Category Archives: New Testament

Faith vs Religion: Ecclesiolatry, Scribes and Pharisees.

There is an important distinction between “faith”, which refers to belief and a relationship with the divine, and “religion”, which refers primarily to the human structures which support it, with their rules, rituals, and clerical castes. They are obviously linked, interdependent, and ideally, support each other. There are grave dangers though, when we lose sight of the importance of balance, for example by exaggerating the importance of religious structures, over authentic faith itself.

In recent weeks, I have found two important passages on this theme, by two very different authors, that I have wanted to write about – but have struggled to make the time to add my own response. Instead, I simply share with you the passages, and leave you to ponder the import yourselves.

The first is by the Catholic theologian James Alison, taken from a recent post at his website “The Portal and the Half-Way House: Spacious imagination and aristocratic belonging “, in which he refers to the way in which some Catholics use “the Church” as a weapon with which to coerce others into their own way of thinking. In a striking turn of phrase, he describes this as “Ecclesiolatry” – a form of idolatry, with “the Church” used as an idol to replace God:

You will probably have heard many different ways of talking about what “the Church” is, many of them quite frightening (in just the same way that many ways of talking about the Bible are frightening). You get the impression that you are hearing a discourse about power, or a discourse emerging from ownership of “position”, or a justification and defense of traditional and historical prerogatives. It is not necessarily the clerical caste in the Church who talk in these ways, though we are particularly susceptible to it. Often enough lay people, politicians and others, will also wield “The Church” as a weapon in cultural wars in much the same way as others wield “The Bible”. Indeed typically, while the default Protestant error is “Bibliolatry” – making an idol of the Bible, – the default Catholic error is “Ecclesiolatry” – making an idol of the Church. The idol worship to which each of our groups is prone is slightly culturally different, even if the underlying pattern is the same.

When we worship an idol, our love, which is in principle a good thing, is trapped into grasping onto something made in our own image. This “something”, which we of course do not perceive as an idol, then becomes the repository for all the security and certainty which we idolaters need in order to survive in the world. We are unaware that the tighter we grasp it, the more insecure and uncertain we in fact become, and the more we empty the object which we idolize of any potential for truth and meaning. And of course because love is in principle a good thing, for us to get untangled from its distorted form is very painful. Nevertheless, against any tendency we might have to blame the idol for being an idol, it is really the pattern of desire in us, the grasping, that is the problem, not the object. For just as the Bible is not an act of communication that we can lay hold of, but the written monuments to an act of communication that takes hold of us, so the Church is not an object that we can grasp, but a sign of our being grasped and held; not something that any of us owns, but the first hints, difficult to perceive, of Another’s ownership of us.

-from  James Alison Website.

The second is by Toby Johnson, a writer and former Catholic seminarian, in his book “Gay Spirituality“, writing about  “Scribes and the Pharisees”. Note the impact of replacing the familiar, but antiquated words we commonly meet in bibles and Catholic lectionaries, with modern terms we can more easily understand:

 

The only people Jesus specifically condemned in any way were the “Scribes and the Pharisees.” And it is telling that Bible translations generally keep these words as antiquated terms instead of translating them into modern idiom. For “Scribes and Pharisees” translates directly to “Church officials and conservative religious leaders.”

As the word suggests, the Scribes were the temple bureaucrats and the lawyers who could read and write and who, therefore, kept the records and managed the business of the Temple. The Pharisees were members of a lay reform movement in Judaism that called for a return to the old ways–to the “fundamentals”–insisting on literal interpretation of the Torah. They believed in angels and supernatural interventions and were always preaching that the end of the world was imminent. 

All Jewish men dressed for prayer by strapping phylacteries (little wooden boxes containing the written text of the prayer Shema Israel) to their forehead and left arm in literal obedience to the text which said to keep these words as a sign for the hand and a pendant on the forehead, and by covering their heads with a prayer shawl with fringes, knotted to signify the 613 rules of the Mishnah (the oral tradition extrapolated out of the Ten Commandments).

The Pharisees were ostentatiously religious: they wore elaborate phylacteries with broad straps and oversized shawls with extra long fringe to demonstrate how obedient they were to the letter of the law. The Pharisees were clearly the predecessors of our modern day conservative evangelists and TV preachers who bemoan the present state of the world, predict that according to Bible prophecies the end of the world is nigh, and proclaim how saved they are. 

