Monday, January 29, 2018

5th after epiphany year b - mark

Mark 1:29-39
29As soon as Jesus and the disciples left the synagogue,
     they entered the house of Simon and Andrew,
          with James and John. 
          30Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever,
               and they told Jesus about her at once. 
          31Jesus came and took her by the hand and lifted her up.
               Then the fever left her,
                    and she began to serve them.

32That evening, at sundown,
     they brought to Jesus all who were sick or possessed with demons. 
          33And the whole city was gathered around the door. 
          34And Jesus cured many who were sick with various diseases,
               and cast out many demons;
                    and Jesus would not permit the demons to speak,
                         because they knew him. 
35In the morning,
     while it was still very dark,
          Jesus got up and went out to a deserted place,
               and there he prayed. 
          36And Simon and his companions hunted for Jesus. 
               37When they found him,
                    they said to him,
                         “Everyone is searching for you.” 
               38Jesus answered,
                    “Let us go on to the neighboring towns,
                         so that I may proclaim the message there also;
                              for that is what I came out to do.” 
                    39And he went throughout Galilee,
                         proclaiming the message in their synagogues
                              and casting out demons.

Queeries for the text:
Why does Mark care so much about what time it is?
Do Jesus and the disciples just care about Simon's mother-in-law so that she'll serve them?
Why is Jesus afraid of the ones who know him saying something?
Is Jesus an introvert?
Are Simon and his companions hunting because they're afraid Jesus will leave without them?
Who is "everyone"?
Is casting out demons just assumed to be part of "proclaiming the message"?
What did the dark night sky look like to Jesus when he prayed?
Does Jesus like the dark as much as I do?
Why is Jesus always moving on?

What are your queeries?

Sunday, January 28, 2018

5th after epiphany year b - isaiah

Isaiah 40:21-31
21Have you not known?
     Have you not heard?
          Has it not been told you from the beginning?
               Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? 
22It is God
     who sits above the circle of the earth,
          and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;
     who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
          and spreads them like a tent to live in; 
     23who brings the princes to naught,
          and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing. 
24Scarcely are they planted,
     scarcely sown,
          scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth,
               when God blows upon them,
                    and they wither,
                    and the tempest carries them off like stubble. 
25To whom then will you compare me,
     or who is my equal?
          says the Holy One. 
26Lift up your eyes on high and see:
     Who created these?
          The one who brings out their host and numbers them,
               calling them all by name;
               because God is great in strength,
                    mighty in power,
                         not one is missing.

27Why do you say, O Jacob,
     and speak, O Israel,
          “My way is hidden from the Sovereign,
          and my right is disregarded by my God”? 
28Have you not known?
     Have you not heard?
The Sovereign is the everlasting God,
     the Creator of the ends of the earth.
The Sovereign does not faint or grow weary;
     God’s understanding is unsearchable. 
     29The Sovereign gives power to the faint,
          and strengthens the powerless. 
30Even youths will faint and be weary,
     and the young will fall exhausted; 
          31but those who wait for the Sovereign shall renew their strength,
               they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
               they shall run and not be weary,
                    they shall walk and not faint.

Queeries for the text:
How many different ways can Isaiah say, "Hello??? Have you been living under rocks?!"
Has Isaiah seen A Bug's Life?
Not one of whom/what are missing?
Is there any point at all in trying to hide anything from God?
Is it that we won't get weary, or that we will get weak and then God will renew us?
How can we not be weary with the world we live in?

What are your queeries?

Sunday, January 21, 2018

4th after epiphany year b - 1 corinthians

1 Corinthians 8:1-13
Now concerning food sacrificed to idols:
     we know that “all of us possess knowledge.”
          Knowledge puffs up,
               but love builds up. 
          2Anyone who claims to know something
               does not yet have the necessary knowledge; 
          3but anyone who loves God
               is known by God.

4Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols,
     we know that “no idol in the world really exists,”
     and that “there is no God but one.” 
          5Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods 
               in heaven or on earth—
                    as in fact there are many gods and many lords— 
                         6yet for us there is one God, the Mother,
                              from whom are all things
                              and for whom we exist,
                         and one Lord, Jesus Christ,
                              through whom are all things
                              and through whom we exist.

