I woke this morning to the radio.  Gail moved it from my soothing classical music wake-up to public radio.  Which was breathlessly reporting something.  No names.  I guessed ‘Osama bin Laden’.  This morning’s news.

Mixed feelings as a disciple of Jesus.  9/11, pain, justice?  But, the Sermon on the Mount?  Do I want to celebrate or be sober? 

This weekend I skimmed Miroslav Volf’s Exclusion and Embrace.  The back cover says “Life at the end of the twentieth century presents us with a disturbing reality.  Otherness, the simple fact of being different in some way has come to be defined as in and of itself evil.” 

“Christians must learn that salvation comes, not only as we are reconciled to God, and not only as we ‘learn to live with one another,’ but as we take the dangerous and costly step of opening ourselves to the other, of enfolding him or her in the same embrace with which we have been enfolded by God.”  I am looking forward to Exclusion and Embrace.

Why the West Rules – For Now is also on my bed stand and I am just past the first hundred pages.  It’s fascinating.  Ian Morris is explaining the why and how of the current competition between West and East.  Today most if not all in the West are looking at China and the East as they appear ready to pass the United States and the West as global leaders.

Romans 11.  Paul is trying to explain the confusing state of affairs as it appears in the 1st century Roman world that Israel as a people is missing the kingdom, as Gentiles enter.  As Gentiles, like a branch grafted onto the olive tree, are included into God’s embrace.  And that at some time and in some way Israel will again be gathered also into that embrace.

The message of Paul to a small minority in that urban Mediterranean world of long ago is that he is an apostle of the gospel of inclusion.  For God so loved the world that he gave his only son … should not perish …

We are all following the events of the last 24 hours.  In New York,  in Los Angeles, in any city.  Where the World Trade Center once was, where 20 years ago Rodney King was beaten, where we have been cringing for a decade.   

What will happen next?  Ought we feel that is it all over?  should we feel relieved?

What does this mean now for us who live in and love cities?  places that surge with vitality, yet so vulnerable? 

What will we hear next on the radio?