Fleming Rutledge is a preacher and teacher known throughout the US, Canada, and parts of the UK. She is the author of eight books, all from Eerdmans Publishing. Her most recent book, The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ, is the product of the work of a lifetime and is being described as a new classic on the subject.
One of the first women to be ordained to the priesthood of the Episcopal Church, she served for fourteen years on the clergy staff at Grace Church on Lower Broadway at Tenth Street, New York City.
Fleming and her husband celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2009 and have two daughters and two grandchildren. She is a native of Franklin, Virginia.
What is generous orthodoxy? A statement of purpose
The word ortho-doxy (Greek for "right doctrine") has both positive and negative connotations. In a culture that prizes what is iconoclastic and transgressive, orthodoxy has come to sound constricted and unimaginative at best, oppressive and tyrannical at worst.
The position taken on this website is that we cannot do without orthodoxy, for everything else must be tested against it, but that orthodox (traditional, classical) Christian faith should by definition always be generous as our God is generous; lavish in his creation, binding himself in an unconditional covenant, revealing himself in the calling of a people, self-sacrificing in the death of his Son, prodigal in the gifts of the Spirit, justifying the ungodly and indeed, offending the "righteous" by the indiscriminate nature of his favor. True Christian orthodoxy therefore cannot be narrow, pinched, or defensive but always spacious, adventurous and unafraid.
Posted: Monday, February 20, 2017
"I'm Fleming Rutledge, and I approve this synopsis, from London, of my book The Crucifixion."
Posted: Friday, December 16, 2016
Here is a link to the webpage with the announcement. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/january-february/christianity-todays-2017-book-of-year.html
Posted: Friday, May 27, 2016
The Church Times is a widely read publication of the Church of England. The May 27 issue contains a review of Fleming's book along with two others. Here is an excerpt from the review by Dr. Peter Forster, Bishop of Chester:
"The most substantial of these books is The Crucifixion, by the veteran US Episcopalian [sic] priest; Fleming Rutledge. A gifted preacher and spiritual writer, this is her theological magnum opus of 600 pages. Don’t let the length put you off: this is pure gold, reminiscent in style of Ken Leech at his best. The book is at once profound and preachable. A preacher will find material, and illustrations, for many sermons. Any Christian would find it uplifting, and academic theologians will see just how theology can best be put at the service of the wider Church. Her main dialogue partner is American Christianity, which evades the cross, as it comes packaged “as inspirational uplift — sunlit, backlit, or candlelit”. Not that the cross can ever be interpreted without reference to the resurrection, but this must be as a conjoined paradox rather than as a balance or neat sequence. If there is a central motif in this restless and multi-faceted book, it is that Jesus Christ represents, and enacts, God’s apocalyptic entry into creation in order to confront and destroy the powers and principalities of evil, supremely in the confrontation that the cross portrays. Hence the importance of its public dimension. The cross is not just an ugly death but a public ugly death."
Posted: Friday, May 13, 2016
Dick and Fleming Rutledge are shown with Professor Deborah Hunsinger and Professor George Hunsinger of Princeton Theological Seminary at the Episcopal Conference Center in Oviedo, Florida, where both women won Best Book awards from the Academy of Parish Clergy. Prof. Hunsinger's book, the Best Book of 2015, is Bearing the Unbearable, which puts trauma theory to work in the service of the gospel. Fleming Rutledge's book, The Crucifixion, won as Best Reference Book of 2015, so designated on account of its heft and comprehensiveness. George Hunsinger, who has won many awards himself, wrote an endorsement (aka "blurb") for Fleming's book. It was a wonderful reunion of colleagues.
Posted: Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Posted: Monday, February 29, 2016
Posted: Sunday, February 28, 2016
The reviewer, Rev. Robert P. Imbelli, associate professor of theology at Boston College, calls the book a "remarkable" and "monumental" work, and closes by echoing "the chant Augustine heard in the Garden: tolle, lege: take up and read! Rutledge’s volume wonderfully celebrates the triumph of redeeming grace: the crucified Messiah, Jesus who is 'the wisdom and power of God.'"
Posted: Saturday, February 27, 2016
Posted: Tuesday, December 15, 2015
The photo shows Michael Gorman, of the EI, responding to her presentation. The copy is by David Neff, retired editor-in-chief of Christianity Today.
Posted: Tuesday, December 1, 2015
The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ, is now officially in print. It can be ordered at a discount from Eerdmans directly, or from Amazon if you must. If you are a supporter of an independent bookstore, do ask them to order directly from Eerdmans. Eerdmans is superlative in speedy response and delivery, and they give substantial discounts to clergy.
