When I go into someone’s house or apartment for the first time, I find myself especially drawn to their bookshelves. I want to see the books that they read and the ones they have on display. I like to know which ones have mattered enough to keep, which ones are dogeared and worn, and which are on the stack to be read next.

 

  • This week I was able to finish In the Shadow of Empire: Reclaiming the Bible as a History of Faithful Resistance edited by Richard A. Horsley. It’s a collection of scholars writing about the ways both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures talk about resistance to Empire. I really enjoyed this book, both for the various authors included and for the wide scope. It was especially helpful for me to read the sections on Hebrew Scripture and the sections on Paul. I found the book to be really accessible. This would be a good primer for someone who was just starting to explore the literature about imperial influence on the Scriptures. If you’ve read a lot of stuff in that vein this might be a bit repetitive, however I still appreciated the way the book moved through the Scriptures chronologically.

 

  • Still working my way through the Bible. I’m into the shorter letters now. Still struggling to read Paul. Even as I read essays about Paul in context (like several from the book mentioned above) it is really difficult to strip away years of theology and teaching that was centered on Paul. It’s amazing to me how much of the christianity I grew up with wasn’t really about Jesus, it was about how people were understanding Paul’s view of Jesus. This reclamation is going to take some time.

 

I was struck, however, by the following passage. Something about it really resonated with me and I found it moving and beautiful. I’m still marinating on why I found it so moving, but there is something here for me, in the language of bodies and death, of holding things in our bodies, of being embodied. I’ll have to write more about this sometime in the near future, but for now I’ll share it without further comment.

 

2 Corinthians 4:7-18 (Common English Bible)

7 But we have this treasure in clay pots so that the awesome power belongs to God and doesn’t come from us. 8 We are experiencing all kinds of trouble, but we aren’t crushed. We are confused, but we aren’t depressed. 9 We are harassed, but we aren’t abandoned. We are knocked down, but we aren’t knocked out. 10 We always carry Jesus’ death around in our bodies so that Jesus’ life can also be seen in our bodies. 11 We who are alive are always being handed over to death for Jesus’ sake so that Jesus’ life can also be seen in our bodies that are dying. 12 So death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. 13 We have the same faithful spirit as what is written in scripture: I had faith, and so I spoke. We also have faith, and so we also speak. 14 We do this because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus, and he will bring us into his presence along with you. 15 All these things are for your benefit. As grace increases to benefit more and more people, it will cause gratitude to increase, which results in God’s glory. 16 So we aren’t depressed. But even if our bodies are breaking down on the outside, the person that we are on the inside is being renewed every day. 17 Our temporary minor problems are producing an eternal stockpile of glory for us that is beyond all comparison. 18 We don’t focus on the things that can be seen but on the things that can’t be seen. The things that can be seen don’t last, but the things that can’t be seen are eternal.

What’re you currently reading? Anything on your list that you are just itching to get to? Share any current reads or recommendations in the comments! (I love hearing what other people are reading.)

 

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