Higher Education

The Bible as Literature

The Ephesus School

Each week, Dr. Richard Benton, Fr. Marc Boulos and guests discuss the content of the Bible as literature.

Episodes

Hurricanes, Temples and Tyrants
1730
2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1730
Hurricanes, Temples and Tyrants

Whenever something terrible happens, someone always asks, “how could a just God allow bad things to happen?” Unfortunately, the question is silly and unbearably self-entitled. Bad things happen because that’s how the world works. Sometimes people cause suffering and sometimes suffering just happens. Why? Because death and suffering are a part of life. Every human being who has ever lived has had to die, so on what basis can anyone ask, “why did this person have to die?” Death and destruction in nature are a necessary component of the natural world and ultimately contribute to the continuation of life, so on what basis can anyone call them evil? These things happen beyond the scope of human control, because, far from mastering the natural world, human beings are subject to it. We may not like it, but that is the way things are. For Scripture, it’s not a question why things happen, but of how the things that happen in the world can be coopted as teachers for the cause of the gospel; in Mark, transformed from the pain of human despair and fear into the pain of birth-giving for the life of the world.

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 13: 1-10.

Episode 192 Mark 13:1-10; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Perspectives” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

All That She Had
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1747
All That She Had

Whether chasing wealth or reveling in piety, people aspire to ascendency. Looking to Caesar as their frame of reference, they measure everything in terms of progression, growth, movement, or expansion. But that's not how Scripture works. The biblical God does not seek the growth of his followers. On the contrary, he desires the growth of his teaching, often at our expense. When we become weak and lose everything for the sake of his Gospel, we may fail, but his teaching grows. We may become weak, but as the prophets teach, our defeat becomes a sign of the reality of his power, because it is he, not our enemies, who is the true cause of our crucifixion. Truly, the Bible is the only teaching in human history in which a deity is considered victorious because his city is destroyed, his people are scattered, and his Temple is burned to the ground. It's no wonder, then, that in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus sits in opposition to the Temple treasury. It's no wonder that he measures a person's value, not in terms of Caesar's coinage, but by their willingness to lose everything for the sake of his victory.

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 12:35-44.

Episode 191 Mark 12:35-44; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Super Power Cool Dude” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

There is Only One God
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1736
There is Only One God

People like to handle the Bible as though it were a mysterious or complicated story that can’t be easily explained in clear terms. We do so precisely because the content of the Bible is crystal clear, and at the same time, totally inconvenient. That’s why the Sadducees in Mark’s Gospel can’t comprehend Deuteronomy and why the Pharisees, along with the Herodians, unwittingly follow after false gods. It was a lone Scribe—a man whose only job was to make handwritten copies of Scripture—who grasped the point that Jesus has been emphasizing throughout Mark: “Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord.” Not only is he is the one and only Lord, but you are not him and neither is your Caesar, your Temple, your teachings, your possessions, or your armies.

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 12:28-34.

Episode 190 Mark 12:28-34; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Robobozo” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Commandment Without End
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1295
Commandment Without End

In Deuteronomy 25:5, the commandment to marry your brother’s widow is given for one purpose: to ensure the continuation of life, so “that the firstborn whom she bears shall assume the name of his dead brother, so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel.”

The purpose of the commandment is life: so that your brother’s wife will not be abandoned; so that his household will continue for the generation yet unborn; so that—in fulfillment of God’s Law—life will continue. For Jesus, this life does not come from men, but from his Heavenly Father.

When the Pharisees, the Herodians, and now, the Saducees, approach Jesus, their questions betray their personal belief, that life comes—not from God—but from men. They talk about God and they even quote his teaching, but their true god is Caesar. They do not hear Scripture in the light of Scripture, but according to the light of Caesar, which is passing away. This choice leaves them talking in circles about their theology, not only ignorant of God’s instruction, but actively working against it.

Of course the Saducees do not believe in the Resurrection. One need look no further than their mishandling of Deuteronomy to understand this fact.

“Is this not the reason you are mistaken,” explained Jesus, “that you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God?” (Mark 12:24)

Indeed, they are greatly mistaken.

Be warned, O Caesar: “The Lord Jesus Christ, who is about to die, does not salute you.”

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 12:18-27.

Episode 189 Mark 12:18-27; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “The Return of the Mummy” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Ideological Entrapment
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1481
Ideological Entrapment

All ideology is self-referential: it begins with a desire for self-preservation and achieves fulfillment by exercising power. Whether we wield this power ourselves or ask others to wield it for us--because it is self-referential--it is always employed at the expense of others, especially those who are weaker than us.

All ideology is self-justifying and therefore destructive, but the worst kind operates under the pretense of morality. We see this all the time in traditional and social media: If my idea is morally right, then I am right and I have the right to exercise might. So you go ahead and post that meme that shows how stupid or evil “they” are. You took a stand. You stood up for right. You feel good. Congratulations, you're a hypocrite.

When the Pharisees and the Herodians approach Jesus to entrap him, they too operate under the pretense of morality. As the prophets proclaim, you cannot serve God and at the same time seek security from worldly powers. You have to make a choice. So they accuse Jesus with a question. But their question, itself preoccupied with self-preservation, pertains neither to the Prophets nor the Law. On the contrary, their false question concerns the one from whom they seek security at the expense of God's teaching: the Emperor of Rome.

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 12:13-17.

Episode 188 Mark 12:13-17; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Truth in the Stones” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Unless the Lord Builds the House
1704
2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1704
Unless the Lord Builds the House

Entitlement is the most destructive force on earth and no person, group or ideology is exempt from its barbaric cruelty. Students demand the “right” not to be offended; the wealthy contend that they've “earned” the fruit of “their” labor; and consumers “demand” access to products with righteous indignation, even as citizens grumble about public benefits. All of us believe that we are entitled to receive, earn, own, produce and/or protect whatever we want, whenever we want it. The worst part is that we all complain that everyone else is entitled, itself a sign of our own entitlement! Alas, we turn to the Prophet David for wisdom:

“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, [and] to eat the bread of painful labors; For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.” (Psalm 127:1-2)

In other words, in the Bible, human beings do not accomplish or deserve anything. Everything is a free gift. It is the Lord who offends students for their sake. It is the Lord who provides both our employment and our hard work. It is the Lord who fills the land with bounty and it is the Lord who provides and revokes benefits; yet, for some reason that is not enough; humans are not satisfied with sharing in God's generous provision. On the contrary, we want to possess it, to control it, and to hoard it for ourselves.

“Have you not even read this Scripture: ‘The stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief corner stone; this came about from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” (Mark 12:10-11)

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 12:1-12.

Episode 187 Mark 12:1-12; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Industrious Ferret” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Preaching With Authority
1130
2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1130
Preaching With Authority

When we criticize others on the basis of personal experience or opinion, this criticism exposes our blindness to the truth of our own sins. In Mark, whether they realize it or not, the chief priests, the scribes and the elders question the authority of Jesus exactly because their own authority is questionable. They challenge Jesus—not because they look to God’s teaching as the only authority—but because they want to protect their own power and prestige. But these men were no match for Jesus; not because he was more clever or powerful, and not because he had the people on his side. On the contrary, their maneuver failed because throughout Mark, when Jesus speaks, he never gives his own opinion. His authority comes directly from his Father’s teaching, of which—for all their religious bluster—the leaders in Jerusalem seem to know very little. Unlike the chief priests, the scribes and the elders, when Jesus speaks, he criticizes strictly on the basis of Torah. This type of criticism exposes the blindness and sinfulness of everyone. At the same time, it ruthlessly subverts the power of the one who proclaims it—something to keep in mind as the narrative picks up its pace en route to Gol'gotha. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 11:27-33.

Episode 186 Mark 11:27-33; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Hackbeat” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Read the Signs
1368
2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1368
Read the Signs

Everybody sees signs. I'm not talking about street signs. I mean the things we see in life. We look at a withering tree, a flock of birds, or we experience something—painful or joyous—and we assign meaning. That’s how human beings make sense of the world. That’s why grown men put their socks on the same way before every baseball game. They assign meaning to something mundane and suddenly a pair of old socks hold power. But that's the problem. Insofar as the meaning we assign comes from the human heart, it can't help but be selfish. I mean, let's be serious, do you really believe that God (or your magical god of baseball stockings) cares about the outcome of your silly baseball game? At the same time, who has ever seen or heard of a baseball player who understands his locker room ritual as sign that we have neglected the poor or a warning that we have not obeyed God's teaching? Who among us sees a joyous sign as a stern reminder of duty, or a painful sign as a reminder of the Lord's mercy? As our friend St. Mark is wont to remind us, only those who have ears to hear. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 11:19-26.

Episode 185 Mark 11:19-26; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Poppers and Prosecco” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Nothing But Leaves
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 992
Nothing But Leaves

Imagine the following. A teacher walks into class to announce the final exam: “If you do well on the test,” she explains, “it is not because of you. You are clueless. If you happen to do well, it is because I am an awesome teacher, so please do not expect a good grade. Just be thankful that I let you attend class in the first place.” She continues, “If you do poorly on the test, please be advised, it is your fault. I am an awesome teacher. As such, you have absolutely no excuse for your failure.” Finally, she concludes, “If you do very well, I may still decide to fail you. You better believe me, and you had better not mess with me, because, once again (for effect) I am an awesome teacher, and I have said so.”

It should be noted that the results of this test will determine whether or not you graduate. So you have to attend class; you have to work hard and study; but you get no credit and there are no guarantees. Being saved by grace doesn’t sound so fluffy anymore, does it? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 11:12-18.

Episode 184 Mark 11:12-18; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Fig Leaf Times Two” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

The Boss of Me
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 965
The Boss of Me

No one likes being told what to do. We dislike it so much that we have come to idolize rebellion as a moral good. We long for a world without authority, criticism or the pressure necessary to change how we live. When a teacher rightly judges our child, we shelter the student and malign the instructor. When our manager confronts us with a problem at work, we cringe, scrambling to show that we have already learned our lesson. Why? Because we want the criticism to stop; but a wise manager does not stop. He or she delivers the message in full, repeating it as often as necessary to help the employee change their behavior. But in order for any of this to work, the teacher, the parent, the student, the manager, and the employee must all–first and foremost–place their trust in the wisdom being offered.

In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is tireless in his efforts to train the disciples to trust in the Lord’s wisdom. He does not reason with them or attempt to justify himself; nor does try to package the message in an appealing way. On the contrary, he keeps repeating and simultaneously following his Father’s commandments. The more resistance he encounters, the more persistent his message: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction. Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching; Indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head and ornaments about your neck.” (Proverbs 1:7-8) Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 11:1-11.

Episode 183 Mark 11:1-11; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Pinball Spring” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Blind Trust
1745
2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1745
Blind Trust

In all aspects of life, human beings would rather exercise control than risk placing trust. We treat relationships like business deals, as though marriage, family, community, and friendship are all quid pro quo, and we establish rules and policies to control these relationships. When we follow these rules and others do not, we act offended. As victims, we gain to power to accuse, influence, and control others. Worse, we do the same in our dealings with God. In the Gospel of Mark, we ask: “What must I do to inherit eternal life,” or, Lord, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” We refuse to trust in the Lord; and what we lack in commitment to his cause is replaced by self-assuredness. We distort his teaching, bending and twisting it to look like one of our lame rules. Then we place our trust in the rules that we fashion with own hands. To our own peril, we ignore the wisdom of Ray Henderson: “the best things in life are free.” Give us a word, O Bartimaeus, son of Timaeus. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 10:46-52.

Episode 182 Mark 10:46-52; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Wallpaper” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Wisdom Bears Repeating
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1303
Wisdom Bears Repeating

Whether by instinct or experience, our minds construct a subjective model of the world around us in order to ensure our survival. In terms of risk mitigation, this system is efficient and effective. For example, if a loud noise in the dark resembles your idea of an approaching bus, even if it turns out to be something else, it is safer to assume the worst, so you step back onto the sidewalk. But what happens when our personal truths come into conflict with the common good? What if it is necessary to risk being on the road despite the perceived danger of an approaching bus? Language provides both the map and the lifeline that transcend personal truth to facilitate shared meaning.

Words allow a third party to challenge your map of reality. Even as you jump to safety, someone shouts, “child!” At first, your personal truth fights against this word, because your body has evolved to seek safety. Again, someone repeats the message, “my child is on the road!” Suddenly, their words break through your perceptions, changing your understanding of reality. Against every instinct, you step in front of the (assumed) bus to save the child.

Words bridge the immense chasm between our egos to create community. Words are the chief instrument of love. Words make wisdom possible. In the face of many personal realities and an ocean of competing words, the Word of God’s wisdom bears constant repetition. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 10:32-44.

Episode 181 Mark 10:32-44; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Skye Cuillin” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

True Wisdom is Painful
1526
2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1526
True Wisdom is Painful

Let me share a few quotes with you:

"Nothing is more fallacious than wealth. It is a hostile comrade, a domestic enemy." "Our money belongs to God, no matter how we have gathered it." "The love of money leaves everything corrupted and in ruin."

"The love of money is a dreadful thing; It disables both eyes and ears, and makes men worse to deal with than a wild beast, causing a person to consider neither conscience, nor friendship, nor fellowship, nor salvation."

"How long shall we love riches? For I shall not cease exclaiming against them: for they are the cause of all evils."

"Do not leave money to your children, instead, bequeath wisdom and knowledge. For if they are taught to expect money, they will disregard everything else and their abundant wealth will provide a way to mask their wickedness."

"A rich man is not someone who possesses much, but who gives much." "This is true wealth: not to have riches, but to not want riches."

"Teach children to love true wisdom and they will possess wealth and glory such that money cannot provide. If a child learns a trade, or is highly educated for a lucrative profession, it is nothing compared to the art of detachment from money. If you want to make your child wealthy, teach him that the one who is truly rich does not desire great possessions, or surround himself with wealth."

These words, a small sample taken from thousands of exegetical quotes by St. John Chrysostom, proclaim the teaching of Jesus Christ in the Gospel of Mark: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 10:23-31.

Episode 180 Mark 10:23-31; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “The Pyre” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

God is the Possessor
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 922
God is the Possessor

In popular culture, when someone says, “don’t judge” or “who are you to judge,” what they mean is, “how dare you criticize me?” This common adulteration undermines the commandment’s original purpose, namely, to invalidate and supplant human opinion (whether critical or complimentary) with a written text:

“But to me,” St. Paul writes, “it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 4:3-4)

In 1 Corinthians, Paul warns againt passing judgment on anyone–even oneself–in order to emphazise the primacy of the written gospel:

“So that in us,” Paul continues, “you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other.” (1 Corinthians 4:6)

If not even Paul will judge himself before the time, how dare any man give his opinion of Jesus Christ? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 10:17-22.

Episode 179 Mark 10:17-22; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Basic Implosion” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Suffer the Kingdom
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1241
Suffer the Kingdom

The disciples in Mark's gospel struggle to understand the Bible because they refuse to surrender their ideas to it. They approach Jesus with preconceived notions—of God, his Kingdom and his Messiah—that breakdown whenever Jesus speaks or takes action. The same is true of us. We approach Mark's gospel with our ideas of its meaning and its symbols, only to flounder when our idols are smashed against the brick wall of the text. For example, what does the commandment, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God,” actually mean? I'm willing to bet that you think you know exactly what it means, and that's why you still don't get it. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 10:13-16.

Episode 178 Mark 10:13-16; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Royal Banana” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

What Does the Law Say?
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1829
What Does the Law Say?

Much of what passes for religious debate is driven by a desire to be pure or to be right. A lawyer approaches Jesus to make sure he knows how to follow the Law, so that he can be right. A rich man approaches Jesus seeking the best of both worlds—he wants to be right and keep his money. When we believe that we are right or good because we have followed the Law, we look down upon those who have not achieved the purity we imagine of ourselves. That's why the Pharisees try to trap Jesus with a question about divorce. The Lord's response to the Pharisees echoes the teaching of 1 Corinthians: you are puffed up because you think you have mastered the Law; why, then, is your “wise” teaching dividing the household? Who is worse, the victim of divorce, or the false teachers who cause it? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 10:1-12.

Episode 177 Mark 10:1-12; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Ave Marimba” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Context, Context, Context!
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1171
Context, Context, Context!

What is going on when Jesus talks to his disciples about cutting off a hand or a foot or, worse, of plucking out an eye? Too often, readers stumble over these words, ignoring, dismissing, glossing over, or worst of all, inventing an interpretation. In fact, the meaning of the Lord's warning--that it is better to cut off a stumbling appendage--is simple, straightforward and easy to understand. Its meaning is staring you in the face, plain as day. It does not require an advanced degree nor access to some special, secret knowledge. On the contrary, its only requirement is familiarity. Are you familiar with Paul's letter to the Romans? Are you familiar with 1 Corinthians? How familiar? How many times have you read these letters in the past year? He who has ears to hear, let him hear! Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 9:38-50.

Episode 176 Mark 9:38-50; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Corruption” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Selective Hearing
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1415
Selective Hearing

“Don't waste your time with explanations: people only hear what they want to hear.” Insofar as Paulo Coelho's quote reflects the truth of human behavior, it also reflects the behavior of the disciples in the Gospel of Mark. Time and again, Jesus explains to his closest followers that he must fail: he must be judged, treated with contempt, made the least of all, and finally, put to death shamefully in the public square. Still, when Jesus tries to explain this, all the disciples hear is what they want to hear: that Jesus is the Lord's Messiah; that he is powerful, that he works signs and wonders, and that he will be raised in victory. But of what do the power and victory of Jesus consist? What happens when you talk about the Resurrection without the Cross? What happens to the disciples in Mark? Those who are called to serve the lowest and the least in God's household change the subject away from the dregs of the teaching to the heights of personal glory: who, the disciples ask, among their privileged ranks is the greatest? What to do, O Lord, when even divine hyperbole falls short? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 9:30-37.

Episode 175 Mark 9:30-37; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “The Lift” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Jesus, Give Us a Word!
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1485
Jesus, Give Us a Word!

If you want to understand someone, you need only examine their motivations. What does a person want? Why do the crowds in Mark approach Jesus? Most often, they approach because they want to save their own neck; they want something for themselves. Rarely do they approach to gather supplies in order to help others. In Mark, the example of the father of the demon possessed mute presents an interesting exception to this pattern. Yes, he asks Jesus to help his son, but the way in which he asks hints at the possibility of faith: “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief,” namely, “Lord, I trust you, give me something to trust! Give me your teaching!” Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 9:14-29. This week's episode is in loving memory of Mohsen Yacoub.

Episode 175 Mark 9:14-29-; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “The Lift” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

It's All About Priorities
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1266
It's All About Priorities

People like to complain. They complain that they don't have enough time; that it's too difficult to understand; that it's impossible to do; or that something else gets in the way. Worse, when they see another person do it, they heap praise, saying, “I don't know how you do it.” But that's a lie. You do know how. It's not hard at all and you know it's not hard. You just make different choices. The worst such example is when people avoid what must be done by attempting to justify the importance of something else. For those who make such excuses, the buck stops with the Bible: nothing is more important than God's teaching. Nothing. I don't mean the teaching you imagine, I am referring to the written text that Jesus keeps quoting within a written text. Nothing can replace it and nothing can convey it, except it. If you are not hearing it, doing it and sharing it in lieu of every other priority in your life, you do not belong to God. “Action,” Ghandi once said, “expresses priorities.” In the Gospel of Mark, the actions of the disciples repeatedly express their disinterest in the teaching of Jesus Christ. They are willing to heap praise on Jesus and eager to join the gossip surrounding Jesus, but they just can't get themselves to crack a book and study the content of his words. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 9:9-13.

Episode 173 Mark 9:9-13; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Movement Proposition” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Listen to Him
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1514
Listen to Him

In the Gospel of Mark, the teaching of the Old Testament is the teaching of Jesus. In obedience to his Father, when the Markan Jesus speaks, his words never go beyond what is written in Scripture: most notably, Isaiah, but also Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, the Psalms, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Joel, Zechariah and Malachi—all these are quoted or paraphrased by Jesus. Not interpreted, but quoted, preached and applied in the story. It is no wonder that Jesus appeared with Moses and Elijah in chapter 9. Together, these three embody the purpose of Mark's gospel: to carry the Law and the Prophets to the gentiles. That is exactly what Jesus does and that is why “a cloud formed, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved son, listen to him!” (Mark 9:7b) Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 9:1-8.

Episode 172 Mark 9:1-8; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Spellbound” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Who is the King of Glory?
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1370
Who is the King of Glory?

In our culture, great emphasis is placed on the opinion of the individual. We are told that our opinion counts; that our vote matters; and that our personal preferences are relevant. We are taught to think this way because it benefits the institutions we serve. In truth, an institution asks your opinion, 1) because it wants to increase its power, or 2) because it wants to increase its profit. At the individual's level, the one thing that does matter is the very thing that institutions fear: wisdom and its associated behaviors. Wisdom cannot be exploited or manipulated. Wisdom is honest and straightforward. Wisdom is bad for business.

