Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Queerying New Year's

River Needham, MA, queeries the Tanakh reading.

Tanakh: Ecclesiastes 3:1-13

A season is set for everything, a time for every experience under heaven:
a time for being born and a time for dying, a time for planting and a time for uprooting the planted;
a time for slaying and a time for healing, a time for tearing down and a time for building up;
a time for weeping and a time for laughing, a time for wailing and a time for dancing;
a time for throwing stones and a time for gathering stones,
a time for embracing and a time for shunning embraces;
a time for seeking and a time for losing, a time for keeping and a time for discarding;
a time for ripping and a time for sewing, a time for silence and a time for speaking;
a time for loving and a time for hating; a time for war and a time for peace.

What value, then, can the businesswoman get from what she earns? I have observed the business that God gave woman to be concerned with: She brings everything to pass precisely at its time; God also puts eternity in their mind, but without woman ever guessing, from first to last, all the things that God brings to pass. Thus I realized that the only worthwhile thing there is for them is to enjoy themselves and do what is good in their lifetime; also, that whenever a woman does eat and drink and get enjoyment out of all her wealth, it is a gift of God.

Queeries for the text:
What is time?
What has been born in your life this year? What has died?
What season is it in your community's or family's life?
What season is it in your life?
What is eternity?
Where do you find pleasure?
What things do you want to explore in the new year?
What gifts of God do you treasure?

What are your queeries?


Saturday, December 28, 2019

Queerying Christmas 1A

River Needham queeries the Tanakh reading.


Tanakh: Isaiah 63:7-9

I will recount the kind acts of the Becoming One, the praises of the Becoming One— for all that the Becoming One has wrought for us, the vast bounty to the house of Israel that She bestowed upon them according to Her mercy and Her great kindness. She thought: surely they are my people, children who will not play false. So She was their deliverer. In all their troubles She was troubled, and the angel of Her presence delivered them. In Her love and pity She Herself redeemed them, raised them, and exalted them all the days of old.

Queeries for the text:
What are kind acts?
What kind acts has the Becoming One done?
What kind acts has the Becoming One done?
Who plays false?
What's a location of trouble in our world?
Where and how is there deliverance from this trouble in our world? How does God participate?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.


Gospel: Matthew 2:13-23

13Now after the magi had left, an angel of the Becoming One 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 the Becoming One 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.”

19When Herod died, an angel of the Becoming One suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, 20“Get up, take the child and their mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child’s life are dead.” 21Then Joseph got up, took the child and their mother, and went to the land of Israel. 22But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee. 23There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, “They will be called a Nazorean.”

Queeries for the text:
What if Joseph had warned the other families with young children?
What children are being killed today?
How are we weeping with Rachel?
Which came first: Joseph's decision or God's affirmation of it?
How do dreams work on us?
Why does Matthew care so much about making sure "that what had been spoken through the prophet(s) might be fulfilled"?

What are your queeries?

Monday, December 23, 2019

Queerying Christmas Eve

River Needham, queeries the Tanakh reading.

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, and 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 youth has been given us. Authority has settled on her shoulders. She has been named “The Mighty God is planning grace; The Eternal Mother, 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. The zeal of the Becoming God of angel armies shall bring this to pass.

Queeries for the text
What is brilliant light?
How often does light dawn?
What event brings great joy?
What happens at reaping time?
What are days that exist in infamy? Which days are missing?
Which grace is God planning?
Who is the becoming God?


For more queeries, especially Gospel queeries, check out our queeries from last year also on these same passages.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Queerying Advent 4A

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeried the Gospel reading.

Gospel: Matthew 1:18-25

18Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When Jesus' mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.

19Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 20But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of God appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will bear a child, whom you are to name Jesus, for this one will save the people from their sins.”

22All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by God through the prophet: 23“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a child, whom they shall name Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” 24When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of God commanded him; Joseph took Mary as his wife, 25but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a child; and Joseph named the child Jesus.

Queeries for the text:
What does it mean to be righteous?
What would have happened if Joseph had dismissed Mary?
Why does verb tense matter?
What kind of name is Jesus?
What does virgin actually mean?
What did the prophet actually say?
How did Joseph take Mary?

What are your queeries?

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Queerying Advent 3A

River Needham, queeries the Tanakh reading.

