Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Last Week - FOUR: Wednesday

Observations and key ideas from The Last Week by Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan:

Borg and Crossan use Wednesday to discuss what they see as a key theme in Mark: failed discipleship.

In Mark, Jesus makes three passion predictions, and in each instance, the disciples respond inappropriately: 1) Peter rebukes Jesus (8:32); the disciples argue over who is greatest (9:32-34); and 3) James, John, and the other disciples vie for positions of honor in the coming kingdom (10:35-37).

The book's authors continue their critique of traditional atonement theology by suggesting that for Mark, it is about participation with Jesus not substitution by Jesus. The disciples do not recognize the way of the cross, the way of true discipleship.

This leads to a brief discussion of the first real believer, a woman who anoints Jesus at Bethany. Jesus is reported to have said: "Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her." (14:9)

revJohn Question: The identity of this female disciple is not known, lost forever. Given the unrivaled praise from Jesus, why do you think her name is not found in any of the New Testament writings?


Judy H. said...

Because the New Testament was written by members of the Church of Christ?

Judy H. said...

Sorry. That was unkind; you caught me in a bitter moment.

It is terribly sad to me, though, that we know so little about the brave, daring, devoted followers of Jesus who were women. I fear we've lost the full story of the gospel message because their voices have been silenced by those who would devalue the role of women in the early church and the role of women in general. Woe to the men who have tried to erase their memory and to those who continue today to hinder women from serving God as they have been gifted. The church will never achieve true unity as long as any
group is kept separate, silent, and denied full membership in the body.

revJohn said...

Judy H. is rightly passionate about discrimination and injustice that passes for sound Christian doctrine. Discrimination based on gender, race, sexual orientation, etc. are all manifestations of our failure to realize the principle of inclusiveness that typifies the kingdom of God. On a practical level, what is our response to institutions that foster discrimination and thus in practice denies the message of Jesus? I have only one thought and it is not to call down fire from heaven, but rather "shake the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town." In other words, don't waste time with those who do not welcome the message of grace for all.