christopher marlin-warfield

radical charity

Open Our Eyes

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In this story, Jesus has already appeared to a couple of the disciples on the Road to Emmaus. He walked with them and he talked with them. He showed them where the prophets had said that the Messiah must suffer and die and rise again. He took bread and he blessed it and he broke it and he gave it to them and their eyes were opened and they recognized him and he disappeared.

These disciples start telling the other disciples what happened to them: The Lord has risen and he appeared to us and he took bread an he blessed it and he broke it and he gave it to us and our eyes were opened and we recognized him and he disappeared.

And while they are talking about this, Jesus reappears to all of them, even Thomas, and they are frightened. Which is good because when your friend and teacher is murdered and then appears among you, that is frightening.

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The Way It It. The Way It Should Be.

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I love Palm Sunday.

I know that there are Christmas people and Thanksgiving people and Halloween people and Independence Day people and Easter people and maybe even a few Arbor Day people. There are people who get excited about lights and decorations and costumes and dressing up and food and presents and all of those sorts of things.

I am a Palm Sunday person.

I love Palm Sunday because this is the kind of holiday where, if the powers that be knew what it was about, they wouldn’t let us celebrate it. It’s subversive. It offers a choice between the way things are and the way things could be.

Let me back up.

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What About Everyone?

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God goes out to be alone and to pray. And when his friends come and say, “everyone is searching for you,” God says, ‘let’s go on to the neighboring towns and spread this good thing there; let’s go throughout of all of Galilee and spread this good thing there; let’s go make disciples of all nations and spread this good thing there.’ God is generous.

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Ordination Paper Part 3: Faith Journey and Call to Ministry

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Every faith journey is unique, just as every person is unique. We all come before God as ourselves and no one else. Just as importantly, we are all always before God and always coming before God. Perhaps, to put it more poetically, we are all always becoming before God. Likewise, every call and every ministry is unique, and we are all always living into those calls and those ministries. We do not stand still. All of this is to say that what follows here is a snapshot of the story of my faith journey as I tell it now, and a description of my call to ministry as I understand it now. These are things that may – and, I suspect, will – change as my own becoming before God continues.

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Ordination Paper Part 2: The United Church of Christ

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I wrote in the first part of the paper that the church – at its best – is humanity’s imperfect embodiment of the world as God calls it to be and that, of course, the church is not always at its best. The United Church of Christ, like all expressions of the church, exists in this tension. It exists in the tension between the world as it is and the world as it is called to be. It exists in the tension between the ideal embodied in official documents of the denomination and the messy reality found in the congregations and other expressions of the United Church of Christ. It also exists as the place where my faith finds a home: at times a place of familiarity and comfort, at times a place of strangeness and struggle. In this part of this paper, I want to acknowledge this tension in the history and polity of the United Church of Christ.

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Ordination Paper Part 1: Theological Reflections

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My own context is necessarily informed by my status as a white, middle-class, straight, cis-gendered, American male who was raised in a small university town in the north by well-educated parents and who has an education in philosophy and theology. At least as importantly, it is informed by my field work in marginalized communities and by my professional life in communications and financial development for the charitable sector. All of this contributes to there being two watch words for my theological concerns and these reflections: charity and liberation.

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