Tanakh: Isaiah 35:1-10

The arid desert shall be glad, the wilderness shall rejoice and shall blossom like a rose.
It shall blossom abundantly, It shall also exult and shout.
It shall receive the glory of Lebanon, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall behold the glory of the Becoming One, the splendor of our God.
Strengthen the hands that are slack; make firm the tottering knees!
Say to the anxious of heart,
“Be strong, fear not; Behold your God! Requital is coming, The recompense of God—
She herself is coming to give you triumph.”
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb shall shout aloud;
For waters shall burst forth in the desert, streams in the wilderness.
Torrid earth shall become a pool; Parched land, fountains of water;
The home of jackals, a pasture; The abode of ostriches, reeds and rushes.
And a highway shall appear there, which shall be called the Sacred Way.
No one unclean shall pass along it, but it shall be for them.
No traveler, not even fools, shall go astray.
No lion shall be there, no ferocious beast shall set foot on it— these shall not be found there.
But the redeemed shall walk it; and the ransomed of the Becoming One shall return, and come with shouting to Zion,
Crowned with joy everlasting. They shall attain joy and gladness, while sorrow and sighing flee.

Queeries for the text:
Can land be glad?
What does it look like for wilderness to rejoice?
What is the splendor of God?
How might a blind person receive this text?
How might a D/deaf person receive this text?
How might a disabled person hear this text?
What is the Sacred Way?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeried the Gospel reading.

Gospel: Matthew 11:2-11
2When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples 3and said to Jesus, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?”  

4Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. 6And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.”

7As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? 8What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. 9What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10This is the one about whom it is written, ‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ 11Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the realm of heaven is greater than John.

Queeries for the text:
Why was John in prison?
Who takes offense at Jesus?  How?
How is ableism embedded in the textHow can we challenge it?
What assumption is everyone making?
What assumptions do we make about who Jesus and John are?
What does greatest mean?  What about least?
What about those not born of women?

What are your queeries?

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Queerying Advent 2A

River Needham, queeries the Tanakh reading.

Tanakh: Isaiah 11:1-10

But a shoot shall grow out of the stump of Jesse, a twig shall sprout from his stock.
The spirit of the Becoming One shall alight upon her:
a spirit of wisdom and insight, a spirit of counsel and valor, a spirit of devotion and reverence for the Becoming One.
She shall sense the truth by her reverence for the Becoming One: she shall not judge by what her eyes behold, nor decide by what her ears perceive.
Thus she shall judge the poor with equity and decide with justice for the lowly of the land. She shall strike down a land with the rod of her mouth and slay the wicked with the breath of her lips.
Justice shall be the girdle of her loins, and faithfulness the girdle of her waist. The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard lie down with the kid; the calf, the beast of prey, and the fatling together, with a little one to herd them. The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion, like the ox, shall eat straw. A babe shall play over a viper’s hole, and an infant pass their hand over an adder’s den.
In all of my sacred mount nothing evil or vile shall be done; for the land shall be filled with devotion to the Becoming One as water covers the sea. In that day, the stock of Jesse that has remained standing shall become a standard to peoples— nations shall seek her counsel and her abode shall be honored.

Queeries for the text:
How do twigs sprout from stock?
How is the spirit of the Becoming One separate from or a part of the Becoming One? Does her spirit have devotion and reverence for her? Does this make her narcissistic?
Who are the lowly of the land?
What might the breath of her lips tell us about the Becoming One?
How might biology change in this vision of reality?
How is devotion to the Becoming One quantified?

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

Gospel: Matthew 3:1-12
In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming,
2“Repent, for the reign of heaven has come near.” 3This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said,
“The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Becoming One, make their paths straight.’”
4Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, 6and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

7But when John saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism,
he said to them,
“You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8Bear fruit worthy of repentance. 9Do not presume 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. 10Even 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.
11“I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry this one's sandals. They will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12Their winnowing fork is in their hand, and they will clear their threshing floor and will gather their wheat into the granary; but the chaff they will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Queeries for the text:
Did John apparate into the wilderness? If not, how did John just appear?
Why would the Becoming One want anything straight?
Why locust and wild honey?
What kind of fruit is worthy of repentance?
Can stones become children?
Is good fruit worthy of repentance? Why would good fruit need repentance?
Who is what? Fruit? Wheat? Chaff?  Are we even meant to be in the symbolism?
What sort of baptism happens by fire?

What are your queeries?