Unlike our institutions, in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus does not care what anyone thinks. His only desire is the knowledge of God's teaching. He wants everyone to become wise by clinging only to the words of Scripture. He demands nothing of his followers except biblical wisdom. In fact, he cares so much about this wisdom—given for the life of the world—that he is willing to give his life for its sake. This is the glory that Jesus proclaims and it has nothing to do with the glory that Peter seeks. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 8:27-38.

Episode 171 Mark 8:27-38; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Virtues Instrumenti” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Who is Testing Whom?
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1474
Who is Testing Whom?

When students are challenged in the classroom, their first impulse is to avoid being tested by attempting to test the teacher. Is the assignment difficult? There must be something wrong with the teacher. Is it hard to understand? It must be the teacher's fault. *Am I failing the class? *Surely, the teacher has credibility issues. I could go on, but you get the point. A student avoids responsibility for his or her failures by blaming the teacher. Worse, the same student delights in gossip about the teacher instead of delighting in the teacher's knowledge.

In the Gospel of Mark the miracles of Jesus are given not as proof of his credibility, but as a test of his students' faith: do the Pharisees and the Lord's disciples trust in the Torah? Do they delight in the Lord's precepts, or do they seek signs and wonders as proof of his credibility? “Do you not yet see or understand?” (Mark 8:17b) Twice I fed you in the wilderness and still, you refuse to get the message. Alas, no sign will be given to you except the Bread of my Father's teaching; and you had better study it, because the final exam is just around the corner. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 8:11-26.

Episode 170 Mark 8:11-26; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Long Stroll” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

The Bread of Life
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1542
The Bread of Life

When people use the word “truth” they usually mean a worldview framed by personal experience or established by philosophy. For these ideological systems—whether personal or corporate—truth is understood as someone's abstract statement about the world. In sharp contrast, biblical truth—like scientific truth—deals with observable phenomena in the world. Where modern science discerns the mechanics of Creation, the Bible catalogs types of human behavior and their predictable outcomes, or fruit. In the case of Mark, the feeding of the multitudes presents one such truth: though counterintuitive, generosity in poverty, hospitality toward strangers, and openness to neighbors are all necessary for human survival. This is not an abstract opinion or a philosophical worldview; nor is it “a perspective.” It is an observable and repeatable fact. It was a fact before we were born and will remain a fact after we are gone. It is the Bread of the Lord's Instruction: the Bread of Life for the salvation of the human race. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 8:1-10.

Episode 169 Mark 8:1-10; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Slow Jam” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

This People Honors Me With Their Lips
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1217
This People Honors Me With Their Lips

All through Mark's gospel, Jesus instructs those around him not to tell anyone about his miracles. Most dismiss this pattern as the “Messianic Secret,” an attempt by Jesus to hide his true identity. When William Wrede coined this phrase in 1901, he wrongly assumed what the Gospel of Mark rejects: the importance of identity. In Mark, Jesus deliberately dismisses identity in favor of his sole mission: preaching and teaching. The Markan Jesus does not care if or what people think about him. On the contrary, his only concern is whether or not people have heard Scripture. So why does Jesus keep asking people not to talk about him and his acts of mercy? Because, as Isaiah proclaimed: “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far away from me. ‘But in vain do they worship me, teaching as a teaching the teachings of men.” (Mark 7:6-7) Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 7:31-37.

Episode 168 Mark 7:31-37; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Laser Groove” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

She Has Ears to Hear
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1189
She Has Ears to Hear

People make assumptions about each other based on appearance, personal affiliation or both. A well-dressed person is assumed the better candidate; good taste is mistaken for competence or moral credibility; worst of all, people judge each other by association, as though a person's social circle, identity, family, or organizational affiliation have any bearing on their knowledge or wisdom. For instance, one might assume that the Pharisees—Israel's learned religious teachers—would understand Jesus. One might also assume that the disciples—the closest associates of Jesus—would be the first to grasp his parables, let alone his plain explanations. But in the Gospel of Mark, it is a woman—from a nation that is neither holy nor modest—who has no trouble accepting the criticism of Jesus or her station as the lowest and the least in his presence: a gentile dog. In this way, Mark demonstrates the teaching of Paul: “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29) Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 7:24-30.

Episode 167 Mark 7:24-30; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Shaving Mirror” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Do Not Follow Your Heart
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1469
Do Not Follow Your Heart

A wise person, no matter his or her beliefs, understands that human motivations and desires are naturally selfish. We humans think and act from the shallow perspective of personal experience on behalf of our biological imperative: self-preservation. Our view of others, our understanding of the gods we create, and, most importantly, our actions in the world are corrupt because our core motivation, “me, myself and I,” is corrupt. Self-preservation and self-interest are coded in our DNA. How can anyone mitigate an elemental biological impulse? You can't. There is no ideology, philosophy, or belief system that can change human biology. So how is the Bible different? It assumes the worst. It supposes that all human beings are stubborn and that all human beings will always refuse to change. Its hope is not in humanity, but in the possibility that despite ourselves, a few people with “ears to hear” might be willing to follow a commandment that goes against our nature. In the Gospel of Mark, such a commandment is preached as widely as possible for our sake and for the sake of the common good. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 7:14-23.

Episode 166 Mark 7:14-23; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Bummin on Tremelo” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Call No Man Unclean
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1560
Call No Man Unclean

Human communities fixate on self-preservation, naturally forming traditions and customs that protect them from outside threats. The problem of protectionism is amplified when a group's leaders benefit from it, turning the community against itself—even alienating children from parents—for self-gain. With this in mind, it's easy to see why religious rules often devolve into an “us against them” paradigm. In human communities, self-preservation is wrongly elevated as virtue, enabling the very behaviors the Bible warns will lead to our destruction. It's counterintuitive, but in the Torah, self-preservation works against the survival of the community. In seeking to keep the evil out, we neglect the evil within. Unfortunately, by turning away “the unclean” outsider, we cut ourselves off from the life revealed in Mark's gospel, extended to us from the wilderness, by way of the very outsiders we fear. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 6:53-7:13.

Episode 165 Mark 6:53-7:13; Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature (http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature); “Sunday Dub” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Neither Snow, Nor Rain, Nor Heat, Nor Gloom of Night
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1606
Neither Snow, Nor Rain, Nor Heat, Nor Gloom of Night

According to the website of the US Postal Service, their motto, “chiseled in gray granite over the entrance to the New York City Post Office on 8th Avenue,” comes from an ancient account of the Persian Wars by the Greek historian, Herodotus: “Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

The saying lauds the fidelity of mounted Persian couriers who, during Persia's war with the Greeks, braved all manner of obstacles to ensure the delivery of royal dispatches. To borrow from St. Paul, such men clearly “have a zeal for God,” but insofar as they carry messages from the wrong king in the service of Persia's war, their zeal is “not in accordance with knowledge.” (Romans 10:2)

In the Gospel of Mark, the disciples are also called to be couriers; not of a worldly message with worldly concerns, but of Scripture. Insofar as their zeal lacks understanding, no matter how hard they row against the elements, they will never match the speed or efficacy of Jesus, who without boat or mount easily achieves “the swift completion” of his appointed rounds. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 6:45-52.

Episode 164 Mark 6:45-52; Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature (http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature); “Crossing the Chasm” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

The Voice of the Shepherd
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1194
The Voice of the Shepherd

When studying biblical literature, it's easy to fall into the trap of attempting to lock down the meaning of the Bible's characters and symbols. For example, students of the Bible often assume that “Egypt is evil,” or, “Assyria is evil,” ignoring contradictory evidence in the text. “Egypt and Assyria,” proclaims Isaiah, will be “a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying, 'Blessed is Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.'” (Isaiah 19:24-25) It's not that any of these nations are good or evil—in the Bible, no one is good but God—it's that their value pertains strictly to the Lord's commandment. If they serve the Lord's teaching, they function as the Lord's people, as Paul explains in Galatians, “the Israel of God,” no matter their nationality.

In Mark, the crowds, like Egypt and Assyria, seem to have a negative connotation. For the better part of five chapters, the mobs fawning over Jesus have obstructed his mission to proclaim the Father's teaching; but does that mean the “crowds are evil?” On the contrary, like Egypt, Assyria AND Israel, their narrative value must be constantly reevaluated relative to the commandment. In Mark 6, the situation with the crowds may look the same, but as the Good Book teaches, human beings should never trust what they see. The only thing that counts is what they hear from the voice of the Shepherd, crying out in the wilderness. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 6:30-44.

Episode 163 Mark 6:30-44; Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature (http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature); “Doobly Doo” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

It's Your Move, Herod
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1029
It's Your Move, Herod

“It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.” These words, spoken by Aung San Suu Kyi, a Burmese author and civil leader, reflect almost perfectly the biblical teaching about fear and the power of death. King Herod, a man who would sell his people's honor to appease their occupiers; King Herod, who in Matthew, would murder children to safeguard his throne; King Herod, who ordered the execution of the Lord's prophet to save face, on an oath made against that which was not his; King Herod, the last in a line of imposters who would dare to sit on God's throne in Judea. King Herod. You successfully murdered John, but you cannot stop his teaching. There is no wall, no prison, no form of execution that can help you now. Not even the power of death, which you so carelessly wield, can save you. As St. Paul, the least of the Apostles, proclaimed: The Lord, whom you murdered, is coming in power and he will put all things in subjection under his feet. “For He will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance on his adversaries, and will atone for his land and his people.” (Deuteronomy 32:43) It's your move, Herod. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 6:14-29.

Episode 162 Mark 6:14-29; Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature (http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature); “Metalmania” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

It's Not About the Teacher
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 990
It's Not About the Teacher

In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus repeatedly emphasizes the will of his Father in Deuteronomy, that any prophet or worker of miracles who seduces people from “the way (ὁδός) in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk,” should be ignored, or worse, put to death. Along these lines, in the story of Mark, miracles are given for the teaching; the teaching is not given for miracles. When signs and healings become the focus (as is common among contemporary Christians) we lose focus on the mission of Jesus: to walk on the path and to sow the seed of his Father's teaching, as commanded. In doing so, we obstruct the teaching, even as we fawn over the teacher, crying “Lord, Lord!” But as Jesus demonstrates and the apostles will eventually struggle to understand, it's not about the teacher. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 6:7-13.

Episode 161 Mark 6:7-13; Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature (http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature); “Wepa” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Familiarity Breeds Contempt
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1521
Familiarity Breeds Contempt

When people are taught to change their behaviors or to admit their shortcomings, they use whatever means available to transfer blame for their sins to someone else. Almost always, they lash out against the messenger, pointing to the hypocrisy of their teacher or explaining how a person's identity invalidates the message. In doing so, they shift everyone's attention away from the elephant in the room: the integrity of the message itself. Can a man accuse a woman of chauvinism? Can a German accuse a Jew of racism? Can a prophet teach his biological elders? Yes. Definitely. But we claim otherwise to avoid accountability. The problem is amplified when people believe they own the message or consider themselves familiar with its content. We've all met the Christian who “already knows” what the Bible says. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus comes face to face with this person “in his hometown, among his own relatives and in his own household.” Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 6:1-6.

Episode 160 Mark 6:1-6; Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature (http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature); “Laser Groove” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Give Her Something to Eat
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1588
Give Her Something to Eat

Self-righteousness is dangerous. When people who believe they are “right” apply rules to each other, even rules that were meant to protect us become instruments of abuse, cruelty and exploitation. You need look no further than the barbarity of Twitter mobs—liberal or conservative—to understand this dynamic. For politicians, sooner or later, this lack of humility results in civil strife. For clergy and religious teachers, it leads to a kind of apostasy, in this case, an outcome of teaching that renounces the teaching of the Bible. The Torah was given to show each of us that our behaviors are unclean. Yet, somehow, we always manage to transfer this shame from our behaviors to the person (or persons) of our neighbor. Our neighbor, like the wild man exiled to the Gerasene graveyard, or the woman with a flow of blood, is eventually deemed unclean. This is the sin. This is the apostasy. This is the very thing the Law was given to correct. Have you never heard what was written? The Lord said to Peter, “What God has made clean, you must not call unclean.” (Acts 10:15) And again, what Peter himself proclaimed: “God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean.” (Acts 10:28) Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 5:21-43.

Episode 159 Mark 5:21-43; Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature (http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature); “Bittersweet” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

The First Disciple
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1282
The First Disciple

When Jesus permitted the unclean spirits to leave the Gerasene, he demonstrated two things: not only his ability to control a man whom no one could subdue, but his total power over Caesar's legion. You had better believe everyone was terrified by the drowning of the swine, because when you mess with Caesar's immutable power, you undermine the stability of the country. By freeing the demon possessed man, Jesus is threatening both their political security and their material wealth. It's no wonder they asked "him" to leave; but the question is, which "him?" Who asked whom to leave and who asked whom to stay and why? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 5: 14-20.

Episode 158 Mark 5:14-20; Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature (http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature); "Mountain Emperor" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Why Are You Bowing?
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1003
Why Are You Bowing?

When it comes to bowing, our culture is schizophrenic. We teach people not to bow down to others or to let others tell us what to do, yet we bow down all the time. We bow to men of wealth; we bow to people and things of beauty; we bow to eloquent speech; worst of all, we bow to power: military power, economic power, and individual power. When Jesus entered the country of the Gerasenes, he encountered a man with the same brand of schizophrenia. On the one hand, he was a man who bowed to no one; a man who could not be controlled or subdued, "not even with a chain." No one could tell the Gerasene what to do. He was exactly the kind of man our culture applauds. Yet, when Jesus stepped off the boat, this same man (rather, the unclean teaching controlling him) groveled at the feet of Jesus. Why? Not because he placed all his trust in the Lord's seed, but because--like everyone else in Mark--he was afraid of Jesus' worldly might. Like the people who marveled at Jesus' miracles; like the fearful disciples; the Gerasene was impressed with the wrong thing. So he bowed to Jesus the way a sycophant bows to Silicon Valley.

The letters of St. Paul teach us that everyone has to bow down. Even Jesus will eventually bow to Pontius Pilate. In Mark's gospel, the question is not "should I bow," but, "why are you bowing?" Do you grovel before Jesus because of the teaching he proclaims, or are you bowing to something else? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 5:1-13.

Episode 157 Mark 5:1-13; Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature (http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature); "March of the Spoons" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Why Are You Afraid?
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1388
Why Are You Afraid?

Like the prophet Jonah, Jesus was sent to sow the seed of God's teaching on other soil. Unlike Jonah, Jesus trusted God's will, carrying out his Father's instruction without hesitation or the slightest hint of rebellion. So you can imagine the Lord's frustration, when at the first hint of danger, the disciples cower from God's mission.

"The floods," David cried, "have lifted up, O Lord! The flood have lifted up their voice!"

"But thy testimonies," cower the disciples, "are not confirmed! Do you not care that we are perishing?"

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 4: 35-41.

Episode 156 Mark 4:35-41; Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature (http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature); "Guess Who" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Like a Mustard Seed
1287
2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1287
Like a Mustard Seed

A farmer sows seed because he wants security. He wants to know that he will have enough money and food in storage to secure his family until the next season. This understanding of farming is anti-Scriptural. In the Book of the Twelve, we are repeatedly warned that man's lust for security is the cause of human suffering. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus assigns new meaning to the act of sowing seed. Where a human farmer sows for himself under the illusion of control, Jesus sows for others at his own peril, under the promise of hope against all hope. Despite all the cruelty, suffering and betrayal in the world; despite the Roman occupation; despite attempts by his own community to shut him up; Jesus does not lose hope, because he places all his trust, not in the work of his own hands, but in the will of his Father, who said, "All the trees of the field will know that I am the Lord; I bring down the high tree, exalt the low tree, dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish. I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will perform it."" (Ezekiel 17:24) Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 4:26-34.

Episode 155 Mark 4:26-34; Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature (http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature); "Zanzibar" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

#cursed #afflicted #persecuted #amen
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1606
#cursed #afflicted #persecuted #amen

In the Gospel of Mark, the Lord Jesus said, "Whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him." (Mark 4:25) In our consumer culture, this verse is almost always taken out of context and assumed to refer to worldly blessings: health, happiness, family, wellbeing and, of course, stuff. But in a passage where ignoring the Bible's obvious meaning is an unforgivable sin, "so that while seeing, they may see and not perceive, and while hearing, they may hear and not understand, otherwise they might return and be forgiven" (Mark 4:12) our listeners are cautioned that what is "given" and what is "taken away" pertain not to worldly blessings, but to the wisdom that comes from God. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 4:13-25.

(Episode 154 Mark 4:13-25); Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature (http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature); "Too Cool" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

It's Not About the Soil
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1392
It's Not About the Soil

When hearing the parable of the sower in Mark, few people stop to consider that seeds are embryonic plants. That's right, the seeds tucked away in a box on your shelf are already pregnant. Not only does the seed contain the instructions needed to make a plant, but also an embryo which can grow into a full plant under proper conditions. In other words, the seed does what the seed does and the soil contributes nothing: it either accepts the seed or rejects it. The soil can't even control the conditions under which acceptance or rejection are cultivated. The only hope is the seed itself. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 4:1-12.

(Episode 153 Mark 4:1-12); Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Nowhere Land" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1062
Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit

The proclamation of the forgiveness of sins is integral to the content of the gospel. After all, it was the forgiveness of sins that opened the path for gentiles to become children of the Bible. In the Gospel of Mark, the sharing of this news is the single priority of Jesus Christ--so much so, that Jesus is constantly on the move, teaching and preaching. With this in mind, it seems odd that Jesus would say, "whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness." It seems odd, that is, until you realize that Jesus is frustrated with those who willfully oppose his Father's teaching. You know, that teaching where everyone is forgiven, no matter who they are, where they pray, or who claims them as family. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 3:28-35.

(Episode 152 Mark 3:28-35); Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Rocket Power" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

He Sent Them Out
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1339
He Sent Them Out

According to Google, to rationalize is to "attempt to explain or justify (one's own or another's behavior or attitude) with logical, plausible reasons, even if these are not true or appropriate." According to Mark, people do this all the time. Is Jesus helping someone out at your expense? Explain, with logical, plausible arguments, that he is wrong. Are you trying to stop Jesus from helping others? Explain, with logical, plausible arguments, that you are doing the right thing and Jesus must be out of his mind. Is Jesus besieged by the mob on all sides because of you? Explain, albeit, without logic, that he is working for the "ruler of demons." Remember to conveniently ignore the fact that you are the one blocking "the feet of him who brings good news, announces peace, brings glad tidings, and proclaims salvation, saying to Zion, 'Your God reigns!'" (Isaiah 52:7) After all, when you obstruct his path, you are doing the right thing, aren't you? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 3:13-27. This week's episode commemorates the one year anniversary of the death of John Price and Jacob Flynn. May their memories be eternal.

(Episode 151; Mark 3:13-27); Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Cortosis" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Bread and Circuses
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1160
Bread and Circuses

Human beings make decisions and take actions based on assumptions. We do so because without assumptions, we are paralyzed by complexity. In some cases, an assumption is based on data, but almost always, our presuppositions stem from innate selfishness. As Julius Caesar once said, "Men are nearly always willing to believe what they wish." Caesar himself assumed that mob sentiment would ensure his triumph. Unfortunately, most people approach Mark's gospel with Caesar's worldview. We want Jesus to be popular. We want the mob to love him and no matter how hard Jesus runs from the crowds; no matter how emphatic his desire not to win them over; we still cheer when they surround him. Why? Because in our hearts, we prefer Caesar's victory to Jesus' defeat. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the Mark 3:7-12.

(Episode 150; Mark 3:1-6); Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Carnivale Intrigue" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Jesus Proclaimed the Letter of the Law
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1251
Jesus Proclaimed the Letter of the Law

We've all heard it. On every corner. In every school. At every church. There is always somebody spouting platitudes about the "dangers" of taking the Bible literally. This is usually the same person who explains that "religion is the cause of all wars," conveniently ignoring the bloodshed of the last century committed in the name of consumerism and liberal values. ANYWAYS. If only fundamentalists did take the Bible literally! If you actually read what is written on the page--without proof texting--there is no way to end up a fundamentalist. No way. Unless, of course, you have problems with reading comprehension or are not aware of historical context. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 3:1-6.

(Episode 149; Mark 3:1-6); Subscribe: Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Lobby Time" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Step Forward or Step Aside
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1694
Step Forward or Step Aside

Have you ever had a ton of work to do, only to be pulled into long meetings with people who talk endlessly to avoid action? You know that feeling when you have a simple question for customer service, but the automated attendant makes you answer fifteen pointless questions, and then, when you get to a human being, they ask the same fifteen questions over again, and then, right before you finally get to ask your question, the call drops? Frustration and agitation set in as you twirl your worry beads and shake your nervous legs under the desk. Now imagine that the whole world is trying to stop you from delivering an urgent message that is a matter of life and death. What would you do? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 2:14-28.

