Monthly Archives: February 2015

February 24, 2015 Matthew 27 (17)

Lost Boys will be preparing and serving the soup supper for Lenten services tomorrow evening. Curt is in charge of the volunteers. There will be 3 soups available, namely, chili, venison chili, and chicken noodle soup.

Today we read another long chapter from Matthew about the events leading up to the death of Jesus. We started out by discussing John’s article about whether or not the church is sexist. Is this just a way of distracting us from the gospel? Mark said we should address God in the way most helpful to each individual. He also said that the discussion of the language in the 70’s and early 80’s most ended with the use of the apostolic language of books like Matthew.

The phrase in Matthew 27:51-54 that says the saints or holy people were raised from the dead and came out of their graves when Jesus died and went into Jerusalem with the resurrection was interesting. I don’t think this appears in the other gospels. What did they do while Jesus was in the grave? Jesus himself didn’t appear in Jerusalem right away in public, so this seems really strange. There are several commentaries at the following link that discuss these verses. http://biblehub.com/matthew/27-52.htm They all sound a little far-fetched to me.

Finally, we got to a discussion of Judas. John and Mark pointed out a discussion by Schweitzer where Judas was not trying to betray Jesus by pointing him out to the high priests, but rather facilitating Jesus to display himself as the Messiah who would lead the revolution against Rome. Judas was probably part of the Zealots group along with Simon. He also was probably a Judean, in contrast to the rest of the disciples who were from Galilee. The urban folks including Judas probably looked down on the fishermen and other common people who were the disciples and Judas probably j0ined the 12 because he thought Jesus really was powerful as evidenced by his miracles and could be expected to lead the revolution against Rome and when Jesus entered Jerusalem in a triumphant parade on Palm Sunday, this would further this thought in Judas. I suppose one could say that Judas accepted the 30 pieces of silver that he accepted would go into the disciples treasury to pay for whatever needs the revolution would have. When things all started to go wrong, and Jesus was headed for an ignoble death on the cross, Judas said this isn’t my plan at all. A link to this type of thinking is found in the Nazarene Way of Essenic Studies article entitled “Why Did Judas Betray Jesus?” http://www.thenazareneway.com/holy_week/why_did_judas_betray.htm This article says that Judas was disappointed in the direction Jesus’ teachings had gone recently and thought Jesus must pay for this deception. However, the events of Jesus before Pilot and the high priests convinced Judas that he had made a grievous mistake. Another reference that might interest us is at the following link: http://www.gotquestions.org/Judas-betray-Jesus.html

February 21, 2015 — Article on Scandal of all Male Bible

This was originally submitted by John Grunstad:

This is from an essay by David J.A. Clines of the University of Sheffield. It’s too long to be quoted in its entirety, but here is the conclusion.  You can find the full text at Academia.edu.

Conclusion

I conclude with a demonstration of how widespread male language is in the Bible. I choose a text that is put in the mouth of a woman, Mary’s Magnificat:

My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden.
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed;

for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.

And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm,

he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, he has put down the mighty from their thrones,

and exalted those of low degree;
he has filled the hungry with good things,

and the rich he has sent empty away. He has helped his servant Israel,

in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers,

to Abraham and to his posterity for ever (Luke 1.46-55).

The poem is esteemed on all sides, but from the perspective of a gender analysis it is a shocking text for the way a female character is made the mouthpiece of so much masculine ideology. Hardly a word of the Magnificat fails to reflect male language, and it is ripe for an exposure of its ideological bias.

God’s most important characteristic is strength (the ‘Mighty One’). His ‘mercy’ is not a soft or quasi‐feminine counterpart of strength. It corresponds to the Hebrew ḥesed (ds,j), , which does not mean mercy or lovingkindness, and it is not an emotion. It is covenanted or promised support, which differs from sheer

The Scandal of a Male Bible, p. 15

strength since it has an interpersonal dimension. It is normally the action of a superior towards an inferior, almost everywhere it is males who exercise it, and possession of it implies strength. Likewise the deity’s role as ‘saviour’, while it is a welcome activity on behalf of humans, is an aspect of his strength and power, male qualities.

‘Holiness’, as we have seen, is another male characteristic. And binary thinking is well represented by the fantastical idea of putting down the mighty from their thrones and exalting those of low degree—as bizarre as solving world hunger by creating a new class of the hungry who were previously bankers.

