Why Are You Bowing?

When it comes to bowing, our culture is schizophrenic. We teach people not to bow down to others or to let others tell us what to do, yet we bow down all the time. We bow to men of wealth; we bow to people and things of beauty; we bow to eloquent speech; worst of all, we bow to power: military power, economic power, and individual power. When Jesus entered the country of the Gerasenes, he encountered a man with the same brand of schizophrenia. On the one hand, he was a man who bowed to no one; a man who could not be controlled or subdued, “not even with a chain.” No one could tell the Gerasene what to do. He was exactly the kind of man our culture applauds. Yet, when Jesus stepped off the boat, this same man (rather, the unclean teaching controlling him) groveled at the feet of Jesus. Why? Not because he placed all his trust in the Lord’s seed, but because–like everyone else in Mark–he was afraid of Jesus’ worldly might. Like the people who marveled at Jesus’ miracles; like the fearful disciples; the Gerasene was impressed with the wrong thing. So he bowed to Jesus the way a sycophant bows to Silicon Valley.

The letters of St. Paul teach us that everyone has to bow down. Even Jesus will eventually bow to Pontius Pilate. In Mark’s gospel, the question is not “should I bow,” but, “why are you bowing?” Do you grovel before Jesus because of the teaching he proclaims, or are you bowing to something else? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 5:1-13.

Listen: http://tracking.feedpress.it/link/15937/5168817/TBAL%20Episode%20157.mp3

Episode 157 Mark 5:1-13; Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature (http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature); “March of the Spoons” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Why Are You Afraid?

Like the prophet Jonah, Jesus was sent to sow the seed of God’s teaching on other soil. Unlike Jonah, Jesus trusted God’s will, carrying out his Father’s instruction without hesitation or the slightest hint of rebellion. So you can imagine the Lord’s frustration, when at the first hint of danger, the disciples cower from God’s mission.

“The floods,” David cried, “have lifted up, O Lord! The flood have lifted up their voice!”

“But thy testimonies,” cower the disciples, “are not confirmed! Do you not care that we are perishing?”

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 4: 35-41.

Listen: http://tracking.feedpress.it/link/15937/5126626/TBAL%20Episode%20156.mp3

Episode 156 Mark 4:35-41; Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature (http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature); “Guess Who” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Like a Mustard Seed

A farmer sows seed because he wants security. He wants to know that he will have enough money and food in storage to secure his family until the next season. This understanding of farming is anti-Scriptural. In the Book of the Twelve, we are repeatedly warned that man’s lust for security is the cause of human suffering. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus assigns new meaning to the act of sowing seed. Where a human farmer sows for himself under the illusion of control, Jesus sows for others at his own peril, under the promise of hope against all hope. Despite all the cruelty, suffering and betrayal in the world; despite the Roman occupation; despite attempts by his own community to shut him up; Jesus does not lose hope, because he places all his trust, not in the work of his own hands, but in the will of his Father, who said, “All the trees of the field will know that I am the Lord; I bring down the high tree, exalt the low tree, dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish. I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will perform it.”” (Ezekiel 17:24) Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 4:26-34.

Listen: http://tracking.feedpress.it/link/15937/5085203/TBAL%20Episode%20155.mp3

Episode 155 Mark 4:26-34; Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature (http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature); “Zanzibar” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

#cursed #afflicted #persecuted #amen

In the Gospel of Mark, the Lord Jesus said, “Whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.” (Mark 4:25) In our consumer culture, this verse is almost always taken out of context and assumed to refer to worldly blessings: health, happiness, family, wellbeing and, of course, stuff. But in a passage where ignoring the Bible’s obvious meaning is an unforgivable sin, “so that while seeing, they may see and not perceive, and while hearing, they may hear and not understand, otherwise they might return and be forgiven” (Mark 4:12) our listeners are cautioned that what is “given” and what is “taken away” pertain not to worldly blessings, but to the wisdom that comes from God. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 4:13-25.

Listen: http://tracking.feedpress.it/link/15937/5047971/TBAL%20Episode%20154.mp3

(Episode 154 Mark 4:13-25); Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature (http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature); “Too Cool” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

It’s Not About the Soil

When hearing the parable of the sower in Mark, few people stop to consider that seeds are embryonic plants. That’s right, the seeds tucked away in a box on your shelf are already pregnant. Not only does the seed contain the instructions needed to make a plant, but also an embryo which can grow into a full plant under proper conditions. In other words, the seed does what the seed does and the soil contributes nothing: it either accepts the seed or rejects it. The soil can’t even control the conditions under which acceptance or rejection are cultivated. The only hope is the seed itself. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 4:1-12.

