Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Queerying 12th after Pentecost C

Periodic queerier, River Needham, queeries the Tanakh reading.

Tanakh: Jeremiah 2:4-13

Hear the word of the Becoming One, O House of Jacob, Every clan of the House of Israel!
Thus said the Becoming One: What wrong did your ancestors find in me that they abandoned me and went after delusion and were deluded?

They never asked themselves, “Where is the Becoming One, who brought us up from the land of Egypt, who led us through the wilderness, a land of deserts and pits, a land of drought and darkness, a land no human had traversed, where no human being had dwelt?”

I brought you to this country of farmland to enjoy its fruit and its bounty; but you came and defiled my land, you made my possession abhorrent. The priests never asked themselves, “Where is the Becoming One?” The guardians of the teaching ignored me; the rulers rebelled against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal and followed what can do no good.

Oh, I will go on accusing you —declares the Becoming One— And I will accuse your children’s children! Just cross over to the isles of the Kittim and look, send to Kedar and observe carefully; see if anything like this has ever happened: has any nation changed its gods even though they are not gods? But my people have exchanged their glory for what can do no good. Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be horrified, utterly dazed! —says the Becoming One.

For my people have done a twofold wrong: they have forsaken me, the fount of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, which cannot even hold water.

Queeries for the text:
Why does God make this announcement?
Who is the voice of God?
How does the Becoming One deal with abandonment?
Where is the land no human had traversed and no human had dwelt?
How does land become defiled?
Who was Baal?
Why is the Becoming One accusing and commanding the heavens to be horrified?
How does the Becoming One justify Hir anger?
What is a cistern?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

Gospel: Luke 14:1, 7-14
On one occasion
when Jesus was going to the house
of a leader of the Pharisees
to eat a meal on the sabbath,
they were watching him closely.

7When Jesus noticed how the guests chose the places of honor,
he told them a parable.
8“When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet,
do not sit down at the place of honor,
in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host;
9and the host who invited both of you
may come and say to you,
‘Give this person your place,’
and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place.
10But when you are invited,
go and sit down at the lowest place,
so that when your host comes,
your host may say to you,
‘Friend, move up higher’;
then you will be honored
in the presence of all who sit at the table with you.
11For all who exalt themselves will be humbled,
and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

12Jesus said also to the one who had invited him,
“When you give a luncheon or a dinner,
do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors,
in case they may invite you in return,
and you would be repaid.
13But when you give a banquet,
invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.
14And you will be blessed,
because they cannot repay you,
for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Queeries for the text:
What did we skip?  What's missing?
How often did Jesus eat with Pharisees?
Who were watching Jesus closely?
How was honor important?
How do we exalt ourselves?
How are relationships transactional?
Are the categories as simple as Jesus claims?  Is Jesus creating a false binary?
Is this a parable or advice?  How has Jesus' advice caused harm to poor and/or disabled people?
What about upward mobility?

What are your queeries?

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Queerying 11th after Pentecost C

Periodic queerier, River Needham, queeries the Tanakh reading.

Tanakh: Jeremiah 1:4-10

The word of the Becoming One came to me:
Before I created you in the womb, I selected you; before you were born, I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet concerning the nations.
I replied: Ah, Becoming God! I don’t know how to speak, for I am still a boy.
Then the Becoming One said to me: Do not say, “I am still a boy,” But go wherever I send you and speak whatever I command you. Have no fear of them, for I am with you to deliver you —declares the Becoming One.
The Becoming One put out hir hand and touched my mouth, and said to me:
Here I put my words into your mouth. See, I appoint you this day over nations and kingdoms: to uproot and to pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.

Queeries for the text:
Can words perform actions?
Do people exist before birth?
What does it mean to be consecrated?
Where else in the world are children used to carry a message? Is this fair?
Where else does the Becoming One touch lips or mouths
Who else does the Becoming One appoint?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

Gospel: Luke 13:10-17
10Now Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath.
11And just then there appeared a woman
with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years.
She was bent over
and was quite unable to stand up straight.
12When Jesus saw her,
he called her over and said,
“Woman, you are set free from your ailment.”
13When Jesus laid his hands on her,
immediately she stood up straight and began praising God.
14But the leader of the synagogue,
indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath,
kept saying to the crowd,
“There are six days on which work ought to be done;
come on those days and be cured,
and not on the sabbath day.”
15But the One with Authority answered him and said,
“You hypocrites!
Does not each of you on the sabbath untie your ox or your donkey from the manger,
and lead it away to give it water?
16And ought not this woman,
a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years,
be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?”
17When Jesus said this,
all his opponents were put to shame;
and the entire crowd was rejoicing
at all the wonderful things that Jesus was doing.

