Saturday, February 25, 2012

Blogging Towards Sunday, February 26th   

How much is enough?  We live in a society where we want to super size everything.  So we should supersize faith right?  We should have a supersized demonstration of proof that God is and that God is what we think, before we believe.  It’s not asking the impossible.  It’s just asking for a little more, not that hard to get.  It only costs like another quarter to get it at McDonald’s, so God should be able to do it – easy!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday 
"Until Death Do Us Part"

Today marks the beginning of Lent: the season of 40 days (not counting Sundays, roughly 6 weeks)  that precede Easter Sunday.  In the ancient and early Church it was a time for catechism: learning about what it meant to be a follower of Jesus (sort of like a membership class sort of thing).  Catechets, or faith students, would be baptized as the sun rose on Easter Sunday, thus joining the community of faith.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Blogging Towards Sunday, February 19th   

Today’s passage is rather shocking and potentially embarrassing for it shows Jesus mouthing prejudice.  His comments in verse 28 seem to affirm that God loves the Jews more than the Gentiles; that he has come not for everyone but only for his people.  It’s embarrassing because it seems so –un-Jesus and also flies in the face of other scriptures and historic church affirmation about Jesus coming for all peoples, nations and languages.  Does this racist Jesus change his mind?  Is he won over by the theological argument of the woman?; convinced by her great faith?; or merely using her as a rhetorical device in order to expound upon his version of good news?

This peculiar story, recorded only here in Mark among the four gospels, points to the reality we face today.  How do we interact with others?  How do we approach not only racial and social class diversity in our faith communities, but how do we encounter those among us who have a different faith story, spiritual practice, or theological viewpoint?  How are we as the church called to live in our world of today, but not of it?  What is great faith?  What does it look like? 

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Blogging Towards Sunday February 12th   

After several striking demonstrations of miraculous healing power in the Jewish west bank of the Sea of Galilee, Mark turns to a narrative of an argument between Jesus and the Pharisees and the Scribes.  Today’s sections contain 5 teachings all organized around a common theme of ritual purity.  They start in 7:1, 7:9; 7:14, 7:17, and 7:20.  We divide them up in a literary fashion because of the change of location, or the use of transitional words such as “and he said….”; or “Again Jesus….” 

Before we study the text we need some historical reminders of things that we may have forgotten or never known.  In Jesus’ day there were several principal sects (or denominations or schools of thoughts) among the Jewish believers: the Pharisees, Scribes, Sadducees, Essenes, and the Zealots (or Siccari).

Friday, February 03, 2012

Blogging Towards Sunday February 5th   
Defying Gravity

This is a curious story. The second miracles on the water – of the sea of Galilee.  It echoes what we’ve already experienced in Mark 4:35-41 when Jesus calms the storm, and goes beyond it.  Are they the same story edited because it’s such a good one?  Or is this wonder on the water moving the disciples – and thus us: the current readers, by extension – to deeper faith? 

After feeding the 5,000 Jesus does something even more radical: he defies gravity.