Thursday, December 27, 2018

Queerying Christmas 1 Year C

Periodic queerier, River Needham, queeried the reading from the Tanakh.

Tanakh: 1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26
Samuel was engaged in the service of the Becoming One as an attendant, girded with a linen ephod. Hir mother would also make a little robe for hir and bring it up to hir every year, when she made the pilgrimage with her husband to offer the annual sacrifice. Eli would bless Elkanah and eir wife, and say, “May the Becoming One grant you offspring by this woman in place of the loan she made to the Becoming One.” Then they would return home.
Young Samuel, meanwhile, grew in esteem and favor both with God and with humans.

Queeries for the text:
What is missing from this text?
What does it mean to be an attendant?
What is an ephod?
What pilgrimages do we make today?
What does it mean to bless someone?
Where is home? What is home?
What does it mean to grow in esteem and favor?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeried the reading from the Gospel.

Gospel: Luke 2:41-52
41Now every year Jesus' parents went to Jerusalem
for the festival of the Passover.
42And when Jesus was twelve years old,
they went up as usual for the festival.
43When the festival was ended and they started to return,
the child Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem,
but his parents did not know it.
44Assuming that he was in the group of travelers,
they went a day’s journey.
Then they started to look for Jesus among their relatives and friends.
45When they did not find Jesus,
they returned to Jerusalem to search for him.

46After three days they found Jesus in the temple,
sitting among the teachers,
listening to them
and asking them questions.
47And all who heard Jesus were amazed
at his understanding and his answers.
48When Jesus' parents saw him they were astonished;
and his mother said to him,
“Child, why have you treated us like this?
Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.”
49Jesus said to them,
“Why were you searching for me?
Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
50But they did not understand what Jesus said to them.

51Then Jesus went down with them and came to Nazareth,
and was obedient to them.
His mother treasured all these things in her heart.
52And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years,
and in divine and human favor.

Queeries for the text:
How hard is it to get to Jerusalem every year for the Passover?
What were Mary and Joseph doing during the festival?
What system of family care-giving did Jesus grow up with?
Where did Jesus sleep after Mary and Joseph began to head home?
Why does everything happen after three days?
If Jesus was listening and asking questions, how could people be amazed at his answers?
Who is responsible for anxiety?
How often do we not understand Jesus?  Children?
When else did Mary treasure things in her heart?
What does it mean to increase in wisdom? years? divine favor? human favor?

What are your queeries?

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Queerying Holy Innocents

Periodic queerier, River Needham, queeried the reading from the Tanakh.

Tanakh: Jeremiah 31:15-17
Thus said the Becoming One: A cry is heard in Ramah—wailing, bitter weeping—Rachel weeping for her children. She refuses to be comforted for her children, who are gone.
Thus said the Becoming One: restrain your voice from weeping, your eyes from shedding tears;
for there is a reward for your labor—declares the Becoming One:
They shall return from the enemy's land. And there is hope for your future—declares the The Becoming One: your children shall return to their country.

Queeries for the text:
Who weeps today?
Who weeps today?
Who weeps today?
Who weeps today?
Where is Ramah? What is its importance?
Where are the children gone to?
How can God offer a reward for such a horrible deed?
Where are we waiting for people to return to their country?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeried the reading from the Gospel.

Gospel: Matthew 2:13-18
13Now after the magi had left,
an angel of God appeared to Joseph in a dream
and said,
“Get up,
take the child and their mother,
and flee to Egypt,
and remain there until I tell you;
for Herod is about to search for the child,
to destroy them.”
14Then Joseph got up,
took the child and their mother by night,
and went to Egypt,
15and remained there until the death of Herod.
This was to fulfill what had been spoken by God
through the prophet,
“Out of Egypt I have called my child.”

16When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi,
he was infuriated,
and he sent
and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem
who were two years old or under,
according to the time that he had learned from the magi.
17Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:
18“A voice was heard in Ramah,
wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be consoled,
because they are no more.”

Queeries for the text:
What are magi?
How are our dreams guiding us today?
Who provided refuge for those who were fleeing?
What happens when powerful people are tricked?
Who are slaughtered today?
Who are slaughtered today?
Who are slaughtered today?
Who are slaughtered today?
How are we carrying out Herod's orders?
How are we we weeping without consolation?

