“Blood is thicker than water,” that old devilish saying goes. The meaning of this phrase is pretty straightforward: family (blood) relations are inherently stronger than any other kind of non-familial (water) relationship or bond. Right? Nah. This rendition of the phrase actually carries the complete opposite meaning from the original phrase: “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.” Funny how words get twisted.
Familial relationships can be great, aaaaand they can be the worst. Join us this week as we continue our examination of the relationships that make and break us. We will examine one of Jesus’s most famous parables - the prodigal son - and see what sense we can make of family, loosely defined.
This week we focus our attention on friendship. On one hand, maybe it's weird for a community of adults to talk about this thing which seems to hold diminishing importance for us as we move through the world. It is also not exactly the most famous of topics when it comes to Christianity and religion and spirituality in general. At the same time, adult friendships are important! Particularly so for a generation that is super transient, getting married later (if at all), having less kids, and has the internet (insert anti-tech screed here). Furthermore, there is actually a rich and robust history of thought around friendship as a theological and philosophical topic. One could even argue that when Jesus talked about love and relationships, he was informed more by his friendships than familial or romantic bonds. In any case, join us as we start to unpack the relationshipthat St. Augustine said was “sweeter than all the sweetness of [his] life."
There is this thing called the Great Commission, the last five sentences that close out the Gospel of Matthew. It says things like “Go out and make disciples of all nations,” for which it has become a rallying cry for all sorts of efforts to evangelize and convert people. That makes a certain sort of sense, but divine command mixed with human fallibility is formula for disaster, perhaps THE formula for disaster. The kinds of so-called Christian efforts taking place in Alabama and elsewhere underscore just how deep fallibility runs, as well as how fraught the idea of evangelizing can be when mixed with bad theologies, politics, and a prejudiced view about what it means to actually show love. Before we consider if there is a better way to do this, it might be necessary to ask what “this” actually is. In other words, what does it mean for us, our community in particular, to share something with the world?