Friday, November 29, 2019

Queerying Advent 1A

River Needham, queeries the Tanakh reading.

Tanakh: Isaiah 2:1-5

The word that Isaiah son of Amoz prophesied concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
In the days to come, the Mount of the Becoming One's House shall stand firm above the mountains and tower above the hills;
All the nations will gaze on it with joy. And the many peoples shall go and say:
"Come, let us go up to the Mount of the Becoming One, to the House of the God of Jacob; that She may instruct us in Her ways, and that we may walk in Her paths."
For instruction shall come from Zion, the word of the Becoming One from Jerusalem.
Thus She will judge among the nations and arbitrate for the many peoples, they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks: Nation shall not take up sword against nation; they shall never again know war.
O House of Jacob! Come, let us walk by the light of the Becoming One.

Queeries for the text:
Where does this word start?
What images bring you joy?
How many words are present in this text?
Can land talk or teach?
What other people judge among the nations?
Where are tools of violence becoming tools of growth?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.
Gospel: Matthew 24:36-44

Jesus said:
36“But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Child, but only the Parent. 37For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Human One. 38For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, 39and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Human One.

40Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 41Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. 42Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Ruler is coming. 43But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, they would have stayed awake and would not have let their house be broken into. 44Therefore you also must be ready, for the Human One is coming at an unexpected hour." 

Queeries for the text:
Who is no one?
What kind of day and hour?
What arrives unexpectedly?
How do we know who is taken and who is left?
What thieves are coming today?
Who is eating and drinking today?
What flood is coming?

What are your queeries?

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Queerying Reign of Christ the Queen C

River Needham queeries the Tanakh reading.

Tanakh: Jeremiah 23:1-6

Ah, shepherds who let the flock of my pasture stray and scatter!—declares the Becoming One. Assuredly, thus said the Becoming One, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who should tend my people: It is you who let my flock scatter and go astray.

You gave no thought to them, but I am going to give thought to you, for your wicked acts—declares the Becoming One, and I myself will gather the remnant of my flock from all the lands to which I have banished them, and I will bring them back to their pasture, where they shall be fertile and increase.
I will appoint over them shepherds who will tend them; they shall no longer fear or be dismayed, and none of them shall be missing—declares the Becoming One.

See, a time is coming—declares the Becoming One—when I will raise up a true branch of David’s line. Ze shall reign as sovereign and shall prosper, and ze shall do what is just and right in the land. In hir days Judah shall be delivered and Israel shall dwell secure. And this is the name by which ze shall be called: “The Becoming One is our Vindicator.”

Queeries for the text:
Who are shepherds?
Who are sheep?
Where is God gathering hir sheep from?
What does it mean that none shall be missing?
Who is the true branch of David's line?
When did this line end? When might it start again?
Where else have nations dwelt secure?
Where is the land?
Where else do people serve as vindicators?
Who else has been scattered?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.


Gospel: Luke 23:33-43

33When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots to divide his clothing. 35And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!” 36The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, 37and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.” 39One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” 40But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Queeries for the text:
Like Jesus, what other queens are lynched today?
Like Jesus, what other queens are lynched today?
Like Jesus, what other queens are lynched today?

What are your queeries?

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Queerying 23rd after Pentecost C - Isaiah


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Tanakh reading.

Tanakh: Isaiah 65:17-25
17 For I am about to create new heavens
   and a new earth;
the former things shall not be remembered
   or come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice for ever
   in what I am creating;
for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy,
   and its people as a delight.
19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
   and delight in my people;
no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it,
   or the cry of distress.
20 No more shall there be in it
   an infant that lives but a few days,
   or an old person who does not live out a lifetime;
for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth,
   and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed.
21 They shall build houses and inhabit them;
   they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 They shall not build and another inhabit;
   they shall not plant and another eat;
for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,
   and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
23 They shall not labour in vain,
   or bear children for calamity;
for they shall be offspring blessed by the Becoming One—
   and their descendants as well.
24 Before they call I will answer,
   while they are yet speaking I will hear.
25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,
   the lion shall eat straw like the ox;
   but the serpent—its food shall be dust!
They shall not hurt or destroy
   on all my holy mountain, says the Becoming One. 

Queeries for the text:
What former things will not come to mind?
What happens when people don't remember?
Which infants live but a few days?
Who doesn't live out a lifetime?
Who creates with their lives?
How must the powerful change to achieve the restoration of wolf and lamb?
How does the church hurt?

