Connecting the dots between a gospel reading from Mark, the historical Jesus, St. Francis and monarch butterfly eggs

Brother Caterpillar and Sister Milkweed (photo Debi Edumnd Ellertsen). Mark 7 [NRSV]. Now when the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, 2 they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. 3 (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless … Continue reading Connecting the dots between a gospel reading from Mark, the historical Jesus, St. Francis and monarch butterfly eggs

‘They wanted a king, what they got was bread’ — some preliminary thoughts on the feeding of 5,000 and the Eucharist

Benedictine Church of the Multiplication at Tabgha in Galilee. John 6 [NRSV]. [...] 10 Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they[c] sat down, about five thousand in all. 11 Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who … Continue reading ‘They wanted a king, what they got was bread’ — some preliminary thoughts on the feeding of 5,000 and the Eucharist

What can Rabbi Kushner and a bawdy church camp song tell us about John the Baptist and the kingdom of God?

Herold's Banquet, Fra Filippo Lippi, Fresco Duomo, Prato (Wikimedia) Mark 6 (NRSV) 22 When his daughter Herodias[e] 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 give it.” 23 And he solemnly swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give … Continue reading What can Rabbi Kushner and a bawdy church camp song tell us about John the Baptist and the kingdom of God?

How shall we know a prophet has been among us? Listening for the good news in Nazareth, Babylon — to a reggae beat

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXf1j8Hz2bU Ezekiel 2 (NRSV). He said to me: O mortal,[a] stand up on your feet, and I will speak with you. 2 And when he spoke to me, a spirit entered into me and set me on my feet; and I heard him speaking to me. 3 He said to me, Mortal, I am sending you to the people of … Continue reading How shall we know a prophet has been among us? Listening for the good news in Nazareth, Babylon — to a reggae beat

‘Do not fear, only believe’: Unpacking the good news in a the miracle of healing a synagogue elder’s daughter in Capernum

Resurrection of Jairus' daughter, Albert von Keller, 1886 (Wikimedia Commons) Mark 5 (NRSV). 35 While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” 36 But overhearing[b] what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 Sunday's gospel … Continue reading ‘Do not fear, only believe’: Unpacking the good news in a the miracle of healing a synagogue elder’s daughter in Capernum

The historical Jesus and the Christ of faith on a dark and stormy night (Pentecost IV)

Bread and wine for Holy Communion on Galilee tour boat Mark 4 (NRSV): 35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. 37 A great windstorm … Continue reading The historical Jesus and the Christ of faith on a dark and stormy night (Pentecost IV)

The parable of the mustard seed, the historical Jesus, the kingdom of God and a couple of kudzu jokes (Pentecost III)

Mustard plants in Galilee (I think the sign says 'no trespassing' in Hebrew) Mark 4 (NSRV). 26 [Jesus] also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, 27 and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. 28 The earth produces of … Continue reading The parable of the mustard seed, the historical Jesus, the kingdom of God and a couple of kudzu jokes (Pentecost III)

Of faith and trust under a fig tree, East Tennesseans, Galileans and a Swedish-American historical research project

Bethany beyond the Jordan (from Qasr al-Yahud on Israeli side). John 1:43-51 (NRSV). 43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom … Continue reading Of faith and trust under a fig tree, East Tennesseans, Galileans and a Swedish-American historical research project

Spiritual direction, August-September

Email, lightly edited to make sense of a couple of really clunky sentences, that I sent today to my spiritual director in advance of our September meeting. Excerpts from my earlier posts are in italics and linked to the original posts to this blog. Hi Sister -- Here's the usual note to confirm our appointment … Continue reading Spiritual direction, August-September

Back to the future (and the righteousness of the God of Israel) with a Jesuit spiritual exercise for Pentecost XIII

A swing and a miss, and then a clean base hit (imho) with Ignatian contemplation ... Ruins of Roman temple and grotto of Pan at Caesarea Philippi (Wikimedia Commons). What you're about to read is an experiment. Or, to use another metaphor, a test drive. Call it a test-drive in that time-traveling DeLorean made famous … Continue reading Back to the future (and the righteousness of the God of Israel) with a Jesuit spiritual exercise for Pentecost XIII