Living the Word

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Description: Christians living in a racist world need to acknowledge this scriptural pattern and be aware of the harm it has caused, the ways it has been exaggerated and distorted in Christian theology and hymnody to say that white is good and black is bad. When we peel away the surplus meaning and focus on justice and power, the real gift of the mysterious and exotic visitors of greeting cards and Christmas pageants is a warning. The theme of voice continues with the servant whose mouth is like a sharp sword (Isaiah 49:2) and the psalmist, who has a new song of praise and unrestrained lips (Psalm 40:3, 9).\n Readings that focus on suffering, sin, and substitution neglect other aspects of the servant songs: the justice theme of the first song is lost entirely, longtime activist Elizabeth McAlister of Jonah House points out that the strong message of nonviolence is underplayed or distorted.
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