some points. Attended a lecture in Cambridge by Luis CdeBaca on 'the Fight to Abolish Modern Day Slavery'
Two interesting points, at least for me, in the lecture. One, Ambassador CdeBaca suggested some ways in which everyone could combat modern slavery; by buying cotton shirts not assembled in sweatshops, buying food not harvested by slave labor and... this was the best... buying free trade chocolate. I've dropped the chocolate line as a way to combat slavery in two recent sermons, so to hear the Ambassador mention it was affirming. Second point. Ambassador CdeBaca was asked what efforts his office was putting into combatting the sex trade in South Africa due to the upcoming World Cup Events, he replied that he was enlisting the power of the pulpit, connecting to churches and clergy in South Africa to combat the demand side of prostitution and slavery.
The lecture was interesting, but it came right at the time when I needed to be doing the vespers prayers. I did them before the lecture, in a crowded and noisy room which was not ideal. Friday's prayers were always a bit behind because I spent the day visiting the saints of the church. But I got them all in and they kept me focused all day.
Memorizing the 63rd Psalm is going ok. I've got the first three verses pretty firmly ensconced for now. It takes repetition. The phrase of the psalm, earnestly I seek you, is a constant prayer for me throughout the day. How can I seek God in the minims, the details, the normal events of my life.
Now, it is time to pray