(Episode 148; Mark 2:1-13); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Sunflower Dance Party" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Don't Be Fooled by the Crowds
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1388
Don't Be Fooled by the Crowds

People deal with the miracles and parables of Jesus as biblical vignettes that can be extracted from the gospels and presented on their own. Biblical scholars refer to these vignettes as "pericopes," literally, a section of the Bible that has been cut out and extracted from the narrative. The problem, of course, is that a section of the Bible, like a sentence or a single word, when taken out of context, loses its meaning. Nowhere is this more evident than in the healing of the Paralytic in Mark. If we hear the parable without the urgency and emphasis of Jesus' physical movement in chapter 1, the miracle cannot be understood correctly. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 2:1-13. (Episode 147; Mark 2:1-13); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Rainbows" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Do Not Be Amazed, Be Obedient
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1421
Do Not Be Amazed, Be Obedient

The fallacy of the Messianic Secret is based on a presupposition that openly contradicts the teaching of Mark's Gospel. While scholars assume that Jesus is preoccupied with his identity and secrecy, in the text of Mark, Jesus is in a big rush to preach to as many people as possible in as many places as possible and he wants his followers to do the same. He does not want them to sit around and be amazed with him and his acts of mercy. He wants them to hear the Gospel and to do the same work he is doing, immediately. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the Gospel of Mark 1:29-45. (Episode 146; Mark 1:29-45); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Voltaic" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

A New Teaching?
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1333
A New Teaching?

Teaching is tedious work. No matter how many times you explain something, for every one person who doesn't get it, there are a thousand people you can't get to. It's even harder when the teaching itself is so counterintuitive that even people who think they get it have to keep relearning it. It's no wonder that people believe the New Testament is saying something new. But the New Testament is not new. If it sounds new, it's because you have not been paying attention and as a result, have fallen yet further behind those who came before you. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the Gospel of Mark 1:15-28. (Episode 145; Mark 1:15-28); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Fearless First" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Pleased With Himself
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1063
Pleased With Himself

Ancient religions stood on a simple premise: find a way to please the gods or face their wrath. Are you afraid of bad weather? Make a sacrifice. Worried about your family? Make a sacrifice. Afraid of impending war or plague? Make a sacrifice. Like all people in power, the ancient gods lived off the backs of their subjects. Since such gods reflect the behavior of those who make them, it's easy to see human religion for what it is: ritual betrayal of your neighbor for the sake of your security. But what if there were a God who refused to dwell in a temple and who could not be pleased, no matter how hard his subjects tried to impress him? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the Gospel of Mark 1:9-15. (Episode 144; Mark 1:9-15); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "DarxieLand" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

A Path in the Wilderness?
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1324
A Path in the Wilderness?

The first few verses of Mark’s gospel are packed with prophetic imagery. From the impossible concept of a path in the wilderness to the Baptist’s position outside Jerusalem, the Markan prologue heralds the victory of the Prophets’ teaching against human cities and the imminent inclusion of those beyond the Jordan in God’s city. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the Gospel of Mark 1:1-8. (Episode 143; Mark 1:1-8); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Thinking Music" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Eye of the Needle Jokes
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1209
Eye of the Needle Jokes

The biblical system proposes hyperbole, scandal, and logical contradiction as a means to disassemble the statues and false gods we construct in our minds. At the same time, hearers of the Bible tend to rationalize these tensions away, explaining to themselves and others what Jesus "really" meant. Yes, the Bible is a language of metaphor, but on the whole—far from pacifying us—those metaphors are given to amplify the Bible's attack on our egos. Besides, as we'll learn from Mark, sometimes an eye of the needle is just an eye of the needle. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the Gospel of Mark 10:13-31. (Episode 142; Mark 10:13-31); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "BossaBossa" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Third Time is Not a Charm
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1517
Third Time is Not a Charm

We Christians assume that God’s love is unconditional and that it is never too late to change our ways. Although comforting, this idea contradicts the story of the Bible. Yes, it’s true, God is patient. In fact, he is so patient in the Bible that by the time you get to the New Testament, his patience is running out. In each of his letters, St. Paul repeats a stern warning: you were given an opportunity to repent and you failed. You are now on your second chance. Be wary: the Lord is coming soon for the third and final time, and it will not be a charm. Richard and Fr. Marc conclude their reading of 2 Corinthians. (Episode 141; 2 Corinthians 13); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Drankin Song" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

It's Not a Two-way Street
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1303
It's Not a Two-way Street

In broken families, parents complain that their children "owe" them and children delude themselves that their parents "need" them. From each perspective, the relationship devolves into extortion. A broken parent shames their child because they want repayment, "after everything [they] did for them." In stark contrast, St. Paul shames his children, not to extract worldly honor or repayment for himself, but to pressure them to become providers for the sake of others, canceling out a child's sense of entitlement and self-importance. True parents, St. Paul explains, do not need anything from their children, except that they do the commandments of God. Richard and Fr. Marc review 2 Corinthians 12:14-21. (Episode 140; 2 Corinthians 12:14-21); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Zig Zag" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Silence is Not Golden
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1298
Silence is Not Golden

What good would it be if a man were to ascend to the highest heaven and return with nothing to say? Would you be impressed by him? Would you brag about him to others? If so, what would you say? If this man has nothing to say about his so called revelation, what is there to brag about? I know how some of you will answer. You will talk about his feelings and the life changing wonder of having such an experience. Unfortunately, your feelings, your experience and 50 cents will not buy me a cup of coffee. Actually, in 2016, your feelings, your experience and $2 will not buy me a cup of coffee. But I digress… (Episode 139; 2 Corinthians 12:1-13); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Super Cool Dude" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Let No One Think Me Foolish
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1241
Let No One Think Me Foolish

People embrace social norms in much the same way that fundamentalists embrace religious rules: as a means of self-approval. A person feigns modesty either to win acceptance or to exemplify correctness. That's why St. Paul's disciples in 2 Corinthians are so distressed by his boasting. Not only because his behavior is socially unacceptable and grossly immodest, but because in human eyes, his cause for boasting is even more absurd than his arrogance. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 2 Corinthians 11:16-33. (Episode 138; 2 Corinthians 11:16-33); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Curse of the Scarab" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

The Great Corinthian Brain Hack
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1554
The Great Corinthian Brain Hack

How can a teacher reach someone who is set in their ways or engulfed by ideology? What if the way a person looks at the world -- their unstated assumption about everything -- is backwards? Is it possible to help them reason their way out? Can you talk someone out of their own ego? According to St. Paul, the answer is no -- "we are not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers." (2 Timothy 2:14) So how does Paul reach his disciples in Roman Corinth? Before modern computers, there was another form of dangerous malware. It was a kind of analog software, distributed by God himself, through "the hands of Moses in letters divinely inscribed." Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 2 Corinthians 11:1-15. (Episode 137; 2 Corinthians 11:1-15); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Severe Tire Damage" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

A Yo Yo for Your Sake
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1628
A Yo Yo for Your Sake

Unfortunately, Christians often co-opt the Bible to justify philosophical axioms, such as, "it is good to be humble," or, "it is wrong to boast;" “it is good to be nice," or, "cruelty is evil." You get the point. We take the Bible, which turns human morality on its head and we use it to justify the way that we think people should be. But in Paul's teaching, there is no "way to be." On the contrary, there is a teaching to follow, and for that teaching, boasting can be as useful as humility and cruelty as helpful as kindness. Everything depends on our premise and the reference for our actions. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 2 Corinthians 10. (Episode 136; 2 Corinthians 10); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Vicious” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

No Thanks to You
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1383
No Thanks to You

Is it possible to do something good without allowing yourself to take credit? I'm not talking about haughty expressions of socially encouraged self-deprication. On the contrary, is it possible to do something good while knowing--with absolute certainty--that you are not good and that you do not deserve any credit? What is a selfless act? Some would say it is impossible. Thankfully, with God all things are possible. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 2 Corinthians 9. (Episode 135; 2 Corinthians 9); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Dreamer" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

The Bus Keeps Moving
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1340
The Bus Keeps Moving

People tend to overestimate their own importance while ignoring--or at least underestimating--the value of others. This problem is keenly felt in the church at Roman Corinth, where Paul uses the success of others to realign the self-view of his disciples. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 2 Corinthians 8:16-24. (Episode 134; 2 Corinthians 8:16-24); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Peaceful Desolation" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

True Equality is Not Fair
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1356
True Equality is Not Fair

On some level, people recognize the importance of being fair. We know that our laws should treat people equally and we understand that no one should take more than their "fair share" from anyone else. From the moment we step on the playground as kids until the day we calculate our retirement pay, we live and operate in a world that frames equality in terms of reciprocity. But what if equality could not be achieved by fairness? Worse, what if true equality meant cheating everyone? Would we still demand equality? Fortunately, it's not what we demand, but what St. Paul commands, that truly counts. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 2 Corinthians 8:1-15. (Episode 133; 2 Corinthians 8:1-15); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Secret of Tikki Island” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

The Story of God's Will
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1122
The Story of God's Will

Life coaches love to talk about having confidence in their clients and the importance of building self-worth and self-esteem. Fortunately, for the church in Roman Corinth, Paul does not view his followers as customers and he definitely does not have confidence in them. On the contrary, Paul's boldness is in God’s teaching at work in his children. St. Paul's hope is not in the ability of his disciples, but in the power of the teaching to manifest its fruit on its own terms. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 2 Corinthians 7:8-16. (Episode 132; 2 Corinthians 7:8-16); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Nonstop" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat!
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1192
Repeat, Repeat, Repeat!

Most leaders motivate others by boasting of their accomplishments. They talk about past goals they have achieved, they reflect on how effective they were at leading others to meet those goals, they praise others for their efforts, they explain the virtue of their future goals, and they repeat the message over and over again to motivate their teams. But what if your leader only spoke of his failures and sufferings? What would you think of him? How much confidence would you have in his leadership? What if he kept repeating his message of failure? Would you remain loyal to him? Would you follow his instructions? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 2 Corinthians 7:1-8. (Episode 131; 2 Corinthians 7:1-8); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Super Power Cool Dude" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Life is Not Gray
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1458
Life is Not Gray

People resolve the tension of diversity either by clinging to fundamentalism or by embracing relativism. Unfortunately, both approaches share a desire to be right: to have the right ideas, to associate with the right people, to know who is clean and who is unclean. The relativist, like the fundamentalist, is fine with "everyone," so long as "everyone" agrees with them that everything is relative. In 2 Corinthians 6, Paul admonishes his disciples to separate "righteousness and lawlessness" but also warns the church that when God says "be separate" or don't touch what is unclean, he is not talking about people who disagree with you. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 2 Corinthians 6:11-18. (Episode 130; 2 Corinthians 6:11-18); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "District Four" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1273
Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It

We human beings love having an excuse; or having the opportunity to blame someone else for our problems; or having the freedom to blame our failures on unforeseen circumstances. Unfortunately for us, according to St. Paul, no matter who you are, no matter what you do in life, no matter where you come from, no matter what is happening to you, no matter what others do to you, no matter what you think, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to remain steadfast in your trust of God's teaching. (Episode 129; 2 Corinthians 6:1-10); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Dead Drop” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

The Great Divorce
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1680
The Great Divorce

In one of his most popular works, C.S. Lewis talks about the inevitable divorce between good and evil: a comforting philosophical notion that allows adherents to be right or to be able to choose the winning side--as the sons of men often and arrogantly boast--"to be on the right side of history." But what if there are no winning sides? What if, as Jesus said, "no one is good?" In 2 Corinthians, St. Paul also talks about a divorce, not between good and evil, but between what is perishable and what is imperishable. Richard and Fr. Marc continue their discussion of 2 Corinthians 5. (Episode 128; 2 Corinthians 5:10-20); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Overworld” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Don't Get Comfortable
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1471
Don't Get Comfortable

When Paul talks about being "absent from the body," our Hellenized ears want to believe that he is talking about a dualism with some version of a Platonic soul inhabiting (or exiting) our "earthen vessel." As appealing as this may be to some, it has nothing to do with St. Paul's letter. Paul is not talking about your soul leaving your body. On the contrary, he is admonishing you to embrace discomfort in your body, trusting God's teaching against all hope, especially when it is unpleasant. In the immortal words of Tertullian, "What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?" Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 2 Corinthians 5:1-10. (Episode 127; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Deadly Roulette” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Which Life is Life?
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1795
Which Life is Life?

When someone sets out to do something difficult, they console themselves that their sacrifice is worth the effort because of what they will have achieved or attained. The problem, of course, is that we humans are as much aware of our own futility as we are comforted by delusions of permanence. In other words, no matter how much we lie to ourselves about life, sooner or later, everyone asks, “what’s it all for?” The answer, Paul explains, lies behind us because it was before us and mercifully, it was handed down to us. We need only honor the one who taught us by repeating it and acting on it. No matter how tough it gets or how futile our efforts seem, we have hope, because what we have received and what we now speak manifests a glory that does not die. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 2 Corinthians 4. (Episode 126; 2 Corinthians 4); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Eternity” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

From Glory to Glory
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1554
From Glory to Glory

When St. Paul contrasts tablets of stone with the human heart, or the letter inscribed in stone with the Spirit, or the Old Covenant with the New, Christians are quick to assume that the Old is incomplete without the New, or, worse, that the human heart is preferable to following the letter of the law. Strange, how people convince themselves that God would inscribe a teaching and then say, "oops," I never meant for you to actually read it or do it. Just get the gist, so that Obi Wan can teach you to reach out to me with the force. Then you can ignore the letter of my law and be free. That might work for a hollywood screenplay embedded with product placements, but it has nothing to do with the Bible. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 2 Corinthians 3. (Episode 125; 2 Corinthians 3); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Upbeat Forever” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Who is Testing Whom?
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1114
Who is Testing Whom?

It is common for students to judge their teachers. Worse, students today are encouraged to do so, being routinely asked to fill out teacher evaluation forms. Some have even created websites to aggregate student gossip about their teachers. In a culture that lauds greed and shames mothers, it seems that everyone has an opinion about the one who stands before them bearing gifts. Not so and not on Paul's watch, who reminds the church, it is not you who evaluates me, but I who evaluate you, "So that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things." Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 2 Corinthians 2. (Episode 124; 2 Corinthians 2; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Meatball Parade” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Wax On Wax Off
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1093
Wax On Wax Off

According to human standards of leadership, when Paul changes course midstream, it appears to his disciples that he is vascillating between "yes" and "no," like a man who can't keep his promises. In reality, it is the church that is wavering because Paul's disciples are unwilling to place all their trust in the instruction that controls their teacher's actions. Richard and Fr. Marc discussion 2 Corinthians 1:12-24 (Episode 123; 2 Corinthians 1:12-24); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “SONG NAME” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

The Blessing and the Curse
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1669
The Blessing and the Curse

When Paul talks about comfort in 2 Corinthians, it is easy to receive his words as much needed nurturing, as though we have suffered unjustly and are in need of God's intervention. But what if God has already intervened? What if the difficulties in our life are not unjust? What if the suffering of which we complain is not evil? What if the blessings and the curses in our life come from the same source? Richard and Fr. Marc begin their discussion of 2 Corinthians. (Episode 122; 2 Corinthians 1:1-11); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Fife and Drum” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Whistling to the Flock
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1597
Whistling to the Flock

Without realizing it, when people hear the word “church,” they usually imagine a meta institution with clear organizational or ideological boundaries, akin to a government or global corporation. Worse, in our various expressions of Christianity, one way or another, we tend to operate as such. Whether attempting to control the world through ideology, or to market ourselves for institutional gain, our understanding of church rebels against the Lord’s teaching. As disciples of Scripture, our duty, according to St. Paul, is to refresh our minds, supplanting our idolatrous notions of institution with the literary context imposed by the Bible. For Paul, who invites his addressees to hear him “according to the Scriptures,” the reference for “church” is something far less glamorous than the powerful institutions idolized by human beings. A church, in Scripture, is akin to a shepherd’s flock, and Paul himself is the slave, not of a powerful institution, but of a Shepherd who gave his life for his sheep. Richard and Fr. Marc conclude their study of 1 Corinthians. (Episode 121; 1 Corinthians 14:29-58); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Floating Cities” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Baptism for the Dead
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1456
Baptism for the Dead

Isaiah 22:12 Therefore in that day the Lord God of hosts called you to weeping, to wailing, To shaving the head and to wearing sackcloth. 13 Instead, there is gaiety and gladness, Killing of cattle and slaughtering of sheep, Eating of meat and drinking of wine: “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we may die. 14 But the Lord of hosts revealed Himself to me, “Surely this iniquity shall not be forgiven you Until you die,” says the Lord God of hosts. You guessed it: in preaching the Resurrection in 1 Corinthians, Paul is explaining and applying the judgement of Isaiah 22 to the church. However, what’s really clever is that the phrase in Isaiah, “Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we may die,” was also used by Roman gladiators on the eve of battle. Interesting, that the people of Israel, and now, the church in Corinth, share the same understanding of life and death as the Roman pagans. “Do not be deceived,” Paul explains, “Bad company corrupts good morals.” Richard and Fr. Marc conclude their discussion of 1 Corinthians 15. (Episode 120; 1 Corinthians 14:29-58); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Thief in the Night” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

According to the Scriptures
1984
2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1984
According to the Scriptures

Psalm 2:1 Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, 3 “Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!” 4 He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them. 5 Then He will speak to them in His anger And terrify them in His fury, saying, 6 “But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain.” 7 “I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. 8 ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession. 9 ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware. ’” 10 Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth. 11 Worship the Lord with reverence And rejoice with trembling. 12 Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him. (NASB) Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 1 Corinthians 15.

Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1888
Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent

When reading an ancient text in translation—especially one laden with nuance—there is a high risk of misunderstanding. On the one hand, there are expressions, cultural and historical references, and terminology that are not immediately accessible to modern readers. At the same time, a statement’s meaning often seems obvious, when, in fact, the translation is misleading or the reader has assumed a context that is foreign to the narrative. The first rule of exegesis is that everything must be heard in context. Historical context, linguistic context, but most importantly, narrative context. When a phrase seems to jut out of St. Paul’s letter, such as, “women are to keep silent in the churches,” It feels jolting and chauvinist to modern readers. As jolting as it seems, rest assured, such a statement flows with the broader discussion and does not mean what your twenty first century ears think it means. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 1 Corinthians 14:20-39. (Episode 118; 1 Corinthians 14:20-39); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Anamalie” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Five Words
1879
2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1879
Five Words

Better to “speak five words” that give instruction, Paul explains, “than ten thousand words” that mean something to you but are useless for everyone else. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 1 Corinthians 14:1-19. Prompted by listener feedback, this week’s episode begins with a review of the function of sin in the Torah and its implications for Paul’s gospel. (Episode 117; 1 Corinthians 14:1-19); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Awesome Call” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

A More Excellent Way
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1501
A More Excellent Way

After spending the better part of 12 chapters putting the church’s household in order, in chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians, St. Paul crowns the power structure he established with something more excellent and of greater importance than any household station or duty: the act of love. For Scripture, how we treat others is not just a litmus test--it is the only test--of our knowledge of the commandments of God. For, “If I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” Richard and Fr. Marc continue their reading of St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. (Episode 116; 1 Corinthians 13); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Unwritten Return” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Hell Was Created Just for Me
1794
2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1794
Hell Was Created Just for Me

The key to understanding any idea, statement or position is to examine its premise. What underlying assumptions must be made for an idea to make sense? What motivations drive these assumptions? Once you are able to examine an argument in this way, even the most clever intellectuals are quickly put to shame. No matter how sophisticated the theology of the elite in Roman Corinth, because their assumptions were predicated on human principles, nothing they said could ever pass muster with Paul and everything they did caused division in the church. Why? Because from the Bible’s point of view, if it’s a human word, it is naturally selfish. So what is an apostle to do? Take a stand against all sides and do so at your own expense. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 1 Corinthians 12. (Episode 115; 1 Corinthians 12); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “East of Tunesia” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Paul's Kung Fu
2194
2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 2194
Paul's Kung Fu

According to our friend Google, a contradiction is, “a combination of statements, ideas, or features of a situation that are opposed to one another.” According to St. Paul, this combination is a mechanism of wisdom, as in, “I will undermine power by exercising power,” or “I will create heterarchy by imposing hierarchy.” Welcome to 1 Corinthians 11. (Episode 114; 1 Corinthians 11); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Rynos Theme” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

A Tribe of One?
1626
2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1626
A Tribe of One?

