Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Lent 4 year C

Gospel: Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32
Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to Jesus.
2And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying,
“This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
3So Jesus told them this parable:

11b“There was a man who had two sons.
12The younger of them said to his father,
‘Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.’
So the father divided his property between them.
13A few days later the younger son gathered all he had
and traveled to a distant country,
and there he squandered his property in dissolute living.
14When he had spent everything,
a severe famine took place throughout that country,
and he began to be in need.
15So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country,
who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs.
16He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating;
and no one gave him anything.
17But when he came to himself he said,
‘How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare,
but here I am dying of hunger!
18I will get up and go to my father,
and I will say to him,
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you;
19I am no longer worthy to be called your son;
treat me like one of your hired hands.”’
20So he set off and went to his father.
But while he was still far off,
his father saw him and was filled with compassion;
his father ran and put his arms around his son and kissed him.
21Then the son said to him,
‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you;
I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22But the father said to his slaves,
‘Quickly, bring out a robe—
the best one—
and put it on him;
put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
23And get the fatted calf and kill it,
and let us eat and celebrate;
24for this son of mine was dead and is alive again;
he was lost and is found!’
And they began to celebrate.

25“Now the elder son was in the field;
and when he came and approached the house,
he heard music and dancing.
26He called one of the slaves
and asked what was going on.
27He replied,
‘Your brother has come,
and your father has killed the fatted calf,
because he has got him back safe and sound.’
28Then the elder son became angry
and refused to go in.
His father came out and began to plead with him.
29But he answered his father,
For all these years I have been working like a slave for you,
and I have never disobeyed your command;
yet you have never given me even a young goat
so that I might celebrate with my friends.
30But when this son of yours came back,
who has devoured your property with prostitutes,
you killed the fatted calf for him!’
31Then the father said to him,
‘Son, you are always with me,
and all that is mine is yours.
32But we had to celebrate and rejoice,
because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life;
he was lost and has been found.’”

Queeries for the text:
What's missing?
Who are sinners?  How does cultural context matter?
Why would the son ask for his dad's share of the estate?
Why would the son leave?
What is dissolute living?
Why didn't anyone give the younger son anything to eat?
Is the prodigal son also Schrödinger's son?  Which son is prodigal?
Why didn't the elder child go in and check on the party himself?
What's the difference between a hired hand and a slave? Can a son actually "work like a slave"?
How does the elder know what what younger the younger did?  Why does he assume he knows?
What does the mother think?
What would this story be like with different genders?

What are your queeries?

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Lent 3 year C

On the afternoon of 15 March 2019, a White Supremacist inspired by politicians in the United States opened fire in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. As people trained in the Christian tradition, which often functions in Islamophobic and White Supremacist ways, we repudiate White Supremacy and Islamophobia in the strongest possible terms. Our queeries this week are in honor of those who died, may Allah open the highest levels of paradise to them.


Periodic queerier, River Needham, queeries the Tanakh reading.

Tanakh: Isaiah 55:1-9

Ho, all who are thirsty, come for water,
even if you have no money;
Come, buy food and eat: buy food without money,
wine and milk without cost.
Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
Your earnings for what does not satisfy?
Give heed to Me, and you shall eat choice food and enjoy the richest viands.
Incline your ear and come to Me; Hearken, and you shall be revived.
And I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
The enduring loyalty promised to David.
As I made him a leader of peoples,
a prince and commander of peoples,
So you shall summon a nation you did not know,
and a nation that did not know you shall come running to you
For the sake of the Becoming One your God,
The Holy One of Israel who has glorified you.
Seek the Becoming One while Ey can be found,
Call to Em while Ey is near.
Let the wicked give up her ways,
The sinful one her plans;
Let her turn back to the Becoming One,
And Ey will pardon her;
To our God, for Ey freely forgives.
For My plans are not your plans,
Nor are My ways your ways —declares the Becoming One.
But as the heavens are high above the earth,
So are My ways high above your ways
And My plans above your plans.

Queeries for the text:
What genre is this text?
What is a viand?
What do we hunger and thirst for today?
How might Muslim people give heed to Allah? Do Christians have similar practices?
What does the beginning of this text refer to? What does that look like in other faiths?
What kind of summoning does this text refer to? Which country will be called?
What are the conditions of forgiveness? How are they culturally conditioned?
To whom does the last stanza refer? Is it the same "you" throughout this passage?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

Gospel: Luke 13:1-9
At that very time there were some present who told Jesus about the Galileans
whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
2Jesus asked them,
“Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way
they were worse sinners than all other Galileans?
3No, I tell you;
but unless you repent,
you will all perish as they did.
4Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them—
do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem?
5No, I tell you;
but unless you repent,
you will all perish just as they did.”

