Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Queerying Advent 1B

River Needham, M.A. queeries the Tanakh reading.

ID: skyscape over a body of water. The body of water holds a globe that resembles earth, the continents Africa and Asia are facing the viewer. The globe is partly submerged up to the southern 3/4s of Africa and the southern 1/4 of the Arabian Peninsula.

Tanakh: Isaiah 64:1-9

As when fire kindles brushwood, and fire makes water boil—make Your name known to Your adversaries so that nations will tremble at Your Presence, when You did wonders we dared not hope for, You came down and mountains quaked before You. Such things had never been heard or noted. No eye has seen them, O God, but You, who act for those who trust in You. Yet you have struck them who would gladly do justice and remember You in Your ways. It is because You are angry that we have sinned; we have been steeped in them from of old, and can we be saved? We have all become like an unclean thing and all our virtues like a filthy rag. We are all withering like leaves, our iniquities, like a wind, carry us off. Yet no one invokes Your name, rouses themself to cling to You. For You have hidden Your face from us and made us melt because of our iniquities. But now, O Becoming One, You are our Beloved Parent; we are the clay, and You are the Potter, we are all the work of Your hands. Be not implacably angry, O Becoming One, do not remember iniquity forever. Oh, look down to Your people, to us all! Your holy cities have become a desert: Zion has become a desert, Jerusalem a desolation.

Queeries for the text:
How does God influence the world?
When was this written? How had climate changed around it?
Are God's ways justice? Why or why not?
What are the cycles of relationships? Where is God and Israel's relationship?
What ways have angered God? How can we complicate the traditions? How can we set the traditions right?
What are the climate cycles? Where are we now on the climate cycle? Who is going to feel the upcoming climate changes the most? 


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

ID: on a brown background a map of what is now known as the contiguous united states reads: you are living on and directly benefitting from stolen land, within a nation built by stolen bodies, which is the foundation of the police state that occupies these sacred grounds of the original peoples. Indigenous Peoples' Day

Gospel: Mark 13:24-37

Jesus said:

24“But in those days, after that suffering,
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,
25and the stars will be falling from heaven,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

26Then they will see ‘the Human One coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. 27Then the Human One will send out the angels, and gather the elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

28“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the Human One is near, at the very gates. 30Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. 31Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

32“But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Holy Child, but only the Beloved Parent. 33Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. 34It is like a person going on a journey, when ze leaves home and puts hir slaves in charge, each with hir work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. 35Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the owner of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, 36or else ze may find you asleep when ze comes suddenly. 37And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”

Queeries for the text:
What does it look like when the sun is darkened? 
What gifts does darkness bring?
Where does earth end?
What has passed away? What is passing away?
Who has not passed away?
How can signs indicate a time no one knows?
Who keeps awake at night?
How can we keep awake today?

What are your queeries?

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Queerying Reign of Christ A

River Needham M.A., queeries the Tanakh reading.

ID: a flock of sheep on a hillside with green vegetation.

Tanakh: Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24

Then, the Becoming God said: Here am I! I am going to think about my flock, and go find them. As a shepherd seeks out her flock when some have gotten lost, so I will seek out my flock, I will rescue them from all the places to which they were scattered during the cloudy and gloomy day. I will take them out from the peoples and gather them from the nations, and I will bring them to their own land, and will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses and in all the settled portions of the land. I will feed them in good grazing land, and the lofty hills of Israel shall be their pasture. There, in the hills of Israel, they shall lie down in a good pasture and shall feed on rich grazing land. I Myself will graze My flock, and I Myself will let them lie down—declares the Becoming God. I will look for the lost, and I will bring back the strayed; I will bandage the injured, and I will sustain the weak;and the fat and healthy ones I will destroy. I will tend them rightly.


Assuredly, thus said the Becoming God to them: Here am I, I am going to decide between the fat animals and the lean. Because you pushed with your whole being against the weaker ones and butted them with your horns until you scattered them abroad, I will rescue My flock and they shall no longer be a reward. I will decide between one animal and another. Then I will appoint a single shepherd over them to tend them—My servant David. He shall tend them, he shall be a shepherd to them. I the Becoming One will be their God, and My servant David shall be a ruler among them—I the Becoming One have spoken.

Queeries for the text:
Who is the Becoming God?
Where are the flocks? What are the flocks of?
What lies are we told about being fat? How can they be remedied?
Who are the people pushed away? Who pushes them away?
How will David be the ruler of the people? When will this happen?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

ID: an infographic showing statistics connected to TDOR2020 for the 350 trans people accounted for as murdered globally in the last year.

Gospel: Matthew 25:31-46

Jesus said:
3‘When the Human One comes in Their glory, and all the angels with Them, then They will sit on the throne of Their glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before Them, and They will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33and the Human One will put the sheep at Their right hand and the goats at the left. 34Then the ruler will say to those at Their right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the dominion prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” 

37Then the righteous will answer Them, “Liege, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” 

40And the ruler will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” 

41Then They will say to those at Their left hand, “You that are accursed, depart from me into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.” 

44Then they also will answer, “Liege, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?”  

45Then They will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” 46And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into everlasting life.’