“Woe unto you,” Jesus said, “Church officials and conservative religious leaders, hypocrites. Because you close the gates of heaven to those who are going in, you won’t go in yourselves.”

(Matthew 23:13)

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The Conversion of St Paul

Today, the Church celebrates the feast of the conversion of St Paul. Just in that title, there is encouragement for LGBT Christians: just as Saul of Tarsus, scourge of the early Christians found God and became instead a great champion of their cause, it is possible that the institutional churches, which are so widely seen by the queer community as their persecutors, could likewise meet God and undergo a similar change of heart, to become our champions – turning to what Jenni at Queering the Church described a few days ago as a “preferential option for the queer“. This is not as far-fetched as it may seem: there has already been a most extraordinary transformation of religious responses to homoerotic relationships over the last half century, and an increasing number of influential churchmen and women are becoming enthusiastic straight allies, champions of our cause.

I am working towards an extended post on this theme (which will be the basis of an address I will be giving to the Quest annual conference in September), so will not go over the evidence here. Meanwhile, in honour of Paul, I reproduce below a post I wrote in 2010.

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There is much that is paradoxical in the figure of Paul. In his dual persona as Saul / Paul, he is renowned as both a one-time feared persecutor of Christians, and as the greatest of all the early missionaries, who spread the word far beyond it s original geographic compounds, and author of by far the most influential Christian texts outside the Gospels themselves. In the same way, as the author of the most infamous New Testament clobber texts, he is widely regarded as strongly condemning homoerotic relationships – and yet  Paul Halsall lists him in his Calendar of LGBT Saints:

There is considerable debate over those anti-gay “proof -texts”, but whatever the conclusions, there is much, as Anglican Bishop of Newark John Spong has pointed out, which leads one to suspect Paul might have been “queer” in some way. The fact he was never married, unusual for a Jew of his time, his companionship with a series of younger men, especially St. Timothy, his mention of an unnamed “thorn in the flesh”. and, possibly, his disdain for some types of exploitative homosexual relationship in his period, all raise questions, questions which cannot be answered it must be admitted, about his sexuality.

What are we to make of this?

Conversion of St Paul
(Andrea Meldolla, more often known in English as Andrea Schiavone or Lo Schiavone c. 1510/1515)

First, let us dismiss the idea that Paul’s writing is anti-gay: it isn’t, and further, much of his message is precisely the opposite, arguing for full inclusion of all. For a counter to the standard view of Paul as anti-gay, anti-sex, see Reidulf Molvaer, Sex & St. Paul the Realist

St. Paul was, in many ways, an ascetic and happy to be so, but he refused to make asceticism a general model or ideal for Christians – most people cannot live by such principles, especially in the area of sex. In the seventh chapter of his first letter to Corinth, he rejects any appeal for his support of sexual abstinence as ethically superior to active sexual relations. He sets limits, but does not limit legitimate sexual relations to marriage. In his day, it was commonly believed that homosexual practice, more easily than heterosexual relations, could bring people into harmony with the unchangeable nature of God. This Paul strongly rejects in the first chapter of his letter to Rome. Otherwise he does not write about “natural” homosexuality. In fact, it is a logical inference from the principles he sets forth in his letter to Corinth that loving, lasting homosexual relations are ethically as valid as heterosexual relations. Dr. Molvaer maintains that insight into contemporary ideologies can be a help to understanding what the New Testament says about these matters. Today, as in the early Church, extraneous influences in these areas can easily distort genuine Christian moral concerns as they are stated by Christ and St. Paul.

Then, consider his person. Astonishingly little is known for certain of Paul the man, but Bishop Spong is not the only one to have suggested that Paul may have had same close same -sex relationships  of his own. Gay Catholic blogger Jeremiah Bartram, who recently spent time on a pilgrimage “in the footsteps of St Paul” has reflected deeply on the life and writign of Paul, and concluded that on balance, the suggestion is sound.