7It is not everyone, however, who has this knowledge.
     Since some have become so accustomed to idols until now,
          they still think of the food they eat as food offered to an idol;
          and their conscience,
               being weak,
                    is defiled. 
     8“Food will not bring us close to God.”
          We are no worse off if we do not eat,
          and no better off if we do. 
     9But take care that this liberty of yours
          does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 
               10For if others see you,
                    who possess knowledge,
                         eating in the temple of an idol,
                    might they not,
                         since their conscience is weak,
                              be encouraged 
                                   to the point of eating food sacrificed to idols? 
               11So by your knowledge those weak believers
                    for whom Christ died
                         are destroyed. 
               12But when you thus sin against members of your family,
                    and wound their conscience when it is weak,
                         you sin against Christ. 
               13Therefore, if food is a cause of their falling,
                    I will never eat meat,
                         so that I may not cause one of them to fall.

Queeries for the text:
Is knowledge an idol?  Is Paul an anti-intellectual?  
Is Paul coming out against belief as subscription to/knowledge of doctrinal beliefs?
What are the other gods?  Who are the  other lords?
How many times have people justified queerphobic words or actions with v. 9?
Where is the line between challenging someone's faith and becoming a stumbling block?
How reasonable is it to restrict ourselves for the sake of someone else's faith?
Does being our truest selves or not being our truest selves become the stumbling block?
Is not living out my full queerness becoming a stumbling block for those who still think it's a sin or those who are struggling to figure out their faith and sexuality/gender identity?
Is conversion therapy the real stumbling block?

What are your queeries?

Sunday, January 14, 2018

3rd after epiphany year b - mark

Mark 1:14-20
14Now after John was arrested,
     Jesus came to Galilee,
          proclaiming the good news of God, 15and saying,
              “The time is fulfilled,
              and the dominion of God has come near;
                   and believe in the good news.” 
     16As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee,
          he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—
              for they were fishermen. 
          17And Jesus said to them,
              “Follow me
              and I will make you fish for human beings.” 
                   18And immediately they left their nets and followed Jesus. 
     19As he went a little farther,
          Jesus saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John,
              who were in their boat mending the nets. 
          20Immediately Jesus called them;
              and they left their father Zebedee in the boat
                   with the hired men,
                        and followed him.

Queeries for the text:
Why was John arrested?  Why does it matter?
What kind of time is Jesus talking about?
Is the Jesus the only one with a claim to the good news?
If fishing is catching and killing fish, does fishing for human beings really foreshadow the crucifixions of Jesus and many of his followers?
Why is it so easy for Jesus to get people to follow him??
How does Zebedee feel when both his sons up and leave him so quickly?
What about Mrs. Z?  How does she feel when she finds out they didn't even say good-bye?

What are your queeries?

3rd after epiphany year b - 1 corinthians

1 Corinthians 7:29-31
29I mean, siblings,
     the appointed time has grown short;
     from now on,
          let even those who are married be 
               as though they were not,
          30and those who mourn 
               as though they were not mourning,
          and those who rejoice 
               as though they were not rejoicing,
          and those who buy 
               as though they had no possessions, 
          31and those who deal with the world 
               as though they had no dealings with it.
                    For the present form of this world is passing away.

Queeries for the text:
How short is the time?  An inch?  A foot?  A minute?  A mile?
How do you act as though you weren't married?  No sex?  Lots of sex?  Move out?  Break family ties?  Give back the wedding presents?  
Does Paul want us to live into our truer selves with respect to consensual sexual desires and forego the pressure the dominant culture places on what counts as "appropriate"?
If we can't mourn or rejoice, how should we feel?
How do you act as if you have no possessions?
How do you not deal with this world?
What is it about the present form that is passing away?
Is the old form done yet?
Can we burn it all down now?

What are your queeries?

