Practicing Faith from Edge of the Inside

But if you are both inside and outside, you are the ultimate threat, the ultimate reformer and the ultimate invitation. -- Fr. Richard Rohr

Reflections from Sunday – Jesus Critiques the Church Cultus?

Monday often leave me thinking about the Sunday sermon. I imagine it is normal. Did I communicate well? What could I have said better? What do I wish I would have included? How will the experience with the text inform, influence, the communities interaction with the text this coming Sunday?

I cannot help but think that Mark 12 assaults the way the religious world worked for those growing up under the shadow of the Temple. We may not be surprised by the questions Jesus faces in the Controversy Narratives if we look forward to Jesus announcement about the end of the Temple in Mark 13.

Our reading sometimes privileges our relationship to the text. What were they thinking?, often betrays that were we living in Jesus’ day the thinking of the people might be our own. Just look at how hard it is for the disciples to extricate themselves from the same thinking habits. Surely they need ongoing repentance.

For instance, the last story of Mark 12 finds Jesus choosing to, so it seems, stifle the normal thinking of the day and that of the disciples by undercutting the notion that wealth indicates blessing that results from faithfulness. When he pointed to the poor widow he challenged conventional wisdom and most surely hoped to undermine the same sort of thinking that influenced the disciples that showed up with James and John who wanted Jesus’ new kingdom to look a lot like what they were accustomed to as the way the world works.

My lingering question, “What sort of thinking would Jesus critique in the Church Cult?” And, by cult I do not mean in the sense of heresy or heterodoxy. Instead I mean cultus, community. Surely there are ways in which the Church today allies with the systems and structures that betray Jesus’ words that his Kingdom is not from this world, does not conform to the patterns of this world.

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Truly Artistic

"I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people."

Vincent Van Gogh

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