In the absence of hard evidence, personally I am happy to leave this discussion to others with greater scholarship and expertise behind them. My interest in the queer saints is in the lessons they hold for us today, and here I think there is one clear message, which lies in the best known story of al about Paul, his conversion on the road to Damascus. This has entered language as a “Damascene Conversion”, and therein lies hope. For if Saul, the renowned persecutor of Christians, could undergo such a complete change of heart and become instead active as the most famous proselytizer,  so too is there hope for the religion -based persecutors of sexual minorities today. Not only is there hope, but there is already abundant evidence from the very many Christians in the modern world who have experienced just such Damascene conversions, going from direct, outright condemnation of same sex relationships, to actively advocating full inclusion in church.   These changes of heart, usually coming after intensive study of Scripture and extensive discussions with gay and lesbian church members, have already been responsible for changes of policy in several denominations, and a more welcoming atmosphere in many local congregations. This process will continue.

For those Catholics who like to pray to the saints, you can freely include St Paul in you prayers. This is not because he was queer (although he may have been), but because his own conversion experience provides a useful model for all those modern day conversions that we need among the bigots who use religion as a cloak for prejudice and discrimination.

Heed the Message of Christ: Queering Galatians

As we continue to consider the person of Jesus Christ, we must think also of what he expects of us. Above all he sends us out into the world to carry his message. This is what is meant by “apostle” – one who is sent as a messenger. We are all (or should be) apostles, and the world we are to carry the message to is our own, contemporary world, with its modern conditions and circumstances.

It is in this spirit that  Rev Steven Parelli, executive director  of Other Sheep, has posted an adaptation and paraphrase of Paul’s letter to the Galatians., that he prepared in the immediate aftermath of the Equality March in Washington D. C. This is a text that he once memorized in an attempt to fight against his same-sex attraction – but reassessing it in personal, modern terms has given it a very different complexion:

When I was in my freshman year of Bible college, I memorized most of the book of Galatians by heart (and filled five notebooks with personal study notes) ….for the purpose of helping me to overcome my “temptation” to same-sex sex (which I now realise is not a temptation but an orientation).

Last night while on the bus that brought us home from the National Equality March in Washington,  D. C., I went over chapter 1 of Galatians in my mind as well as read it from the NT Bible I had with me. …….Once I queered the very first word “Paul” as “we who strive for the equality rights of LGBT people”, I was off and running. And then the text spoke to me, as many texts from the Bible have spoken to other oppressed peoples of former and present times.

Apostles for Today

Parelli’s queering of Galatians is helpful for the result – but also for the method, as a technique for making scripture more immediately comprehensible and applicable to our lives, today.

I begin with a restatement of the first part of the passage, in the familiar King James translation:

1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) And all the brethren which are with me, unto the  churches of Galatia: 3 Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us  from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: 5 To  whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen

Now, Parelli’s paraphrase for today:

We who strive for the equal rights of LGBT people are sent ones – not because some pro-LGBT organization has enlisted us – but because Jesus Christ – his earthly ministry to the oppressed and marginalized – has called us to do, at this time, what he did then in his day.  We are sent by him and the life-giving Creator with the good news of liberty for all.  2 We are not alone in this mission, for there are many with whom we work and who work with us.  Now, it is to the churches at large in the United States that we write this letter.  3 We begin with this greeting:  Grace and peace to everyone from God the Creator and from Jesus our Lord 4 who lived for the oppressed in society to such an extent that he died at the hands of those who hated his mission; he gave his life in the pursuit of delivering us from a world where men do evil to other men; he died for a just world for all – a world as God originally intended it to be. 5 For this sacrifice we give him the glory for ever and ever.  Amen.

He continues:

8 Now, why would you want to do that?  No, you would not wish to destroy the good news that has come to the marginalized of society even if an “angel from heaven” were to pretend that you should do so.  Even if we ourselves, for some unknown reason, were to ask you to tell forth a message different than what we have been saying right along – that Jesus is the liberator of all the oppressed in society.  If we were to change the “good news,” than by all means tell us that we have corrupted the message. 9You see how important the “good news” is.


10 We are writing not because we need to persuade any one, or even God the Creator, of what we are about.  Both men and God  know:  we are about the good news of setting the captive free, that is the marginalized – the despised and rejected of society.  Obviously this is not about pleasing society who would keep the oppressed in their place.  This is about being the servants of Christ by doing what he did.  11 Yes, indeed, this good news that Jesus came into the world to show us how to live for one another (which we do tell to everyone) is obviously – not at this time – the way of humanity (but it is “the way” of Jesus).  12 Society so often fails to model before us this message of good news, and therefore, we did not receive it from observing society or any institution, but instead learned it from observing Jesus, the one who teaches us to give to others the rights, privileges and freedoms we would grant ourselves.