What if you know something is OK, but someone else does not? What if you know something is not OK, but others think it is fine? What if someone offers you something that is OK, and they think it is OK, but someone else is confused and thinks that it is not OK? Can something be both OK and not OK at the same time? What do you do then? Most people are fine when the gospel says, “do not judge,” but what if the commandment also means allowing others to judge you? What should you do about the negative people in your life? We’ll give a little hint: St. Paul does not believe in the pursuit of your happiness, but he is is fine if others are happy because of you; even better if they are happy at your expense. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 1 Corinthians 10:14-31. (Episode 113; 1 Corinthians 10:14-31); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Fretless” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

First Among Average
1283
2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1283
First Among Average

What does it mean to be chosen in the Bible? What is the purpose of having a chosen people? How does God honor his chosen? What is expected of those who hope to join the ranks of the chosen? How long is a chosen person’s tenure? Doesn’t the whole idea of being chosen go against human fellowship? When it comes to the Bible, one man’s curse is another man’s blessing, and vice versa, ad eternum. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 1 Corinthians 10:1-13. (Episode 112; 1 Corinthians 10:1-13); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Casa Bossa Nova” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Trickle Up Economics
1916
2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1916
Trickle Up Economics

Can you make yourself the least of all by insisting on your title and station? Can you sacrifice everything for the sake of others without them liking it? Are you able to repeatedly flip an argument on its head until no one is able to stake out a position? Can you use a metaphor over and over again to illustrate how you should be treated but then turn on your own use of the metaphor because, not only are you not talking about oxen, but you are not talking about food? If you answered yes, your name must be Paul, and this must be 1 Corinthians 9. (Episode 111; 1 Corinthians 9); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Spy Glass” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Not So Smart After All
1693
2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1693
Not So Smart After All

According to Wikipedia, “Illusory superiority is a cognitive bias whereby individuals overestimate their own qualities and abilities relative to others. This is evident in a variety of areas including intelligence, performance on tasks or tests, and the possession of desirable characteristics or personality traits.” This may explain why so many students believe they have something to offer their professors. It may also explain why—for all their supposed knowledge—the elite of the church in Roman Corinth were absolutely clueless about the gospel. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 1 Corinthians 8. (Episode 110; 1 Corinthians 8); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Thatched Villagers” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

How To Play Both Sides Without Waffling
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1463
How To Play Both Sides Without Waffling

For as long as religion has been around, people have come forward with a single, destructive question: "O religious leader, what does our religion say," or, "What does our religious leader say about X?" One way or another, people eventually find someone who can provide clarity on issue X. Then everybody gives a big sigh of relief until someone comes along with a different opinion about said issue, X. By now, I'm sure our podcast listeners are asking the real question, namely, how does St. Paul solve the question of issue X? Well, he explains, "I think the answer is X, but then again, I think the answer is Y. But then again, it could be X, but, then again, if it's not, or if maybe it is, keep in mind--now, this is just my opinion--but I think Y is also fine, so long as you keep your priorities straight." Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 1 Corinthians 7:25-40. (Episode 109; 1 Corinthians 7:25-40); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Conflicted" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Not Your Ordinary Life Coach
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2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1587
Not Your Ordinary Life Coach

When couples want marriage or divorce, they think "fairness." When people are dissatisfied with their place in life, they think "change." When people look at their own status, they think, "better" or "worse." If all this makes sense to you, then, according to 1 Corinthians, your priorities are all wrong. Instead of caring about the gospel, you are thinking about you. That may please your life coach, but it won't get you very far with St. Paul. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 1 Corinthians 7:1-24. (Episode 108; 1 Corinthians 7:1-24; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Aurea Carmina" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Égoïsme à deux
1642
2017-09-22 13:56:10 UTC 1642
Égoïsme à deux

People love to defend themselves. They defend their choices. They defend their group. They defend their rights; their property; their beliefs. Oh, yes, and people love to be right. They love it. It's like a drug. They love it so much that when something goes unavoidably wrong, they devise clever ways to blame other people. Human beings are so committed to defending themselves that in the US alone, we spend $234 billion annually on legal fees. That's enough money to stop world hunger for 8 years. Now, what if I told you about an ancient method of conflict resolution guaranteed to work in every situation, without exception. If only people knew. (Episode 107; 1 Corinthians 6; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "TV Melodrama" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

The Problem Within
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1434
The Problem Within

At first glance, St. Paul's admonition in 1 Corinthians 5, that the faithful are not to associate with immoral people, seems to imply that the church should safeguard its purity by avoiding association people outside the community. No interpretation of 1 Corinthians could be further from the truth. On the contrary, when Paul speaks of immoral people in chapter 5, he is referring to people within the church. To borrow a line from Mark's gospel, "there is nothing outside a man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man." (Mark 7:15) Richard and Fr. Marc continue their discussion of 1 Corinthians. (Episode 106; 1 Corinthians 5; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Open Those Bright Eyes" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

The Art of Biblical Shame
2025
2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 2025
The Art of Biblical Shame

When reading 1 Corinthians, it is easy to mistake Paul's discussion of weakness and strength as a universal condemnation of power. On the contrary, Paul presents the teaching of the cross as a way of replacing one kind of power with another. You might be tempted to let yourself off the hook by claiming that he is replacing man's power with God's power. Well, OK, but you are avoiding the tougher question: how is God's power made manifest? In abstraction? Theoretically? Intellectually? In chapter 4 of 1 Corinthians, Paul demonstrates what God's power consists of and how it is to be wielded in the church. Like the embarrassment of confession, it is neither theoretical, invisible nor mystical. You should be so lucky. (Episode 105; 1 Corinthians 4; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Cool Hard Facts" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Neither is Anything
1338
2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1338
Neither is Anything

Scientists believe that plant life first formed on the Earth 700 million years ago and that the first fungi appeared on land 1300 million years ago. In contrast, human agriculture did not develop in the Fertile Crescent until 11,500 years ago. Now, I am not a math expert, but it seems to me that if all this is true, seeds were sown, watered and growing on Earth for millions and millions and millions...and millions of years before human beings began farming. If that's the case, why on Earth would anyone imagine that the human being who plants and the human being who waters amount to anything? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 1 Corinthians 3. (Episode 104; 1 Corinthians 3; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Four Beers Polka" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Spiritual Authority
2147
2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 2147
Spiritual Authority

How can St. Paul emphasize the importance of weakness while boasting that his own preaching is a "demonstration of the Spirit and of power?" How can he preach weakness from a position of strength? Is Paul contradicting himself? Why would someone proclaiming the crucified Christ claim to do so with power? What part does Roman culture play in the content of the gospel? That’s right. No need to clean the wax out of your ears. I did not say, "how do we separate Roman culture from the true meaning of the gospel?" I said, "what part does Roman culture play in the content of the gospel?" Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 1 Corinthians 2. (Episode 103; 1 Corinthians 2; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "OctoBlues" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

A Practical Impracticality
1815
2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1815
A Practical Impracticality

What does it mean to hope in the Kingdom of God and how does this hope differ from the false promises of idealism? How is the biblical teaching, which seems impractical, ruthlessly practical in its transformation of human behavior? Why is the content of the gospel readily dismissed by both religious and secular thinkers? What opportunity does this teaching and the decline of religion in the United States present to Christians? Richard and Fr. Marc continue their discussion of chapter 1 of 1 Corinthians. (Episode 102; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Daily Beetle” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

An Appeal to Fellowship
1955
2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1955
An Appeal to Fellowship

What is the answer to every human conflict and how is this answer sabotaged by human wisdom? What does it mean, in biblical terms, to be called by God? How does St. Paul use praise as a tool of judgment against the church in Roman Corinth? This Christmas Eve, Richard and Fr. Marc celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ with the first in a series of episodes covering 1 Corinthians. May it always be pleasant for you to remember upon Christmas Day the one who made lame beggars walk and blind men see; And by your remembering, may the poor always have good news brought to them. A very Merry Christmas to you. (Episode 101; 1 Corinthians 1:1-17; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Silent Night” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Epilogue: Freeing the Dove
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 4132
Epilogue: Freeing the Dove

In a special anniversary edition marking the 100th episode of the podcast, Richard and Fr. Marc take the opportunity to draw on themes from the show's first two years while unpacking the surprising meaning of Genesis 47. An epilogue to their six part series on Galatians, this week's episode also serves as an introduction for Walid Issa, the keynote speaker at Bethlehem 2015, an interfaith event hosted at St. Elizabeth Orthodox Church in Eagan, MN. This week’s show was recorded in front of a live audience. Walid's keynote is included at the end of the program. (Episode 100; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Christmas Rap" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Unearned Suffering: In Memory of John Price
2306
2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 2306
Unearned Suffering: In Memory of John Price

On December 4, 2015, John Ashton Price IV, age 18, and Jacob Flynn, age 17, were killed in an automobile accident in Lakeville, Minnesota. In concluding their six part series on the letter to the Galatians, Richard and Fr. Marc take time to reflect on the tragedy of this unbearable loss in the light of the St. Paul's teaching. This week's episode is offered on behalf of the Price family: John, Lisa and Tom, in memory of their beloved son and brother, "John John" and his dear friend, Jacob. (Episode 99; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; Cover photo: "Lined With Angels" John Price; Music: "Winter Chimes" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

The Sons of Jacob
1826
2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1826
The Sons of Jacob

Hearing Galatians in translation and out of context, it’s tempting to conclude that St. Paul is arguing for some new alternative to the teaching of Old Testament; but for those who make an effort to hear the text in context, it becomes quickly clear that Paul’s letter is not only reading and explaining -- but applying -- the Torah to the church in Galatia. At the center of this wrangle is Jerusalem’s misreading of the meaning of circumcision in Genesis. In their discussion of Galatians 5, Richard and Fr. Marc compare the abuse of circumcision in Genesis 34 with it’s misuse at the hands of Peter and James. (Episode 98; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Pippin the Hunchback" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ )

The Children of Hagar
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 2137
The Children of Hagar

What is the difference between a child and an heir in Roman society and what role does the Roman household play in the content of Paul’s gospel? Why does Paul use two different languages, Aramaic and Greek, to address the Father of Jesus? How could a barren woman have more children than someone capable of childbirth? Who are the children of Hagar and what is the Jerusalem above? Richard and Fr. Marc tackle Galatians 4. (Episode 97; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Only the Dead are Perfect
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 2095
Only the Dead are Perfect

What is the purpose of the Law in Galatians and how does it relate to Abraham’s faith in God’s instruction? What is the connection between the Law of Moses and the Crucifixion of Jesus? How and why does the Torah illustrate Abraham’s wickedness while also insisting on his centrality? Does the Law contradict faith? If the works of the Law cannot attain righteousness before God, what is the point of the Law? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Galatians 3. (Episode 96; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Broken for the Sake of the Poor
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 2376
Broken for the Sake of the Poor

Why does St. Paul specify that he was away from Jerusalem for an interval of fourteen years? Does the length of time have any significance? Why did he insist on meeting privately with Peter and James during his visit? Why are Peter, James and John referred to as the Pillars? Why is the death of Jesus considered a victory and how do Paul’s opponents jeopardize this victory? Richard and Fr. Marc continue their discussion of Galatians with a review of chapter 2. (Episode 95; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

God is My Judge
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1789
God is My Judge

What does St. Paul mean when he explains that no one, not even an "angel from heaven," can contradict the gospel that was preached in Galatia? To what does Paul appeal in making the claim that his authority comes directly from God and not from men? How do the norms of civil law shed light on Paul's opening argument in Galatians 1? Why do fascists and dictators, who control every aspect of civil society, still seek legitimacy from their respective constitutions? What does all of this have to do with a dead guy names Hammurabi? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss St. Paul's letter to the Galatians. (Episode 94; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

No Oxygen Allowed
1669
2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1669
No Oxygen Allowed

Rationalize (verb): to attempt to explain or justify (one's own or another's behavior or attitude) with logical, plausible reasons, even if these are not true or appropriate. Synonyms: justify, explain, explain away, account for, defend, vindicate, or excuse, as in, "he tried to rationalize his behavior." Thanks, Google Dictionary, for providing such a lucid description of how we twist the Bible to get ourselves off the hook. Put your seat-belts on! This week, Richard and Fr. Marc revisit Lazarus and the Rich Man in the Gospel of Luke. (Episode 93; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Bless Thine Inheritance
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1222
Bless Thine Inheritance

What if someone wrote a book that imposed patriarchal authority at the expense of patriarchs, redeemed inheritance at the expense of wealth, upheld a patronymic without blessing the name, linked patrimony and childbirth to each other and to God’s teaching while emphasizing the commandment to care for the widow, the orphan and the foreigner, rubbed in the fact that God blesses couples, households and communities that by all rights should not be blessed, and finally, presented a vision of some future kingdom that will include the very people that everyone is trying to avoid. You don’t have to ask "what if?" We have the book in hand and will cover it’s final chapter today. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Ruth 4. (Episode 92; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Hear, O Daughter
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1380
Hear, O Daughter

At your right hand stood the Queen in vesture of gold; Hear, O daughter, and see, and incline your ear! The rich among the people shall entreat your favor and the King shall greatly desire your beauty; For he is your Lord and you shall worship him. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Ruth 3. (Episode 91; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Waking Ned Devine
1770
2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1770
Waking Ned Devine

How is the content of Ruth reflected in the teaching of St. Paul and in the gospel narratives? Why, in Ruth, does it matter who is whose relative and who is connected to whom? Why do Richard and Fr. Marc make such a big deal out of biblical names? Why does Ruth prostrate herself in front of a man? Isn’t she the one making all the big sacrifices to support Naomi? Shouldn’t everyone bow to her? Who is this mighty Boaz, anyway? Is power always evil? Only for those whose mind can’t get past the person to see God’s function in operation. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Ruth 2. (Episode 90; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Dialogue is the Problem
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1476
Dialogue is the Problem

Why do discussions about race in the United States always seem to widen the gap between neighbors? How do our assumptions about race cripple our ability to recognize oppression in unfamiliar places? Is racism the main issue, or is it symptomatic of a deeper human dysfunction? In the first episode of a four part series, Richard and Fr. Marc examine the problem of identity in the Book of Ruth. As is to be expected, the Bible's wisdom on this subject will embarrass folks on both sides of the aisle. (Episode 89; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Their Confusion is at Hand
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1423
Their Confusion is at Hand

Why would Jesus, who warns against the sword in Matthew 26 threaten to use one in Matthew 10? Why would Jesus set a man against his father and a daughter against her mother, when in the Torah God commands that parents are to be honored? In Luke, the gospel heralds the coming of Jesus with the proclamation "peace on earth." Why, then, in Matthew, does Jesus say, "I did not come to bring peace?" If you are looking for a simple answer along the lines of "for" or "against," then turn off this podcast and watch cable news. If you hope to use Matthew 10 to support your just war theory, at best, you are being lazy. Yes, the Bible does bring a sword and it is connected to the real violence we experience in the world. The question is, on which end of the sword are the followers of Jesus expected to find themselves? (Episode 88; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Grant Victory Against Me
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1567
Grant Victory Against Me

The Passion narrative in John 19 is unequivocal: the life of Jesus ended in humiliation, abuse, abject betrayal, subjugation and utter failure. You might try to comfort yourself by arguing that Jesus was treated unfairly, however, in truth, the outcome of his life was a direct result of his Father’s teaching. In other words, in the gospel story, following God’s Torah leads to absolute defeat; a fact, St. Paul explains, that confounds religious people and attracts scorn from rational thinkers. With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that from the beginning, Christians themselves have failed to embrace the gospel. That this failure is obvious, to be expected, and nothing new does not make it less painful. (Episode 87; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Knock Yourself Out
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1639
Knock Yourself Out

A recent article in Salon magazine views the ongoing decline in American religion "in part, as an inevitable result of the politicization of Christianity." Where does the temptation to infuse church with political ideology come from? What does politicized religion hope to achieve and what are its consequences? Are there examples of politicization in the Bible? Is there a biblical alternative that can avoid politics and ideology without ignoring current events? Richard and Fr. Marc reflect on these questions as they discuss 1 Samuel. American Christians, take heed: the Lord is patient and ready to give you exactly what you want; so be careful what you ask for. (Episode 86; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

The Empire Strikes Back
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1233
The Empire Strikes Back

Often and wrongly promoted as a biblical precept, unconditional love works against the purpose of Jesus in the New Testament. Nowhere is this point more clearly expressed than in the parable of the wicked vinedressers in Matthew 21. What does Matthew’s parable reveal about biblical grace and the problem of entitlement? Why does God allow the vinedressers to commit such violent crimes, against not only his servants, but his own son? What implication do God’s actions in the story have for human parents and teachers? As always, the pastoral wisdom gleaned from Scripture looks foolish to human eyes; but then, so too looked the stone in the eyes of the builders. (Episode 85; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

The Tower of Babel
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1414
The Tower of Babel

Of language diversity in the United States, Saul Bellow once quipped, "A melting pot, yes. A tower of Babel, no." The Nobel Laureate's comment, indicative of American norms, undermines the meaning of the parable he invokes. Where human institutions (in line with Bellow's axiom) consolidate and unify, the biblical God imposes diversity. Where powerful nations go beyond lingua franca to demand una lingua, in Genesis, the Lord deliberately confounds human speech. Proponents of institution sometimes assert that multilingualism in Genesis is a negative outcome, but this assumption falls out of step with the story's plot. In Genesis, God's victory at the Tower of Babel is part of a larger war against the strategic agendas of human empire. This week, Richard and Fr. Marc reflect on the Tower of Babel in Genesis and its implications for multilingualism in North America. (Episode 84; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

The Problem of the Justified
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1877
The Problem of the Justified

A culture's moral platitudes expose the sins for which its adherents hope to atone. This tension is present in popular critiques of the biblical commandment, "an eye for an eye." But what happens when our assumed high ground amplifies the sins we want to erase? Worse, what if the people harmed by our platitudes respond to our abuse with a counter-morality? What happens when society disintegrates into a community of justified ideologues and entitled victims? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss St. Paul’s compensation in 1 Corinthians, the merciless servant in Matthew, and the problem of vengeance in the book of Judges and 1 and 2 Kings. Given the state of the world, the instruction, "an eye for an eye," may be a goal beyond our reach. (Episode 83; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Until the Lord Comes
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 2070
Until the Lord Comes

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens: Lo, it is better to be patient than arrogant, for the end of something is better than its beginning--not because your toil has ended, but because the reward for patience is wisdom and understanding. So admonishes the Preacher's eulogist, who shames us with the Preacher's labours, goading us with his instruction: the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and this fear is man's duty during his brief season under the sun. Remember to keep this commandment, for God will bring every deed into judgment, whether good or evil. This week's episode brings our 12 week series on Ecclesiastes to its conclusion. But don't worry, we'll keep turning the pages with you on this podcast for as long as we can, God willing, until the Lord comes. Until then, turn, turn, turn! (Episode 82; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Famous for Scrubbing Toilets
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1635
Famous for Scrubbing Toilets

Since everything you have is already passing away, why hold onto it? Since you can't control the weather, why worry about? Since everything you do is vanishing breath, why not do it? Yes, it's true, you can't add a single hour to your life span by worrying. But look a the bright side: if God cares for the prairie grass of Minnesota's rolling plains, which today is alive and tomorrow is cast into the oven, how much more will he care for you, O ye of little faith? Yes, all is still vanity for both the Preacher and the Gospel of Matthew, but don't worry. You can still become famous for scrubbing toilets. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Ecclesiastes 11. (Episode 81; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Man Cannot Judge
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1688
Man Cannot Judge

Ecclesiastes 10 presents a world in which two paths, one foolish and one wise, both lead to the same outcome. Where temporal human eyes see the benefits of wisdom, the Preacher exposes folly. Where men see failure and assume folly, the Preacher proclaims great dignity; but not always, he argues, since the reverse is often true. So how is man to judge? What is man to do? The answer, my friend, is not blowing in the wind, it’s handed down in the content Scripture, open only to those who surrender themselves to its pages. (Episode 80; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Play the Cards You're Dealt
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1391
Play the Cards You're Dealt

According to the Preacher, no matter what you do, you are doomed to the one fate that awaits everyone. Are you a righteous man? Are you wicked? Can you, by your actions, determine the outcome of your life? Since all share the same fate, does it matter? For the author of Ecclesiastes, it does matter, but not in the way that you imagine and not in a way that makes sense—unless you accept that all deeds (and all things), both good and evil, are in the hand of God. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Ecclesiastes 9. (Episode 79; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Judgment As Hope
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1491
Judgment As Hope

When a human judge seeks meaning in the abuses of the wicked or in the misfortunes of the righteous, if he is as honest with himself as the Preacher in Jerusalem, his pursuit of wisdom leads nowhere. As each door closes in his face and each path turns to vanity, he comes to a realization: every possibility he considers is judged by God. "Although a sinner does evil a hundred times and may lengthen his life," says the Preacher, "still I know that it will be well for those who fear God, and who fear him openly." (Episode 78; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Stick To It, Don’t Stick It To Yourself
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1876
Stick To It, Don’t Stick It To Yourself

If, for the sake of wisdom, death is better than birth, sorrow is better than laughter and mourning is better than feasting, what hope has the wise man of escaping ruin? Is such wisdom truly wise, or is it better to grasp righteousness without abandoning wickedness? God, the Preacher explains, has made the one as well as the other; the person who embraces this contradiction is the one who fears the Lord. This week, Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Ecclesiastes 7. (Episode 77; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Back From Greece
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1469
Back From Greece

What would happen if God gave you honor, riches and wealth such that nothing you desired was beyond your reach? What if he then invited foreigners to enjoy this wealth in your place? What does this mean? Is the foreigner wrong to partake of your treasure? Is he now better off than you? Would you be right to condemn him? How can anyone reconcile God’s generosity with such terrible affliction? For that matter, how can one reconcile bounty with famine; honor with obscurity; or purpose with futility? Richard and Fr. Marc explore these questions as they discuss Ecclesiastes 6. This week’s episode is produced in solidarity with the people of Greece. We love you and we are praying for you. (Episode 76; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

You Can’t Take It With You
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1292
You Can’t Take It With You

In a culture that loves money and values everyone’s input, Ecclesiastes 5 is a bitter pill. Human speech, cries the Preacher, is the sacrifice of idiots and the gathering of wealth a grievous evil under the sun. Let your words be few. Shun the acquisition of wealth. Delight in your work and in the few years that God has given you. Sleep on an empty stomach. Fear God and trust in his judgment, even when faced with injustice, for even an oppressor, in the palm of God’s hand, brings advantage to the land. I would pay real money to see Hollywood try to package that message in a movie trailer. (Episode 75; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Two Are Better Than One
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1231
Two Are Better Than One

Who is worse off, the oppressor or the oppressed? Is the power wielded by kings and empires real? Is a king of humble origins better than an old fool on the throne? What does Ecclesiastes have to do with Judas Iscariot or New Testament questions dealing with works of the Law and grace? Is there any way to salvage the vanity of man’s striving after wind? What does all this have to do with the invention of the automatic dish washer? For answers to these compelling questions and more, stay tuned for this week’s episode of the Bible as Literature. (Episode 74; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Turn Turn Turn
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1436
Turn Turn Turn

There is a time for every season under heaven: A time to be silent and a time to speak; A time to love and a time to hate; A time for war and a time for peace: For many, these words call to mind a beautiful ballad lamenting the futility of war. However, for the Preacher in Jerusalem, the list of dichotomies presented in Ecclesiastes 3 speak to something far more difficult: inasmuch as war is as certain as peace, and tears are as certain laughter, all things, even the things we hate, are a gift from God. (Episode 73; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

The Pursuit of Happiness?
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1590
The Pursuit of Happiness?