Queeries for the text:
What did we skip this time?
Does any good come from Jesus teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath?
Can children cripple people?
How are spirits and ailments related?
Do we ever want to do anything straight?
What gifts does the sabbath bring?
How are people still in bondage?
How can we be set free?
Who was Jesus' intended audience?

What are your queeries?

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Queerying 10th after Pentecost C

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

Gospel: Luke 12:49-56
Jesus said:
49“I came to bring fire to the earth,
and how I wish it were already kindled!
50I have a baptism with which to be baptized,
and what stress I am under until it is completed!
51Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth?
No, I tell you, but rather division!
52From now on five in one household will be divided,
three against two and two against three;
53they will be divided:
father against son and son against father,
mother against daughter and daughter against mother,
mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

54Jesus also said to the crowds,
“When you see a cloud rising in the west,
you immediately say, ‘It is going to rain’;
and so it happens.
55And when you see the south wind blowing,
you say, ‘There will be scorching heat’;
and it happens.
56You hypocrites!
You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky,
but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?

Queeries for the text:
What did we skip?  Why do we keep skipping verses?
Was Jesus a pyro?  How is fire helpful?
When are families divided?
Does Jesus bring the division or shed light on it?
What can we interpret from earth and sky?
What is in the present time?
What stress does baptism cause?
How are we divided?

What are your queeries?

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Queerying 9th after Pentecost C

Periodic queerier, River Needham, queeries the Tanakh reading.

Tanakh: Isaiah 1:1, 10-20

1:The prophecies of Isaiah son of Amoz, who prophesied concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
10-20:Hear the word of the Becoming One, you chieftains of Sodom; give ear to our God’s instruction, you folk of Gomorrah!
“What need have I of all your sacrifices?” says the Becoming One. “I am sated with burnt offerings of rams, and suet of fatlings, and blood of bulls; and I have no delight in lambs and he-goats. That you come to appear before me—Who asked that of you? Trample My courts no more; bringing oblations is futile, incense is offensive to me. New moon and sabbath, proclaiming of solemnities, assemblies with iniquity, I cannot abide. Your new moons and fixed seasons fill me with loathing; they became a burden to me, I cannot endure them. And when you lift up your hands, I will turn my eyes away from you; though you pray at length, I will not listen. Your hands are stained with crime— wash yourselves clean; put your evil doings away from My sight. Cease to do evil; learn to do good. Devote yourselves to justice; aid the wronged. Uphold the rights of the orphan; defend the cause of the widow.
“Come, let us reach an understanding,—says the Becoming One. Be your sins like crimson, they can turn snow-bright; be they red as dyed wool, they can become like fleece.”
If, then, you agree and give heed, you will eat the good things of the earth; but if you refuse and disobey, you will be devoured by the sword.—for it was the Becoming One who spoke.

Queeries for the text:
When did Isaiah write?
Which Isaiah wrote this?
Who were Sodom and Gomorrah? Who has this reference become toxic to today? Who commits the sin of Sodom today?
Who asked for sacrifices? Why?
What is the significance of new moons and fixed seasons?
What other religious traditions do these commitments sound like?
What is the offer the Becoming One makes at the end? Is it a good one?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

Gospel: Luke 12:32-40
Jesus said:
32“Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Mapa’s good pleasure to give you the reign. 33Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

35“Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; 36be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for them as soon as they come and knock. 37Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when they come; truly I tell you, the master will fasten their belt and have them sit down to eat, and they will come and serve them. 38If the master comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.

39“But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, ze would not have let zir house be broken into. 40You also must be ready, for the Human One is coming at an unexpected hour.”

Queeries for the text:
What did we skip from last time?
Why would Jesus' flock be afraid?
Why would we sell possessions, give alms, and make a purse?
Where is my treasure? our treasure?
What does Jesus' promise mean for capitalism?
What do we need to be ready for?
Why would a master fasten their belt?
Is the Human One a thief?

What are your queeries?