Like it?  Read the full paraphrase, parallel with the KJ version (no, it’s not my favourite either), at Other Sheep National Equality March

Coming Out: A Gospel Command

(Originally published October 12th, 2010)

When I wrote yesterday about Fr Donal Godfrey’s homily to Most Holy Redeemer parish on “Finding God in the Erotic”, I referred in passing to another of his sermons, in which he compared coming out to Jesus’ command to Lazarus, to come out of the tomb. In doing so, I completely and stupidly overlooked a golden opportunity – yesterday in the US was “national coming out day”.

As rather poor excuse, I remind you that I am not American. In compensation, now that I do not need to synchronise with the calendar, I have the opportunity to bring you instead a series of the best I have seen elsewhere on the religious importance of coming out.

The coalition of gay Catholic organizations “Equally Blessed” follows Fr Godfrey in reflecting on the Lord’s command to Lazarus, but as a more recent offering, with specific reference to coming out day, this is my first choice.

The Spiritual Side of Coming Out

By Francis DeBernardo, Marianne Duddy-Burke,
Casey Lopata and Nicole Sotelo

 

Today is National Coming Out Day, a day set aside as a special time of reflection and celebration by gay /lesbian /bisexual /transgender (GLBT) advocacy groups to highlight the unique perspective of GLBT people in “coming out of the closet” to acknowledge, embrace, and communicate their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Despite the wide diversity of GLBT people in our midst, one common experience is that all have gone through a process of recognizing that their orientation or gender identity differed from what their society was telling them it should be. Engaging in this process of “coming out” has helped many GLBT people to develop personal characteristics such as courage, truth-telling, personal strength, and community-building – all inherently spiritual traits.

Coming out entails an inherently spiritual process that makes National Coming Out Day not only a day for secular GLBT advocates to celebrate, but one for people of faith to honor as well. For many GLBT people, coming out is part of a faith journey. They speak of coming out as enhancing their prayer lives and their relationship with God. Many gain strength from seeing their sexuality and gender not simply as biological factors, but essentially as spiritual ones. In the Catholic community, we have heard many stories from GLBT people who found strength in their coming out processes from stories of the saints who had strong, intimate, and life-sustaining same-sex relationships or whose gender identity transgressed societal norms. (Dressing and acting as a man, St. Joan of Arc served in the French army in the 15th century. Transgender people find strength from her example.)

The spiritual dimension of coming out challenges faith communities to recognize and affirm this experience as an avenue of grace. For the Catholic church, which has such a rich tradition in ceremony and ritual, establishing a “rite of coming out” would be a beautiful way to affirm people who have come to this awareness. Indeed, a number of smaller denominations and religious advocacy groups have already developed such rituals.

As with all good and powerful church rituals, a rite of coming out would focus not only on the individual but on the community as well. On the one hand, coming out is a gift that the individual brings to the community. The courage, wisdom, and dependence on God that a GLBT person experiences can be beneficial to others in the community. On the other hand, coming out is a process that requires the support of the community for the individual.

The story of Lazarus in John 11 resonates with GLBT Christians’ coming out experiences. In this story, Jesus visits the home of his friend Lazarus, who has died and been buried in a tomb. When Jesus arrives on the scene, he calls forth Lazarus from the tomb, with the words, “Come out!” Modern GLBT Christians see in this call of Jesus a call to new life that strongly parallels the call that they have experienced in coming to accept their sexual orientation or gender identity. The closet symbolized a kind of death for them. In coming out of the closet, they are answering a God-given call to live a new life.

After Lazarus has emerged from the tomb, Jesus directs the people assembled to “Unbind him and let him go free.” It is the responsibility of the assembled community to assist a GLBT person in their experience of new life, just as they would help any other member who has had a life-altering situation, particularly one that might have involved some element of struggle.

In celebrating coming out, a community celebrates the journey of overcoming fear and doubt, of telling the truth in the face of strong opposition, of affirming the goodness of an individual’s experience, of learning to rely on the voice of God. Too often religious communities suffer from “groupthink” and a “we’ve always done it this way” mentality. By celebrating the coming out experience, communities are essentially celebrating the gift of prophecy in their midst.

