Will you still respect me when I recall how I once spent part of a summer vacation?
I fear not.
Within the course of a summer week, my wife and I binge-watched a season of 24. As you probably recall from that now ancient TV series, each episode represented one â€œreal timeâ€ hour. The actions begin and conclude during a single frenzied, fractious day (which takes twenty-four shows to resolve).
In order to keep the plotâ€™s velocity at breakneck speed, there was a dump truckâ€™s load of unbelievable scenes. An example? Two different characters shot themselves to cover their duplicity with the bad guys. Apparently, in the fictional world of caffeinated thrillers, a bad guyâ€™s so-called friends wonâ€™t suspect deceitful actions if heâ€™s bleeding after the firefight.
No worries, itâ€™s only a flesh wound. On to the next adventure! Continue reading →
Mark 6:30-34, 53-56 – The 8th Sunday after Pentecost â€“ for Sunday, July 19, 2015
â€œEveryone who touched him was healed.â€ (Mark 6:56)
When reading Mark 6:56â€™s closing sentenceâ€”Everyone who touched him was healedâ€”my belief in Jesus is strengthened.
And so is my disbelief.
The Gospelsâ€™ healing passages are arguably the most difficult (for me) to preach, teach, or, well . . . believe.
Iâ€™ve read enough about the history of Jesusâ€™ first century world to know he was not the only one identified as a miracle worker or healer of illnesses. There were others, from reputable to repugnant. Iâ€™m also confident that Jesusâ€™ era had people whoâ€”like todayâ€”suffered with cancers, heart diseases and other serious ailments. But we canâ€™t tell from any of the Biblical accounts what kinds of illnesses were healed when a crowd gathered around Jesus. No high-tech tests could be implemented to separate the â€œfakeâ€ illnesses from the â€œrealâ€ ones, or a potentially fatal head trauma from a trivial head cold.
Frankly, whether in the Bible or not, Iâ€™m suspicious when â€œeveryoneâ€ is used to describe the results.
Everyone was healed? Hmmm? Continue reading →
Mark 6:14-29 – The 7th Sunday after Pentecost â€“ for Sunday, July 12, 2015
â€œSo Herodias had it in for John. She wanted to kill him, but she couldnâ€™t.â€ (Mark 6:19)
I worked on my high school newspaper for several semesters. Though my teenaged journalistic memories have faded like newsprint left in the sun, I recall the faculty advisorâ€™s nameâ€”Mrs. Pepperâ€”and the only time she complimented me.
Mrs. Pepper was impressed with my, er, sexual inventiveness.
Yeah, baby, sex.
When you read that three-letter, monosyllabic word, did anything bob to the surface of your mature mind about your high school experiences with . . . sex? Or, since youâ€™re reading my words, what did you imagine about me and . . . Mrs. Pepper?
Alas, tuck away your lustful fantasies. Nothing happened! Well, at least nothing in aâ€”wink-winkâ€”â€œBiblical way.â€ Continue reading →