A lot of people say that Philippians is their favorite New Testament book, probably because the community was a favorite of Paul’s. There’s a sense of joy that pervades the letter, which is strange because he’s writing from prison. The challenges it poses are as relevant today as they were 2000 years ago: letting our thinking be changed, how to celebrate amid suffering and keeping our eye and heart on something greater than ourselves.
Tags: Robert Frost, Anais Nin, Koinonia, Fake News, Good News
Can we have joy in suffering and adversity? It seems unlikely, but that’s the 64 million dollar question Philippians challenges us with in this week’s blog. The Apostle Paul says the secret in being content in every circumstance is…well, we won’t give it away here. Join us for this week’s reflections on the good news that’s often hidden in unlikely places, like suffering.
Tags: W.E.Hill, Peter Gomes, Joy in Suffering, Muscular Hope, De-centered Selves
In 2016 as our community studied Philippians, we answered a question via email each week in preparation. We always enjoyed this online pre-meeting as we filtered our lives through the text of the week. Stories, confessions, reflections, all were shared, and when we finally gathered in person on Wednesday evenings, it was as though the meeting had already begun with good energy. God was preparing our hearts as the questions helped us deepen Paul’s words and immerse ourselves in the text. We invite you to listen in on a few of our stories, and perhaps share some of your own.
Tags: GBS (Guillain-Barré syndrome), Psalm 121:5, 1 Corinthians 13:12-13, Psalm 23, Romans 5:3-5
If you enjoy puzzling over riddles, this blogpost is for you. The title is borrowed from a popular book published in 1964. It seemed an apt description of the paradoxical pattern found in Philippians, where the way up starts by going down. We usually prefer anything to the downward path, even when it’s not working for us. But in a world where “me first” and “give me my stuff” seem to be the mantras we live by, Christ showed a different way. Hint: it includes our failures.
Tags: Philippians2:5-11, Up the Down Staircase, Bel Kaufman, Michael J. Gorman, Richard Rohr, Nelson Mandela, Wilma Derksen
16/7/17 8:40 pm
We live in an age of Facebook “likes”, Instagram “followings" and text message chats, but can these online communities replace true friendship? Where is the friend who will love us “warts and all” or bring us soup when we’re going through a tough time? The community in Philippi had many differences, yet God broke down barriers and brought people together. What can Philippians teach us about true friendship?
Tags: Frankenstein, Mary Shelley, Saint Augustine, Jean-Paul Sartre, Abba Dorotheos of Gaza, Stephen Fowl
23/7/17 9:40 pm
Having unity while still honoring diversity among us is trickier than it first seems. We invariably start relationships off with high ideals and hopes, but life has this way of testing our aspirations. It doesn’t take long to experience each others’ sharp edges. How can we be a people who truly live the gospel we believe in, where everyone and everything belongs? Find out what Philippians 1:27 has to say about unity to our divided 21st century world.
Tags: Rodney King, M. Scott Peck, David Congdon, Fibonacci
30/7/17 5:10 pm
The famous hymn in Philippians tells us that Jesus was with God, then came to earth as human-yet-divine, died and was resurrected. It’s all a bit much to fathom if you really think about it, especially the resurrection. What can we learn about this mystery through the science of what happens inside a butterfly’s chrysalis as it transforms? This week, theology meets science— please join us.
Tags: Philippians 2:5-11, Metamorphosis, Resurrection, Romans 8:11, Monarch Butterfly
13/8/17 8:24 pm
We’ve come to the last Philippians blogpost, and this week our topic is the ‘Christ Hymn’ in chapter 2. During the 10-week course, it has come up several times, and we couldn’t end without circling back to it just one more time. Its poetic description of the gospel story has been described as the center of gravity not just for Philippians but for all of Paul’s theology. Or to use a musical term, it’s like the overture for the whole book.
Tags: Bugs Bunny, Philippians 2:5-11, Cynthia Bourgeault, Michael J. Gorman