On this particular coming out day, we are happy to come out announcing the formation of Equally Blessed, a new Catholic coalition that will work for justice and equality for GLBT people on a broad range of issues both in society and within our church. Our four groups – Call to ActionDignity USAFortunate Families and New Ways Ministry – have a combined history of working for 112 years on these issues, and we have decided to work together to help unbind people and let them go free. We recognize that many Catholics in the pews – GLBT people and heterosexual allies – are now stepping forth bravely to fight injustice in polling booths and in church organizations. We want to help amplify the voices of those who are speaking for justice, as well as assist those who need a little help to “come out” with a prophetic stance.

National Coming Out Day can be a day when we not only celebrate GLBT people in our midst, but a day when we celebrate the need for all of us as individuals and as religious communities to come out of our closets of fear, secrecy, and shame. It is a time to speak forth boldly what God has taught us from our lives and in our consciences. It is only when we come out of the closet–whatever types of closets that we find ourselves in–that we can live in the light and grow.

Francis DeBernardo is the Executive Director of New Ways Ministry. Marianne Duddy-Burke is the Executive Director of DignityUSA. Casey Lopata is a co-founder of Fortunate Families. Nicole Sotelo is JustChurch coordinator for Call To Action. All are founding members of Equally Blessed, a Catholic coalition for justice and equality for LGBT persons in church and society.

Related articles

St Paul’s Celebration of God’s Gift of Sexuality.

The standard view of sex and the Bible is that sexuality must be reigned in, and restricted to the confines of marriage. The standard view, says Norwegian scholar Reidulf Molvaer (Two Making One : Amor and Eros in Tandem), is wrong.

“Dominant views about sex have in most churches been distorted by centuries of negative accretions and become travesties of what we find in the Bible.” – Dr. Reidulf Molvaer In this book Dr. Reidulf Molvaer attempts to recapture the joyful, cheerful abandon in legitimate sexual relationships that we see in the Bible-yes, the Bible! From the Song of Solomon in the Old Testament to Saint Paul’s advice on intimacy in the New Testament, you are presented with the real meanings of these ancient texts and learn why the Church has interpreted the Song as an allegory rather than as a description of the joyous sexual experience it truly is. Could there be any greater glorification of sex than to let ideal love between man and woman illustrate the union between the devout and the divine? Dr. Molvaer demystifies “fairytale images” of the Virgin Mary, compares biblical sexual ethics to various cultures and discusses tales of eccentrics who have been elevated to sainthood. This book rediscovers what has been misrepresented for generations and encourages Christians and others to think afresh about one of the greatest and most disputed acts of devotion found in the Holy Bible.

The problem with the standard view is that it makes too much of a simplistic reading of the texts in modern translations ignoring the historical context on the one hand, and on the traditions dating from the early church fathers on the other. Molvaer concerns himself with the contextual understanding of the words in the original texts. (Other writers, such as Trevor Jennings, have noted how the early Christian ascetics misunderstood the Greek stoics, on whom they based much of their case).

For example, one chapter of “Two Making One discusses the well-known passage from Corinthians where Paul argues in favour of “marriage”, for those unable to remain celibate. He stresses that the Corinthians for whom Paul was writing would not have interpreted the word in the same way we do today. (How could they? The notion of marriage as a religious sacrament is a modern innovation. Even as a legal contract, in earlier centuries marriage was largely a matter for the wealthy classes, who needed to protect property and inheritance rights. The poorer people who had nothing, had no need for marriage. The Greek word which we routinely translate as “wife” could equally well mean simply “woman”. In the same way, the verb for “to marry”, as in take a wife, could simply mean “to take a woman” – and was also used simply as a euphemism for “have sex”. ) Reidulf Molvaer also reminds us that Corinth was renowned as a city of abundant and unrestrained sexuality. Putting all the evidence together, he argues that far from restricting sexual expression to “marriage” in the modern sense, Paul is simply arguing for responsible sex in committed relationships. Elsewhere in this book, he also discusses the celebration of sex (outside of marriage as well as in it) in the Song of Songs, and also in Genesis.

In this book, he discusses only sex between man and woman. Elsewhere, (Sex & St. Paul the Realist) he makes clear his view that Paul was as accepting of sexual relationships between men, which were commonplace and celebrated by the Corinthians, just as they were across the Roman-Greek world at the time.

