The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current, August 14, 2015, Image 18

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The gift of the theology of the cross
Special to The Daily
utheranism offers a
particular way of see-
ing the Gospel of Jesus
Christ, which can speak to
life’s greatest challenges and
This lens is revealed
through what Martin Luther
termed the theology of the
cross. The theology of the
cross posits that the only way
Christians can truly know
God is through the cruci¿ed
Christ. Christ on the cross
shows God’s profound love
for humankind and creation
in the last place humans con-
sider looking for God — the
McKinley Smith/The Daily Astorian
Brach Jennings outside First Lutheran Church.
cruci¿[ion of Christ. This
understanding of God is not
commonly found in Amer-
ican culture. However, the
theology of the cross is a gift
of Luther’s theology for to-
The theology of the cross
is contrasted with what Luther
termed the theology of glory.
The theology of glory seeks to
know God in majesty, beauty,
and power, through reasoning
that God must be perceptible
in events that seem to disclose
the glorious and beautiful
characteristics of God. Think
of the number of times God
is referenced in a gorgeous
sunset, or a beautiful piece of
music, but so often is not ref-
erenced in the child who goes
hungry at night, or the person
who escapes from an abusive
and destructive relationship.
The theology of the cross says
God is ¿rst to be found in the
latter e[amples, rather than
the former.
Finding God decisively in
‘(That person) deserves
to be called a theologian
… who comprehends the
visible and manifest things
of God as seen through
suffering and the cross’
— Martin Luther
Heidelberg Disputation, 1518.
the sufferings of this world
says that God suffers with us
in the hells of this life, and
frees us for serving our neigh-
bors in the world.
Brach Jennings is an in-
tern pastor at First Lutheran
Church in Astoria.
Pope and Congress: Francis is certain to push lawmakers
Messages on
climate change,
social justice,
abortion could
delight, unsettle,
Associated Press
litical pope is sure to seize his
opportunity when he address-
es a political body. So both
Democrats and Republicans
are looking forward to Pope
Francis’ remarks to Congress
ne[t month — and bracing for
them, too.
The pope thrills Democrats
with his teachings on climate
change, social justice and im-
migration. At the same time,
his message on life and the
Catholic Church’s traditional
opposition to abortion com-
fort Republicans.
There is genuine giddiness
among Catholic Democrats
— many of whom have long
been uncomfortably at odds
with their church over abor-
tion rights — about the pope’s
strong emphasis on address-
ing poverty and the environ-
“I’ve been waiting for this
pope all my life,” said liberal
Massachusetts Democrat Jim
McGovern, . “I ¿nd him
inspirational and I know a lot
of other people do, not just
The pope comes to the
Capitol on Sept. 24, where
he will be the ¿rst pontiff to
ever address a joint meeting
of Congress. He will also ap-
pear on a West Front balcony
to greet the public.
There’s little doubt that
Francis, who in a speech last
month in Bolivia spoke out
against unchecked capital-
AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia
Pope Francis poses for a photo as he arrives in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican in August for an audience with with
Altar boys and girls. Francis thrills Democrats with his teachings on climate change, social justice and immigration. At
the same time, his message on life and the Catholic Church’s traditional opposition to abortion comfort Republicans.
ism before an assemblage of
groups representing the poor,
will seek to send a similar
message to lawmakers repre-
senting the richest nation on
“Whether it’s climate
change or hunger or taking
care of the poor, the Pope’s
message is really the embod-
iment of what Catholic so-
cial teaching has been about,
historically,” said U.S. Rep.
Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., who
traveled to Rome to witness
the pope’s installation two
years ago.
Invited by Boehner
The pope was, of course,
invited by the most pow-
erful Catholic in Congress,
House Speaker John Boehner,
R-Ohio., who will be accom-
panied by Vice President Joe
Biden, another Catholic, in
January 2015
Chronicling the Joy of Busin
rooster on a deck. A cat in the bushes. A deer stuck at
John Warren Field. This week’s entries have an ani-
mal theme.