6Then Jesus told this parable:
“A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard;
and he came looking for fruit on it and found none.
7So he said to the gardener,
‘See here!
For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree,
and still I find none.
Cut it down!
Why should it be wasting the soil?’
8The gardener replied,
‘Sir, let it alone for one more year,
until I dig around it and put manure on it.
9If it bears fruit next year, well and good;
but if not, you can cut it down.’”

Queeries for the text:
At which "very time"?
Does Jesus know what Paul will write?
How else is Jesus clear about victim blaming?
What are compassionate responses to those who have been killed?
Who is in need of compassion and action?
What do we need to confess and repent of?
How long does it take a tree to bear fruit?
Why do men think they know how everything should work?
Is God the gardener?

What are your queeries?

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Lent 2 year C

The Starry Night is an oil on canvas by the Dutch post-impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh. Painted in June 1889, it depicts the view from the east-facing window of his asylum room at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, just before sunrise, with the addition of an idealized village.[

Periodic queerier, River Needham, and guest queerier, Jessica Davis, queery the Tanakh reading.

Tanakh: Genesis 15:1-12, [13-16], 17-18

Some time later, the word of the Becoming One came to Abram in a vision.
She said, “Fear not, Abram, I am a shield to you; Your reward shall be very great.”
Then Abram said, “O Becoming God, what can You give me,
seeing that I shall die childless,
and the one in charge of my household is Dammesek Eliezer!”
Abram continued, “Since You have granted me no offspring,
my steward will be my heir.”
The word of the Becoming One came to him in reply,
“That one shall not be your heir;
none but your very own issue shall be your heir.”
She took him outside and said, “Look toward heaven and count the stars,
if you are able to count them.”
Then She added, “So shall your offspring be.”
And because he put his trust in the Becoming One, She reckoned it to his merit.
Then She said to him, “I am the Becoming One who brought you out
from Ur of the Chaldeans to assign this land to you as a possession.”
And he said, “O Becoming God, how shall I know that I am to possess it?”
She answered, “Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old she-goat, a three-year-old ram,
a turtledove, and a young bird.”
He brought Her all these and cut them in two, placing each half opposite the other;
but he did not cut up the bird.
Birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, and Abram drove them away. As the sun was about to set, a deep sleep fell upon Abram, and a great dark dread descended upon him.
[Then She said to Abram, “Know well that your offspring
shall be strangers  in a land not theirs, and
they shall be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years;
but I will execute judgment on the nation
they shall serve, and in the end they shall go free with great wealth.
As for you, You shall go to your ancestors in peace; You shall be buried
at a ripe old age.
And they shall return here in the fourth generation,
for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”]
When the sun set and it was very dark, there appeared a smoking oven,
and a flaming torch which passed between those pieces.
On that day the Becoming One made a covenant with Abram, saying,
“To your offspring I assign this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates:..."

Queeries for the text:
Are the Becoming One and the Becoming God the same?
Who else is a steward? How do stewards exist today? What might justice look like for stewards?
What does it mean to count the stars?
What allows Abram to be so forward with demanding things of G-d?
How did Abram carry all the animals? Did he have a pickup truck?
Why was so much of the Becoming One's Covenant omitted from the pericope?
What does it mean for God to give humans land to possess? What does it mean to possess land?
Where did the smoking oven and flaming torch come from? What powers them?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

Gospel: Luke 13:31-35
31At that very hour
some Pharisees came and said to Jesus,
“Get away from here,
for Herod wants to kill you.”
32Jesus said to them,
“Go and tell that fox for me,
‘Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow,
and on the third day I finish my work.
33Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way,
because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.’

34“Jerusalem, Jerusalem,
the city that kills the prophets
and stones those who are sent to it!
How often have I desired to gather your children together
as a hen gathers her brood under her wings,
and you were not willing!
35See, your house is left to you.
And I tell you,
you will not see me until the time comes when you say,
‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Becoming One.’”

Queeries for the text:
At which hour?  Where was Herod?
Why were Pharisees warning Jesus?
Why would Jesus call Herod a fox?
Have prophets ever been killed outside Jerusalem?
Can Jesus the Hen actually protect the brood from a fox?
Who else is like a mother hen?
When will people say "Blessed is the one..."?  Why?
Why does Jesus leave the house to them?

