Category Archives: Radical Lectionary

The Radical Theology Lectionary: Easter Sunday

Text: John 20:1-18

Interpretation:

“The reality is that we don’t know exactly what historically happened on that first Easter Sunday morning, and if we do take a historical position we just create an argument. The Good News of this Easter is that we have a third option away from the argument about whether the resurrection happened or not as a fact: namely, this third option is the position of the women who encounter Christ in the garden, where the resurrection is too good to be true, and it’s too good to be false. The return of Jesus enacts in us a call to step away from the downward spiral of our typical lives, and of our sufferings, and of our angers, and our mournings, and our injustices, and in this suffering, find new life and New Creation. When it’s too good to be true, the absurdity of the resurrection calls us to joy. When it’s too good to be true, we are led from our ordinary lives to something extra-ordinary.”

— Christopher Rodkey, Too Good to be True: Radical Christian Preaching

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The Radical Theology Lectionary: Good Friday

Text: John 18:1-19:42

Interpretation:

The true “nature” of man [sic] appears in Hegel, at the twilight of history, when man consents to his salvation and recognizes all the consequences this entails. It is most certainly Hegel’s doctrine of salvation–of a reconciliation, whose entire reality can be manifested in the world on this side of death–that accounts for the discreteness of his eschatology. Man’s final self-identity is not the product of forces immanent in history, but is finite spirit objectively reconciled with absolute Spirit on the Cross of Christ.

-Jean-Yves Lacoste, “Hegel and the Eschaton This Side of Death” in Experience and the Absolute: Disputed Questions on the Humanity of Man, 121

The Radical Theology Lectionary: Sixth Sunday in Lent

Text: Matthew 26.14-27.66

Commentary:

By following the way of the radical Christian, we can rejoice in the death of God, and be assured that the historical realization of the death of God is a full unfolding of the forward movement of the Incarnation. Just as the Crucifixion embodies and makes finally real a divine movement from transcendence to immanence, a movement of an originally transcendent God into the actuality of life and experience, so too the dawning of the death of God throughout the totality of experience progressively annuls every human or actual possibility of returning to transcendence.

Thomas J.J. Altizer, “A Wager” in Toward a New Christianity: Readings in the Death of God Theology, 305-306

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The Radical Theology Lectionary: Fifth Sunday in Lent

TEXT: John 11.1-45

COMMENTARY:

“It is love, human and divine, which overcomes death in nations and generations and in all the horror of our time. Help has become almost impossible in the face of the monstrous powers which we are experiencing. Death is given power over everything finite, especially in our period of history. But death is given no power over love. Love is stronger. It creates something new out of the destruction caused by death; it bears everything and overcomes everything. It is at work where the power of death is strongest, in war and persecution and homelessness and hunger and physical death itself. It is omnipresent and here and there, in the smallest and most hidden ways as in the greatest and most visible ones, it rescues life from death. It rescues each of us, for love is stronger than death.”

-Paul Tillich, “Love is Stronger than Death” in The Essential Tillich, 161

The Radical Theology Lectionary: Fourth Sunday in Lent

TEXT: Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff—
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
my whole life long.

COMMENTARY:

“One can even develop into a Hegelian triad the lines from Psalm 23:4: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” It’s first negation would have been a radical reversal of the subjective position, as in the ghetto-rapper-version: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for I am the meanest motherfucker in the whole valley!” Then comes the negation of negation that changes the entire field by way of “deconstructing” the opposition of Good and Evil: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for I know that Good and Evil are just metaphysical binary opposites!”

-Slavoj Žižek, Žižek’s Jokes: (Did You Hear the One about Hegel and Negation?), 18