Monthly Archives: January, 2007

Mark 6.30-44

The apostles returned to Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught.

And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest awhile.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves.

Now many saw them going, and knew them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns, and got there ahead of them. As he went ashore he saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a lonely place, and the hour is now late; send them away, to go into the country and villages round about and buy themselves something to eat.

But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.”

And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii [“The denarii was a day’s wage for a laborer”] worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?”

And he said to them, “How many loaves have you? Go and see?”

And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.”

Then he commanded them all to sit down by companies upon the green grass. So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties.

And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples to set before the people, and he divided the two fish between them all.

And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.


Mark 6.14-29

King Herod heard of it; for Jesus’ name had become known. Some said, “John the Baptiser has been raised from the dead; that is why these powers are at work in him.”

But others said, “It is Elijah.”

And others said, “It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.”

But when Herod heard of it he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.” For Herod had sent and seized John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Phillip’s wife, because he had married her.

For John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. When he heard him, he was much perplexed; and yet he heard him gladly.

But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and the leading men of Galilee. For when Herodias’ daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will grant it, even half of my kingdom.”

And she went out, and said to her mother, “What shall I ask?”

And she said, “The head of John the Baptiser.”

And she came in immediately and with haste to the king, and asked, saying “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptiser on a platter.”

And the king was exceedingly sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. And immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard and gave orders to bring his head.

He went and beheaded him in the prison, and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother.

When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.

Mark 6.7-13

And he went about among the villages teaching.

And he called to him the twelve, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff: no bread, no bag, no money in their belts–but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics.

And he said to them, “Where you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. And if any place will not receive you and they refuse to hear you, when you leave shake off the dust from your feet for a testimony against them.”

So they went out and preached that men should repent. And they cast out many demons, and annointed with oil many that were sick and healed them.


Faith. Trust. Not “beliefs”, not any number of beliefs, but trust.

Where do you put your trust? Faith in the Tooth Fairy won’t do it.

There’s something here to be known, like you know 2 + 2 or like you know the ground under your feet or the person who raised you.

And you can trust it. You can’t always trust your ideas about it; these come from it and point to it, but they aren’t the same.

Ideas about it can be collected, classified, marketed, used to scare people out of their savings or to let them imagine that having the ideas makes them special.

You can test people on the ideas, separate the A’s from the F’s, lead them around by the notions, make them do tricks, face death or kill each other.

You can’t do that with What-It-Am. You can use the words; there’s no way to patent them; but “There’s something here to be known.”

If you yearn for that, and all you’re getting from your own teachers are the same old ideas that haven’t done it for you yet–and may not have led them anywhere closer–Well of course you’ll look in other religions. Sometimes you’ll see what’s been buried in plain sight among the relicts of your home tradition, whether or not you ever come to recognize it there. But that is not what Jesus is complaining about in this latest passage. These people know all the words, and if they’d found it anywhere, they would recognize it in him. But they don’t, and they aren’t even looking.

Can you tell if someone else knows it? Once you know what it looks like in yourself, it can be perfectly obvious when someone else is talking about the same “thing”. What if he’s fooling you?–What if he’s only learned some good words and is just running them through his inner word processor? Well, then, someday he will connect the words with their meaning; and truth meanwhile can still come to you through his words. God is a source of truth and understanding, not a charm against surprises or a recipe for infallibility.

But where do “beliefs” come into this? They are not the same as “knowledge”, but they do matter; they can lead us closer to knowledge or further away. It may or may not be worth asking: “How and why do they end up affecting what actually happens to us?”–but that’s for another post.

Beliefs by definition are what we think we know, so we aren’t given an operational means of making the distinction… unless we simply find God directly.

That’s my definition of Quakerism–not that any number of men can render themselves foolproof, but that God is available to all. Be still, ask, expect to be answered.


Hello Folks.

I seem to have lost my power to make changes to the settings on this blog. I was mucking about in the settings last week some time so I likely unchecked my own administrative rights.

If one of the active members — I think Crystal Larry and Forrest all have admin rights — could go into “change settings” and then click on the membership tab — you can see if I have an admin box checked or not. If not you could re-check it for me.

Alternately you delete my membership entirely if you wanted — then I could be a kibitzer like Marshall 🙂

Advanced thank yous for whosoever reads this first.