What are your queeries?


The manuscript for the sermon I preached, rooted in these queeries, can be found on my other blog here.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Queerying 22nd after Pentecost C


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

Gospel: Luke 20:27-38
27Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus 28and asked him a question, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no children, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. 29Now there were seven brothers; the first married, and died childless; 30then the second 31and the third married her, and so in the same way all seven died childless. 32Finally the woman also died. 33In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had married her.”

34Jesus said to them, “Those who belong to this age marry and are given in marriage; 35but those who are considered worthy of a place in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. 36Indeed they cannot die anymore, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection. 37And the fact that the dead are raised Moses himself showed, in the story about the bush, where he speaks of the Becoming One as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. 38Now God is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to God all of them are alive.”

Queeries for the text:
What did we skip?
Why ask about what you don't believe?
Why ask theoretical questions?
What if she didn't want to marry any of the men?
Which ages are we talking about?
What does it mean to be alive?
What are angels like?

What are your queeries?

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Queerying 19th after Pentecost C

Periodic queerier, River Needham, queeries the Tanakh reading.

Tanakh: Jeremiah 31:27-34

See, a time is coming—declares the Becoming One—when I will sow the House of Israel and the House of Judah with seed of humans and seed of cattle;  and just as I was watchful over them to uproot and to pull down, to overthrow and to destroy and to bring disaster, so I will be watchful over them to build and to plant—declares the Becoming One. In those days, they shall no longer say, “Parents have eaten sour grapes and children’s teeth are blunted.” But every one shall die for their own sins: whoever eats sour grapes, his teeth shall be blunted.  See, a time is coming—declares the Becoming One—when I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel and the House of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors, when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, a covenant which they broke, though I espoused them—declares the Becoming One. But such is the covenant I will make with the House of Israel after these days—declares the Becoming One: I will put my teaching into their inmost being and inscribe it upon their hearts. Then I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer will they need to teach one another and say to one another, “Heed the Becoming One”; for all of them, from the least of them to the greatest, shall heed Me—declares the Becoming One. For I will forgive their iniquities, and remember their sins no more.

Queeries for the text:
Who is the House of Israel?
Are humans and cows planted?
What are sour grapes?
How are teeth blunted?
How might we have our hearts inscribed?
How do we do the work of forgiveness?
Does God forget when ze forgives?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

Gospel: Luke 18:1-8

Then Jesus told the disciples a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. 2Jesus said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. 3In that city there was a widow who kept coming to the judge and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’  

4For a while the judge refused; but later said to zirself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’”

6And the Powerful One said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7And will not God grant justice to Faer chosen ones who cry to Fae day and night? Will Fae delay long in helping them? 8I tell you, Fae will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Human One comes, will Ze find faith on earth?”

Queeries for the text:
What did we skip?
What kind of judge are we talking about?
What if the widow had not been just in her request?
How do we wear out the unjust?
Who is more God-like: the widow or the judge?
Where does the after explanation come from?
What does it take for the widow to get justice? 

What are your queeries?

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Queerying 18th after Pentecost C

Periodic queerier, River Needham, queeries the Tanakh reading.

Tanakh: Jeremiah 29:1, [2-3], 4-7

This is the text of the letter which the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the priests, the prophets, the rest of the elders of the exile community, and to all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon  

[after King Jeconiah, the queen mother, the eunuchs, the officials of Judah and Jerusalem, and the craftsmen and smiths had left Jerusalem. [The letter was sent] through Elasah son of Shaphan and Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom King Zedekiah of Judah had dispatched to Babylon, to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.]

Thus said the Becoming God of Angel Armies, the God of Israel, to the whole community which I exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them, plant gardens and eat their fruit. Take wives and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters. Multiply there, do not decrease. And seek the welfare of the city to which I have exiled you and pray to the Becoming One on its behalf; for in its prosperity you shall prosper.

