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Monthly Archives: May 2007

Final One-page Reflection: Who is Jesus?

The Good Shepherd & the ScapegoatOver the course of the semester we have examined various images of Jesus.  I find myself drawn a few in particular to Denny Weaver’s Narrative Christus Victor, with its nonviolent overcoming of the systemic evils of the world and to the empathic subjective view of the atonement through which the sacrifice of Jesus and his ability to identify with the suffering of humanity elicit a response of love and transformation.

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The Christological Symbolism of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

"He is afraid. He is alone. He is three million light years from home." The Christ figure in this Steven Spielberg film is none other than the title character, E.T. – a squat, wrinkled alien no more than three feet tall. [Instructor Comment: So, not ontologically human.] It is clear that he would never pass for human. Suggested likenesses offered in the film range from coyote to iguana, leprechaun to goblin. His chest cavity is transparent, revealing a "heart light" that shines when he is in communication with his mother ship. Finally, when using his special ability to cure sickness and restore life, E.T. touches his subject with an index finger that glows brightly.[1] Yet even in his difference, there is enough of what makes us human found within this alien frame to make us feel secure and at home in his presence. Though the physical strangeness of this character could be off-putting, Spielberg went to great lengths to ensure that E.T. would have many human expressions and gestures.  [Instructor Comment:  Psychologically human-like?]

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What is the Old Testament Good For?

As I reflect on two semesters of study of the Hebrew Bible I think about the ways in which the Old Testament has contributed to our culture at large. Countless biblical allusions are embedded in our speech:  Adam and Eve, my brother’s keeper, manna from heaven, the scapegoat, and feet of clay.  The stories of the Old Testament have provided inspiration for beautiful works of art.  Words from the Psalms have provided solace and comfort in times of trouble.  The Prophets of old with their attention to the helpless and the oppressed have called us to act on behalf of those who are marginalized in our own day.  These are some of the most basic ways in which we are affected by the legacy we have received.

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