3rd after epiphany year b - jonah

Jonah 3:1-5, 10 (#thanksriver for help translating)
The word of the Sovereign came to Jonah a second time, saying, 
     2“Get up,
     go to Nineveh,
          that great city,
     and cry out against it 
          the cry which I am about to tell you.” 
3So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh,
     according to the word of the Sovereign.
          Now Nineveh was an great city to God,
              a three day journey across. 
          4Jonah began to enter Nineveh,
              a one day journey;
              and he cried out,
                   “Forty days until Nineveh is destroyed.
5And the people of Nineveh believed God! 
     They proclaimed a fasting period,
     and they put on sackcloth,
          from the greatest of them to the least. 
     10God saw their deeds,
          that they had turned from their evil ways,
              and God repented from the evil  
                   that God had said would be done to them.
                   And God did not do it.

Queeries for the text:
How will the people of Nineveh respond to the fish smell? (#thanksrevjoshua)
Does Jonah even want the people of Nineveh to repent?
Is Jonah's the shortest sermon ever?
Did Jonah even finish walking through the city or just stop one day in?
Is it possible to be a worse prophet than Jonah?
How often does God change Her mind?

What are your queeries?

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

2nd after epiphany year b - 1 samuel

1 Samuel 3:1-20

Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Sovereign under Eli.

     The word of the Sovereign was rare in those days;

          visions were not widespread.

     2At that time Eli,

          whose eyesight had begun to grow dim

               so that he could not see,

                    was lying down in his room;

                        3the lamp of God had not yet gone out,

     and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Sovereign,

          where the ark of God was.

4Then the Sovereign called,

     “Samuel! Samuel!”

and Samuel said,

     “Here I am!”

     5and ran to Eli, and said,

          “Here I am,

               for you called me.”

But Eli said,

     “I did not call;

          lie down again.”

               So Samuel went and lay down.

6The Sovereign called again,


Samuel got up and went to Eli,

     and said,

          “Here I am,

               for you called me.”

But Eli said,

     “I did not call, my child;

          lie down again.”

7Now Samuel did not yet know the Sovereign,

     and the word of the Sovereign had not yet been revealed to him.

8The Sovereign called Samuel again,

     a third time.

     And Samuel got up and went to Eli,

          and said,

               “Here I am,

                    for you called me.”

Then Eli perceived that the Sovereign was calling the child.

     9Therefore Eli said to Samuel,

          “Go, lie down;

               and if they call you,

                    you shall say,

                        ‘Speak, Sovereign,

                             for your servant is listening.’”

So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

10Now the Sovereign came and stood there,

     calling as before,

          “Samuel! Samuel!”

And Samuel said,


          for your servant is listening.”

11Then the Sovereign said to Samuel,

     “See, I am about to do something in Israel

          that will make both ears of anyone who hears of it tingle.

          12On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken

               concerning his house,

                    from beginning to end.

               13For I have told Eli that I am about to punish his house forever,

                    for the iniquity that he knew,

                        because his sons were blaspheming God,

                        and he did not restrain them.

               14Therefore I swear to the house of Eli

                    that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be expiated

                        by sacrifice or offering forever.”

15Samuel lay there until morning;

     then he opened the doors of the house of the Sovereign.

     Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli.

          16But Eli called Samuel and said,

               “Samuel, my son.”

Samuel said,

     “Here I am.”

17Eli said,

     “What was it that the Sovereign told you?

          Do not hide it from me.

               May God do so to you and more also,

                    if you hide anything from me of all that God told you.”

18So Samuel told Eli everything

     and hid nothing from him.

Then Eli said,

     “It is the Sovereign;

          let God do what seems good to God.”

19As Samuel grew up,

     the Sovereign was with him

     and let none of his words fall to the ground.

          20And all Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba knew

               that Samuel was a trustworthy prophet of the Sovereign.

Queeries the text:

Are the word of God and visions rare today or do we just institutionalize or ostracize the people to whom they come?

What kind of "word of the Sovereign" has to be revealed to you before you recognize God's voice?  Isn't God's voice also God's word?

How annoyed are Samuel and Eli with each other before they figure out what's going on?

How many times have we been confused when God is calling us?

Did Eli know he was in trouble?

Was God only appearing by voice the first three times so that Samuel would wake Eli up and clue him in on what was going on?

When words fall to the ground, do they become seeds?  

What are your queeries?