Is there a difference between a fool and a wise man? Does a man who acts correctly gain advantage over one who stumbles? What has the Preacher in Jerusalem to do with the suburbs in Minnesota? Richard and Fr. Marc continue their discussion of Ecclesiastes. This week’s episode is dedicated to Paul Boulos, who died on May 29, 2015. (Episode 72; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

A Generation Goes and a Generation Comes
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1237
A Generation Goes and a Generation Comes

This past week, Fr. Marc’s dad, Paul Boulos, was transferred to a hospice facility. As Fr. Marc and Richard reflect on Paul's life and the meaning of his death, no text in the Bible brings more clarity than Ecclesiastes. (Episode 71; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Because You Have Rejected Knowledge
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1623
Because You Have Rejected Knowledge

Fundamentalists are quick to apply biblical texts to current events, making fantastic claims about world leaders, foreign countries, and, as Matthew says, about "wars and rumors of war." (Matthew 24:6) Aside from having no real or legitimate connection to the Bible (or reality) such claims always deflect God's wrath, leveling judgment at other groups and other cultures but never at the Bible's intended audience: the person reading it. In this week's episode, Richard and Fr. Marc reflect on Hosea 4 and the insight it brings to recent examples of aberrant behavior among pre-teens. The discussion demonstrates how the Bible can and should be applied to current events without succumbing to self-righteousness or ignorance. (Episode 70; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Choosing the Better Portion
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1356
Choosing the Better Portion

In the gospel of John, how do the actions of the Samaritan woman set her apart from the disciples of Jesus? What does it mean to be a disciple? Is discipleship only about learning and following, or is more required? Why does fundamentalism make discipleship impossible? The answer to these questions comes with the difficult reminder that biblical knowledge can only be received at the expense of the disciple's ego. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the parable of the Samaritan woman in John 4. (Episode 69; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

It’s Not Who You Know
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1114
It’s Not Who You Know

Religious and secular ideologies share much in common, including their emphasis on personality and identity. Who are you? What are you? What group are you from? What do you believe? Are you one of us? These questions betray our fear of each other and take attention away from what really matters, namely, our ability to receive and to share knowledge, and the actions we take based on knowledge. In religion, this emphasis unfolds as idolatry under the guise of devotion to God. Instead of asking, "what does God teach," we ask, "who is God?" Instead of acting on God's teaching, we ask others about their relationship with God. Contrary to widely held assumptions about the fourth gospel, it is not God’s identity that concerns John, but knowing the teaching of the Father, the very wisdom that sent Jesus to the Gentiles. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss John 5. (Episode 68; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

What Has Athens To Do With Jerusalem?
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1626
What Has Athens To Do With Jerusalem?

It's easy to allow symbols and ideas from outside the Bible to shape our understanding of the text. In contrast, serious biblical students set aside extra-biblical influences, so that only Scripture can interpret Scripture. In late antiquity, this tension was felt in the divergent schools of Antioch and Alexandria. While metaphor and allegory are present in both traditions, the Antiochians looked to the Bible as their primary source, forgoing Alexandria's affinity for Hellenistic philosophy. In this week's episode, Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the problem of biblical interpretation and the metaphor of the empty tomb in Mark 16. (Episode 67; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Your Feelings Are Immaterial
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1411
Your Feelings Are Immaterial

What do the ending of John's gospel and the first chapters of Acts teach us about the problem of human feelings? How do our assumptions about love and its relationship to emotion cripple our ability to fulfill God's instruction? Why is it destructive and idolatrous to associate the Holy Spirit with an emotional response? Don't trust your feelings; Don't follow your heart; Turn off the Disney channel and stay tuned to this podcast. You might not feel good, but we promise not to lie to you. (Episode 66; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Be It Known to You O King
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1497
Be It Known to You O King

What do the narratives of Exodus and Daniel have to do with the Resurrection of Jesus Christ? Why were these stories understood historically as penultimate readings during Easter week? What is the common thread that connects these texts with gospel accounts of Christ's Passion? If you've noticed that all of these stories feature oppressive kings, you're on the right track. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the meaning of Pascha in light of Daniel 3:13-18. This week's episode is in loving memory of Ralph Sergi. (Episode 65; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

The Truth is Your Neighbor
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1643
The Truth is Your Neighbor

Pilate's insecurity about the trial of Jesus is often and wrongly understood as evidence that the New Testament was written to gain Rome's favor. Some have gone further, claiming that the Gospel of John is anti-Semitic. This week, Richard and Fr. Marc tackle these questions during their discussion of John 18. Once again, when John (or any biblical text) is read in light of the prophetic tradition, such claims betray a deep biblical illiteracy. (Episode 64; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Ignorance is Not Bliss
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1555
Ignorance is Not Bliss

Like the other disciples in Mark 10, everyone who hears the gospel is quick to assume they understand why James and John were wrong to request positions of honor next to Jesus. Is it simply that this request is presumptuous or is something else going on? Why does Jesus insist that such an honor can only be bestowed? Were the other disciples right to upbraid James and John? What is the real sin being addressed in the story and why does everyone miss the point? In the gospel of Mark, missing the point is the point and ignorance is not bliss. (Episode 63)

What is a Spirit?
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1665
What is a Spirit?

How is the word spirit used in the Bible? What does it mean to be possessed by an unclean spirit? Are spirits real? What does the unclean spirit in Mark 9 tell us about the disciples of Jesus? Why is the afflicted child in Mark unable to hear or speak? Who is to blame for the boy's impairment? What does all this have to do with angels, weather forecasts, and narcissism? Trust the Lord, because on that day, if you are found under the influence of an unclean spirit, you will not be able to say, "the devil made me do it." (Episode 62)

Spend It Before You Lose It
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1498
Spend It Before You Lose It

Why does Mark associate prophetic concepts of abundance with the commandment to take up the cross? In what way do popular concepts of carrying the cross, associated with hardship, fall short of the commandment's meaning? How does the crucifixion in Mark test our trust in God's generosity? This week's episode is in memory of Fr. Thomas Hopko. (Episode 61)

Fat of the Land
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1591
Fat of the Land

Much of Ezekiel is spent emphasizing God's anti-locality, namely, that there is no structure or land to which the biblical God is chained. In Ezekiel, God moves freely upon the earth, outside the control of his subjects. With this in mind, the book's closing verse is a kind of literary surprise. What does Ezekiel mean when he says the name of the city shall be called "the Lord is there?" What are the implications of the last four chapters of Ezekiel for the meaning of the entire book? How does all of this illumine our understanding of the biblical writers' perspective on history? (Episode 60)

Come and See
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1207
Come and See

Given the Bible's persistent emphasis on the problem of idolatry, why suddenly, in John, are we confronted with the phrase, "Come and see?" This seems especially odd, since the opening verses of John deliberately limit the reader’s purview to the divine word, which begins with the inscription "in the beginning," referring to Genesis. Obviously, Philip is calling Nathaniel to go out and meet Jesus, but why the emphasis on sight? What is John inviting us to "see" when the Bible repeatedly calls us to "hear?" Is John making an about face with respect to idolatry, or is something else going on? Let’s ask John Chrysostom. (Episode 59)

Broken Records
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1592
Broken Records

In a biblical narrative that is overwhelmingly anti-kingly, how can one make sense of Paul’s apparent endorsement of governing authorities in Romans 13? Why would Paul ask the church to submit to ruling authorities in a setting where those authorities pose a real and present danger? What implications does Paul’s admonition have for civil disobedience and non-violent resistance? Dust off that vinyl, because it’s time to play a broken record, brought to you by the Pauline School. (Episode 58)

The Marketplace
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1331
The Marketplace

How should the Bible’s addressees understand the parable of the wise and foolish virgins at the outset of Matthew 25? In what way does the metaphor of lamp oil relate to the story of the foolish stewards? How does the marketplace, first mentioned in chapter 20, frame our understanding of the final judgement and the commandment to care for the weaker neighbor? This week's discussion challenges popular interpretations of lenten piety and raises questions about the way in which Christians identify with current events. (Episode 57)

Blood Sacrifice
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1276
Blood Sacrifice

What is the purpose of ritual sacrifice in the Bible? Why is so much emphasis placed on blood sacrifice as a means of expiation? Why would Ezekiel incorporate blood sacrifice in his depiction of the heavenly Jerusalem? In a continuation of last week’s theme, Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the importance of sticking with difficult or confusing texts, even when you're not sure what to make of them. A review of Ezekiel 43 leads to an interesting discussion of Genesis and the sanctity of animal life. (Episode 56)

Boring Texts
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 984
Boring Texts

Why do chapters 41 and 42 of Ezekiel spend so much time talking about the monotonous details of temple architecture? Why would these details matter in a book like Ezekiel, which undermines the temple cult in Jerusalem? Are the design schematics outlined in Ezekiel applicable to real world construction? Even if they were, why list these lengthy, boring details as part of the biblical storyline? Richard and Fr. Marc reflect on the usefulness of boring texts found in Ezekiel, Exodus and elsewhere in the Bible. Like all good things, the blessings of these passages come to those who are patient and willing to listen, over and over again. (Episode 55)

Interview with Fr. Timothy Lowe
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1763
Interview with Fr. Timothy Lowe

This week, Richard and Fr. Marc interview Fr. Timothy Lowe about his paper, The Gospel of Matthew and the Law Interpreted for Jew and Gentile, one of several excellent papers presented in Phoenix, AZ at the 2015 Symposium of the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies. Fr. Timothy explains how the gospel of Matthew was written, not just to carry but to impose the Torah on both Israel and the Nations.

Wheat, Wine, and Oil
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1367
Wheat, Wine, and Oil

The BBC recently reported that "the share of the world's wealth owned by the richest 1% increased from 44% in 2009 to 48%" in 2015 and that "on current trends, Oxfam...expects the wealthiest 1% to own more than 50% of the world's wealth by 2016." What must we hear from the biblical prophets in the face of this staggering trend? How should the rich and the poor relate to each other? How does scripture understand wealth and the consequences of greed? Fr. Marc and Richard reflect on these questions and the shame that God's generosity brings to those who believe that they've earned what they have.

What’s More Important?
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1371
What’s More Important?

What is the purpose of St. Paul’s discussion of gender and marriage in 1 Corinthians? Why is he seemingly ambivalent about the status of Roman slaves? On what basis does he chastise his disciples for airing their grievances in the Roman court system? How does his critique of 'speaking in tongues’ or his discussion of idolatry and Roman religion (summarized in his excursus on infidelity) relate to these questions? Not surprisingly, the series of pastoral issues presented in Paul's letter are systematic and interconnected with his overall argument. 1 Corinthians hinges on the question of one’s allegiance and the ruthless priority of the gospel in all things. As usual, the discussion leads Richard and Fr. Marc to some uncomfortable conclusions. (Episode 52)

Interview with Dr. Mary Youssef
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1725
Interview with Dr. Mary Youssef

Dr. Mary Youssef is Associate Professor of Arabic Literature in the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies at Binghamton University. Her research areas include Modern and Contemporary Arabic Literature, Postcolonial Studies, World Literature, Genre Studies, Migration Studies, Gender Studies, Arab Women's Writing and African Literature. She is currently working on a new book: Rethinking Difference: The Emergence of a New Consciousness in the Contemporary Egyptian Novel. Dr. Youssef describes a new development among contemporary Egyptian writers, who present Egyptian society as fundamentally heterogeneous, consisting of several diverse groups that undermine commonly held assumptions about national identity. Fr. Marc and Richard reflect on Dr. Youssef's ideas as they relate to the biblical tradition, especially her thesis on the function of "the other" in Arabic literature. The discussion leads to some surprising and helpful parallels bewtween the two genres. (Episode 51)

Cloud of Witnesses
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1362
Cloud of Witnesses

Is each generation an improvement on the previous one? Are people living today the apex of human progress? In practical terms, most of us intuit the problems of western idealism. Even so, we continue to cling to assumptions about human progress that cripple our ability to hear the wisdom handed down to us in the Bible. Nowhere is this more keenly felt than in Hebrews chapters 11 and 12. Some might say we stand on the shoulders of giants. For the sake of wisdom, it may be more helpful for us to tremble in the shadow of mighty ancestors. (Episode 50)

Who's Your Daddy?
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1103
Who's Your Daddy?

When people think of meaningful passages in the Bible, the many lengthy genealogies found in Genesis and elsewhere rarely, if ever, come to mind. Yet, it is exactly one such passage--the genealogy in the Gospel of Matthew--that holds significant meaning for the Christmas season. Who are the people listed in the opening verses of Matthew's gospel, and why do they matter? What is the purpose of Matthew's genealogy? Is the Messiah's pedigree relevant, or is something else going on? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 1:1-17. (Episode 49)

Playing All Sides
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 750
Playing All Sides

In this week's episode, Richard explores the Lord's counter-intuitive stance in Ezekiel, in which judgement falls on all sides and no human being finds favor in God's sight. Why would the story present God as the one who brings evil against Israel? Why would he use Israel's enemies only to bring more evil against them, after the fact? The podcast explores these questions as we discuss the very passages in Ezekiel which gave rise to the expression, "fire and brimstone." (Episode 48)

The Apostle Paul's Book Club
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1150
The Apostle Paul's Book Club

Does it matter which book of the Bible you read or which testament it comes from? Where should beginners start? Are some books more important than others? What is the purpose of the New Testament? Is the concept of grace a new idea, or was it part of the story all along? How do the books of the Bible interact with each other within the context of the Bible's storyline? Richard and Fr. Marc reflect on the continuity of the Bible and the importance of--well--jumping in head first. (Episode 47)

Society of Biblical Literature
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1475
Society of Biblical Literature

This week, Richard talks about his presentation at the Society of Biblical Literature gathering in San Diego, where he explored the various ways in which the study of language and poetry can enhance our understanding of the biblical text. The conversation sheds light on the broader goal of this podcast series: to hear, read and reflect on the content of the Bible as literature. (Episode 46)

The Dead Shall Hear the Voice of God and Live
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 962
The Dead Shall Hear the Voice of God and Live

Preachers often adapt themes from popular books and movies to make their sermons seem relevant for children and teens. But what happens when the content of the Bible is so nuanced that even C.S. Lewis can't capture it in a popular story? What happens when popular Christian themes are out of step with biblical meaning? Is the Bible still relevant? Can it still capture the attention of young adults? Of course it can--and maybe even especially--for those who have ears to hear. (Episode 45)

Torah to the Gentiles
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1503
Torah to the Gentiles

Richard interviews Fr. Marc about his new book, Torah to the Gentiles. The letter to the Galatians offers a brief but demanding exposition of the teaching of the Older Testament for a gentile audience. Highlighting the Bible's struggle against idolatry, power, and human identity, St. Paul's letter exposes Jerusalem's fatal misreading of biblical circumcision: a practice given to remove social barriers had been co-opted to build the same. By imposing their religious identity and practices on the gentiles, the Pillars of Jerusalem had betrayed the Torah, offering things that pass away as though they were eternal. Worse, they had done so at the expense of the weaker brother. Having been liberated by God from the worship of Caesar, why would the Galatians now turn to another human master? (Episode 44) To learn more, visit OCABS Press: http://www.ocabspress.org/news/2014/11/11/new-commentary-on-galatians-by-fr-marc-boulos

I, Paul
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1088
I, Paul

In a culture that thrives on positive messages and expects praise from everyone for just about everything, it is easy to assume that St. Paul's use of praise in his letters is a gesture of kindness. Unfortunately for Philemon, a word of praise isn't always praise; kindness is not always kind; and useful blessings come in ways that you least expect and may not appreciate--but when they come from Paul, they are always presented as an offer you can't refuse. (Episode 43)

Do Not Feed Thyself
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1277
Do Not Feed Thyself

Richard and Fr. Marc continue their discussion of the biblical functions "shepherd" and "sheep," exploring these roles in context of Ezekiel 34. Ezekiel's critique exposes the corruption of Israel's shepherds, but also undermines common assumptions about the role sheep play in the life of the flock. Do sheep have a career path? I'll give you a hint. Go with the obvious answer. We are talking about sheep. (Episode 42)

Ezekiel 33: Double or Nothing
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1232
Ezekiel 33: Double or Nothing

Do our good deeds count for anything? Is there a difference between a wicked person and a person who behaves correctly most of the time? What does it mean to be a child of Abraham? Who get's what inheritance? What is the inheritance of those who do not keep the Law? No, you guessed wrong. This week's episode is not about Paul's letter to the Galatians; it's about Ezekiel chapter 33. If only people knew. (Episode 41)

It's All About the Shepherd
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1075
It's All About the Shepherd

In this week's episode, Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the parable of the Lost Sheep in Luke 15 and the importance of hearing the Bible in its proper historical context. Where modern disciples tend to impose a Hellenistic worldview on the story, this podcast invites listeners to consider the mentality of the ancient shepherd. Where Hellenism emphasizes the importance of individuals, in the Ancient Near East, a shepherd deals with his flock as a totality. The implications of this for the parable's meaning are significant. (Episode 40)

O How the Mighty Have Fallen
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1287
O How the Mighty Have Fallen

Time travel, alien tyrants, world domination, epic battles, post-apocalyptic cities, sudden drought, unnatural trees reaching above the clouds...despite what you are thinking, this week's podcast is not about Dr. Who or an old episode of Stargate SG1; it's about Ezekiel 31. Who knew the Bible could be so much fun? (Episode 39)

Lamentations
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1126
Lamentations

The book of Lamentations offers a series of poetic reflections on the destruction of Jerusalem. Abandoned by God, hungry, homeless, and bereft of hope, once a queen among the provinces, Jerusalem had become a slave. Ridiculed by enemies, cast aside by lovers and betrayed by elders and priests, the city of sacred stones had itself become unclean. Despite this misery, Jerusalem continued to place her hope in the Lord, knowing, in chapter 5, that his utter rejection of her may be forever. Where's the hope in that? (Episode 38)

Richard Goes to OCF
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1533
Richard Goes to OCF

What is the purpose of campus ministry? What do we hope for our youth? What do we expect of them as they enter adulthood? In a contemporary setting, where campus ministry tends to emphasize social issues, religious identity, and topical theology, how can teachers engage college students with the serious study of the Bible? In this week's episode, Richard talks about a recent experience he had working through Hosea 6 on campus at the University of Minnesota. You will not be surprised to hear that in just 15 minutes, Richard had his students reading the Bible, taking notes and doing exegesis. His method is not complicated, but unlike popular approaches to campus ministry, it does require effort. (Episode 37)

Whose wife or whose son?
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1006
Whose wife or whose son?