This book about the cross of Christ is not like any other book presently on the market. It delves deeply into all the major images and motifs used in the Old and New Testaments to explain what is happening on the cross. That phrase, “what is happening,” is important. The crucifixion of Christ is not simply a spectacle to wonder at. God is doing something, something unique and cosmically effective, in historical time, at a specific geographical location intimately associated with his promises to the Jews. What is this thing that God is doing? This book attempts to answer that by reflecting in depth on what the Scriptures show us.
The book also attempts a close look at the problem of evil. There is no “answer” in this life to the problem of evil and suffering, but the suffering and excruciating public death of Jesus by torture is related to it in a way that is unique in religion and actually undercuts human religious ideas. The chapter called “The Descent into Hell” examines this matter in depth. Individual human frailty and sinfulness is addressed in the chapter called “The Substitution.” Social evil—war, violence, crime, oppression, racism, exploitation—is addressed particularly in “The Apocalyptic War: Christus Victor.” The entire volume is organized around the central proclamation of the gospel: the justification of the ungodly.
Several lay people have already testified that they are finding the book readable and engaging. To be sure, it is directed to pastors, preachers, and students, but it is also accessible to inquiring non-specialists. It can profitably be used by study groups, particularly by using the eight chapters in Part Two: The Biblical Motifs.
A man without a soul?
Thursday, February 23, 2017Is Donald Trump anti-Semitic (or, as he says, "anti-Simetic")? Is he a racist? I am somewhat embarrassed to admit how much time I have spent analyzing the unique way this man speaks (but would be even more embarrassed if so many other people weren't confessing the same thing). Is Trump really a Republican, or a populist, or a conservative, or what? Here's my answer, for what it's worth:
Trump is not anti-Semitic, nor is he a racist. He isn't a Republican or a populist. He isn't a conservative. He isn't anything. He is entirely hollow inside.
I have never before listened to anyone speak who apparently has no significant connection to anything outside himself. As far as I have been able to discover, he does not belong to any association of other human beings--no church, no clubs (except of course his own), no groups, no special friends with whom to kid around. He pretends to care about veterans, but there is no evidence of his actually doing so. No one has been able to show that he has made any significant donations to charity, or that he has ever really supported any causes other than his own. He will pass out hundred-dollar tips frequently, at his whim, but without any real human connection to the recipients. None of his children, not even Ivanka, have ever spoken with authentic feeling about any loving attention he ever gave them until they were grown and could be groomed by him (and from all I can gather, he has ignored Tiffany and Barron altogether). We have not heard him speak with any genuine, sustained affection about anyone except himself, or any organization except his own businesses. He does not seem to have any stable beliefs. One day he's in favor of free transgender use of public bathrooms, the next day he's against it. He does not seem to have any genuine attachment to any groups of people in his past, or mentors who have helped him; he seems only to need flatterers, sycophants, minions, and people he considers larger-than-life like "my generals" and flamboyant ideologues like Bannon. David Brooks has written that what he needs most of all, even more than prudence, is "fraternity," and that is a good word for what he so obviously lacks.
But even more striking than the lack of connection to those outside himself, there does not seem to be any connection to anything inside himself either. He has no hobbies, no interests, no soul-filling pursuits. He has only two changes of clothes--a suit, or golfing attire (can he be imagined as a member of an actual sports team?). Photos of him at religious events (like the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Dinner) have shown him as the only person who does not bow his head during prayers. He does not look at art, or listen to music, or read books, or analyze ideas. He does not seem to have what I would call a sense of himself at all. To say that he is not reflective would be to understate the matter. George W. Bush (candidate for worst president ever) was famously lacking in curiosity--he would walk through museums and historical sites as quickly as possible, taking no interest in anything; he said, "I don't do nuance," without any self-doubt; he habitually (and sometimes hilariously) mangled the English language; but he had at least some modicum of intelligence, read at least a few books, was capable of critiquing himself occasionally, enjoyed many friends, sincerely cared about poverty and disease in Africa, had a mature and faithful marriage, and definitely had a sense of humor (it speaks well of him that Michelle Obama enjoys him). In contrast, in recent years at least, Donald Trump has never been seen to laugh. He seems to have no sense of humor whatsoever. Not to have a sense of humor, it seems to me, would be one of the worst traits of all; one would be trapped forever inside one's self-regard. And if there was nobody home to be trapped with, that emptiness would be a kind of hell.
Latest Tips From the Times
I am shifting to Twitter!
Monday, January 23, 2017I have decided to stop writing for this "Tips from the Times" feature on my website. From now on, I will simply reTweet articles that I think are notable, trying to be selective and not send too many. I have really enjoyed doing Tips, and I think there are some good pieces in my Tips archives, but I am spending too much time on it and--as we all know by now--Twitter is easier and more efficient, if not exactly mind-stretching! I will be able to put more effort into Ruminations. Many thanks to all my readers.
Yorkminster Baptist Church, Toronto