What are your queeries?

Friday, December 21, 2018

Queerying Christmas Eve

Periodic queerier, River Needham, queeried the reading from the Tanakh.

Tanakh: Isaiah 9:2-7
The people that walked in darkness have seen a brilliant light; on those who dwelt in a land of gloom, light has dawned. You have magnified that nation, have given it great joy; they have rejoiced before you as they rejoice at reaping time, as they exult when dividing spoil. For the yoke that they bore and the stick on their back—the rod of their taskmaster—you have broken as on the day of Midian. Truly, all the boots put on to stamp with and all the garments donned in infamy have been fed to the flames, devoured by fire. For a child has been born to us, a son has been given us. Authority has settled on his shoulders. He has been named "The Mighty God is planning grace; The Eternal Father, a peaceable ruler"—in token of abundant authority and of peace without limit upon David's throne and kingdom, that it may be firmly established in justice and in equity now and evermore.

Queeries for the text:
What is happening to the brilliant light right now?
How do you live on a land of gloom?
What spoils do specific groups of us [unfairly] divide today?
Which taskmasters do we serve today?
How do you plan grace?
What about eternal peace?
Who is this ruler?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeried the reading from the Gospel.

Gospel: Luke 2:1-14[15-20]
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus
that all the world should be registered.
2This was the first registration
and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.
3All went to their own towns to be registered.
4Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee
to Judea,
to the city of David called Bethlehem,
because he was descended from the house and family of David.
5Joseph went to be registered with Mary,
to whom he was engaged
and who was expecting a child.
6While they were there,
the time came for her to deliver her child.
7And she gave birth to her firstborn
and wrapped him in bands of cloth,
and laid him in a manger,
because there was no place for them in the inn.

8In that region there were shepherds living in the fields,
keeping watch over their flock by night.
9Then an angel of God stood before them,
and the glory of God shone around them,
and they were terrified.
10But the angel said to them,
“Do not be afraid;
for see—
I am bringing you good news of great joy
    for all the people:
11to you is born this day
in the city of David a Savior,
who is the Messiah, the Sovereign.
12This will be a sign for you:
you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth
and lying in a manger.”
13And suddenly there was with the angel
a multitude of the heavenly army,
praising God and saying,
14“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom God favors!”

[15When the angels had left them
and gone into heaven,
the shepherds said to one another,
“Let us go now to Bethlehem
and see this thing that has taken place,
which God has made known to us.”
16So they went with haste
and found Mary and Joseph,
and the child lying in the manger.
17When they saw this,
they made known what had been told them about this child;
18and all who heard it were amazed
    at what the shepherds told them.
      19But Mary treasured all these words
     and pondered them in her heart.

20The shepherds returned,
glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen,
as it had been told them.]

Queeries for the text:
Why do people get registered?
Who is Quirinius?
Why was Jesus born at that time?
What sort of place was Jesus born?
What do shepherds do with their time?
What happened to the sheep when the shepherds went to Bethlehem?
Who else did the shepherds find with Mary, Joseph, and the child?
How do we treasure and ponder words in our hearts?
How can we glorify and praise God?

What are your queeries?

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Queerying Advent 4 Year C

Our reading from the Tanakh is queeried by periodic queerier River Needham.

Micah 5:2-5a
And you, O Bethlehem of Ephrath, least among the clans of Judah, from you one shall come forth to rule Israel for meone whose origin is from of old, from ancient times. Truly, ze will leave them helpless until she who is to bear has borne; then the rest of hir countryfolk shall return to the children of Israel. Ze shall stand and shepherd by the might of the Becoming One, by the power of the name of the Becoming One hir God, and they shall dwell secure. For lo, ze shall wax great to the ends of the earth; and that shall afford safety.

Queeries for the text:
What does it mean to be least or most?
Who rules the days? What is happening to these days during this time?
Who rules Israel? Why does the ruler need to be replaced?
Who is the ancient one? Who bears hir?
Why does the ruler leave them helpless?
Who is divine in this text? Where does it change through the passage?
How does a ruler make people safe?
Where are the ends of the earth? Where else do they come up in Tanakh?
How do Jewish people respond to Christian appropriation of this text?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeried the gospel reading.