A parable, like a short story, has a beginning, a plot, a set of characters, a complete thought, and an ending. With such a clear, simple structure, its tempting to take these stories on their own, outside the context of the broader story. To help illustrate this point, in this week's podcast, Richard and Fr. Marc explore how their understanding of the parable of the wedding feast (from last week's episode) holds up against the broader context of Matthew 22. The discussion illuminates the continuity of the chapter and brings together key themes from Genesis. It also leads to a Star Wars reference. This was bound to happen, sooner or later. (Episode 36)

Happily Ever After?
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1100
Happily Ever After?

In this week's episode, Richard and Fr. Marc reflect on the parable of the wedding feast in the gospel of Matthew. When the host's invitations are rejected by his would be guests--some of whom went so far as to mistreat and then murder his servants--it seems obvious why some are chosen and others are cast out. You'd think the host would be happy to call those who come to the feast his friends. You might also imagine that those who who accepted the invitation are better off than those who acted out of selfishness and spite. Unfortunately for all of us, a friend in Matthew is not a friend, the good and the bad are both on the guest list, and the dinner jacket you need is not in your closet. (Episode 35)

Out of Egypt
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1309
Out of Egypt

What does the nation Egypt represent in the Bible? When Scripture mentions Egypt, Assyria, or any country, is it talking about historical empires, or is something more going on? What happens when we understand the nations mentioned in the Bible as characters in a story? Is Egypt a good or a bad character? What is the significance of Hosea's proclamation, "Out of Egypt have I called my son"? (Hosea 11:1) Working through these questions, Richard and Fr. Marc consider the many ways that Christians today continue to betray the Lord, turning away from him to seek the favor of empires long gone, but still very real. (Episode 34)

Are You Rich?
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1270
Are You Rich?

This week, Fr. Marc and Richard reflect on the story of the rich young man in Matthew 19. Why was it wrong for the young man to call Jesus "good?" Beyond the obvious problem of greed, what does the young man's wealth reveal about the aims of false religion? Why wasn't Jesus pleased to hear that the young followed the commandments? Can the story's admonition against wealth be applied to everyone, including the poor and working class? Can the rich enter the Kingdom of God? Do you really think it's possible to squeeze an impressively large animal through a very small opening? This is not a trick question. (Episode 33)

Live from St. Cloud
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1147
Live from St. Cloud

In this week's episode, Fr. Marc and Richard discuss the way in which St. Paul uses the categories "weak" and "strong" to undermine human judgment in 1 Corinthians. This sets the stage for God to shame the church in Roman Corinth with the foolishness of Paul's weakness. It also set the stage for a lecture Fr. Marc presented later that evening on the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. This week's podcast was recorded at Holy Myrrh-bearers Orthodox Church, in St. Cloud, MN, in front of a live, inter-faith audience. (Episode 32)

Not Before the Time
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1260
Not Before the Time

What is the biblical response to poverty, violence and suffering in the world? How does the biblical commandment to love the neighbor differ from progressive ideas of social justice? In this week's episode, Fr. Marc and Richard explore St. Paul's teaching in 1 Corinthians 4 and the way in which the Bible undermines human paradigms of "right and wrong," "good and evil," and "victim and oppressor." (Episode 31) View our trailer: http://youtu.be/rYgeXJh1xKM

Stay as You Are
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1168
Stay as You Are

In this week’s episode, Fr. Marc and Richard discuss the painful but critical role that slavery and hierarchy play in St. Paul’s epistles. Reflecting on the same teaching in Older Testament, they explore how the freedom proposed by the Pauline articulation of the Cross differs from popular concepts of social freedom. While the gospel seeks to aggressively undermine human tyranny, it does so in a way that places as much pressure on the downtrodden as it does the oppressor—hardly the stuff of Hollywood legends. (Episode 30) View our trailer: http://youtu.be/rYgeXJh1xKM

(#29 Republished) Our Daily Bread
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1120
(#29 Republished) Our Daily Bread

Fr. Marc interviews Richard about a sermon he recently presented on Matthew 14:14-22 and 1 Corinthians 1:10-18. Richard explains how in both readings, the American obsession with “being special,” is undermined by the Bible’s critique of the natural but deceptive human impulse to seek differentiation either through personal achievement or affiliation. (Episode 29) View our trailer: http://youtu.be/rYgeXJh1xKM

(#28 Republished) Jesus Goes to High School
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1435
(#28 Republished) Jesus Goes to High School

According to a 2014 study published by the National Education Association, approximately 160,000 teens skip school every day because of bullying. In many cases, the experience of cruelty or isolation in American schools has led young people to commit suicide or worse. What are the implications of the New Testament for American high schools? How can church school teachers equip their students to confront high school life with the wisdom of Scripture? Guest speaker Thomas Drenen talks with Richard and Fr. Marc about Roman paganism, its parallels with the culture of modern high school, and the pressure that the story of Jesus Christ places on both. We encourage parents to share this week’s podcast with their teenagers. (Episode 28) View our trailer: http://youtu.be/rYgeXJh1xKM

Our Daily Bread
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1168
Our Daily Bread

Fr. Marc interviews Richard about a sermon he recently presented on Matthew 14:14-22 and 1 Corinthians 1:10-18. Richard explains how in both readings, the American obsession with "being special," is undermined by the Bible's critique of the natural but deceptive human impulse to seek differentiation either through personal achievement or affiliation. (Episode 29) View our trailer: http://youtu.be/rYgeXJh1xKM

Jesus Goes to High School
1168
2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1168
Jesus Goes to High School

According to a 2014 study published by the National Education Association, approximately 160,000 teens skip school every day because of bullying. In many cases, the experience of cruelty or isolation in American schools has led young people to commit suicide or worse. What are the implications of the New Testament for American high schools? How can church school teachers equip their students to confront high school life with the wisdom of Scripture? Guest speaker Thomas Drenen talks with Richard and Fr. Marc about Roman paganism, its parallels with the culture of modern high school, and the pressure that the story of Jesus Christ places on both. We encourage parents to share this week’s podcast with their teenagers. (Episode 28) View our trailer: http://youtu.be/rYgeXJh1xKM

Do Not Heal Thyself
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1026
Do Not Heal Thyself

In the gospel of Luke (4:22-30) Jesus warns his own people that "no prophet is accepted in his own country." Hearers of the story usually equate this with the demeaning American expression, "who do you think are?" In fact, Jesus' people esteem his position, coveting the benefits of his honor for themselves. Working through the storyline, Fr. Marc and Richard discover that Jesus' people were enraged simply because he illustrated, through the story of Elijah and Elisha, his loyalty to his Father's teaching over loyalty to his own people. So incensed were all those in the synagogue, that they physically threw Jesus out of the city. Why was the story of Elijah and Elisha so painful? Jesus did not recognize the difference between insider and outsider; instead, he fulfilled Isaiah, bringing good news to the poor, without distinction. (Episode 27)

Thy Kingdom Come
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1393
Thy Kingdom Come

Fr. Marc and Richard lament the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in light of the biblical teaching. The episode begins with a special prayer recited by the children of Ephesus School. (Episode 26) For a translation of the The Jewish-Arab Peace Song at the end of the show, click here: http://youtu.be/5d_i2F2LlF8 View our trailer: http://youtu.be/rYgeXJh1xKM

Countless Teachers?
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1080
Countless Teachers?

Fr. Marc and Richard reflect on the primacy of loyalty for the discipline of biblical wisdom. In a culture where information flows freely, why do we suffer from a deficit of wisdom? With our openness to the many treasured schools and traditions of human knowledge, why do we fail at wisdom and understanding? Beginning with Israel's sojourn in the wilderness, the podcast explores the practical implications of the biblical function, "harlot." In the end, the discussion uncovers a painful truth: the secret of our failure is our inability to commit to a single tradition of wisdom and our infidelity toward teachers and the authority of knowledge they hold for our children. (Episode 25) View our trailer: http://youtu.be/rYgeXJh1xKM

Jacob's Folly
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 954
Jacob's Folly

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Hosea's reading of Genesis, exploring the biblical concept of antiheroism as expressed in Hosea's critique of the Patriarch Jacob. Along the lines of Hellenistic literature, the addresses of the Bible want to believe in its characters; they want to believe that Jacob is a good guy. Unfortunately for Jacob, and in contrast with Hellenistic literature, in the biblical tradition, there is no one who is good: there are no heroes, no champions, no protagonists and no individuals. In the Bible, there is only God and a single choice for humanity: life or death? (Episode 24)

What if it's Us?
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 875
What if it's Us?

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the relationship between Nebuchadnezzar the historical figure, and Nebuchadnezzar the biblical character. What role, if any, do historical events play in our understanding of the Older Testament’s narrative? How and for what purpose are events within the biblical storyline arranged relative to documentary history? What does the function, “Nebuchadnezzar,” reveal about the biblical teaching? (Episode 23)

No Place to Lay Your Head
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1178
No Place to Lay Your Head

In this week's episode, Fr. Marc and Richard discuss the function of circumcision in Galatians and it's implications for human identity. What is the purpose of circumcision in the Older Testament? How does it relate to Baptism in the New Testament? Fr. Marc begins the program by reviewing the social context in Palestine during late antiquity, in which the biblical teaching of circumcision had been sabotaged by a violent expression of identity politics. (Episode 22)

Interview with Dr. Greg Paulson
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1091
Interview with Dr. Greg Paulson

In this week’s episode, Richard and Fr. Marc interview Dr. Greg Paulson, a biblical scholar and text critic who was recently invited to work on the 29th edition of Nestle-Aland, the standard edition of the Greek New Testament used by scholars, Bible translators, professors, students, and pastors worldwide. In addition to discussing his up coming project, Dr. Paulson talks about the field of text criticism, and his own dissertation on the Gospel of Matthew. (Episode 21)

Push the Text
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1196
Push the Text

Is a paralytic just a paralytic? Why did the priest in Luke walk down from Jerusalem and not up? What is the significance of being half dead, or left for dead on the side of the road? Why are we told in Luke, not once, but twice, that functionaries of the Temple passed by, specifically, on the "other side" of the road? Are all these coincidences and casual occurrences, or is something more at stake? In this week's episode, Richard and Fr. Marc explore these questions, explaining the central role of rigorous study in a disciple's life-long quest for biblical wisdom. (Episode 20)

You Say You Wanna Teach?
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1210
You Say You Wanna Teach?

In this week's episode, Richard and Fr. Marc reflect on Jesus' famous declamation against the Scribes and the Pharisees in Matthew 23. It is commonly assumed that by condemning the hypocrisy of religious teachers, Jesus is endorsing an alternative, ethically correct teacher. In reality, Matthew's beautiful and emotionally explosive woes are a universal description of flaws inescapable and endemic to human preaching and teaching. This raises important questions about the prophetic function of a teacher's sins, and how these sins are used in Matthew to expose the self-righteous attitude of disciples. (Episode 19)

Can These Bones Live?
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1151
Can These Bones Live?

In this week's episode, Fr. Marc and Richard review Fr. Paul Tarazi's exegesis of the healing at Bethesda, (John 5:1-15) reflecting on the function of weakness in the New Testament and the Lord's commandment to keep the Sabbath. They discuss how these concepts relate to the purpose of the Torah in Genesis and Exodus, and how this purpose is fulfilled in John's proclamation of the Resurrection. This leads to interesting observations about the location of the biblical Promised Land and the subtle interplay in John between the function "Jew" and the function "Canaanite." (Episode 18)

Interview with Fr. Sergius Halvorsen
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1630
Interview with Fr. Sergius Halvorsen

In this week's episode, Richard and Fr. Marc interview Fr. Sergius Halvorsen, Assistant Professor of Homiletics and Rhetoric at St. Vladimir's Seminary in Crestwood, New York. In his work in the field of Homiletics, Fr. Sergius insists that his students strive to be faithful to the narrative in order that they, as he explains, might upset the equilibrium of their addressees. In this way, those who hear the sermon come face to face with the biblical story. (Episode 17)

Shame on Who?
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1539
Shame on Who?

In this week's episode, Richard and Fr. Marc contrast biblical and worldly shame, reflecting on the central role that shame plays in the biblical tradition and the various responses to shame portrayed in the characters of Matthew's gospel. In the Bible and in life, human shame can lead to alienation, mistreatment of those who are weaker, and in many cases, expiation by means of violence or suicide. Exploring these themes, the discussion sheds light on how biblical shame undermines these outcomes by redefining the object of our shame's loyalty. (Episode 16)

Who is the King of Glory?
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 979
Who is the King of Glory?

According to a 2014 survey published by The American Bible Society, the number of people who consider the Bible just a book “written by men” has doubled in just three years. In this week’s episode, Fr. Marc and Richard examine factors contributing to this trend through the lens of John 20 and the liturgical use of Psalm 24. You may be surprised where the bread crumbs lead. (Episode 15)

The Wrong Side of the Law
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1361
The Wrong Side of the Law

In this week's episode, Fr. Marc and Richard reflect on John 12 and how the dialogue between Jesus and Judas illuminates an uncomfortable tension between Scripture and human systems of ethics and morality. Twisting a deconstructive prophetic mechanism (preaching on behalf of the poor against the rich) into a moral principle, Judas finds himself on the wrong side of the Law--in this case--the scroll of the Torah made flesh in the gospel narrative. This week's program concludes with a special musical performance by children from the Ephesus School. (Episode 14)

Follow the Storyline
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1013
Follow the Storyline

In this week's episode of the Bible as Literature podcast, Richard and Fr. Marc reflect on Fr. Paul Tarazi's discussion in episode 12 of a biblical storyline, elaborating on various examples of how the Bible functions as a single story and how this understanding illuminates the text. (Episode 13)

Interview with Fr. Paul Tarazi
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1290
Interview with Fr. Paul Tarazi

Fr. Marc and Richard welcome their teacher and professor, Fr. Paul Tarazi, who discusses his understanding of the Bible as literature and its implications for Biblical Studies. (Episode 12)

The Merciful Father
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1343
The Merciful Father

In this week's episode Fr. Marc and Richard discuss the parable of the Merciful Father, a story commonly (and unfortunately) known by the name of its secondary character, the Prodigal Son. Where modern hearers of the Bible expect the Father to show mercy in the face of unspeakable betrayal, Fr. Marc explains that, taken in its proper context, the Father's act of compassion is both incorrect and unjust. This raises questions about the problems of fairness and entitlement as they relate to grace and thanksgiving in the biblical tradition. The text discussed is found in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 15, verses 11-32. (Episode 11)

Harlotry and Loyalty
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1218
Harlotry and Loyalty

Richard elaborates on the concept of "harlotry" in the Book of the Twelve, explaining how this metaphor is used to highlight the disloyalty and ingratitude of God's people. He and Fr. Marc discuss how Israel turns their back on the Lord's generosity, repeatedly seeking self-justification and security from others. In this way, Israel insults God, not only to their own detriment, but at the expense of those in need. This week's episode concludes with a special tribute to Metropolitan Philip Saliba, who fell asleep in the Lord on March 19, 2014. (Episode 10)

Destruction of Jerusalem
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 847
Destruction of Jerusalem

In this week's episode, Fr. Marc and Richard discuss a dominant pattern of judgment in the Bible, sometimes referred to as the "Destruction of Jerusalem." This topic was prompted by a conversation with a friend from Nigeria, who was lamenting the problem of fundamentalism and the Muslim/Christian divide in his country. The podcast focuses on how this type of judgment works in the book of Amos, reflecting on God's unique stance against his own people in the Bible and its implications for individuals, groups, and nations--a topic relevant to the many challenges faced in Nigeria, and elsewhere. (Episode 9)

Suffer Little Children
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 875
Suffer Little Children

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss their experiences reading Ezekiel with children and teens, dispelling the assumption that younger audiences are unable to wrestle with uncomfortable metaphors. In some cases, the children were able to intuit the story's intended meaning where adults often misread or misunderstand. (Episode 8)

It's Functional!
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 846
It's Functional!

Fr. Marc and Richard discuss the concept of "function" in biblical studies; its application in word analysis, where it is used to help uncover the meaning of words, but also its implications for discernment with respect to human behavior. (Episode 7)

Whose Interpretation?
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 869
Whose Interpretation?

Fr. Marc and Richard discuss the problem of interpretation in Biblical Studies. (Episode 6)

Pain of Victory
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1231
Pain of Victory

Richard reflects with Fr. Marc on the implications of reading the Minor Prophets as a unified story. (Episode 5)

Consumer or Consumed?
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 1551
Consumer or Consumed?

Fr. Marc and Richard discuss the connection between scriptural violence in Micah and the Eucharistic meal in the New Testament. (Episode 4)

Written on the Heart
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2017-09-22 13:56:11 UTC 740
Written on the Heart

Fr. Marc interviews Hollie Benton, co-founder and Director of the Ephesus School. (Episode 3)

Interview with Dr. Nicolae Roddy
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2017-09-22 13:56:12 UTC 859
Interview with Dr. Nicolae Roddy

Dr. Nicolae Roddy, Professor of Older Testament at Creighton University, is co-director of the Bethsaida Excavations Project, a consortium of universities excavating Bethsaida, an important city in biblical narrative located on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee. Dr. Rami Arav, professor of religion and philosophy at University of Nebraska, Omaha (UNO), re-discovered the site and identified it as Bethsaida in 1987. Since 1990, UNO has led a consortium of institutions in uncovering and studying artifacts. Their work has shed new light on the archaeology of the Bible Land and the way scholars interpret the Bible. In this interview, Dr. Roddy talks about biblical archeology and how it relates to his study of the Older Testament. (Episode 2)

Interview with Fr. William Mills
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2017-09-22 13:56:12 UTC 534
Interview with Fr. William Mills

William C. Mills specializes in scripture, spirituality, and ministry. He holds a Ph.D. in Pastoral Theology from the Union Institute and University in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is also the author of A 30 Day Retreat as well as numerous essays, and book reviews that have appeared in America Magazine, Congregation Magazine, Cistercian Studies Quarterly, Pro Ecclesia, Logos Journal, and Theological Studies.

The Time is Now
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2017-10-07 19:53:05 UTC 2180
The Time is Now

Human beings repeat two critical mistakes every day and every hour. First, we live each day of our life as though we are going to live forever; second, we make life and death decisions at every moment without having all the facts. I don’t mean the facts about our life or the narrow parameters of the decisions we think we understand. I mean the boundless fact of the Alpha and the Omega. Each day, we make careless choices about permanent things on the basis of our very temporary and limited point of view. In the Gospel of Mark, this narrow point of view leads to human complancency about the urgency of the gospel to the nations. Like a wise parent, Jesus intercedes on our behalf: my son, you do not have all the facts, so you are going to have to trust me, the time to act is now.

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 13:21-31.

Episode 193 Mark 13:21-31; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Mystery Bazaar” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

He Will Teach You What to Say
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2017-10-07 19:53:05 UTC 1508
He Will Teach You What to Say

Whether a student is preparing for an exam or a professional is reviewing notes for their presentation, one thing is certain: when the hour comes, you can’t fake it. A professor knows which student worked hard all semester and which crammed the night before. A good executive recognizes who is spinning a PowerPoint and who has done the actual work and understands facts on the ground. You have to do the work; and it takes time, effort, and patience. You can’t fake it. If you think you can, it’s because no one has been decent or courageous enough to call you out. Thankfully, the biblical God is a loving and kind teacher who is not only willing, but eager to call you out. If you let him, he will defintely teach you what to say when the hour is at hand.

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 13: 11-20.

Episode 193 Mark 13:11-20; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Egmont Overture” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Hurricanes, Temples and Tyrants
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2017-10-07 19:53:05 UTC 1730
Hurricanes, Temples and Tyrants

Whenever something terrible happens, someone always asks, “how could a just God allow bad things to happen?” Unfortunately, the question is silly and unbearably self-entitled. Bad things happen because that’s how the world works. Sometimes people cause suffering and sometimes suffering just happens. Why? Because death and suffering are a part of life. Every human being who has ever lived has had to die, so on what basis can anyone ask, “why did this person have to die?” Death and destruction in nature are a necessary component of the natural world and ultimately contribute to the continuation of life, so on what basis can anyone call them evil? These things happen beyond the scope of human control, because, far from mastering the natural world, human beings are subject to it. We may not like it, but that is the way things are. For Scripture, it’s not a question why things happen, but of how the things that happen in the world can be coopted as teachers for the cause of the gospel; in Mark, transformed from the pain of human despair and fear into the pain of birth-giving for the life of the world.