Listen: http://tracking.feedpress.it/link/15937/5015866/TBAL%20Episode%20153.mp3

(Episode 153 Mark 4:1-12); Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Nowhere Land” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit

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The proclamation of the forgiveness of sins is integral to the content of the gospel. After all, it was the forgiveness of sins that opened the path for gentiles to become children of the Bible. In the Gospel of Mark, the sharing of this news is the single priority of Jesus Christ–so much so, that Jesus is constantly on the move, teaching and preaching. With this in mind, it seems odd that Jesus would say, “whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness.” It seems odd, that is, until you realize that Jesus is frustrated with those who willfully oppose his Father’s teaching. You know, that teaching where everyone is forgiven, no matter who they are, where they pray, or who claims them as family. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 3:28-35.

Listen: http://tracking.feedpress.it/link/15937/4975479/TBAL%20Episode%20152.mp3

(Episode 152 Mark 3:28-35); Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Rocket Power” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

He Sent Them Out

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According to Google, to rationalize is to “attempt to explain or justify (one’s own or another’s behavior or attitude) with logical, plausible reasons, even if these are not true or appropriate.” According to Mark, people do this all the time. Is Jesus helping someone out at your expense? Explain, with logical, plausible arguments, that he is wrong. Are you trying to stop Jesus from helping others? Explain, with logical, plausible arguments, that you are doing the right thing and Jesus must be out of his mind. Is Jesus besieged by the mob on all sides because of you? Explain, albeit, without logic, that he is working for the “ruler of demons.” Remember to conveniently ignore the fact that you are the one blocking “the feet of him who brings good news, announces peace, brings glad tidings, and proclaims salvation, saying to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!'” (Isaiah 52:7) After all, when you obstruct his path, you are doing the right thing, aren’t you? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 3:13-27. This week’s episode commemorates the one year anniversary of the death of John Price and Jacob Flynn. May their memories be eternal.

Listen: http://tracking.feedpress.it/link/15937/4928493/TBAL%20Episode%20151.mp3

(Episode 151; Mark 3:13-27); Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Cortosis” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Bread and Circuses

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Human beings make decisions and take actions based on assumptions. We do so because without assumptions, we are paralyzed by complexity. In some cases, an assumption is based on data, but almost always, our presuppositions stem from innate selfishness. As Julius Caesar once said, “Men are nearly always willing to believe what they wish.” Caesar himself assumed that mob sentiment would ensure his triumph. Unfortunately, most people approach Mark’s gospel with Caesar’s worldview. We want Jesus to be popular. We want the mob to love him and no matter how hard Jesus runs from the crowds; no matter how emphatic his desire not to win them over; we still cheer when they surround him. Why? Because in our hearts, we prefer Caesar’s victory to Jesus’ defeat. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the Mark 3:7-12.

Listen: http://tracking.feedpress.it/link/15937/4885208/TBAL%20Episode%20150.mp3

(Episode 150; Mark 3:1-6); Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Carnivale Intrigue” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Jesus Proclaimed the Letter of the Law

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We’ve all heard it. On every corner. In every school. At every church. There is always somebody spouting platitudes about the “dangers” of taking the Bible literally. This is usually the same person who explains that “religion is the cause of all wars,” conveniently ignoring the bloodshed of the last century committed in the name of consumerism and liberal values. ANYWAYS. If only fundamentalists did take the Bible literally! If you actually read what is written on the page–without proof texting–there is no way to end up a fundamentalist. No way. Unless, of course, you have problems with reading comprehension or are not aware of historical context. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 3:1-6.

Listen: http://tracking.feedpress.it/link/15937/4847165/TBAL%20Episode%20149%20%281%29.mp3

(Episode 149; Mark 3:1-6); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Lobby Time” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Step Forward or Step Aside

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Have you ever had a ton of work to do, only to be pulled into long meetings with people who talk endlessly to avoid action? You know that feeling when you have a simple question for customer service, but the automated attendant makes you answer fifteen pointless questions, and then, when you get to a human being, they ask the same fifteen questions over again, and then, right before you finally get to ask your question, the call drops? Frustration and agitation set in as you twirl your worry beads and shake your nervous legs under the desk. Now imagine that the whole world is trying to stop you from delivering an urgent message that is a matter of life and death. What would you do? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 2:14-28.

Listen: http://tracking.feedpress.it/link/15937/4808792/TBAL%20Episode%20148%20%281%29.mp3

(Episode 148; Mark 2:1-13); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Sunflower Dance Party” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)