Book Review: Theology from Exile, Volume 2: The Year Of Matthew

Book Review:  Theology from Exile, Volume 2: The Year Of Matthew

Theology from Exile Volume 2 – The Year of Matthew: Commentary on the Revised Common Lectionary is an important addition to my resources for exploring how people from various theological perspectives handle sacred writ.

As one who makes regular use of the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL), I have gathered a collection of commentaries and resources specifically focused on  lectionary texts.  I had hoped that this resource might also become a valuable resources in my sermon preparation.

Following the RCL, Raven’s commentary provides commentary in a format similar to other commentaries, providing insights into each individual text (a Psalm, a reading from the Hebrew Bible, a Gospel lesson, and a reading from an Epistle).  Additionally, she attempts to weave the texts and commentary together to address a particular theological narrative.

What sets Raven’s work apart from other resources on my shelf is her decidedly progressive (beyond liberal, deal) approach to exploring the texts. For several weeks, I used this material as source for my sermon preparation.  Yet despite using this reference, I found that the insights from her commentary did not make their way into my sermon preparation.

I prefer, in my sermon preparation, for commentary to be more subtle and focused on actual textual issues, as well as the theological bent of the authors of the biblical text.  Unfortunately, Raven’s writing (as well as others with a theological axe to grind, i.e. Reformed, Conservative, Liberal, etc.) tend to use the text as a jumping off point for their own passions, rather than as a source for defining the Divine’s passion. Often the text will lend itself is progressive theological passions for issues related to social justice, for example.  But with Raven’s work, it seemed like the texts were often stretched to fit her theology, rather than being explore to stretch her/our theology.  It might seem like a subtle differentiation for some, but it is a distinction none-the-less.

For this reason, I did not find this resource particularly useful to the homological enterprise.  That said, as a resource for exploring how a progressive theologian deals with the texts at his or her disposal, it was an enjoyable and enlightening reference.  For those who share her theological bent, it might prove a useful resource.
Disclaimer: This book review was written after receiving a complimentary copy of the book from the “Speakeasy” blogging network. I was not required to write a positive review, but only to express my own honest opinions. The opinions stated in this review are my own. This information is being disclosed in accordance with regulations from the Federal Trade Commission.


Theology From Exile Volume II: The Year of Matthew: Commentary on the Revised Common Lectionary for an Emerging Christianity
by: Sea Raven
publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, published: 2013-09-04
ASIN: 1491077328
EAN: 9781491077320
sales rank: 322791
price: $13.08 (new), $7.73 (used)
The Year of Matthew is the second in a series of commentaries on biblical scripture found in the three-year cycle of Christian liturgical readings of the Revised Common Lectionary. Following the RCL provides a convenient format for Bible study for clergy and lay leaders (“believers in exile”) who are drawn to the social justice mandate found in Jesus’s teachings, but who no longer find meaning in orthodox interpretations of scripture. The continued existence of a Christian “faith” as a religious system of belief is clearly under siege by twenty-first century Biblical scholarship as well as the continuing evolution of scientific knowledge. The question addressed by this series is whether and how ancestral scriptures remain relevant and revelatory to twenty-first century cosmology. The project is grounded in the postmodern biblical scholarship of Karen Armstrong, Marcus J. Borg, John Dominic Crossan, and the Jesus Seminar, as well as the transforming work of Rev. Dr. Matthew Fox, whose theology of Creation Spirituality has reclaimed Catholic mysticism for the third millennium


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