Queeries for the text:
How might this text be sent today?
Is the omitted portion necessary? Why was it omitted?
Where were the Angel Armies before the exile?
Who can build houses?
Who are the acceptable family members?
Who is erased in this passage?
Why is multiplication important?
What is the advice of this text to the exiles? What advice would you give instead?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

Gospel: Luke 17:11-19
11On the way to Jerusalem
Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee.
12As he entered a village,
ten people who had leprosy approached him.
Keeping their distance,
13they called out, saying,
“Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
14When Jesus saw them, he said to them,
“Go and show yourselves to the priests.”
And as they went,
they were made clean.
15Then one of them,
when ze saw that ze was healed,
turned back,
praising God with a loud voice.
16Ze prostrated zirself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him.
And ze was a Samaritan.
17Then Jesus asked,
“Were not ten made clean?
But the other nine, where are they?
18Was none of them found to return and give praise to God
except this foreigner?”
19Then Jesus said to zem,
“Get up and go on your way;
your faith has made you well.”

Queeries for the text:
How much does the number 10 matter?
Why did the one turn back?  Why didn't the 9?
Why does it matter that ze was a Samaritan?
In returning to Jesus, did the Samaritan come out about zir identity?
Where can we give praise to the Divine?
Who isn't a foreigner in the region between two places?
Why does praising the Samaritan's faith matter?
Who are foreigners?  Who have always lived in the place?

What are your queeries?

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Queerying 17th after Pentecost C

Periodic queerier, River Needham, queeries the Tanakh reading.

Tanakh: Lamentations 1:1-5

Alas! Lonely sits the city that was once great with people! She that was great among nations has become like a widow. The princess among states has become a thrall. Bitterly she weeps in the night, her cheek wet with tears. There is none to comfort her of all her friends. All her allies have betrayed her; they have become her foes. Judah has gone into exile because of misery and harsh oppression; When she settled among the nations, she found no rest; all her pursuers overtook her in the narrow places. Zion's roads are in mourning, empty of festival pilgrims; all her gates are deserted. Her priests sigh, her maidens are unhappy—she is utterly disconsolate! Her enemies are now the masters, her foes are at ease, because the Becoming One has afflicted her for her many transgressions; her infants have gone into captivity before the enemy.

Queeries for the text:
What cities were once great with people?
Who weeps bitterly in the night? Why?
Who has been betrayed?
Who is in exile?
Where are there roads in mourning?
Where are the gates deserted?
Who is disconsolate?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

Gospel: Luke 17:5-10
5The apostles said to the Powerful One, “Increase our faith!”

6The Powerful One replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

7“Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here at once and take your place at the table’? 8Would you not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink’? 9Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded? 10So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, ‘We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!’”

Queeries for the text:
What did we skip? Why might that be?
How does someone go about increasing someone else's faith?
What does Jesus' question imply about slavery?
(How) is slavery (in)compatible with following Jesus?
What sort of environment do mulberry trees need to grow?
Who among us has slaves?
Who does and who doesn't get a place at the table?

What are your queeries?

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Queerying 16th after Pentecost C

Periodic queerier, River Needham, queeries the Tanakh reading.

Tanakh: Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15

The word which came to Jeremiah from the Becoming One in the tenth year of King Zedekiah of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar. At that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and the prophet Jeremiah was confined in the prison compound attached to the palace of the king of Judah. For King Zedekiah of Judah had confined him,
Jeremiah said: The word of the Becoming One came to me:
Hanamel, the son of your uncle Shallum, will come to you and say,
“Buy my land in Anathoth, for you are next in succession to redeem it by purchase.”
And just as the Becoming One had said, my cousin Hanamel came to me in the prison compound and said to me,
“Please buy my land in Anathoth, in the territory of Benjamin; for the right of succession is yours, and you have the duty of redemption. Buy it.”
Then I knew that it was indeed the word of the Becoming One. So I bought the land in Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel. I weighed out the money to him, seventeen shekels of silver.I wrote a deed, sealed it, and had it witnessed; and I weighed out the silver on a balance. I took the deed of purchase, the sealed text and the open one according to rule and law, and gave the deed to Baruch son of Neriah son of Mahseiah in the presence of my kinsman Hanamel, of the witnesses who were named in the deed, and all the Judeans who were sitting in the prison compound.  In their presence I charged Baruch as follows:
Thus said the Ruler of Angel Armies, the God of Israel: “Take these documents, this deed of purchase, the sealed text and the open one, and put them into an earthen jar, so that they may last a long time.”
For thus said the God of Angel Armies, the God of Israel: “Houses, fields, and vineyards shall again be purchased in this land.”

