Welcome to Wood Hath Hope!
We are a small group discovering the message of Jesus as peace and hope for our world. We believe Jesus’ life and teaching are shifting the human landscape toward nonviolence and forgiveness, even as the crisis of our times continues to build.
We come from different church backgrounds, and none. We are united by a study and understanding of the bible which shows God’s plan was always to overcome violence and death in the world. This belief brings us together as community. We meet for prayer and celebration, and do simple service for others.
Although mainline churches are in decline, and fundamentalism promotes a violent theology, the message of Jesus is creating new communities and opportunities of peace all over the world. We seek to be a faithful part of this movement of the gentle divine Spirit, contributing to an emerging phenomenon.
Take a look at a delightful YouTube rendering of the original WHH song written by St. Louis Jesuits. The young woman singer is not connected to our group but we are very grateful for her spirited performance uploaded on the web!
Why Wood Hath Hope?
We chose Wood Hath Hope as a name because our small community came to birth in the aftermath of a freak tornado that hit Syracuse in September of 1998.
It upended trees, pulled down power lines and left stumps and splintered branches all over the city. This suggested to us the verse from Job quoted above, which refers to more than just trees --rather the way God can work to regenerate a broken world.
Our Story & Vision...
More about us.
The Four Gospels
Previous studies archived on this page. We begin with the Parallel Study of Mark and John which we completed December '08.
JESUALITY (a mixture of Jesus and Spirituality!) You can now find the whole program on this page, an eight week intro. to mimetic theology and spirituality!
Did you ever wonder what it may have been like to hang out with Jesus before doctrinal formulae took over?
Just as another human being, but one who definitely had a way with him, things to say and do that made a difference?
Here is a Whh course that tries an answer to these questions. The format begins with a basic theme in Jesus’ story, and as it is connected to those around him in the gospels. Then each person shares directly with one other person about comparable experiences and situations in our own life.
The principle is one of imitation. Not simply conscious or deliberate imitation, but the kind that happens in the deep structure of our brains before we hardly know it. The kind described in words like “empathy” or in the science of “mirror neurons.”
We take a look at some of this science at the beginning of the course. and within the larger framework of what is called “mimetic theory.”
At the end of every session, after the one-to-one sharing, there is a time of prayer in which each partner prays for the other before the whole group. In this way each person is lifted up in the Spirit by all.
Program: Songs and prayers, 20 minutes; presentation about 40 minutes; sharing in pairs about 30 minutes (different pairs per week ); group prayer with each partner praying for the other.
JESUALITY: our ground-breaking course in spirituality based in mimetic theory is now concluded. The program can be found HERE. We return to our regular gospel studies in December.
Meetings at our usual place, Fridays 7.00pm. Further details, left panel below.
Study... WHH has been following a four-week cycle taking the gospels in sequence (Mk, Mt, Lk, Jn). Each week we post here a summary point from the previous study, and at the end of the set all four are added on the Four Gospels page. Here is the latest cycle.
Cycle Nine. End Of Story. (How a gospel ends tells you a lot about its message.)
1. Any study bible will reference the tortuous manuscript history at the end of Mark. Both the mss. and internal content show the "short ending" and the "long ending" were added from the end of the 2nd century, to soften the abrupt ending at 16:8. If we accept that ending as original--fear and shock before the empty tomb--we discern Mark's purpose. The gospel is radically dissonant to the way of the world and must be understood as such. The disciples already knew the same emotions following Jesus (10:32). Jesus himself went through them, facing his destiny (14:33-41), while his disciples (humanity) would rather sleep.
2. Matt. introduces the new element of the appearance of the Risen One, but he keeps it simple, and the shocking thing is that it is to women, not qualified men. By now Christian belief in Jesus' resurrection is public knowledge and there is the obvious counter claim of disciples stealing the body. Matt. gives a strange rebuttal,of guards posted precisely to prevent this--but how could their bribed testimony in defense be at all plausible if they were indeed asleep? The best witness is the amazing authority of the Risen One on the mount in Galilee, reaffirming the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount for all nations.
3. Lk.is the source of standard motif of Ascenscion after resurrection, but it is to the Acts of the Apostles (1:9-11) this is clearly traced. At Lk. 24:51 Jesus simply "withdraws" ("carried up into heaven" is not in all mss.: likely introduced to harmonize with Acts). Lk.needs a clean break for "the time of the Gentiles" (21:24) which is epoch of the Holy Spirit. Jesus lifted up into a cloud ("the heaven") is a way of demarking the new time. Meanwhile the withdrawing of Jesus happens at Bethany which sources say means "house of paupers" (there is a trad. of a house for lepers in that area). Jesus rises among the poor!
4. John has two clearly different endings. Chap. 20 first gives critical prominence to Mary Magdalen. The Risen Christ shares with her, and through her with all other disciples, his own relationship with the Father. Chap. 21 recommences with male disciples in Galilee. The Beloved Disciple recognizes Jesus from the boat. There follows the conversation with Peter which recalls his betrayal while granting him pastoral responsibility. Meanwhile the B.D. "abides." The many layers of the two chapters suggest a group of disciples around M.M. and the probability the B.D. is a theological role which is filled by many individuals including perhaps a scribe-disciple, the author of the gospel. The gospel provides for an alternative source for "beloved" Christian existence in the world, other than hierarchical organization.
Re. our recorded studies. The rest of the Parallel Gospels are here. The Archive page is at limit, with studies on John and Re-Reading the Bible. Notes on Tony's book, Virtually Christian, are transferred here. The Present Study page has become our Gospel Study page, beginning with our meetings on The Lord's Prayer. And we've added an exciting new page, critical for transformative theology, Paul & Earliest Christianity.
The study on Romans recently completed will eventually go up there too.
AND HERE ARE SOME COOL LINKS TO SHARE!
First to a beautiful sister community recently sprung up here in Syracuse, Isaiah's Table, some of whose members also come to Friday night study.
And check out Theology & Peace (also on facebook), a vital conference organization promoting transformative theology; and take a look at the contemporary commentary on its blog page.
A lot of stuff was developed in the blogs over time, so we've added key pieces under the title Transforming Violence. They're not so much a systematic treatment but a series of camera-phone images which present a picture. The content is part of who we are and how we understand ourselves as emerging Christians in the 21st century.
Wood Hath Hope offers non-traditional bible study, historically based, with an anthropology of non-violence. Look inside for details...