Streaming 2012: "I Desire Mercy, Not Sacrifice."

I mentioned a few months ago that I'll be presenting with Walter Brueggemann during Streaming at Rochester College this June 18-20 on the theme "I Desire Mercy, Not Sacrifice."

I've cut a few promo videos for Streaming. In this one I talk about how Dr. Brueggemann's discussions regarding the tensions between the Levitcal and prophetic traditions in the life of Israel helped trigger some of the points made in my book Unclean:

It's an honor, to say the least, to have someone like Walter Brueggemann read your book and comment on how much he learned from it. A few weeks ago I was also surprised and humbled to get a note from Stanley Hauerwas complimenting the book. Dr. Hauerwas specifically commented on how helpful the book is in thinking through how the church treats the mentally ill and disabled, a subject of interest to him (and me--shoot, I bet we're all interested in the how the church treats all sorts of people).

Unclean is a book about the choices facing the church in how it treats people. And those choices aren't easy. So I'm looking forward to thinking through those dynamics this June at Streaming with Walter Brueggemann and others interested in missional leadership. Hope to see you there!

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5 thoughts on “Streaming 2012: "I Desire Mercy, Not Sacrifice."”

  1. Richard - Your book is quite engaging and I will read it a few times.  One question I have has to do with your comment - and forgive me if I get this wrong - that when one is "saved, clean, righteous" one does not have the same need or motivation to love others and be merciful, graceful.  If I am good and moral then I do not have to care for others.  If I have that correctly, my surmising is that the impetus to be merciful and graceful comes from the guilt of being "unclean."  This is quite the opposite of traditional Christian theology - I am loved by God and therefore free to love others, or I am blessed to be a blessing. 
    I woud appreciate any insight you can provide on this - or clarification.  Thanks, Jon Heydenreich 

  2. Thanks for the question. I'm learning more and more about what I've written everyday.
    I think one could go in the direction you suggest. I'm thinking here of Jesus's parable of the Pharisee and tax collector in prayer. Who is better positioned to love others? The one who prays "I thank you I'm not like these sinners" or the one who prays "have mercy on me, a sinner"?
    That is, I think a recognition that we belong to what Chesterton called "the democracy of sinners" can have a salutary effect.
    The other answer is that the point of the Macbeth effect is that the felt experience of purity can become dislocated from any moral reality. So the issue is less about cultivating a feeling of being unclean than not allowing a feeling of purity to drift off from the life of justice. Basically, beware that purity, as an affective state, can mask hypocrisy.

  3. Thanks, Richard for doing the videos and agreeing to speak at Streaming. I think it will be a great event.


  4. Heady stuff.  Brueggemann and Hauerwas, besides their rather ordinary form of scholarship (!), are among qb's pantheon of go-to writers.

    (Yes, that was tongue-in-cheek.)

    In other words, fantastic, can't wait.


  5. So cool!  I was exposed to Stanley Hauerwas last year in an ethics class.  He gave me quite a few cases of ontological shock in the best sense possible.   

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