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 13: 1-10.

Episode 192 Mark 13:1-10; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Perspectives” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

All That She Had
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2017-10-07 19:53:05 UTC 1747
All That She Had

Whether chasing wealth or reveling in piety, people aspire to ascendency. Looking to Caesar as their frame of reference, they measure everything in terms of progression, growth, movement, or expansion. But that's not how Scripture works. The biblical God does not seek the growth of his followers. On the contrary, he desires the growth of his teaching, often at our expense. When we become weak and lose everything for the sake of his Gospel, we may fail, but his teaching grows. We may become weak, but as the prophets teach, our defeat becomes a sign of the reality of his power, because it is he, not our enemies, who is the true cause of our crucifixion. Truly, the Bible is the only teaching in human history in which a deity is considered victorious because his city is destroyed, his people are scattered, and his Temple is burned to the ground. It's no wonder, then, that in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus sits in opposition to the Temple treasury. It's no wonder that he measures a person's value, not in terms of Caesar's coinage, but by their willingness to lose everything for the sake of his victory.

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 12:35-44.

Episode 191 Mark 12:35-44; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Super Power Cool Dude” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

There is Only One God
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2017-10-07 19:53:05 UTC 1736
There is Only One God

People like to handle the Bible as though it were a mysterious or complicated story that can’t be easily explained in clear terms. We do so precisely because the content of the Bible is crystal clear, and at the same time, totally inconvenient. That’s why the Sadducees in Mark’s Gospel can’t comprehend Deuteronomy and why the Pharisees, along with the Herodians, unwittingly follow after false gods. It was a lone Scribe—a man whose only job was to make handwritten copies of Scripture—who grasped the point that Jesus has been emphasizing throughout Mark: “Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord.” Not only is he is the one and only Lord, but you are not him and neither is your Caesar, your Temple, your teachings, your possessions, or your armies.

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 12:28-34.

Episode 190 Mark 12:28-34; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Robobozo” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Commandment Without End
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2017-10-07 19:53:05 UTC 1295
Commandment Without End

In Deuteronomy 25:5, the commandment to marry your brother’s widow is given for one purpose: to ensure the continuation of life, so “that the firstborn whom she bears shall assume the name of his dead brother, so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel.”

The purpose of the commandment is life: so that your brother’s wife will not be abandoned; so that his household will continue for the generation yet unborn; so that—in fulfillment of God’s Law—life will continue. For Jesus, this life does not come from men, but from his Heavenly Father.

When the Pharisees, the Herodians, and now, the Saducees, approach Jesus, their questions betray their personal belief, that life comes—not from God—but from men. They talk about God and they even quote his teaching, but their true god is Caesar. They do not hear Scripture in the light of Scripture, but according to the light of Caesar, which is passing away. This choice leaves them talking in circles about their theology, not only ignorant of God’s instruction, but actively working against it.

Of course the Saducees do not believe in the Resurrection. One need look no further than their mishandling of Deuteronomy to understand this fact.

“Is this not the reason you are mistaken,” explained Jesus, “that you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God?” (Mark 12:24)

Indeed, they are greatly mistaken.

Be warned, O Caesar: “The Lord Jesus Christ, who is about to die, does not salute you.”

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 12:18-27.

Episode 189 Mark 12:18-27; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “The Return of the Mummy” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Ideological Entrapment
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2017-10-07 19:53:05 UTC 1481
Ideological Entrapment

All ideology is self-referential: it begins with a desire for self-preservation and achieves fulfillment by exercising power. Whether we wield this power ourselves or ask others to wield it for us--because it is self-referential--it is always employed at the expense of others, especially those who are weaker than us.

All ideology is self-justifying and therefore destructive, but the worst kind operates under the pretense of morality. We see this all the time in traditional and social media: If my idea is morally right, then I am right and I have the right to exercise might. So you go ahead and post that meme that shows how stupid or evil “they” are. You took a stand. You stood up for right. You feel good. Congratulations, you're a hypocrite.

When the Pharisees and the Herodians approach Jesus to entrap him, they too operate under the pretense of morality. As the prophets proclaim, you cannot serve God and at the same time seek security from worldly powers. You have to make a choice. So they accuse Jesus with a question. But their question, itself preoccupied with self-preservation, pertains neither to the Prophets nor the Law. On the contrary, their false question concerns the one from whom they seek security at the expense of God's teaching: the Emperor of Rome.

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 12:13-17.

Episode 188 Mark 12:13-17; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Truth in the Stones” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Unless the Lord Builds the House
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2017-10-07 19:53:05 UTC 1704
Unless the Lord Builds the House

Entitlement is the most destructive force on earth and no person, group or ideology is exempt from its barbaric cruelty. Students demand the “right” not to be offended; the wealthy contend that they've “earned” the fruit of “their” labor; and consumers “demand” access to products with righteous indignation, even as citizens grumble about public benefits. All of us believe that we are entitled to receive, earn, own, produce and/or protect whatever we want, whenever we want it. The worst part is that we all complain that everyone else is entitled, itself a sign of our own entitlement! Alas, we turn to the Prophet David for wisdom:

“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, [and] to eat the bread of painful labors; For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.” (Psalm 127:1-2)

In other words, in the Bible, human beings do not accomplish or deserve anything. Everything is a free gift. It is the Lord who offends students for their sake. It is the Lord who provides both our employment and our hard work. It is the Lord who fills the land with bounty and it is the Lord who provides and revokes benefits; yet, for some reason that is not enough; humans are not satisfied with sharing in God's generous provision. On the contrary, we want to possess it, to control it, and to hoard it for ourselves.

“Have you not even read this Scripture: ‘The stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief corner stone; this came about from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” (Mark 12:10-11)

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 12:1-12.

Episode 187 Mark 12:1-12; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Industrious Ferret” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Preaching With Authority
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2017-10-07 19:53:05 UTC 1130
Preaching With Authority

When we criticize others on the basis of personal experience or opinion, this criticism exposes our blindness to the truth of our own sins. In Mark, whether they realize it or not, the chief priests, the scribes and the elders question the authority of Jesus exactly because their own authority is questionable. They challenge Jesus—not because they look to God’s teaching as the only authority—but because they want to protect their own power and prestige. But these men were no match for Jesus; not because he was more clever or powerful, and not because he had the people on his side. On the contrary, their maneuver failed because throughout Mark, when Jesus speaks, he never gives his own opinion. His authority comes directly from his Father’s teaching, of which—for all their religious bluster—the leaders in Jerusalem seem to know very little. Unlike the chief priests, the scribes and the elders, when Jesus speaks, he criticizes strictly on the basis of Torah. This type of criticism exposes the blindness and sinfulness of everyone. At the same time, it ruthlessly subverts the power of the one who proclaims it—something to keep in mind as the narrative picks up its pace en route to Gol'gotha. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 11:27-33.

Episode 186 Mark 11:27-33; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Hackbeat” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Read the Signs
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2017-10-07 19:53:05 UTC 1368
Read the Signs

Everybody sees signs. I'm not talking about street signs. I mean the things we see in life. We look at a withering tree, a flock of birds, or we experience something—painful or joyous—and we assign meaning. That’s how human beings make sense of the world. That’s why grown men put their socks on the same way before every baseball game. They assign meaning to something mundane and suddenly a pair of old socks hold power. But that's the problem. Insofar as the meaning we assign comes from the human heart, it can't help but be selfish. I mean, let's be serious, do you really believe that God (or your magical god of baseball stockings) cares about the outcome of your silly baseball game? At the same time, who has ever seen or heard of a baseball player who understands his locker room ritual as sign that we have neglected the poor or a warning that we have not obeyed God's teaching? Who among us sees a joyous sign as a stern reminder of duty, or a painful sign as a reminder of the Lord's mercy? As our friend St. Mark is wont to remind us, only those who have ears to hear. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 11:19-26.

Episode 185 Mark 11:19-26; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Poppers and Prosecco” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Nothing But Leaves
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2017-10-07 19:53:05 UTC 992
Nothing But Leaves

Imagine the following. A teacher walks into class to announce the final exam: “If you do well on the test,” she explains, “it is not because of you. You are clueless. If you happen to do well, it is because I am an awesome teacher, so please do not expect a good grade. Just be thankful that I let you attend class in the first place.” She continues, “If you do poorly on the test, please be advised, it is your fault. I am an awesome teacher. As such, you have absolutely no excuse for your failure.” Finally, she concludes, “If you do very well, I may still decide to fail you. You better believe me, and you had better not mess with me, because, once again (for effect) I am an awesome teacher, and I have said so.”

It should be noted that the results of this test will determine whether or not you graduate. So you have to attend class; you have to work hard and study; but you get no credit and there are no guarantees. Being saved by grace doesn’t sound so fluffy anymore, does it? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 11:12-18.

Episode 184 Mark 11:12-18; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Fig Leaf Times Two” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

The Boss of Me
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2017-10-07 19:53:05 UTC 965
The Boss of Me

No one likes being told what to do. We dislike it so much that we have come to idolize rebellion as a moral good. We long for a world without authority, criticism or the pressure necessary to change how we live. When a teacher rightly judges our child, we shelter the student and malign the instructor. When our manager confronts us with a problem at work, we cringe, scrambling to show that we have already learned our lesson. Why? Because we want the criticism to stop; but a wise manager does not stop. He or she delivers the message in full, repeating it as often as necessary to help the employee change their behavior. But in order for any of this to work, the teacher, the parent, the student, the manager, and the employee must all–first and foremost–place their trust in the wisdom being offered.

In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is tireless in his efforts to train the disciples to trust in the Lord’s wisdom. He does not reason with them or attempt to justify himself; nor does try to package the message in an appealing way. On the contrary, he keeps repeating and simultaneously following his Father’s commandments. The more resistance he encounters, the more persistent his message: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction. Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching; Indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head and ornaments about your neck.” (Proverbs 1:7-8) Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 11:1-11.

Episode 183 Mark 11:1-11; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Pinball Spring” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Blind Trust
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2017-10-07 19:53:05 UTC 1745
Blind Trust

In all aspects of life, human beings would rather exercise control than risk placing trust. We treat relationships like business deals, as though marriage, family, community, and friendship are all quid pro quo, and we establish rules and policies to control these relationships. When we follow these rules and others do not, we act offended. As victims, we gain to power to accuse, influence, and control others. Worse, we do the same in our dealings with God. In the Gospel of Mark, we ask: “What must I do to inherit eternal life,” or, Lord, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” We refuse to trust in the Lord; and what we lack in commitment to his cause is replaced by self-assuredness. We distort his teaching, bending and twisting it to look like one of our lame rules. Then we place our trust in the rules that we fashion with own hands. To our own peril, we ignore the wisdom of Ray Henderson: “the best things in life are free.” Give us a word, O Bartimaeus, son of Timaeus. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 10:46-52.

Episode 182 Mark 10:46-52; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Wallpaper” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Wisdom Bears Repeating
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2017-10-07 19:53:05 UTC 1303
Wisdom Bears Repeating

Whether by instinct or experience, our minds construct a subjective model of the world around us in order to ensure our survival. In terms of risk mitigation, this system is efficient and effective. For example, if a loud noise in the dark resembles your idea of an approaching bus, even if it turns out to be something else, it is safer to assume the worst, so you step back onto the sidewalk. But what happens when our personal truths come into conflict with the common good? What if it is necessary to risk being on the road despite the perceived danger of an approaching bus? Language provides both the map and the lifeline that transcend personal truth to facilitate shared meaning.

Words allow a third party to challenge your map of reality. Even as you jump to safety, someone shouts, “child!” At first, your personal truth fights against this word, because your body has evolved to seek safety. Again, someone repeats the message, “my child is on the road!” Suddenly, their words break through your perceptions, changing your understanding of reality. Against every instinct, you step in front of the (assumed) bus to save the child.

Words bridge the immense chasm between our egos to create community. Words are the chief instrument of love. Words make wisdom possible. In the face of many personal realities and an ocean of competing words, the Word of God’s wisdom bears constant repetition. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 10:32-44.

Episode 181 Mark 10:32-44; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Skye Cuillin” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

True Wisdom is Painful
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2017-10-07 19:53:05 UTC 1526
True Wisdom is Painful

Let me share a few quotes with you:

"Nothing is more fallacious than wealth. It is a hostile comrade, a domestic enemy." "Our money belongs to God, no matter how we have gathered it." "The love of money leaves everything corrupted and in ruin."

"The love of money is a dreadful thing; It disables both eyes and ears, and makes men worse to deal with than a wild beast, causing a person to consider neither conscience, nor friendship, nor fellowship, nor salvation."

"How long shall we love riches? For I shall not cease exclaiming against them: for they are the cause of all evils."

"Do not leave money to your children, instead, bequeath wisdom and knowledge. For if they are taught to expect money, they will disregard everything else and their abundant wealth will provide a way to mask their wickedness."

"A rich man is not someone who possesses much, but who gives much." "This is true wealth: not to have riches, but to not want riches."

"Teach children to love true wisdom and they will possess wealth and glory such that money cannot provide. If a child learns a trade, or is highly educated for a lucrative profession, it is nothing compared to the art of detachment from money. If you want to make your child wealthy, teach him that the one who is truly rich does not desire great possessions, or surround himself with wealth."

These words, a small sample taken from thousands of exegetical quotes by St. John Chrysostom, proclaim the teaching of Jesus Christ in the Gospel of Mark: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 10:23-31.

Episode 180 Mark 10:23-31; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “The Pyre” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

God is the Possessor
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2017-10-07 19:53:05 UTC 922
God is the Possessor

In popular culture, when someone says, “don’t judge” or “who are you to judge,” what they mean is, “how dare you criticize me?” This common adulteration undermines the commandment’s original purpose, namely, to invalidate and supplant human opinion (whether critical or complimentary) with a written text:

“But to me,” St. Paul writes, “it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 4:3-4)

In 1 Corinthians, Paul warns againt passing judgment on anyone–even oneself–in order to emphazise the primacy of the written gospel:

“So that in us,” Paul continues, “you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other.” (1 Corinthians 4:6)

If not even Paul will judge himself before the time, how dare any man give his opinion of Jesus Christ? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 10:17-22.

Episode 179 Mark 10:17-22; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Basic Implosion” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Suffer the Kingdom
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1241
Suffer the Kingdom

The disciples in Mark's gospel struggle to understand the Bible because they refuse to surrender their ideas to it. They approach Jesus with preconceived notions—of God, his Kingdom and his Messiah—that breakdown whenever Jesus speaks or takes action. The same is true of us. We approach Mark's gospel with our ideas of its meaning and its symbols, only to flounder when our idols are smashed against the brick wall of the text. For example, what does the commandment, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God,” actually mean? I'm willing to bet that you think you know exactly what it means, and that's why you still don't get it. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 10:13-16.

Episode 178 Mark 10:13-16; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Royal Banana” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

What Does the Law Say?
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1829
What Does the Law Say?

Much of what passes for religious debate is driven by a desire to be pure or to be right. A lawyer approaches Jesus to make sure he knows how to follow the Law, so that he can be right. A rich man approaches Jesus seeking the best of both worlds—he wants to be right and keep his money. When we believe that we are right or good because we have followed the Law, we look down upon those who have not achieved the purity we imagine of ourselves. That's why the Pharisees try to trap Jesus with a question about divorce. The Lord's response to the Pharisees echoes the teaching of 1 Corinthians: you are puffed up because you think you have mastered the Law; why, then, is your “wise” teaching dividing the household? Who is worse, the victim of divorce, or the false teachers who cause it? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 10:1-12.

Episode 177 Mark 10:1-12; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Ave Marimba” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Context, Context, Context!
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1171
Context, Context, Context!

What is going on when Jesus talks to his disciples about cutting off a hand or a foot or, worse, of plucking out an eye? Too often, readers stumble over these words, ignoring, dismissing, glossing over, or worst of all, inventing an interpretation. In fact, the meaning of the Lord's warning--that it is better to cut off a stumbling appendage--is simple, straightforward and easy to understand. Its meaning is staring you in the face, plain as day. It does not require an advanced degree nor access to some special, secret knowledge. On the contrary, its only requirement is familiarity. Are you familiar with Paul's letter to the Romans? Are you familiar with 1 Corinthians? How familiar? How many times have you read these letters in the past year? He who has ears to hear, let him hear! Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 9:38-50.

Episode 176 Mark 9:38-50; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Corruption” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Selective Hearing
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1415
Selective Hearing

“Don't waste your time with explanations: people only hear what they want to hear.” Insofar as Paulo Coelho's quote reflects the truth of human behavior, it also reflects the behavior of the disciples in the Gospel of Mark. Time and again, Jesus explains to his closest followers that he must fail: he must be judged, treated with contempt, made the least of all, and finally, put to death shamefully in the public square. Still, when Jesus tries to explain this, all the disciples hear is what they want to hear: that Jesus is the Lord's Messiah; that he is powerful, that he works signs and wonders, and that he will be raised in victory. But of what do the power and victory of Jesus consist? What happens when you talk about the Resurrection without the Cross? What happens to the disciples in Mark? Those who are called to serve the lowest and the least in God's household change the subject away from the dregs of the teaching to the heights of personal glory: who, the disciples ask, among their privileged ranks is the greatest? What to do, O Lord, when even divine hyperbole falls short? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 9:30-37.

Episode 175 Mark 9:30-37; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “The Lift” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Jesus, Give Us a Word!
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1485
Jesus, Give Us a Word!

If you want to understand someone, you need only examine their motivations. What does a person want? Why do the crowds in Mark approach Jesus? Most often, they approach because they want to save their own neck; they want something for themselves. Rarely do they approach to gather supplies in order to help others. In Mark, the example of the father of the demon possessed mute presents an interesting exception to this pattern. Yes, he asks Jesus to help his son, but the way in which he asks hints at the possibility of faith: “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief,” namely, “Lord, I trust you, give me something to trust! Give me your teaching!” Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 9:14-29. This week's episode is in loving memory of Mohsen Yacoub.

Episode 175 Mark 9:14-29-; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “The Lift” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

It's All About Priorities
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1266
It's All About Priorities

People like to complain. They complain that they don't have enough time; that it's too difficult to understand; that it's impossible to do; or that something else gets in the way. Worse, when they see another person do it, they heap praise, saying, “I don't know how you do it.” But that's a lie. You do know how. It's not hard at all and you know it's not hard. You just make different choices. The worst such example is when people avoid what must be done by attempting to justify the importance of something else. For those who make such excuses, the buck stops with the Bible: nothing is more important than God's teaching. Nothing. I don't mean the teaching you imagine, I am referring to the written text that Jesus keeps quoting within a written text. Nothing can replace it and nothing can convey it, except it. If you are not hearing it, doing it and sharing it in lieu of every other priority in your life, you do not belong to God. “Action,” Ghandi once said, “expresses priorities.” In the Gospel of Mark, the actions of the disciples repeatedly express their disinterest in the teaching of Jesus Christ. They are willing to heap praise on Jesus and eager to join the gossip surrounding Jesus, but they just can't get themselves to crack a book and study the content of his words. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 9:9-13.

Episode 173 Mark 9:9-13; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Movement Proposition” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Listen to Him
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1514
Listen to Him

In the Gospel of Mark, the teaching of the Old Testament is the teaching of Jesus. In obedience to his Father, when the Markan Jesus speaks, his words never go beyond what is written in Scripture: most notably, Isaiah, but also Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, the Psalms, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Joel, Zechariah and Malachi—all these are quoted or paraphrased by Jesus. Not interpreted, but quoted, preached and applied in the story. It is no wonder that Jesus appeared with Moses and Elijah in chapter 9. Together, these three embody the purpose of Mark's gospel: to carry the Law and the Prophets to the gentiles. That is exactly what Jesus does and that is why “a cloud formed, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved son, listen to him!” (Mark 9:7b) Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 9:1-8.

Episode 172 Mark 9:1-8; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Spellbound” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Who is the King of Glory?
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1370
Who is the King of Glory?

In our culture, great emphasis is placed on the opinion of the individual. We are told that our opinion counts; that our vote matters; and that our personal preferences are relevant. We are taught to think this way because it benefits the institutions we serve. In truth, an institution asks your opinion, 1) because it wants to increase its power, or 2) because it wants to increase its profit. At the individual's level, the one thing that does matter is the very thing that institutions fear: wisdom and its associated behaviors. Wisdom cannot be exploited or manipulated. Wisdom is honest and straightforward. Wisdom is bad for business.

