Monday, February 19, 2018

lent 2 year b - mark

Mark 8:31-38
31Then Jesus began to teach them
     that the Son of Humanity must undergo great suffering,
          and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
          and be killed,
          and after three days rise again. 
32Jesus said all this quite openly.
     And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 
     33But turning and looking at his disciples,
          Jesus rebuked Peter and said,
               “Get behind me, Satan!
                    For you are setting your mind not on divine things
                         but on human things.”

34Jesus called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them,
     “If any want to become my followers,
          let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 
               35For those who want to save their life will lose it,
                         and those who lose their life for my sake,
                         and for the sake of the gospel,
                              will save it. 
               36For what will it profit them 
                         to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 
                              37Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 
          38Those who are ashamed of me
               and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation,
                         of them the Human One will also be ashamed
                              when the One comes in the glory of the Parent
                                   with the holy angels.”

Queeries for the text:
Does truth-telling always lead to well-intentioned (but perhaps misguided) rebuke?
What does it mean to take up our cross and follow Jesus?
Is the Church trying to save its life when it should be losing it for Jesus' sake?
Are we ashamed of Jesus' words of justice?
Are we ashamed of Jesus' words of judgment?

What are your queeries?

Sunday, February 18, 2018

lent 2 year b - romans

Romans 4:13-25
13For the promise that Abraham would inherit the world
     did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law
          but through the righteousness of faith. 
     14If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs,
          faith is null and the promise is void. 
               15For the law brings wrath;
                    but where there is no law,
                         neither is there violation. 
          16For this reason it depends on faith,
               in order that the promise may rest on grace
               and be guaranteed to all Abraham’s descendants,
                    not only to the adherents of the law
                         but also to those who share the faith of Abraham
                              (for he is the father of all of us,
                              17as it is written,
                                   “I have made you the father of many nations”) —
                         in the presence of the God in whom Abraham believed,
                              who gives life to the dead
                              and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 
               18Hoping against hope,
                    Abraham believed that he would become
                         “the father of many nations,”
                              according to what was said,
                                   “So numerous shall your descendants be.”
                         19He did not weaken in faith 
                              when he considered his own body,
                              which was already as good as dead
                                   (for he was about a hundred years old),
                         or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 
                         20No distrust made Abraham waver 
                              concerning the promise of God,
                                   but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 
                                        21being fully convinced that God was able 
                                             to do what God had promised. 
                              22Therefore Abraham’s faith 
                                   “was reckoned to him as righteousness.”

23Now the words, “it was reckoned to him,”
     were written not for his sake alone, 
          24but for ours also.
     It will be reckoned to us who believe
          in the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 
               25who was handed over to death for our trespasses
               and was raised for our justification.

Queeries for the text:
Did Abraham weaken in faith?
Was Abraham righteous?
What does righteousness mean anyway?
Is Paul telling a revisionist history?
If the promise rests on grace, can we condemn anyone to be outside the promise?
Would the forgiveness of sins or our justification before God be true if Jesus just died and wasn't resurrected?
If God creates ex nihilo, calling into existence the things that do not exist, can God call our justification into existence without Jesus' death on the cross?

What are your queeries?

lent 2 year b - genesis

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16
When Abram was ninety-nine years old,
     the Sovereign appeared to Abram, and said to him,
          “I am God Almighty;
               walk before me,
               and be blameless. 
                    2And I will make my covenant between me and you,
                    and will make you exceedingly numerous.” 
3Then Abram fell on his face;
     and God said to him,

          4“As for me, this is my covenant with you:
               You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations. 
                    5No longer shall your name be Abram,
                         but your name shall be Abraham;
                              for I have made you the ancestor 
                                   of a multitude of nations. 
                    6I will make you exceedingly fruitful;
                         and I will make nations of you,
                         and rulers shall come from you.

                    7I will establish my covenant between me and you,
                         and your offspring after you throughout their generations,
                              for an everlasting covenant,
                                   to be God to you and to your offspring after you.

15God said to Abraham,
     “As for Sarai your wife,
          you shall not call her Sarai,
               but Sarah shall be her name. 
          16I will bless her,
               and moreover I will give you a son by her.
          I will bless her,
               and she shall give rise to nations;
                    rulers of peoples shall come from her.”

Queeries for the text:
Was Abram really blameless?
Will Abraham really be blameless?
Does God ever expect us to actually hold up our end of the bargain?
Why do we credit Abraham with the covenant when Sarah also gets the promise to have a son, give rise to nations, and have rulers of people come from her?
What does it mean to be exceedingly fruitful?

What are your queeries?

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Queerying Lent Music

The season of Lent is upon us and I've cultivated (and have had some technical difficulties in which Spotify removed all of my recently added songs, so am still cultivating) another playlist!

As with past playlists, the music comes from a variety of styles, queerying the boundaries that we have set up between what is deemed "religious," "secular," and even "profane."  This is definitely a labor of love for me as I am not particularly musically oriented and I am very grateful to many friends who have suggested songs for this list.

The themes of Lent that I focused on for this playlist are: the cycles of life and death, mortality, repentance, reconciliation, covenants or promises, refocusing or commitment, and the theology of the cross.