Luke 1:39-45[46-55]
39In those days Mary set out
and went with haste to a Judean town
in the hill country,
40where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
41When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the child leaped in her womb.
And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit
42and exclaimed with a loud cry,
“Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
43And why has this happened to me,
that the mother of my Lord comes to me?
44For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting,
the child in my womb leaped for joy.
45And blessed is she
who believed that what the Becoming One said to her
would be accomplished!”

46And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Becoming One,
47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48who has looked with favor on me,
a lowly servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is God's name.
50God's mercy is for those who fear Them
from generation to generation.
51God's arm is filled with strength,
scattering the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
52God has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
53God has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
54God has helped Their servant Israel,
in remembrance of mercy,
55according to the promise God made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

Queeries for the text:
Where does Mary's song come from?
Why was Mary in such a hurry?
Who is Elizabeth?
What happens in a person's body when the fetus is in the sixth month?
Why do Elizabeth's words sound so familiar?
Who is the she who is blessed and believed?
Which powerful need to be brought downWhen?
How does God lift up the lowly?
Who are Abraham's descendants?
Where is Love?

What are your queeries?

Monday, December 10, 2018

Queerying Advent 3 Year C

Today's text from the Tanakh was queeried by periodic queerier River Needham.

Tanakh - Zephaniah 3:14-20
Shout for joy, fair Zion, cry aloud, O Israel! Rejoice and be glad with all your heart, fair Jerusalem!
The Becoming One has annulled the judgment against you, Xe has swept away your foes. Israel's Sovereign the Becoming One is within you; you need fear misfortune no more.
In that day, this shall be said to Jerusalem: Have no fear, O Zion; let not your hands droop!
Your God the Becoming One is in your midst, a warrior who brings triumph. Xe will rejoice over you and be glad, Xe will shout over you with jubilation. Xe will soothe with Xyr love those long disconsolate. I will take away from you the woe over which you endured mockery.
At that time I will make an end of all who afflicted you. And I will rescue the lame sheep and gather the strayed, and I will exchange their disgrace for fame and renown in all the earth.
At that time I will gather you, and at that time I will bring you home; for I will make you renowned and famous among all the peoples on earth when I restore your fortunes before their very eyes —said the Becoming One.

Queeries for the text:
What is the Judgment against Israel?
Who were Israel's Foes?
What does it mean for The Becoming One to be within us?
Where else is The Becoming One a warrior?
Why do the lame sheep need rescuing?
What is the exchange rate for fame?
What is God's home like? Why does God bring people home?


Luke 3:7-18
7John said to the crowds
that came out to be baptized by him,
“You brood of vipers!
Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
8Bear fruits worthy of repentance.
Do not begin to say to yourselves,
‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’;
for I tell you,
God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.
9Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees;
every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit
is cut down
and thrown into the fire.”
10And the crowds asked John,
“What then should we do?”
11In reply John said to them,
“Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none;
and whoever has food must do likewise.”
12Even tax collectors came to be baptized,
and they asked John,
“Teacher, what should we do?”
13John said to them,
“Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.”
14Soldiers also asked John,
“And we,
what should we do?”
John said to them,
“Do not extort money from anyone
by threats or false accusation,
and be satisfied with your wages.”

15As the people were filled with expectation,
and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John,
whether he might be the Messiah,
16John answered all of them by saying,
“I baptize you with water;
but one who is more powerful than I is coming;
the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.
This one will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
17With a winnowing fork in hand,
this one will clear the threshing floor
and gather the wheat into the granary;
burning the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
18So, with many other exhortations,
John proclaimed the good news to the people.

Queeries for the text:
What fruits are worthy of repentance?
Does John like puns as much as I do?
How do we rely on our ancestors for justification or worth?
How is John advocating for good stewardship of fruit trees and wheat?
Is John a socialist?
How are we sharing coats and food?  How are we hoarding them?
How are John's words to soldiers, words for police today?  What does John think about collusion with Empire?
How do you untie the thong of a sandal?
If the chaff is to be burned, and baptism is with the Holy Spirit and fire, are we supposed to be chaff?
What exactly is the "good news" John is proclaiming?
Where is Joy?

