John David Kudrick

putting words to work for you

Category: Blog (page 2 of 6)

“Clashing Kingdoms at Christmas”

Short Fiction Based in Reality

Dominique knew she would always remember the uncanny timing of a trio of little “signposts” during her first Christmas season in the United States as a foreign exchange student.

First, after attending a Sunday worship service a few days before Christmas, Dominique followed the Jensens—her host family—to the church parking lot, where she saw an automobile sporting a colorful bumper sticker that read:

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Christmas Tidings to You!

Wondrous … special … magical …

Dark … depressing … difficult …

However you may view the Christmas season this year   Um, no …

The coincidental timing of rereading The Spirituality of Imperfection during the holiday season this year has me thinking   Still no …

Yes, my muse stalled and sputtered in trying to craft a Christmas message this year. I suppose I could chalk it up to the infamous “writer’s block,” but I know it’s actually because when the heart feels hollow, words float up from the imagination at the speed of a snail emerging from its shell.

Thankfully Mr. Jim Wallis apparently didn’t find himself waiting for any snails when penning his latest column, which appeared in the December 2019 issue of Sojourners magazine, where he shared a message that stirred hope in my heart, even as it also challenged me. So I’ll share a bit of his dispatch here:

It’s deeply important that we understand the radical meaning of Jesus’ birth as an event destined … to radically transform the earth with the kingdom of God. From the beginning, the promise of good news for the poor and liberation for the oppressed defined the Incarnation. “He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty” (Luke 1:52-53), said Mary, the mother of Jesus, who seemed to best understand the meaning of his coming. This is the Jesus who began his public ministry by quoting the prophet Isaiah, saying “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19). This is nothing less than a manifesto for turning society and the world upside down.…

This [Christmas season], we need to prepare for the Jesus who taught us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves—and remember that our neighbor is the one who is different from us.

And so, this Christmas and always, I pray that we would see ourselves and everyone else in the same way that Jesus spoke of: as being worthy and deserving of love, no matter what. No. Matter. What. The kind of love that will indeed turn society and the world upside down for the peace and good of all …

jdk

Happy November 28! 😃

Thanksgiving: Holiday … Just Thursday … or Day of Mourning?

Millions of people in the US will sit down with family and/or friends today to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. Many, however, will not, perhaps by circumstance, perhaps by choice. It all depends on a person’s point of view.

Rocky: Listen, I don’t want no turkey anyway, ya know.
Adrian: But it was Thanksgiving.
Rocky: It was what?
Adrian: It was Thanksgiving.
Rocky: Yeah, to you, but to me, it’s Thursday, right?

from rocky (1976)

“Should We Celebrate Thanksgiving and the Pilgrims?”

by Nadra Kareem Nittle

Preparing for Armistice Day 2019

Currently the United States is fighting its own global war, with tens of thousands of troops stationed in over 170 countries. Any reasonable person, though, can see that this continuous warfare has not resulted in true, lasting peace any place it is being fought. In a recent speech at the United Nations, President Trump noted that the U.S. “is a compassionate nation” who “will forever be a great friend to the world.” These words could not have rung more hollow to those who actually listened.

From “Saint Martin of Tours: the first veteran for peace” by paul dordal and john david kudrick in the new people (nov. 2019)

Find the full article on Page 11 here.

9/11/2019: “What If…?”

Speculative fiction that reimagines the president’s “9/11 Address to the Nation” from 2001:

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That’ll Quote: Enemy Love

“Commitment to justice, liberation, or the overthrow of oppression is not enough, for all too often the means used have brought in their wake new injustices and oppressions. Love of enemy is the recognition that the enemy, too, is a child of God.”

Walter Wink
from Jesus and Nonviolence

A Transactional God?

Recently listened to a message and heard these quotes in the context of offering hope to those who might feel unloved or unaccepted:

“If you in this room have given your life over to Jesus, I have crazy good news for you. Are you ready? You’re already loved.”

“If you have given your life to Jesus, in Christ you are already accepted.”

Sooooo, then what about the opposites?

Let the pondering begin.

Rethinking GRACE

God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense …

Does this popular acronym for grace do it full justice?

Why not something a little more far-reaching?

God’s Richness At Creation’s Entrance …

“Happy Thursday!”

Fourth Flash Fiction

Waving a small US flag, the little boy skipped along behind his mom and older sister as they headed across the park for the start of the big parade. The boy saw an old woman sitting alone on a park bench, throwing seed to pigeons on the sidewalk in front of her. As he came closer to her, he noticed that she wore mostly gray clothing—no red, white, and blue like all the people making their way through the park.

The boy stopped in front of the bench, scattering the birds. “Happy Fourth of July, ma’am!” he said.

The old lady smiled at him. “And happy Thursday to you, young man!”

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Proclaiming Freedom to Captives

Can we envision the Gospel as a message of liberation, like Jesus … and even Springsteen?

When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:


“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because he has anointed me
        to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
    and recovery of sight to the blind,
        to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Jesus of nazareth
from luke 4:16-19
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