Queeries for the text:
What is missing from this reading?
When did this happen? What did the world look like?
Who is confined?
Where is Anathoth?
When can prisoners buy and sell today?
How long do earthen jars last?
When were houses, fields and vineyards again purchased in the land? Who remained in the land?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

Gospel: Luke 16:19-31

Jesus said:
19“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores.

22The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. 23In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side.

24He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’

25But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. 26Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’

27He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house— 28for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’

29Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’

30He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’

31He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

Queeries for the text:
What did we skipWhy?
What is with Jesus and all the rich folks?!
What's so great about purple?
What does the name Lazarus mean? Why is the name important?
What impact do dogs have?
Why does the rich man still think he can get what he wants?
Is the after life zero-sum?
What will it take for true repentance from evil?

What are your queeries?

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Queerying 15th after Pentecost C

Periodic queerier, River Needham, queeries the Tanakh reading.

Tanakh: Jeremiah 8:18-8:23(9:1)

When in grief I would seek comfort, my heart is sick within me.
“Is not the Becoming One in Zion? Is not her Majesty within her?
 Why then did they anger me with their images, with alien futilities?”
Hark! The outcry of my poor people from the land far and wide:
“Harvest is past, summer is gone, and we have not been saved.”
Because my people are shattered I am shattered;
I am dejected, seized by desolation.
Is there no balm in Gilead?
Can no physician be found?
Why has healing not yet come to my poor people?
Oh, that my head were water, my eyes a fount of tears! Then would I weep day and night for the slain of my poor people.

Queeries for the text:
What do we grieve?
How do we find comfort?
What makes our heart sick?
What is Zion?
What do we need to be saved from? Who will save us?
How are people shattered?
Where does Gilead show up?
Who are the slain of my poor people?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

Gospel: Luke16:1-13

Then Jesus said to the disciples,
“There was a rich man who had a manager,
and charges were brought to him
that the manager was squandering his property.
2So the rich man summoned her and said to her,
‘What is this that I hear about you?
Give me an accounting of your management,
because you cannot be my manager any longer.’
3Then the manager said to herself,
‘What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me?
I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg.
4I have decided what to do so that,
when I am dismissed as manager,
people may welcome me into their homes.’
5So, summoning her master’s debtors one by one, she asked the first,
‘How much do you owe my master?’
6Ze answered,
‘A hundred jugs of olive oil.’
She said to zim,
‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.’
7Then she asked another,
‘And how much do you owe?’
Fae replied,
‘A hundred containers of wheat.’
She said to faer,
‘Take your bill and make it eighty.’
8And her master commended the dishonest manager
because she had acted shrewdly;
for the children of this age are more shrewd
in dealing with their own generation
than are the children of light.
9And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth
so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the everlasting homes.
10“Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much;
and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.
11If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth,
who will entrust to you the true riches?
12And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another,
who will give you what is your own?
13No slave can serve two masters;
for a slave will either hate the one and love the other,
or be devoted to the one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and wealth.”

Queeries for the text:
What did we skip?
How does gender change how we read this?
What kind of manager was this?
How is divide and conquer at work?
How does this manager resist the divide and conquer mentality?
How big is the difference between what is owed and what was borrowed?
What does it mean to act shrew(d)ly?
How does Jesus evaluate and value wealth?
What master do I serve?

What are your queeries?

Friday, September 13, 2019

Queerying 14th after Pentecost C

Periodic queerier, River Needham, queeries the Tanakh reading.

Tanakh: Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28
At that time, it shall be said concerning this people and Jerusalem:
The conduct of my poor people is like searing wind from the bare heights of the desert—
It will not serve to winnow or to fan. A full blast from them comes against me: Now I, in turn, will bring charges against them.
For my people are stupid, they give me no heed; they are foolish children,  they are not intelligent. they are clever at doing wrong and unable to do right. I look at the earth, it is unformed and void; at the skies, their light is gone. I look at the mountains, they are quaking, and all the hills are rocking. I look: no human is left, and all the birds of the sky have fled. I look: the farmland is desert, and all its towns are in ruin√≥ Because of the Becoming One, because of zir blazing anger. For thus said the Becoming One: the whole land shall be desolate, but I will not make an end of it. For this the earth mourns, and skies are dark above√≥ because I have spoken, I have planned, and I will not relent or turn back from it.

