Welcome to the table!
Here's where you can find all of our exclusive content curated just for you.
If this is your first time here, please be sure to enter your info in the box to the right to insure delivery of your weekly emails. You'll want to be sure to check your email and confirm all subscriptions to The Banquet.
Now, scroll down to begin enjoying your content!
The Weekly Devotionals
The valley around the Sea of Galilee is lush and green, and you can see the haze that hangs over this large lake in the middle of a desert (I've been there, and I stood on the side of the Decapolis, looking across to the other side). This scripture says that Jesus traveled around the kingdom, preaching the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and sickness among the people. His fame spread throughout Syria, and great crowds followed him.
As we see from the introduction, Jesus called these men out of more than a few systems. First, their immediate family dynamic was interrupted. John and James, the scripture makes a point to say, left their boat and their father. Second, they left the guild -- a kin-based economic system (similar to a fisherman's union) that was a larger part of empire rule. And third, they left a sphere of social class as the working peasantry to go and become the student of a rabbi.
I can't wait for you to (watch) this week's essay, a sermon by Terry Wilson. In it, she talks a little about this moment when Jesus calls the first disciples, and how odd it really is (you'll have to watch to understand what's so weird about it!). As I began to study for this devotional, however, I came across an interesting note in the scholarship around this verse: fishermen were despised. I knew tax collectors were not popular people, but I never knew that about fishermen.
If you're familiar with scripture then you are probably familiar with the idea that in this part of the text, Jesus is restoring Peter -- he gives Peter the chance to affirm his love three times (to Peter's annoyance!) -- one for each time Peter had earlier denied him during his interrogation.
Jesus came to serve, not to be served, and here we see him serving the disciples breakfast. It is a beautiful act of nurturing, and indeed, very often a woman's role to prepare a meal. But Jesus doesn't seem to care about hierarchies -- at least not man made ones. And if he does, they're all flipped around.
The interesting part to this scripture, for me, is that they recognize Jesus by his abundance. By his where there was none, now there is plenty. They recognized not his physical body, but the impact he had on their environment and their circumstances. Suddenly they were able to see fish where there had been none; suddenly their nets were full.
Have you ever felt Jesus's absence? Life feels flat without him, as if some of the color were drained from everything made of matter. When Peter says, "I'm going fishing," it feels almost as if he has resigned himself to a colorless life -- a life without Jesus
Read John 20:24-29
Jesus seems to come back specifically to visit Thomas, the doubter. Again, his first greeting is "Peace be with you." Then, he carefully answers Thomas's unbelief with proof. Put your finger here, and see my hands, Jesus says. Reach out your hands and put them into my side.
Read John 20-19-23
Jesus (and the whole story) is so lusciously weird, that it's hard not to believe. He offers them peace, and while he says this, he breathes on them and says, "Receive the Holy Spirit."
When Jesus, the Word that was with God in the very beginning, breathed on the disciples, it is reminiscent of God's breath of life in Genesis 2:7, and this, in turn indicate a new, spiritual beginning -- a rebirth, of sorts.
Read John 20:19-23
In this scene, Jesus appears to the disciples after his resurrection. Like many scenes that include Jesus, the narrative is frustratingly short and lacking. I want to know more about what he said and did, because surely, "The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord," is an understatement.
The Personal Essays
I confess to being stuck in the ho-hum of life. Things are not easy, and while most of my problems are privileged, they weigh heavily on me (along with the guilt of having privilege problems). I am dealing with things like thousands of dollars of emergency home repairs just when we thought we were getting ahead. I am dealing with a slowdown in my business that is not only a little scary, but also leaves me bored. I am waiting for a miracle that hasn’t shown up yet (specifically, how I’m going to pay for school). And my parents are aging quickly, and their care is getting more intricate, more daily, and yes, more expensive.
I had to get a new Bible for seminary. I wasn’t happy — I love my beautiful, leather bound parallel Bible, with the NIV on one side of every page, The Message on the other. It’s an ongoing conversation with God, that book, and its margins are filled with the occasional argument, question, exclamation point. This new Bible, called The New Interpreter’s Study Bible, felt hard, cold, heavy when I first got it — certainly not something the Holy Spirit might embody. But the truth is, I’m loving the new dimension that both this new Bible, and seminary, are bringing to my reading.
