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Kenneth Tanner
Works at Holy Redeemer
Lives in Rochester Hills
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Kenneth Tanner

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"I begin to wonder how long I'll remain here in darkness, when, suddenly, the pillar of flame begins migrating backwards, leaping from person to person, as the light is shared from pilgrim to pilgrim. The slender chapel gradually fills with light, making its way back toward us who remain in shadow. The growing light illumines gold-limned icons on the chapel walls; their angels and saints surround us.

"The Light of the world has rekindled, never to go out again...'he who gives his light to all creation' is risen. Face after face is lit, as from one person to the next we are delivered from indistinct silhouette to bright, living color."

Something new for Huffington Post:
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Kenneth Tanner

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My latest for Huffington Post, on Ash Wednesday and Lent:

"Apart from metanoia -- the 180-degree change of direction that comes when we accept the work of grace in our lives -- ritual acts alone cannot set us on the pilgrim's path, cannot produce the fruit of conversion in us or in our culture.

"This is not to deny the goodness of ritual, for we are incarnate and what happens to our bodies in worship -- when we lift our hands in praise, bow our knees in prayer, take the body and blood of Christ on our lips, or make the sign of the cross on our foreheads -- puts our minds, wills and hearts in a position to receive mercy.

"Jesus doesn't need our ashes or fasting, of course, to redeem us. He healed humanity's desperate sin-sickness already in his body on the Cross. But spiritual disciplines -- holy practices that involve our minds, wills, hands, ears, eyes, knees, and feet -- attune our hearts to God's already-granted forgiveness and to eternal, embodied relationship with Christ.

"This is what I came to understand that Ash Wednesday, as the sun set and the train made its way out of the city: It would be better for a minority to have invisible ashes on their hearts than for a visible majority to apply ashes to their foreheads alone."

Read on:

http://bit.ly/ashenhearts



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loved it
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Kenneth Tanner

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One sort of Christian believes taking Eucharist weekly saves her. Another Christian believes his confession of Jesus Christ as Lord saves him. Still another looks to his Baptism. Another to her participation in the body of Christ. One to his repentance. And another to her care for the sick, the hungry, the prisoner, and the poor.

We elevate one belief or practice over another, then divide ourselves as Christ followers by the priority we set when, in fact, all of these are taught as saving by Christ, who alone is our salvation.

Christ saves me, not the accuracy and purity of my beliefs. Christ saves me, not my works. Christ saves me, not the measure of my adherence to a doctrine or practice.
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She lays his bright flesh in a feed trough, swaddled against the anxiety of leaving her womb, nestled by wool and straw from the cold night's sting.

The One who was God before all worlds lies there, as helpless against fragile existence as any of us, bound to the poverty of homelessness, a slave now to the elements he created, a hungering creature of necessity, soon to be an immigrant fleeing political terror, held aloft from the damp ground by wood that as God he holds together.

+++++

Christmas is too great a mystery for one day of celebrations. A brand new meditation on Christmas for Huffington Post (at the link). I'm grateful, especially for it's ending.

Merry Christmas (Day Two) to all!
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Kenneth Tanner

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"What you take into your hands"—he pauses, placing his hand on Samuel's chest—"you take into your heart."

My take on our national—nay, Christian—worship of guns, for Huffington Post.
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Kenneth Tanner

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This good Creator leaves the 99 sheep to find the one holdout who yet refuses to yield and by a fiery singleness of purpose beyond anything merely human, he pursues and loves us to the end, even the end of himself on the Cross, suspended between this world and the world to come he dies for love of us, but this end is not the end but a beginning that never ends and that seeks to bring the cosmos and all living things along for the ride.

My latest for Huffington Post (click to read more):
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Kenneth Tanner

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"Like every good poet, every signer who signs, who tinkers with words to point to a reality beyond the signs, John first has an encounter with the Living God in Jesus Christ: he who is the First and the Last, the One who holds all creation together, the visible image of the invisible God. John saw, John touched, John heard this One and that vision, that hearing, that feeling — that knowing — informs everything else, gives inspiration to his reading of the Scriptures, shows John the way to life.

"He sees the unseen God love the world in the person of his Son and knows that the only mere written symbol that encompasses all others we can speak about this God is love. Not hate, not wrath, not anger but a holy fire of love that is never content until we find ourselves, body and soul, transfigured to his likeness. God hates nothing that God has made."
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Kenneth Tanner

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Something unusual and beautiful happened at Holy Redeemer last Sunday. I am grateful to Sojourners for publishing this story about it.
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Kenneth Tanner

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Here is the deal: If the earth is 6,000 years old (however implausible) or 4-plus billion years old (as present knowledge suggests) changes nothing central to Christian faith, witness or action.

We confess belief in a personal God who made from nothing everything we can observe, study and create. This belief is not shared by some. What's new?

And this is where the rubber meets the road: not speculations about the age of the universe or this planet but the reality of a benevolent Creator. The interpretative key that unlocks all the mysteries of Creation and the answer to every existential question -- even when there is no answer but silence (remember Pilate?) -- is the baby who is somehow also God.

Hawking says the cosmos has a beginning. There was nothing and then, suddenly, there were vast realms of everything (beyond imagining). It was not there and then it was there. This is the same knowledge the opening of Genesis reveals along with glimpses of the One who framed the galaxies.

Paradigms come and go (Kuhn) -- macroevolution remains, after all, theoretical -- but the Christian is one who believes there is a God who makes himself known as a divine fellowship of wisdom and love that breathes the wordless worlds into existence and sustains Creation by his Word, the Word who was made flesh and born in Bethlehem.
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you are ssooooo right. for they have ears but can not hear.
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Kenneth Tanner

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"When Christians come to love the world as God loves the world, redemption can unfold at the pace God intends.

"If you listen to and watch many Christians, though, you might be pardoned for thinking that the primary mission of the church is the proper identification, classification, and condemnation of the world's sins; we are cold scientists for it, pinning our specimens for display, daily. And, in this, we are no different from anyone else.

"This is what humanity does without God; watch the way our media reflect and foster these pointing, accusing and condemning tendencies in us.

"Instead, the church's mission is to proclaim God's radical pardon, in which is found real, permanent forgiveness for all: the highest form of love revealed to humanity."

A new one for Huffington Post:
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Amen!
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"It's time to worry a lot less about getting Christ back into Christmas (he can't be blasted out of Christmas, no matter how hard anyone tries).

"What needs to get back into Christmas is worship. As it was with the shepherds and angels, Christmas is about worship before it's about anything else: falling on our knees, falling flat on our faces, adoring the brilliance of this God who comes to us as a baby, lying in a feed trough, breathing with other animals, wrapped tightly against the cold and the anxiety of leaving his mother's womb."

Read more out at Huffington Post:
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Amen!
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Kenneth Tanner

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"When Paul talks about Christ being 'in us' or about 'putting on' Christ does he mean to invoke a metaphor or a reality? Does Jesus really make his home in us by the Spirit or do Christians, when speaking in this way, generally mean that Jesus lives in us only symbolically?"

A new meditation for Sojourners...
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    Pastor, 2005 - present
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