Mary describes herself as ‘lowly’, which cannot refer to the social disapproval that attends a married woman who has had no child, but the low status she has in being a woman, who expects to be overlooked and disregarded, but in this case has been ‘looked upon’ by a powerful male. Mary further abases herself, beyond her low estate as a woman, by calling herself a female slave of the deity. Considering how female slaves of all cultures may expect to be used by their masters, this is not exactly an honorific title. She will be called ‘blessed’, she believes, realizing that her own worth will arise from no quality of her own, from no desire or effort that she has had or expended, but from a event not of her making. She will be praised by future generations solely because she has become, without her own volition, a mother. She is a victim who has accepted her divinely imposed lot, a complicit victim but a victim nevertheless.

Here is the Magnificat with the male language in red:

My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden.
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed;

for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.

And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm,

he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, he has put down the mighty from their thrones,

and exalted those of low degree;
he has filled the hungry with good things,

and the rich he has sent empty away. He has helped his servant Israel,

in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers,

to Abraham and to his posterity for ever (Luke 1.46‐55).

The twofold scandal of a male Bible is encapsulated here. It is, in the first place. that the Bible—widely taken as an authoritative Word of God or at least a revered or beloved or respected testament to universal religious values—is deeply compromised by its ubiquitous adherence to specifically male values, which everywhere distort the apparent universality of its contents. Being a male text, the Bible inevitably enshrines and perpetuates male power, which makes it a problematic text for anyone in the modern world who has some sense of

The Scandal of a Male Bible, p. 16

the social injustice of gender inequality. And the scandal of a male Bible, in the second place, is that the Bible’s masculinity is for the most part invisible, hardly ever noticed or mentioned, even in our world that is much more egalitarian than that of the Bible. Even if we don’t quite know what we should do about the scandal, we do at least know something of its shape and size.

February 17, 2015 Matthew 26 (16)

Matthews passion of Jesus. Was Peter denying Christ an unforgivable sin. Schweitzer says Judas was treasurer and maybe Judas was concerned about Jesus not delivering on his promise. How did Peter recover from his denials. What about Judas asking if it was he? Jesus replied you have said so. In some versions it says “Yes it is you.” If Jesus knew it was going to happen was Judas destined to do this betrayal. Did Judas have free choice not to do it, or was he destined from birth to be the fall guy of the disciples. All the disciples went away from him. Jesus said I will deny before my father all those who deny me. Why didn’t Jesus deny his disciples, rather than make all of them Apostles to carry on His ministry?  In Luke Jesus rebuked Peter and healed the ear. When you deny the Holy Spirit you don’t allow God access to your spirit. This is the unforgivable sin. The problem is not blind ignorance, but rather willful rejection. Blasphemy against the Spirit is an ongoing attitude of rebellion. Blasphemy against the Spirit is something being done deliberately and unrelentingly in the present. This represents a defiant rejection of everything Christian.

John G. submitted the following link to a sermon by Luther on the text we read today. “ol Martin may have believed in short prayers, but evidently not short sermons:

http://www.orlutheran.com/html/mlsermmt2531-42.html

February 10, 2015, Matthew 25 (16)

AL talked about the law from Corinthians and from lessons Sunday. Jesus came to free us from the law. We create bondage for ourselves. Gene says the Vatican has enacted laws to enrich themselves. We raise children with boundaries and consequences. Are we just doomed to continually enact laws about behavior.
Here we are talking about Jesus second coming. Have lots of oil in preparation for the end. This passage prompts us to give to charity but have we been led astray by people  taking advantage of us when we give. Make a difference in the world while we are waiting for Jesus to come. When we take advantage of a situation are we doing wrong, for example, a vending machine that gives us 2 bottles of pop rather than the one we paid for. Discussion of Sally Mason salary. It is in the culture. Jesus brought us all in. Jesus was to die for all of us. Lots of judgement here. Is this a contradiction to the concept that salvation comes by grace. Christ came to save all of us but how do we match that up with this text. Do the Catholics have it right in individual confessions and then being offered a path to get back to a right relationship with God. Baptism frees us from shackles of sin like an extortionist getting out of a straight jacket and chains. Matthew and peter are saving the institution of the church while Paul is following the path of evangelism. Therefore they offer different messages.

The message of Matthew is sometimes difficult to decipher. why is it important to double what the master has given you. It seems that the third servant who buried his talent should have known that would not be a good thing to do just because of what he said about the master reaping where he didn’t sow, etc. I think this is a reference to the cleverness that is prized by the Jews. And why didn’t the so-called wise virgins share of their oil. Maybe the bride groom could have been on time or helped them out too. I guess the message that we are supposed to be always prepared and not take the message any further. Matthew is really focusing on the second coming in this chapter, and therefore that becomes his message that must be taken from what has been said, not necessarily other aspects of it.