Queeries for the text:
Where is the heat coming from? Why is it the humans' fault?
What charges might God bring against humans today?
What is missing from the assigned text?
Is the speaker justified in using ableist slurs? Why or why not?
Where else are white humans unable to do right?
What does it mean to be unformed and void?
Where did the humans go?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.


Gospel: Luke 15:1-10
Now all the tax collectors and "those people"
were coming near to listen to Jesus.
2And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying,
“This fellow welcomes 'those people' and eats with them.”
3So Jesus told them this parable:
4“Which one of you,
having a hundred sheep and losing one of them,
does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness
and go after the one that is lost until you find it?
5When you have found it,
you lay it on your shoulders and rejoice.
6And when you come home,
you call together your friends and neighbors, saying to them,
‘Rejoice with me,
for I have found my sheep that was lost.’
7Just so, I tell you,
there will be more joy in heaven over one of 'those people' who repents
than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
8“Or what woman having ten silver coins,
if she loses one of them,
does not light a lamp,
sweep the house,
and search carefully until she finds it?
9When she has found it,
she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying,
‘Rejoice with me,
for I have found the coin that I had lost.’
10Just so, I tell you,
there is joy in the presence of the angels of God
over one of 'those people' who repents.”

Queeries for the text:
What did we skip?  What does the RCL have against salt?
What kind of nonsense is leaving 99 perfectly good sheep to find the one sheep that might already be killed and eaten?
Why would you throw a party costing more than the lost sheep?
Did the sheep repent? Or was it the shepherd?  Can sheep repent?  Can coins?
How much is a silver coin worth?  Who would search for the lost?
How do you lose one coin out of ten?
Why spend the found coin—and perhaps more—on a party?
How do we anthropomorphize what is not human or not alive?
Who is lost?  How?

What are your queeries?

Monday, September 2, 2019

Queerying 13th after Pentecost C

Periodic queerier, River Needham, queeries the Tanakh reading.

Tanakh: Jeremiah 18:1-11
The word which came to Jeremiah from the Becoming One:
“Go down to the house of a potter, and there I will impart my words to you.”
So I went down to the house of a potter, and found her working at the wheel. And if the vessel she was making was spoiled, as happens to clay in the potter’s hands, she would make it into another vessel, such as the potter saw fit to make.
Then the word of the Becoming One came to me:
O House of Israel, can I not deal with you like this potter?—says the Becoming One. Just like clay in the hands of the potter, so are you in My hands, O House of Israel! At one moment I may decree that a nation or a kingdom shall be uprooted and pulled down and destroyed; but if that nation against which I made the decree turns back from its wickedness, I change my mind concerning the punishment I planned to bring on it. At another moment I may decree that a nation or a kingdom shall be built and planted; but if it does what is displeasing to me and does not obey me, then I change my mind concerning the good I planned to bestow upon it. And now, say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: Thus said the Becoming One: I am devising disaster for you and laying plans against you. Turn back, each of you, from your wicked ways, and mend your ways and your actions!

Queeries for the text:
Where else do potters show up in the Tanakh?
How do you make pottery?
How was pottery used during this time period?
Where else does God change hir mind?
Where today do we hear the message that change is possible?
How can we (white u.s.ians) repent of our past ways?
What do we (white u.s.ians) need to repent of in our ways and actions?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.


Gospel: Luke 14:25-33
25Now large crowds were traveling with Jesus;
and he turned and said to them,
26“Whoever comes to me
and does not hate parents of all genders,
spouse and children,
siblings of any gender,
yes, and even life itself,
cannot be my disciple.
27Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me
cannot be my disciple.
28For which of you,
intending to build a tower,
does not first sit down and estimate the cost,
to see whether you have enough to complete it?
29Otherwise, when you have laid a foundation
and are not able to finish,
all who see it will begin to ridicule you, 30saying,
‘This person began to build and was not able to finish.’
31Or what king,
going out to wage war against another king,
will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand
to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand?
32If he cannot,
then, while the other is still far away,
he sends a delegation
and asks for the terms of peace.
33So therefore, none of you can become my disciple
if you do not give up all your possessions.

Queeries for the text:
What did we skip?
What does it mean to hate family?
What about Christian Family Values™?
What does it mean to carry the cross?  What does it not mean to carry the cross?
What happens when tariffs are imposed mid-build?
What is being built now?  Will it be finished?
What about seeking peace if we have the 20,000?
Is Jesus a socialist?
What can happen when you don't finish?

What are your queeries?