Mark 6.1-6

He left that place and went to his home town accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue; and the large congregation who heard him were amazed and said, “Where does he get it from?” and “What wisdom is this that has been given him?” and “How does he work such miracles? Is this not the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” So they fell afoul of him.

Jesus said to them, “A prophet will always be held in honor except in his home town, and among his kinsmen and family.”

He could work no miracle there, except that he put his hands on a few sick people and healed them; and he was taken aback by their lack of faith.

Mark 5.35-

While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?”

But ignoring what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.”

And he allowed no one to follow him, except Peter and James and John the brother of James. When they came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, he saw a tumult, and people weeping and wailing loudly. And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a tumult and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping,

And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was.

Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Tlitha cumi”, which means “Little girl, arise.”

And immediately the girl got up and walked (She was 12 years of age) and they were immediately overcome with amazement. And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

on the uses of satire

Laughing at the blind — Forrest makes an important point — and its not always easy to tell/discern the difference between legitimate social comment and intellectuallly (or morally) superior self-aggrandizment. When the Pharasee and the Publican stood side by side in the temple only one went away justified. And yet there may still be a place for satire.

But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD, and the LORD sent Nathan to David. He came to him, and said to him,

“There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds; but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. He brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children; it used to eat of his meager fare, and drink from his cup, and lie in his bosom, and it was like a daughter to him. Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was loath to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb, and prepared that for the guest who had come to him.”

Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man. He said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this deserves to die; he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”

Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: I anointed you king over Israel, and I rescued you from the hand of Saul; I gave you your master’s house, and your master’s wives into your bosom, and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added as much more. Why have you despised the word of the LORD, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites.

Samuel 2:1-9

Mark 5.21-34

As soon as Jesus had returned by boat to the other shore, a great crowd once more gathered around him. While he was by the lakeside, the president of one of the synagogues came up, Jairus by name, and when he saw him, threw himself down at his feet and pleaded with him. “My little daughter,” he said, “is at death’s door. I beg you to come and lay your hands on her to cure her and save her life.” So Jesus went with him, accompanied by a great multitude which pressed upon him.

Among them was a woman who had suffered from hemorrhages for twelve years; and in spite of long treatment by doctors, on which she had spent all she had, there had been no improvement; on the contrary, she had grown worse.

She had heard what people were saying about Jesus; so she came up from behind in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said to herself, “If I touch even his clothes, I shall be cured.” And then and there the source of her hemorrhages dried up and she knew in herself she was cured of her trouble.

At the same time Jesus, aware that power had gone out of him, turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

His disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing upon you and yet you ask, ‘Who touched me?’ “

Meanwhile he was looking around to see who had done it. And the woman, trembling with fear when she grasped what was happening to her, came and fell at his feet and told him the whole truth.

He said to her, “My daughter, your faith has cured you. Go in peace, free forever of this trouble.”

Mark 5.1-20

So they came to the other side of the lake, into the country of the Gerasenes. As he stepped ashore, a man possessed by an unclean spirit came up to him from among the tombs where he had been dwelling. He could no longer be controlled; even chains were useless; he had often been fettered and chained up, but he had snapped the chains and broken the fetters. No one was strong enough to master him.

And so unceasingly, day and night, he would cry aloud among the tombs and on the hillsides, and cut himself with stones. When he saw Jesus in the distance, he ran and flung himself down before him, shouting loudly, “What do you want of me, Jesus, son of the Most High God? In God’s name, do not torment me!” (For Jesus was already saying to him, “Out, unclean spirit, come out of the man!”

Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”

“My name is Legion,” he said. “There are so many of us.” And he begged hard that Jesus would not send them out of the country. Now there happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside, and the spirits begged him, “Send us among the piges and let us go into them.”

He gave them leave; and the unclean spirits came out and went into the pigs; and the herd, of about two thousand, rushed over the edge into the lake and drowned.

The men in charge of them took to their heels and carried the news to the town and countryside; and the people came out to see what had happened. They came to Jesus and saw the madman who had been possessed by the legion of devils, sitting there clothed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. The spectators told them how the madman had been cured and what had happened to the pigs. Then they begged Jesus to leave the district.

As he was stepping into the boat, the man who had been possessed begged to go with him.

Jesus would not allow it, but said to him, “Go home to your own folk and tell them what the Lord in His mercy has done for you.”

The man went off and spread the news in the Ten Towns of all that Jesus had done for him; and they were all amazed.