Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Jerusalem Above

This was a wonderful and unexpected addition to my (way too) humble Christian education endeavors during this Lenten season.

I spend a good bunch of time in my car en route to and from my job during the weekdays and was delighted when DearHusband brought home this wonderful audio study on the book of Galatians (a gift from Fr. Marc - and a wonderful gift it is!). So I was blessed during most of this past week to ride to and from work with this engaging and insightful teacher. Whether I am with Fr. Marc visiting his parish, or he's visiting ours, and even in my most brief and casual encounters with him, he never fails to teach me and to fill me with food for thought.

So here's an official endorsement of this fine study!

The Jerusalem Above: Biblical Perspectives on Religion and Politics in American Culture, by Rev. Marc Boulos
Beginning with Israel’s sojourn in the wilderness, the Bible presents the paradoxical vision of a heavenly city “not made by human hands.” From the abolition of slavery and women’s suffrage to the civil rights movement, contemplation of this unseen place has provoked every major step forward in American social development.

Harriet Beecher Stowe, whose writings against slavery influenced millions in the 1850s, warned that Lincoln’s Union could not be saved by protesting injustice and cruelty, but “by repentance, justice and mercy.” A century later, the Rev. King repeated Stowe’s call, systematically invoking the Bible in his famous speech, “I have a Dream.”

Marked by partisanship and divisiveness, more recent public expressions of religion and politics have strayed from this biblical vision. Genuine, intelligent dialogue has been replaced by arguments “for” and “against,” even as ideology creates isolation and estrangement in our communities, churches and families.

What does the biblical vision of city imply for contemporary discussions of social justice? How can this vision offer a way forward for all Americans, whatever their beliefs? In the words of Stowe, to what “heavy account,” is the Church of our generation called “to answer?"

While still listed in the "Coming Soon" category - I have reason to believe that it is coming very soon and will be available here. Locals who are interested can certainly borrow our copy (but DearHusband is next in line, so you'll have to take a number - which I'll be happy to give you!)


Anonymous said...

We are certainly on the same wave-length: When (if?) I finish my study of Matthew, I intend to look at Galatians next! This sounds like something I'm going to get.

On behalf of friends in the Metro (especially western branches) and myself, I hope Fr. Mark will arrange also to sell through Light & Life in St. Louis Park (my personal favorite place to go bankrupt)!

Thanks for the information.


-C said...

Good thought, Dwight - I'll mention it to him.

In the meantime, if you want to borrow my copy for preview, just holler.

By the time your very care-ful study of Matthew is over, those who have taken a number may well be finished with ours.

Dixie said...

Rats, you mean I have to wait for this? (Patience obviously not my strength!) I am an audio file junkie. It seems to be the best way to pour information into my head these days. I am just about caught up with the AFR podcasts that I listen to so I am ready for something new and this looks great.

Speaking of Light and Life, my priest was a catechumen under Father Anthony Coniaris when he was in school in MN. I can only be thankful there is no Light and Life brick and mortar store in my city or I fear I'd wear down the magnetic strip and wear off the numbers of my Amex card!!!!

-C said...

Well, Dixie, as I said - I'm thinking the wait won't be too long. My copy arrived all shrink-wrapped and ready to go. If you're REALLY in a hurry, email Father Marc at I'll just bet he'd get you connected with a copy right away.

Though we live in town with Light and Life bookstore (a blessing!), it is on the other side of this rather large town, so I'm not tempted to spend lots and lots of time there, though I certainly linger when I do go - and I spend when I go, too. But it is very nice to be able to hop in the car nad go and get stuff, instead of waiting to have stuff shipped.

While I do know of Fr. Anthony, I've not met him personally. I've seen him a couple of times when I've been to St. Mary's, though, and know him more by reputation. I've heard he's got lots of published materials at Light and Life.