Monday, January 23, 2012

Sacred, Abundant, Life. - Kurt Nelson

Kurt Nelson
Rollins Chapel, 1/22/11
Romans 8: 14 - 22
“Sacred, Abundant, Life.”

Many popular novels these days –
at least, novels which are deemed “deep” or “about something” –
contain at the back,
 a question and answer with the Author.
Honestly, they’re not usually terribly interesting.
But it would be nice, I think,
if our scriptures contained something similar.
A little back and forth between the Harper Collins Editors,
and Jesus.
Or God.
Or even Paul.
“Grace seems like an important theme in your work.  Say more about that.”
“Where exactly is this 'Kingdom of God'?
“Not just life, but abundant life?  Is that this messy thing we’re living now?
Or something else?”
Sadly, no such Q&A exists.
So we’re forced to muddle through on our own.
Wading through centuries of commentary
and scholarship and theology.
Plumbing the depths of our minds and hearts,
and gathering together
to ponder the question of life.
“Choose life” says Deuteronomy.
It is set before us.
And not just life,
but abundant life, says Jesus.
And we are left to wonder,
what exactly might that mean.

Two weeks ago Richard,
channeling his great spiritual forebear William Jewett Tucker,
reminded us that so often,
we equate “abundance”
with success.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Martin Luther King Service

MLK Multi-faith service
Rollins Chapel, Dartmouth College
Richard R. Crocker, College Chaplain
January 15, 2012

Dr. King did not often speak about mathematics, except in this statement, which he often quoted:
“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

This was a quotation from the nineteenth century abolitionist/pastor Theodore Parker.

About 100 years ago, our own President William Jewett Tucker, standing at this spot in this chapel, said to the assembled student body, regarding the relationship between faith and reason:

“If you have found the arc, you can cast the circle. That is the business of faith. Reason traces the line inch by inch. Faith discovers the curve and projects it.” (William Jewett Tucker, Personal Power, 1920, pp 173-4.)

So let us leave today, with faith that the arc of justice in human history projects a circle that includes us all, and that the circle will be unbroken, by and by.