- Series: Theology From Exile (Book 2)
- Paperback: 290 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 4, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1491077328
- ISBN-13: 978-1491077320
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,555,795 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Theology From Exile Volume II: The Year of Matthew: Commentary on the Revised Common Lectionary for an Emerging Christianity Paperback – September 4, 2013
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About the Author
Sea Raven, D.Min., is an Associate of the Westar Institute (home of the Jesus Seminar), and a Worship Associate and member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Frederick, Maryland. Her work as a free-lance writer, musician, and worship leader is grounded in post-modern Christian scholarship, and focused on justice, peace, and the integrity of creation. Since 1992, Sea Raven has taught the concept of natural, creation-centered or earth-based ritual in worship services and life celebrations in various church settings, including retreats, pulpit supply, and religious education. Sea Raven’s doctoral project, The Wheel of the Year: A Worship Book for Creation Spirituality, provides worship experiences that spring from pre-Christian Celtic spirituality, post-modern cosmology, and the theology and four-path principles of Creation Spirituality as developed by Rev. Dr. Matthew Fox. The project is published on her website along with a weekly blog (http://www.gaiarising.org).
Top customer reviews
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As one who makes regular use of the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL), I have gathered a collection of commentaries and resources specifically focused on lectionary texts. I had hoped that this resource might also become a valuable resources in my sermon preparation.
Following the RCL, Raven’s commentary provides commentary in a format similar to other commentaries, providing insights into each individual text (a Psalm, a reading from the Hebrew Bible, a Gospel lesson, and a reading from an Epistle). Additionally, she attempts to weave the texts and commentary together to address a particular theological narrative.
What sets Raven’s work apart from other resources on my shelf is her decidedly progressive (beyond liberal, deal) approach to exploring the texts. For several weeks, I used this material as source for my sermon preparation. Yet despite using this reference, I found that the insights from her commentary did not make their way into my sermon preparation.
I prefer, in my sermon preparation, for commentary to be more subtle and focused on actual textual issues, as well as the theological bent of the authors of the biblical text. Unfortunately, Raven’s writing (as well as others with a theological axe to grind, i.e. Reformed, Conservative, Liberal, etc.) tend to use the text as a jumping off point for their own passions, rather than as a source for defining the Divine’s passion. Often the text will lend itself is progressive theological passions for issues related to social justice, for example. But with Raven’s work, it seemed like the texts were often stretched to fit her theology, rather than being explore to stretch her/our theology. It might seem like a subtle differentiation for some, but it is a distinction none-the-less.
For this reason, I did not find this resource particularly useful to the homological enterprise. That said, as a resource for exploring how a progressive theologian deals with the texts at his or her disposal, it was an enjoyable and enlightening reference. For those who share her theological bent, it might prove a useful resource.
I'll begin by stating a few years ago I'd sometimes make a theological observation and then add, "the Jesus seminar notwithstanding." Author Sea Raven has Jesus Seminar connections, but I'll leave it at that because I found so very much to like about this book, and I'll use it as a reference whenever Lectionary Year A, aka "Matthew's Year," rolls around.
Her constantly referring to the 1992 lectionary compilers as the Elves (she told us where she found that idea), and her endless comments about their "Cherry Picking" texts and portions of texts began annoying me by the 101th or so instance. Like Sea Raven, I've been distressed when the RCL's gathering of texts seem to imply or at least point toward supersessionism. I've been at least annoyed when they've broken up a key text between a couple of Sundays. It irritates me almost no end when they've grouped texts together in a way that implicitly support our more theologically conservative brethren and sistern in Christ.
Sea Raven frames her thoughts on the RCL texts by presenting the God of the bible as nonviolent, inclusive, oriented to distributive (rather than retributive) justice, and to deliverance. But she seems to insist on only a single style of scriptural interpretation that apparently excludes mystery and paradox! Jesus' way is comprehensive, and though my theology tends toward the confessional traditions of the Reformation, I have almost no disagreement with the content of Theology from Exile, only long for at least some acknowledgment of the mysterious, paradoxical, humanly unexplainable ways in which God frequently self-reveals and acts in the world.
The omission of texts for Holy Week seemed like the big thing it really was, but the Speakeasy sent me a copy of Sea Raven's parallel Theology From Exile volume on the gospel of Luke that does include Holy Week; I plan to blog and review that book, too.
The mostly 3 or 4 pages long, relatively lightweight commentaries on each Sunday's RCL readings all incline to highlight ways that particular Sunday's texts come together--or sometimes don't cohere. Although like probably many of Sea Raven's readers, I attended a mainline (liberal, progressive... what terminology does one use these days?) seminary, and received instruction in twentieth century theological trends, that doesn't mean my entire theological perspective remains thus. Or ever was entirely grounded in what some folks have referred to as fundamentalism of the left--the type of apologetics that suddenly discovers or discerns the way scripture recorded an event is possible after all, because (after all) modern science has deemed it possible. But Theology From Exile still is a useful, insight-filled resource; it's a keeper for my library!