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.

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(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.

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(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.

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(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/)

Don’t Be Fooled by the Crowds

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People deal with the miracles and parables of Jesus as biblical vignettes that can be extracted from the gospels and presented on their own. Biblical scholars refer to these vignettes as “pericopes,” literally, a section of the Bible that has been cut out and extracted from the narrative. The problem, of course, is that a section of the Bible, like a sentence or a single word, when taken out of context, loses its meaning. Nowhere is this more evident than in the healing of the Paralytic in Mark. If we hear the parable without the urgency and emphasis of Jesus’ physical movement in chapter 1, the miracle cannot be understood correctly. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 2:1-13.

Listen: http://tracking.feedpress.it/link/15937/4800956/marcboulos-20161110050834-3965.mp3

(Episode 147; Mark 2:1-13); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Rainbows” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Do Not Be Amazed, Be Obedient

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The fallacy of the Messianic Secret is based on a presupposition that openly contradicts the teaching of Mark’s Gospel. While scholars assume that Jesus is preoccupied with his identity and secrecy, in the text of Mark, Jesus is in a big rush to preach to as many people as possible in as many places as possible and he wants his followers to do the same. He does not want them to sit around and be amazed with him and his acts of mercy. He wants them to hear the Gospel and to do the same work he is doing, immediately. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the Gospel of Mark 1:29-45.

Listen: http://tracking.feedpress.it/link/15937/4800984/marcboulos-20161103064102-9792.mp3

(Episode 146; Mark 1:29-45); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Voltaic” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

A New Teaching?

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Teaching is tedious work. No matter how many times you explain something, for every one person who doesn’t get it, there are a thousand people you can’t get to. It’s even harder when the teaching itself is so counterintuitive that even people who think they get it have to keep relearning it. It’s no wonder that people believe the New Testament is saying something new. But the New Testament is not new. If it sounds new, it’s because you have not been paying attention and as a result, have fallen yet further behind those who came before you. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the Gospel of Mark 1:15-28.

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(Episode 145; Mark 1:15-28); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Fearless First” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Pleased With Himself

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Ancient religions stood on a simple premise: find a way to please the gods or face their wrath. Are you afraid of bad weather? Make a sacrifice. Worried about your family? Make a sacrifice. Afraid of impending war or plague? Make a sacrifice. Like all people in power, the ancient gods lived off the backs of their subjects. Since such gods reflect the behavior of those who make them, it’s easy to see human religion for what it is: ritual betrayal of your neighbor for the sake of your security. But what if there were a God who refused to dwell in a temple and who could not be pleased, no matter how hard his subjects tried to impress him? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the Gospel of Mark 1:9-15.

Listen: http://tracking.feedpress.it/link/15937/4801008/marcboulos-20161020062453-2107.mp3

(Episode 144; Mark 1:9-15); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “DarxieLand” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

A Path in the Wilderness?

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The first few verses of Mark’s gospel are packed with prophetic imagery. From the impossible concept of a path in the wilderness to the Baptist’s position outside Jerusalem, the Markan prologue heralds the victory of the Prophets’ teaching against human cities and the imminent inclusion of those beyond the Jordan in God’s city. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the Gospel of Mark 1:1-8.

Listen: http://tracking.feedpress.it/link/15937/4801013/marcboulos-20161013071742-9435.mp3

(Episode 143; Mark 1:1-8); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Thinking Music” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Eye of the Needle Jokes

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The biblical system proposes hyperbole, scandal, and logical contradiction as a means to disassemble the statues and false gods we construct in our minds. At the same time, hearers of the Bible tend to rationalize these tensions away, explaining to themselves and others what Jesus “really” meant. Yes, the Bible is a language of metaphor, but on the whole—far from pacifying us—those metaphors are given to amplify the Bible’s attack on our egos. Besides, as we’ll learn from Mark, sometimes an eye of the needle is just an eye of the needle. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the Gospel of Mark 10:13-31.

Listen: http://tracking.feedpress.it/link/10240/4575861/marcboulos-20161006065745-3997.mp3

(Episode 142; Mark 10:13-31); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “BossaBossa” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

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