What are your queeries?

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Queerying Advent 2 Year C

This week all three Advent queeries are gathered in one spot!

Today's text from the Tanakh was queeried by periodic queerier River Needham.
Tanakh - Malachi 3:1-4
Behold, I am sending my messenger to clear the way before me, and the ruler whom you seek shall come to faer Temple suddenly. As for the angel of the covenant that you desire, they are already coming. But who can endure the day of faer coming, and who can hold out when fae appears? For fae is like a smelter’s fire and like fuller’s lye. Fae shall act like a smelter and purger of silver; and fae shall purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they shall present offerings in righteousness. Then the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem shall be pleasing to the Becoming One as in the days of yore and in the years of old.

Queeries for the text:
Who is the ruler this text seeks?
What is an angel of the covenant?
What covenant? Who desires it?
Where else is silver in the Minor Prophets?
Why just Levi's descendants?
Why are Judah and Jerusalem placed in opposition?
Why is it important to separate Jesus from this text?


Today's special guest queery of Philippians is brought to you by Katy Wallace with collaboration from Rev. Emily Ewing.

Philippians 1:3-11
3I thank my God every time I remember you, 4constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, 5because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. 6I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.
7It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God’s grace with me, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 8For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus.

9And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight 10to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, 11having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.

Queeries for the text:
What does sharing in the gospel look like?
What is the good work brought to completion and who began it?
How does imprisonment impact grace?
What is God witnessing in Paul's longing?  What does God witness in us?
How does God's compassion show up throughout the bible?
What does it mean to share in the defense and confirmation of the gospel?  How does it relate to love and longing?
How does love overflow with knowledge?
What does it mean to be pure and blameless?
What does a harvest of righteousness look like?


Today's queery from the Gospel is brought to you by Rev. Emily E. Ewing.

Jordan River Basin, including the upper catchment north of Lake Tiberias and the lower catchment south of the lake. The upper catchment is shared between Lebanon, Syria and Israel, the lower catchment is shared between Syria (Yarmuk), Jordan, Palestine and Israel. Map source: ESRI Data & Maps, 2006. 

Luke 3:1-6
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius,
when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea,
and Herod was ruler of Galilee,
and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis,
and Lysanias ruler of Abilene,
2during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas,
the word of God came to John
son of Zechariah in the wilderness.
3John went into all the region around the Jordan,
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins,
4as it is written
in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah,
“The voice of one crying out
in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Becoming One,
make straight the paths of God.
5Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth;
6and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”

Queeries for the text:
Why does Luke care so much about the people in power?
Who else was John son of?
What did Zechariah have to say about his son?
What was John already doing in the wilderness?
Why is the Jordan so important?
What public testimonies of repentance like John's baptism are happening now?
How is Isaiah calling us to increase accessibility in communities?
What if God doesn't want to be straight?  What if God is crooked?
What is the salvation of God like?
Where is Peace?

What are your queeries?

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Queerying Advent Music

The season of Advent is upon us and I've cultivated another playlist!

Over the last several years, I have begun to cultivate playlists based on the seasons of the church year.  One of the things I love about doing that is that I get to incorporate explicitly religious songs and hymns (O Come, O Come, Emmanuel and Toda la tierra, for example) as well as what is considered more "secular" or even "profane" music that speaks to the themes and season (Dance Apocalyptic and For Today I Am a Boy, for example).  In this way, the playlists queer the binary that we have set up between what is holy and what is profane, what is sacred and what is secular.

This is definitely a labor of love for me as I am not particularly musically oriented, so I owe particular thanks to various friends who have suggested songs over the past couple of years.

The themes of Advent that I focused on for this playlist are: waiting and anticipation as well as impatience; hope and fulfillment of promises; despair and lament or longing; sun and light; darkness and night; love and the end times.  Some of these themes are more prevalent than others, but all of them were in my heart when cultivating and should come through in the playlist. While the playlist is quite intentional, the order isn't. So, unlike Holy Week, but similar to Easter, it would probably be better if set to shuffle. As always, it is an ongoing work in progress, so let me know if you have any suggestions to add to the list or questions about what is on the list or why!

What are your suggestions for queerying Advent music?