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Showing posts from September, 2015

Mark 9- do not be the cause of separation from Jesus

Mark 9:38-50
In today’s Gospel there is a lot for the modern person to stumble over. There is mention of exorcising demons, which is often hard for many of us to hear since we tend to live in a world that is highly suspicious of the supernatural. Jesus speaks about it being better to have a large stone tied around your neck and to be thrown into the deep, rather than place a stumbling block before a “little one.” And Jesus instructs us to cut off hands and feet and to gouge out our eyes in order to avoid “hell”, “where the worm never dies and the fire is never quenched”. These statements don’t seem to match the Jesus we often think we know. For most of us we think about the kindness and gentleness of Jesus, who is quick to forgive and who carries a lamb in his arms as he guides the fold to green pastures and clear waters. As children of the European Enlightenment it is natural for us to emphasize the rational nature of the ethics of Jesus, and de-emphasize miracles and other supernatu…

Pride and Humility- Mark 9

Pride and Humility
Mark 9:30-37

Putting together a resume can be a paradoxical experience. You want to emphasize your strengths, and minimize (or hide) your weaknesses. You want to show that you have a high level of education and went to a prestigious school. You want to show that you worked for important organizations, and was trusted with important responsibilities. In a resume you want to do this to impress your potential employer, and in particular, you want your potential employer to be more impressed with you than the other people applying for the job. … But, at the same time, you don’t want to appear to be bragging, or full of yourself. It’s a delicate balance.

If we are really honest with ourselves we find ourselves doing this all the time. We secretly compare ourselves to others and try to find a way to come out on top. “My kids are better behaved than their kids”. “I’m prettier than her”. “I get paid more than him”. “I’m smarter and more competent at my job than him”. Maybe e…

wisdom and the power of words

Proverbs 1:20-33 | James 3:1-12 | Mark 8:27-38
James says the tongue is a fire, a fire that (though small) can set a whole forest on fire. In chaos theory it is proposed that a butterfly can set off an incredibly complicated chain of events that can result in a hurricane. James is saying our words can have this kind of incredible effect. Though small, the tongue can cause great harm, but I would also say it can cause great good as well. Karl Marx spoke words that resulted in the rise of communism that spread across the world. The words of Adolf Hitler resulted in the rise of Nazism and World War 2.  Martin Luther spoke and wrote words (along with others) that resulted in the Protestant Reformation that reshaped Europe and Christianity.  The words of Gandhi inspired a movement in India that resulted in freeing India from British colonial control. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke and inspired a non-violent civil rights revolution.  A huge fire can be set with the tongue!  James is wise t…