While the first song on the playlist is quite intentional, the playlist itself is not listed intentionally.  So, unlike Epiphany, but similar to Christmas, it would probably be better if set to shuffle.  As always, let me know if you have any suggestions to add to the list or questions about what is on the list or why!

In case you missed the other links, check out my playlist here: 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

lent 1 year b - mark

Mark 1:9-15
9In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee
     and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 
     10And just as Jesus was coming up out of the water,
          he saw the heavens torn apart
          and the Spirit descending like a dove on him.
     11And a voice came from heaven,
          “You are my Child, the Beloved;
               with you I am well pleased.” 
12And the Spirit immediately drove Jesus out into the wilderness. 
     13He was in the wilderness forty days,
          tempted by Satan;
     and he was with the wild beasts;
     and the angels waited on him.

14Now after John was arrested,
     Jesus came to Galilee,
          proclaiming the good news of God, 15and saying,
               “The time is fulfilled,
                    and the reign of God has come near;
                         and believe in the good news.”

Queeries for the text:
Are the angels serving Jesus as unappreciated as the deacons that follow their lead?
How terrifying would a dive-bombing pigeon be?
What has Jesus done to please God?
How long were those "forty days"?
Were the wild beasts friendly to the One who spoke Creation into being?
Why was John arrested?
What kind of "time" is fulfilled?

What are your queeries?

lent 1 year b - genesis

Genesis 9:8-17
8Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 
     9“As for me,
          I am establishing my covenant with you
               and your descendants after you, 
          10and with every living creature that is with you,
               the birds, the domestic animals, 
               and every animal of the earth with you,
                    as many as came out of the ark. 
     11I establish my covenant with you,
          that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood,
          and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

12God said,
     “This is the sign of the covenant that I make
          between me and you and every living creature that is with you,
               for all future generations:
          13I have set my bow in the clouds,
               and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 
          14When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 
               15I will remember my covenant
                    that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh;
               and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 
          16When the bow is in the clouds,
               I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant
                    between God and every living creature 
                         of all flesh that is on the earth.” 
17God said to Noah,
     “This is the sign of the covenant
          that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

Queeries for the text:
Does the covenant include the living creatures in the waters in addition to those on the arc?
Does God's promise include a flood due to human destruction of the environment and the corresponding climate change?
Does God always need a reminder not to destroy us?  Are we that bad?
How many other reminders does God have that we don't know about to remind God that no matter how terrible we act They still love us?
Is the rainbow a string tied to God's finger?  Or is it more like Neville's Remembrall?

What are your queeries?

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Ash Wednesday blessing

Blessed gift of God's good creation, it is true:

You are dust, made from the rich, dark matter of the earth, a human from Earth's hummus.
You are from this life-giving ground and one day you also will return to the earth. 
     Nourishing it as it has nourished you. 
     Nourishing others as they have nourished you.
But, beloved one of God, it is not just dust and soil that make you up. 
You are made of stardust, scattered like infinite glitter, sparking and sparkling throughout the universe.

As you journey through Lent this year, return to who you are.

May the Creator bless the dust in you and around you.
May the Word made flesh, who crossed boundaries and borders, affirm your humanity.
May the Spirit spark imagination and wonder in the stardust that lives in you.

You are dust and stardust, and to the cosmos you will return.

ash wednesday year b - matthew

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
Jesus said:
“Beware of practicing your piety before others
     in order to be seen by them;
          for then you have no reward from your Parent in heaven. 
2“So whenever you give alms,
     do not sound a trumpet before you,
          as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets,
               so that they may be praised by others.
                    Truly I tell you,
                         they have received their reward
     3But when you give alms,
          do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
               4so that your alms may be done in secret;
               and your Mother who sees in secret will reward you.

5“And whenever you pray,
     do not be like the hypocrites;
          for they love to stand and pray 
               in the synagogues and at the street corners,
                    so that they may be seen by others.
                         Truly I tell you,
                              they have received their reward.
     6But whenever you pray,
          go into your room
          and shut the door
          and pray to your Parent who is in secret;
               and your Father who sees in secret will reward you

16“And whenever you fast,
     do not look dismal, like the hypocrites,
          for they disfigure their faces
               so as to show others that they are fasting.
                    Truly I tell you,
                         they have received their reward
     17But when you fast,
          put oil on your head and wash your face, 
               18so that your fasting may be seen not by others
                    but by your Parent who is in secret;
                         and your Mother who sees in secret will reward you.

19“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,
     where moth and rust consume
     and where thieves break in and steal;
          20but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
               where neither moth nor rust consumes
               and where thieves do not break in and steal. 
                    21For where your treasure is,
                         there your heart will be also."

Queeries for the text:
Is reading this same text every year on Ash Wednesday doing more harm than good?
Is Jesus doing psychological behavior modification?
Is Jesus just giving us alternative behaviors because we only do things for rewards?Why do we hear so much about hypocrisy on Ash Wednesday?
How do we evangelize if we're so good at not telling people what we're doing?
How can we care for each other's spiritual well-being if we can't talk about money and giving?
Is there any more awesome promise than verse 21?
What does my checkbook say about the location of my heart?
Where is my heart?  Where do I want my heart to be?

What are your queeries?