What are your queeries?

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Lent 1 year C

Periodic queerier, River Needham, queeries the Tanakh reading.

Tanakh: Deuteronomy 26:1-11

When you enter the land the Becoming One your God is giving as a heritage,
and you possess it and settle in it,
you shall take some of every first fruit of the soil,
which you harvest from the land that the Becoming One your God is giving
you, put it in a basket and go
to the place where the Becoming One your God will establish Her
You shall go to the priest in charge at that time and say to them,
“I acknowledge this day before the Becoming One your God that
I have entered the land that the Becoming One swore
to our parents to assign us.”
The priest shall take the basket from your hand and set it down in front of the altar
of the Becoming One your God.
You shall then recite as follows before the Becoming One your God:
“My father was a fugitive Aramean.
He went down to Egypt with meager numbers and sojourned there;
but there he became a great and very populous nation.
The Egyptians dealt harshly with us and oppressed us;
they imposed heavy labor upon us.
We cried to the Becoming One, the God of our parents, and the Becoming One
heard our plea and saw our plight, our misery, and our oppression.
The Becoming One freed us from Egypt by a mighty hand,
by an outstretched arm and awesome power, and by signs and portents.
She brought us to this place and gave us this land,
a land flowing with milk and honey.
Therefore I now bring the first fruits of the soil
which You, O Becoming One, have given me.”
You shall leave it before the Becoming One your God
and bow low before the Becoming One your God.
Then, you shall enjoy, together with the Levite and the stranger in your midst,
all the bounty that the Becoming One your God has bestowed upon you
and your household.

Queeries for the text:
What is colonization? Who are colonizers today? Who are colonizers historically?
Does God instruct the colonization of the land? What does this suggest about God?
What fruits grow in this area? How long would it have taken to grow the fruit?
What happened to the previous inhabitants? What about in the colonies that exist today?
Who were the Arameans? Where do they exist today?
Why are the Egyptians cast in such a poor light? How does this influence the way we think today?
Does bounty have to come at the expense of other people? Why does God require those in our midst to be celebrated? Who is left out?
Is God's blessing zero-sum?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

Gospel: Luke 4:1-13
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit,
returned from the Jordan
and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness,
2where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.
Jesus ate nothing at all during those days,
and when they were over,
he was famished.
3The devil said to Jesus,
“If you are the Holy Child of God,
command this stone to become a loaf of bread.”
4Jesus answered the devil,
“It is written,
‘One does not live by bread alone.’”
5Then the devil led Jesus up
and showed him in an instant all the dominions of the world.
6And the devil said to him,
“To you I will give their glory and all this authority;
for it has been given over to me,
and I give it to anyone I please.
7If you, then, will worship me,
it will all be yours.”
8Jesus answered him,
“It is written,
‘Worship the Becoming One your God,
and serve only Her.’”
9Then the devil took Jesus Jerusalem,
and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him,
“If you are the Holy Child of God,
throw yourself down from here, 10for it is written,
‘God will command the angels concerning you,
to protect you,’
11and ‘On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’”
12Jesus answered the devil,
“It is said, ‘Do not put the Becoming One your God to the test.’”
13Having finished every test,
the devil departed from Jesus until an opportune time.

Queeries for the text:
Can you be "full of" and "led by" the same thing?
Why would the Spirit lead Jesus into temptation?
How hangry was Jesus after 40 days without food?
How did the devil tempt Jesus throughout the 40 days, before the bread temptation?
Who is the devil?
What does "one live by"?
Who gave the glory and authority of the dominions of the world to the devil?
What is the context for the devil's verses?
When is an opportune time?
What temptations do we face?

What are your queeries?

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Ash Wednesday year C

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

Gospel: 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 Loving Creator 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 Loving Creator 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 Loving Creator who is in secret;
and your Loving Creator 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 Loving Creator who is in secret;
and your Loving Creator 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:
Which verses are missing?
How do you practice piety?
Why does intent matterDoes it?
If my left hand doesn't know what my right is doing, how do I know what to report for taxes?
How do hypocrites pray today?
How is secrecy good?  How is secrecy bad?
When else is fasting harmful?
What does Jesus' promise mean for us?
What consumes earth these days?  What does resistance look like?

What are your queeries?