St. Paul was, in many ways, an ascetic and happy to be so, but he refused to make asceticism a general model or ideal for Christians – most people cannot live by such principles, especially in the area of sex. In the seventh chapter of his first letter to Corinth, he rejects any appeal for his support of sexual abstinence as ethically superior to active sexual relations. He sets limits, but does not limit legitimate sexual relations to marriage. In his day, it was commonly believed that homosexual practice, more easily than heterosexual relations, could bring people into harmony with the unchangeable nature of God. This Paul strongly rejects in the first chapter of his letter to Rome. Otherwise he does not write about “natural” homosexuality. In fact, it is a logical inference from the principles he sets forth in his letter to Corinth that loving, lasting homosexual relations are ethically as valid as heterosexual relations. Dr. Molvaer maintains that insight into contemporary ideologies can be a help to understanding what the New Testament says about these matters. Today, as in the early Church, extraneous influences in these areas can easily distort genuine Christian moral concerns as they are stated by Christ and St. Paul.

This week, the Catholic Church will be celebrating the shared feast of SS Peter & Paul. As we do so, we would do well to remember this useful corrective to the conventional idea of Paul as some kind of killjoy on sexual matters.

Recommended Books (Queer Spirituality):

Sunday Readings: The Baptism of The Lord

Perhaps you didn’t get to Mass this week (or ever); perhaps you weren’t concentrating during the readings for the day; perhaps you will be going earlier, and would like to prepare for them; perhaps you were thee, and listened carefully, and would like more time (and help) reflecting on those readings.

There are a number of good websites which offer useful guides for reflection on the days readings.  Try some of them, and see if you find them useful.

Icon of the Baptism of Christ (Kirillo-Belozersk), Wikimedia

As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”….Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove.  And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” Luke 3, 15-16; and 21-22; reading for Sunday, January 10 2010.

For a specifically gay reflection on the Gospel, Gospel for Gays” is exactly what it says:  a site with a particular focus on Gospel  reflections by Canadian Catholic blogger Jeremiah. Read his reflection for this week here

Out in Scripture” is an interdenominational enterprise with a full set of readings, and reflections by a team of theologians and `pastors, covering all the readings of the day from the “common lectionary”. For more on their methods, history and approach, see their home page.  Follow this link for today’s reflections. (For last week, which they confusingly label this week, go to this page)

Gospel Reflections

Numerous writers have excellent Gospel reflections – fewer write specifically from an LGBT perspective.

I would recommend that you develop your own personal ones – but this is not so easy if you are new to it.  To get you going, I will be putting together a list of syggestions prepared by others.

On-line, Jeremiah at Gospel for Gays has  started a new blog with a strong emphasis on Gospel reflections from a gay perspective. Follow the links to sample his writing:

Welcome

Welcome

I have created this site to share my reflections on the Gospel. Since I am a gay man, my reflections have a focus that is unique both to me and to people like me, gay people. That’s why I call the site “A Gospel for Gays”.

Others may discover different things in these same readings. I hope they will make use of this site to share some of their insights, either by posting comments, or by telling their stories about what it means to be both Catholic and gay. This further sharing is the second purpose of the site.   Full Story

Favorite Gospels

Favorite Gospels

These six Gospels are my favorites and are the core texts from which this web site springs. They follow the arc of Jesus’s life beginning with an early healing that breaks the social ostracism of his day and end with his death cry. This is why I call these “favorites”…

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The Holy Centurion

The Holy Centurion

Matthew 8.5-13
When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, appealing to him and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible distress.”  And he said to him, “I will come and cure him.”  The centurion answered, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak […]

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Good Gifts

Good Gifts

Luke 11.9-13; cf. Matthew 7.7-11
So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks […]    Full Story

The Leper

The Leper

Mark 1.40-45
A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, “if you choose, you can make me clean”. Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I do choose.  Be made clean!”  Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. After sternly […]  Full Story

 

Legion

Legion

Luke 8.26-39 (also Matthew 8.28-34; Mark 5.1-20)
Then they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but […]

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Jesus Forsaken

Jesus Forsaken

Mark 15.33-39
When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “Listen, he is calling for […]

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Beyond Abundance

Beyond Abundance

John 21.3-14 (cf. Luke 5.4-11)
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”  They said to him, “we will go with you.”  They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.  Jesus said […]

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We are Disciples, too

We are Disciples, too

Matthew 28, 16-20

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

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You might also like:
Exodus Intemational: Ex – Gay Efforts Are Un – Christian
Irish Fuss over Jesus’ Two Dads.

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