There was that naked dude on a Yamaha, though.
Follow reporter Kyle Spurr on his 9-1-What? Twitter
watch, where a few of the sometimes head-scratching calls
to area dispatch take center stage. The full feed is at www.
in the Columbia-Pacific
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the pope) — even if there are
some things that will not be
Francis’ recent encyclical
chastised policymakers across
the globe for inaction on the
environment as the skies warm
and the oceans are ravaged by
over¿shing and pollution.
“We may well be leaving
to coming generations debris,
desolation and ¿lth,” the pope
wrote. “The pace of consump-
tion, waste and environmen-
tal change has so stretched
the planet’s capacity that our
contemporary lifestyle, un-
sustainable as it is, can only
precipitate catastrophes.”
In September, such warn-
ings could be seen as a chal-
lenge directed to a Congress
populated by GOP skeptics
of proposals to reduce green-
house gases like new curbs on
coal-¿red power plants.
No glad-handing
There’s also no glad-hand-
ing the pope as he walks
down the center aisle, unlike
the annual ritual in which
lawmakers such as U.S. Rep.
Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., and U.S.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee,
D-Te[as, commandeer a seat
to press the Àesh. The pontiff
is e[pected to keep his hands
clasped as if in prayer.
A top adviser to Francis
visited Washington in April
and said the pope will speak
“frankly but friendly” in his
U.S. trip.
“Even the Congress peo-
ple can listen to other voices,
to counsels, to advisers,” said
Honduran Cardinal Oscar Ro-
driguez Maradiaga, according
to Religion News Service.
“The one who receives advice
commits less errors and is not
mistaken. The one who does
not like to listen to advice
will have a lot of trouble. So
I think the Congress will re-
ceive very well the advice (of
Animal planet
familiar seats behind Francis
on the dais. House Demo-
cratic leader Nancy Pelosi of
California, also a Catholic,
will occupy a prominent seat
on her party’s side of the aisle.
For joint addresses like
the State of the Union or even
the recent appearance before
Congress by Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanya-
hu, partisan politics is un-
avoidable. One side will jump
to their feet while the other
will sit on their hands. In Sep-
tember, however, most hope
and anticipate such grand-
standing can be avoided.
“You will not know it’s the
Congress,” said U.S. Rep. Bill
Pascrell, D-N.J.
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“You’re always stron-
ger in terms of credibility
when you stay closer to your
church doctrine and church
teaching and also what the
Catholic Church has been
about,” said U.S. Sen. Dan
Sullivan, R-Alaska. “Many
people take a lot of pride,
whether you’re Catholic or
not, in terms of focus on the
poor, focus on helping the
most vulnerable.”
Francis, however, is not
shy about e[panding his reach
beyond a traditional role as he
leads the church in a rapidly
changing century.
“He’s a very different pope.
He’s de¿ned himself in a very
different way,” said U.S. Sen.
Thom Tillis, R-N.C., another
Catholic. “He’s talking about
outcomes. We’ve got to work
on means.”
The recent encyclical also
reiterated the church’s long-
time teachings on abortion.
“How can we genuinely
teach the importance of con-
cern for other vulnerable be-
ings, however troublesome or
inconvenient they may be, if
we fail to protect a human em-
bryo, even when its presence
is uncomfortable and creates
dif¿culties?” Francis wrote.
Whatever the pope’s mes-
sage, lawmakers in both par-
ties hope it serves as a salve
— however temporary — to a
body that too often sees issues
in black and white and seeks
partisan advantage wherever
it can be found.
“The teachings of the Cath-
olic Church don’t ¿t neatly
into either the Democratic or
the Republican Party,” said
U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill.
“And I think that leads often-
times to a ¿ght on both sides
over — now that we have a
very popular pope — who is
going to turn that to their po-
litical advantage. I hope that
we won’t see that.”
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