Queeries for the text:
What kind of ruler is this? Who might rule like this?
Why are sheep the preferred animal over goats?
What does it mean to be thirsty?
How many visits to Black, Indigenous, People of Color in prison will make you question the prison industrial complex?
How many people will you give food, water, and shelter to until you question the capitalist system of requisite poverty?

What are your queeries?


Thursday, November 12, 2020

Queerying 24th after Pentecost A

ID: a series of four interconnected winged disks. The disks are shaped like circular rings, and each has four wings at right angles to each other.

River Needham M.A., queeries the Tanakh reading. 

Tanakh: Judges 4:1-7

Now that Ehud was dead, the Israelites did things that offended the Becoming One. So, the Becoming One offered them to King Jabin of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. Sisera commanded the army based in The Heads of the Nations. 

The Israelites cried out to the Becoming One, because Sisera and his 900 chariots oppressed the Israelites harshly for two decades. Deborah, who had a husband, was a prophetess. She led Israel during this time. She sat under her palm tree between Ramah and Bethel in Ephraim's portion of the land. All of the Israelites could come to her for decisions. 

One day, she summoned Barak, son of Abinoam, of Kadesh in Naphtali. She said: The Becoming One, Israel's God, has commanded: Get up, go to Mount Tabor. Take 10,000 humans from Naphtali and Zebulun.  I will attract Sisera and all his troops to Wadi Kishon, and hand them over to you.

Queeries for the text:
Who was Ehud?
Where was Hazor?
Why was the army based in The Heads of the Nations?
Where else are chariots used to liberate?
Who is unnamed in this passage? Why is that significant? Who remains nameless?
What are the consequences for participating in oppression?
How does the story end?

What are your queeries?

Monday, November 2, 2020

Queerying 23rd after Pentecost A

This week we queery in loving memory of the Rev. Dr. Cheryl Pero, who died this past week after a short illness.

ID: the Rev. Dr. Pero in a purple and pink sleeveless dress, with her slightly graying hair pulled back into a ponytail. She's sitting in front of a white background at a woodgrain colored table with her elbow on the table and her hand on her chin. Her other hand reaches around her elbow.

After nearly three months away, and passing her Ph.D. qualifying examinations, River Needham M.A., returns and queeries the Tanakh reading this week. 

Tanakh: Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25

Joshua assembled all the tribes of Israel at Schechem. He summoned Israel’s elders and commanders, magistrates and officers; and they presented themselves before God. Then Joshua said to all the people, “Thus said the Becoming One, the God of Israel: In olden times, your ancestors—Terah, father of Abraham and father of Nahor—lived beyond the Euphrates and worshiped other gods. But I took your father Abraham from beyond the Euphrates and led him through the whole land of Canaan and multiplied his offspring.
“Now, therefore, revere the Becoming One and serve Hir with undivided loyalty; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates and in Egypt, and serve the Becoming One. Or, if you are loath to serve the Becoming One, choose this day which ones you are going to serve—the gods that your forefathers served beyond the Euphrates, or those of the Amorites in whose land you are settled; but I and my household will serve the Becoming One.” 

In reply, the people declared, “Far be it from us to forsake the Becoming One and serve other gods! For it was the Becoming One our God who brought us and our fathers up from the land of Egypt, the house of bondage, and who wrought those wondrous signs before our very eyes, and guarded us all along the way that we traveled and among all the peoples through whose midst we passed. And then the Becoming One drove out before us all the peoples—the Amorites—that inhabited the country. We too will serve the Becoming One, for Xe is our God.” 

Joshua, however, said to the people, “You will not be able to serve the Becoming One, for Xe is a holy God. Xe is a jealous God; Xe will not forgive your transgressions and your sins. If you forsake the Becoming One and serve alien gods, Xe will turn and deal harshly with you and make an end of you, after having been gracious to you.” 
But the people replied to Joshua, “No, we will serve the Becoming One!” 
At which point, Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have by your own act chosen to serve the Becoming One.” 
“Yes, we are!” they responded. “Then put away the alien gods that you have among you and direct your hearts to the Becoming One, the God of Israel.” 
And the people declared to Joshua, “We will serve none but the Becoming One our God, and we will obey none but Hir.”

Queeries for the text:
What is missing from this text?
How might the ancestral gods be read differently?
How does this text read in an election year?
Why is jealousy portrayed as an acceptable reason for violence?
Where does God act violently?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

Gospel:  Matthew 25:1-13

Jesus said:

"Then the dominion of heaven will be like this. Ten attendants of the wedding party took their lamps and went to meet the betrothed. 2Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; 4but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 

5As the betrothed was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. 6But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the betrothed! Come out to meet them.’ 

7Then all those attendants got up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 

9But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ 

10And while they went to buy it, the betrothed came, and those who were ready went with them into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. 

11Later the other attendants came also, saying, ‘Liege, liege, open to us.’ 

12But they replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’ 

13Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour."

Queeries for the text:
How might a collectivist culture read this text?
How might a capitalist culture read this text?
How might a single person read this text?
How might a polyamorous person read this text?
What other options do the attendants have?
What are we waiting for?
Who do we not know?
Who doesn't know us?

What are your queeries?