I was expecting to meet Jesus in places I didn't expect -- I just didn't expect it to be so soon. I’d boldly read the words to Nicole Nordeman’s song Dear Me when I closed the Sunday gathering … “And you can not imagine all the places you’ll see Jesus… But you’ll find him everywhere you thought He wasn't supposed to go… ”
I’d had the song on repeat for days now and it was messing with me in ways that only God can do…
I’m not new to rustling the patriarchal feathers of Biblical tradition, but that doesn’t make it less uncomfortable. Still, sometimes it feels like you’re about to drop an atom bomb on your own community, like you’re about to say something that will blow the top off some age-old beliefs held dear.
That’s sort of what this feels like, what I’m about to write here. It felt so dangerous that I had to do a Google search to see if I was the first one to ever think it. Turns out, I’m not. But that doesn’t make the realization any less seismic for me. But we’ll get to that in a moment. Let me first, and finally, get to the point:
Father Abraham was a pimp, and Sarah was his chattel.
There is a mystical juiciness we can access whenever we enter the realm of creation stories. These stories ask us to contemplate our origins; they speculate about the creative powers that originated us, our world our cosmos. And, of course, in spinning these tales, the authors themselves engage in a creative act. The human imagination that creates a story about creation enters into that self-same creative mystery!
Tips For Progressive Christians
There's something to be said for listening to other voices, especially if your goal is to be a peacemaker (not a peace keeper -- there's a difference) in this world. Stepping outside of our echo chambers is important so we can understand perspectives different from our own. The learning out there beyond our boundaries can be invaluable, and we are more likely to initiate the change we want to see in the world when we travel beyond our nice, safe personal borders.
The idea of meekness in western culture has taken on an unfortunate connotation of weakness. There is hardly even a virtue that we admire that remotely mimics the virtue of meekness. Far from being weak, a meek person is the person who endures undesirable circumstances, with the understanding that it's all part of a bigger plan.
I’ll be honest. It’s been a little bit of a sucky week. It’s been one of those weeks when you might start to think that maybe you were the kind of person who has an electric current that runs through your body and breaks things. That’s what my husband says about me, anyway.
We all have our own special perch on the privilege ladder; as a white, straight, cis-gendered American-born woman, I’m pretty much one step down from the top of the heap. So while I experience some marginalization, I still have a lot of privilege, and with that comes a lot of responsibility and a lot of power. How can I use that power for good, especially when I want to be an ally to those who are more marginalized than me, like my black, Muslim, or gay friends?
We've all experienced it -- the social media flurry of combative statements, over-generalizations, and heated arguments. Probably, you've already been unfriended by a person or two. Social justice is important to you, but Jesus told us that peacemakers are blessed -- so how do we stand up for what for what we believe, and still be the peacemaker that Jesus calls blessed?
Normally, I like to highlight small organizations that have been started by women who have the guts to do the most amazing things. I prefer to do that rather than large, national organizations, but in this case, I have personal experience with the good work these folks are doing.
During the spring and summer of 1994, members of the Hutu majority government carried out a genocidal mass slaughter of the Tutsi in Rwanda. During the 100-day period from April 7th to mid-July, 1994, an estimated 500,000–1,000,000 Rwandans were killed, decimating as much as 70% of the Tutsi population. Additionally, 30% of the Pygmy Batwa were killed. The genocide and widespread slaughter of Rwandans ended when the Tutsi-backed and heavily armed Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) led by Paul Kagame took control of the country. An estimated 2,000,000 Rwandans, mostly Hutus, were displaced and became refugees.
This week's opportunity is a little different -- it's not a non-profit, but rather a business. I'm all for supporting small, woman-owned businesses, especially ones that have a mission and higher purpose to serve the world. Chidimma Ozor and Sseko Designs fit the bill. Here's what Chidimma (aka "The Type A Hippie") has to say:
There are over 60 million missing girls in India.
They were either aborted before birth, killed once born, died of neglect just because they were girls, trafficked, or given away in child marriage. This abuse stems from a systemic, centuries-old disregard of the value of women. Rescue Pink works to change this through rescue, prevention, and awareness.
About Your Account & Customer Service
For customer service, please email us here. We'll get back to you within 24 business hours.
Terms and Conditions:
Your membership gives you immediate access to all previous content from our first day until you cancel. For that reason, we can not issue refunds. However, we'll be sure that you will have access to our content for the full month that you've paid for; your membership will end after that month is complete.