Unlike our institutions, in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus does not care what anyone thinks. His only desire is the knowledge of God's teaching. He wants everyone to become wise by clinging only to the words of Scripture. He demands nothing of his followers except biblical wisdom. In fact, he cares so much about this wisdom—given for the life of the world—that he is willing to give his life for its sake. This is the glory that Jesus proclaims and it has nothing to do with the glory that Peter seeks. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 8:27-38.

Episode 171 Mark 8:27-38; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Virtues Instrumenti” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Who is Testing Whom?
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1474
Who is Testing Whom?

When students are challenged in the classroom, their first impulse is to avoid being tested by attempting to test the teacher. Is the assignment difficult? There must be something wrong with the teacher. Is it hard to understand? It must be the teacher's fault. *Am I failing the class? *Surely, the teacher has credibility issues. I could go on, but you get the point. A student avoids responsibility for his or her failures by blaming the teacher. Worse, the same student delights in gossip about the teacher instead of delighting in the teacher's knowledge.

In the Gospel of Mark the miracles of Jesus are given not as proof of his credibility, but as a test of his students' faith: do the Pharisees and the Lord's disciples trust in the Torah? Do they delight in the Lord's precepts, or do they seek signs and wonders as proof of his credibility? “Do you not yet see or understand?” (Mark 8:17b) Twice I fed you in the wilderness and still, you refuse to get the message. Alas, no sign will be given to you except the Bread of my Father's teaching; and you had better study it, because the final exam is just around the corner. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 8:11-26.

Episode 170 Mark 8:11-26; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Long Stroll” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

The Bread of Life
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1542
The Bread of Life

When people use the word “truth” they usually mean a worldview framed by personal experience or established by philosophy. For these ideological systems—whether personal or corporate—truth is understood as someone's abstract statement about the world. In sharp contrast, biblical truth—like scientific truth—deals with observable phenomena in the world. Where modern science discerns the mechanics of Creation, the Bible catalogs types of human behavior and their predictable outcomes, or fruit. In the case of Mark, the feeding of the multitudes presents one such truth: though counterintuitive, generosity in poverty, hospitality toward strangers, and openness to neighbors are all necessary for human survival. This is not an abstract opinion or a philosophical worldview; nor is it “a perspective.” It is an observable and repeatable fact. It was a fact before we were born and will remain a fact after we are gone. It is the Bread of the Lord's Instruction: the Bread of Life for the salvation of the human race. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 8:1-10.

Episode 169 Mark 8:1-10; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Slow Jam” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

This People Honors Me With Their Lips
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1217
This People Honors Me With Their Lips

All through Mark's gospel, Jesus instructs those around him not to tell anyone about his miracles. Most dismiss this pattern as the “Messianic Secret,” an attempt by Jesus to hide his true identity. When William Wrede coined this phrase in 1901, he wrongly assumed what the Gospel of Mark rejects: the importance of identity. In Mark, Jesus deliberately dismisses identity in favor of his sole mission: preaching and teaching. The Markan Jesus does not care if or what people think about him. On the contrary, his only concern is whether or not people have heard Scripture. So why does Jesus keep asking people not to talk about him and his acts of mercy? Because, as Isaiah proclaimed: “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far away from me. ‘But in vain do they worship me, teaching as a teaching the teachings of men.” (Mark 7:6-7) Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 7:31-37.

Episode 168 Mark 7:31-37; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Laser Groove” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

She Has Ears to Hear
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1189
She Has Ears to Hear

People make assumptions about each other based on appearance, personal affiliation or both. A well-dressed person is assumed the better candidate; good taste is mistaken for competence or moral credibility; worst of all, people judge each other by association, as though a person's social circle, identity, family, or organizational affiliation have any bearing on their knowledge or wisdom. For instance, one might assume that the Pharisees—Israel's learned religious teachers—would understand Jesus. One might also assume that the disciples—the closest associates of Jesus—would be the first to grasp his parables, let alone his plain explanations. But in the Gospel of Mark, it is a woman—from a nation that is neither holy nor modest—who has no trouble accepting the criticism of Jesus or her station as the lowest and the least in his presence: a gentile dog. In this way, Mark demonstrates the teaching of Paul: “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29) Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 7:24-30.

Episode 167 Mark 7:24-30; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Shaving Mirror” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Do Not Follow Your Heart
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1469
Do Not Follow Your Heart

A wise person, no matter his or her beliefs, understands that human motivations and desires are naturally selfish. We humans think and act from the shallow perspective of personal experience on behalf of our biological imperative: self-preservation. Our view of others, our understanding of the gods we create, and, most importantly, our actions in the world are corrupt because our core motivation, “me, myself and I,” is corrupt. Self-preservation and self-interest are coded in our DNA. How can anyone mitigate an elemental biological impulse? You can't. There is no ideology, philosophy, or belief system that can change human biology. So how is the Bible different? It assumes the worst. It supposes that all human beings are stubborn and that all human beings will always refuse to change. Its hope is not in humanity, but in the possibility that despite ourselves, a few people with “ears to hear” might be willing to follow a commandment that goes against our nature. In the Gospel of Mark, such a commandment is preached as widely as possible for our sake and for the sake of the common good. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 7:14-23.

Episode 166 Mark 7:14-23; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Bummin on Tremelo” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Call No Man Unclean
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1560
Call No Man Unclean

Human communities fixate on self-preservation, naturally forming traditions and customs that protect them from outside threats. The problem of protectionism is amplified when a group's leaders benefit from it, turning the community against itself—even alienating children from parents—for self-gain. With this in mind, it's easy to see why religious rules often devolve into an “us against them” paradigm. In human communities, self-preservation is wrongly elevated as virtue, enabling the very behaviors the Bible warns will lead to our destruction. It's counterintuitive, but in the Torah, self-preservation works against the survival of the community. In seeking to keep the evil out, we neglect the evil within. Unfortunately, by turning away “the unclean” outsider, we cut ourselves off from the life revealed in Mark's gospel, extended to us from the wilderness, by way of the very outsiders we fear. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 6:53-7:13.

Episode 165 Mark 6:53-7:13; Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature (http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature); “Sunday Dub” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Neither Snow, Nor Rain, Nor Heat, Nor Gloom of Night
1606
2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1606
Neither Snow, Nor Rain, Nor Heat, Nor Gloom of Night

According to the website of the US Postal Service, their motto, “chiseled in gray granite over the entrance to the New York City Post Office on 8th Avenue,” comes from an ancient account of the Persian Wars by the Greek historian, Herodotus: “Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

The saying lauds the fidelity of mounted Persian couriers who, during Persia's war with the Greeks, braved all manner of obstacles to ensure the delivery of royal dispatches. To borrow from St. Paul, such men clearly “have a zeal for God,” but insofar as they carry messages from the wrong king in the service of Persia's war, their zeal is “not in accordance with knowledge.” (Romans 10:2)

In the Gospel of Mark, the disciples are also called to be couriers; not of a worldly message with worldly concerns, but of Scripture. Insofar as their zeal lacks understanding, no matter how hard they row against the elements, they will never match the speed or efficacy of Jesus, who without boat or mount easily achieves “the swift completion” of his appointed rounds. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 6:45-52.

Episode 164 Mark 6:45-52; Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature (http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature); “Crossing the Chasm” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

The Voice of the Shepherd
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1194
The Voice of the Shepherd

When studying biblical literature, it's easy to fall into the trap of attempting to lock down the meaning of the Bible's characters and symbols. For example, students of the Bible often assume that “Egypt is evil,” or, “Assyria is evil,” ignoring contradictory evidence in the text. “Egypt and Assyria,” proclaims Isaiah, will be “a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying, 'Blessed is Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.'” (Isaiah 19:24-25) It's not that any of these nations are good or evil—in the Bible, no one is good but God—it's that their value pertains strictly to the Lord's commandment. If they serve the Lord's teaching, they function as the Lord's people, as Paul explains in Galatians, “the Israel of God,” no matter their nationality.

In Mark, the crowds, like Egypt and Assyria, seem to have a negative connotation. For the better part of five chapters, the mobs fawning over Jesus have obstructed his mission to proclaim the Father's teaching; but does that mean the “crowds are evil?” On the contrary, like Egypt, Assyria AND Israel, their narrative value must be constantly reevaluated relative to the commandment. In Mark 6, the situation with the crowds may look the same, but as the Good Book teaches, human beings should never trust what they see. The only thing that counts is what they hear from the voice of the Shepherd, crying out in the wilderness. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 6:30-44.

Episode 163 Mark 6:30-44; Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature (http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature); “Doobly Doo” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

It's Your Move, Herod
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1029
It's Your Move, Herod

“It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.” These words, spoken by Aung San Suu Kyi, a Burmese author and civil leader, reflect almost perfectly the biblical teaching about fear and the power of death. King Herod, a man who would sell his people's honor to appease their occupiers; King Herod, who in Matthew, would murder children to safeguard his throne; King Herod, who ordered the execution of the Lord's prophet to save face, on an oath made against that which was not his; King Herod, the last in a line of imposters who would dare to sit on God's throne in Judea. King Herod. You successfully murdered John, but you cannot stop his teaching. There is no wall, no prison, no form of execution that can help you now. Not even the power of death, which you so carelessly wield, can save you. As St. Paul, the least of the Apostles, proclaimed: The Lord, whom you murdered, is coming in power and he will put all things in subjection under his feet. “For He will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance on his adversaries, and will atone for his land and his people.” (Deuteronomy 32:43) It's your move, Herod. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 6:14-29.

Episode 162 Mark 6:14-29; Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature (http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature); “Metalmania” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

It's Not About the Teacher
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 990
It's Not About the Teacher

In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus repeatedly emphasizes the will of his Father in Deuteronomy, that any prophet or worker of miracles who seduces people from “the way (ὁδός) in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk,” should be ignored, or worse, put to death. Along these lines, in the story of Mark, miracles are given for the teaching; the teaching is not given for miracles. When signs and healings become the focus (as is common among contemporary Christians) we lose focus on the mission of Jesus: to walk on the path and to sow the seed of his Father's teaching, as commanded. In doing so, we obstruct the teaching, even as we fawn over the teacher, crying “Lord, Lord!” But as Jesus demonstrates and the apostles will eventually struggle to understand, it's not about the teacher. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 6:7-13.

Episode 161 Mark 6:7-13; Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature (http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature); “Wepa” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Familiarity Breeds Contempt
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1521
Familiarity Breeds Contempt

When people are taught to change their behaviors or to admit their shortcomings, they use whatever means available to transfer blame for their sins to someone else. Almost always, they lash out against the messenger, pointing to the hypocrisy of their teacher or explaining how a person's identity invalidates the message. In doing so, they shift everyone's attention away from the elephant in the room: the integrity of the message itself. Can a man accuse a woman of chauvinism? Can a German accuse a Jew of racism? Can a prophet teach his biological elders? Yes. Definitely. But we claim otherwise to avoid accountability. The problem is amplified when people believe they own the message or consider themselves familiar with its content. We've all met the Christian who “already knows” what the Bible says. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus comes face to face with this person “in his hometown, among his own relatives and in his own household.” Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 6:1-6.

Episode 160 Mark 6:1-6; Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature (http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature); “Laser Groove” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Give Her Something to Eat
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1588
Give Her Something to Eat

Self-righteousness is dangerous. When people who believe they are “right” apply rules to each other, even rules that were meant to protect us become instruments of abuse, cruelty and exploitation. You need look no further than the barbarity of Twitter mobs—liberal or conservative—to understand this dynamic. For politicians, sooner or later, this lack of humility results in civil strife. For clergy and religious teachers, it leads to a kind of apostasy, in this case, an outcome of teaching that renounces the teaching of the Bible. The Torah was given to show each of us that our behaviors are unclean. Yet, somehow, we always manage to transfer this shame from our behaviors to the person (or persons) of our neighbor. Our neighbor, like the wild man exiled to the Gerasene graveyard, or the woman with a flow of blood, is eventually deemed unclean. This is the sin. This is the apostasy. This is the very thing the Law was given to correct. Have you never heard what was written? The Lord said to Peter, “What God has made clean, you must not call unclean.” (Acts 10:15) And again, what Peter himself proclaimed: “God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean.” (Acts 10:28) Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 5:21-43.

Episode 159 Mark 5:21-43; Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature (http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature); “Bittersweet” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

The First Disciple
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1282
The First Disciple

When Jesus permitted the unclean spirits to leave the Gerasene, he demonstrated two things: not only his ability to control a man whom no one could subdue, but his total power over Caesar's legion. You had better believe everyone was terrified by the drowning of the swine, because when you mess with Caesar's immutable power, you undermine the stability of the country. By freeing the demon possessed man, Jesus is threatening both their political security and their material wealth. It's no wonder they asked "him" to leave; but the question is, which "him?" Who asked whom to leave and who asked whom to stay and why? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 5: 14-20.

Episode 158 Mark 5:14-20; Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature (http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature); "Mountain Emperor" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Why Are You Bowing?
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1003
Why Are You Bowing?

When it comes to bowing, our culture is schizophrenic. We teach people not to bow down to others or to let others tell us what to do, yet we bow down all the time. We bow to men of wealth; we bow to people and things of beauty; we bow to eloquent speech; worst of all, we bow to power: military power, economic power, and individual power. When Jesus entered the country of the Gerasenes, he encountered a man with the same brand of schizophrenia. On the one hand, he was a man who bowed to no one; a man who could not be controlled or subdued, "not even with a chain." No one could tell the Gerasene what to do. He was exactly the kind of man our culture applauds. Yet, when Jesus stepped off the boat, this same man (rather, the unclean teaching controlling him) groveled at the feet of Jesus. Why? Not because he placed all his trust in the Lord's seed, but because--like everyone else in Mark--he was afraid of Jesus' worldly might. Like the people who marveled at Jesus' miracles; like the fearful disciples; the Gerasene was impressed with the wrong thing. So he bowed to Jesus the way a sycophant bows to Silicon Valley.

The letters of St. Paul teach us that everyone has to bow down. Even Jesus will eventually bow to Pontius Pilate. In Mark's gospel, the question is not "should I bow," but, "why are you bowing?" Do you grovel before Jesus because of the teaching he proclaims, or are you bowing to something else? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 5:1-13.

Episode 157 Mark 5:1-13; Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature (http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature); "March of the Spoons" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Why Are You Afraid?
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1388
Why Are You Afraid?

Like the prophet Jonah, Jesus was sent to sow the seed of God's teaching on other soil. Unlike Jonah, Jesus trusted God's will, carrying out his Father's instruction without hesitation or the slightest hint of rebellion. So you can imagine the Lord's frustration, when at the first hint of danger, the disciples cower from God's mission.

"The floods," David cried, "have lifted up, O Lord! The flood have lifted up their voice!"

"But thy testimonies," cower the disciples, "are not confirmed! Do you not care that we are perishing?"

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 4: 35-41.

Episode 156 Mark 4:35-41; Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature (http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature); "Guess Who" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Like a Mustard Seed
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1287
Like a Mustard Seed

A farmer sows seed because he wants security. He wants to know that he will have enough money and food in storage to secure his family until the next season. This understanding of farming is anti-Scriptural. In the Book of the Twelve, we are repeatedly warned that man's lust for security is the cause of human suffering. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus assigns new meaning to the act of sowing seed. Where a human farmer sows for himself under the illusion of control, Jesus sows for others at his own peril, under the promise of hope against all hope. Despite all the cruelty, suffering and betrayal in the world; despite the Roman occupation; despite attempts by his own community to shut him up; Jesus does not lose hope, because he places all his trust, not in the work of his own hands, but in the will of his Father, who said, "All the trees of the field will know that I am the Lord; I bring down the high tree, exalt the low tree, dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish. I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will perform it."" (Ezekiel 17:24) Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 4:26-34.

Episode 155 Mark 4:26-34; Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature (http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature); "Zanzibar" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

#cursed #afflicted #persecuted #amen
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1606
#cursed #afflicted #persecuted #amen

In the Gospel of Mark, the Lord Jesus said, "Whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him." (Mark 4:25) In our consumer culture, this verse is almost always taken out of context and assumed to refer to worldly blessings: health, happiness, family, wellbeing and, of course, stuff. But in a passage where ignoring the Bible's obvious meaning is an unforgivable sin, "so that while seeing, they may see and not perceive, and while hearing, they may hear and not understand, otherwise they might return and be forgiven" (Mark 4:12) our listeners are cautioned that what is "given" and what is "taken away" pertain not to worldly blessings, but to the wisdom that comes from God. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 4:13-25.

(Episode 154 Mark 4:13-25); Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature (http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature); "Too Cool" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com (http://incompetech.com/)) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

It's Not About the Soil
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1392
It's Not About the Soil

When hearing the parable of the sower in Mark, few people stop to consider that seeds are embryonic plants. That's right, the seeds tucked away in a box on your shelf are already pregnant. Not only does the seed contain the instructions needed to make a plant, but also an embryo which can grow into a full plant under proper conditions. In other words, the seed does what the seed does and the soil contributes nothing: it either accepts the seed or rejects it. The soil can't even control the conditions under which acceptance or rejection are cultivated. The only hope is the seed itself. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 4:1-12.

(Episode 153 Mark 4:1-12); Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Nowhere Land" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1062
Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit

The proclamation of the forgiveness of sins is integral to the content of the gospel. After all, it was the forgiveness of sins that opened the path for gentiles to become children of the Bible. In the Gospel of Mark, the sharing of this news is the single priority of Jesus Christ--so much so, that Jesus is constantly on the move, teaching and preaching. With this in mind, it seems odd that Jesus would say, "whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness." It seems odd, that is, until you realize that Jesus is frustrated with those who willfully oppose his Father's teaching. You know, that teaching where everyone is forgiven, no matter who they are, where they pray, or who claims them as family. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 3:28-35.

(Episode 152 Mark 3:28-35); Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Rocket Power" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

He Sent Them Out
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1339
He Sent Them Out

According to Google, to rationalize is to "attempt to explain or justify (one's own or another's behavior or attitude) with logical, plausible reasons, even if these are not true or appropriate." According to Mark, people do this all the time. Is Jesus helping someone out at your expense? Explain, with logical, plausible arguments, that he is wrong. Are you trying to stop Jesus from helping others? Explain, with logical, plausible arguments, that you are doing the right thing and Jesus must be out of his mind. Is Jesus besieged by the mob on all sides because of you? Explain, albeit, without logic, that he is working for the "ruler of demons." Remember to conveniently ignore the fact that you are the one blocking "the feet of him who brings good news, announces peace, brings glad tidings, and proclaims salvation, saying to Zion, 'Your God reigns!'" (Isaiah 52:7) After all, when you obstruct his path, you are doing the right thing, aren't you? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 3:13-27. This week's episode commemorates the one year anniversary of the death of John Price and Jacob Flynn. May their memories be eternal.

(Episode 151; Mark 3:13-27); Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Cortosis" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Bread and Circuses
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1160
Bread and Circuses

Human beings make decisions and take actions based on assumptions. We do so because without assumptions, we are paralyzed by complexity. In some cases, an assumption is based on data, but almost always, our presuppositions stem from innate selfishness. As Julius Caesar once said, "Men are nearly always willing to believe what they wish." Caesar himself assumed that mob sentiment would ensure his triumph. Unfortunately, most people approach Mark's gospel with Caesar's worldview. We want Jesus to be popular. We want the mob to love him and no matter how hard Jesus runs from the crowds; no matter how emphatic his desire not to win them over; we still cheer when they surround him. Why? Because in our hearts, we prefer Caesar's victory to Jesus' defeat. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the Mark 3:7-12.

(Episode 150; Mark 3:1-6); Subscribe: http: // feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Carnivale Intrigue" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Jesus Proclaimed the Letter of the Law
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1251
Jesus Proclaimed the Letter of the Law

We've all heard it. On every corner. In every school. At every church. There is always somebody spouting platitudes about the "dangers" of taking the Bible literally. This is usually the same person who explains that "religion is the cause of all wars," conveniently ignoring the bloodshed of the last century committed in the name of consumerism and liberal values. ANYWAYS. If only fundamentalists did take the Bible literally! If you actually read what is written on the page--without proof texting--there is no way to end up a fundamentalist. No way. Unless, of course, you have problems with reading comprehension or are not aware of historical context. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 3:1-6.

(Episode 149; Mark 3:1-6); Subscribe: Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Lobby Time" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Step Forward or Step Aside
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1694
Step Forward or Step Aside

Have you ever had a ton of work to do, only to be pulled into long meetings with people who talk endlessly to avoid action? You know that feeling when you have a simple question for customer service, but the automated attendant makes you answer fifteen pointless questions, and then, when you get to a human being, they ask the same fifteen questions over again, and then, right before you finally get to ask your question, the call drops? Frustration and agitation set in as you twirl your worry beads and shake your nervous legs under the desk. Now imagine that the whole world is trying to stop you from delivering an urgent message that is a matter of life and death. What would you do? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 2:14-28.

(Episode 148; Mark 2:1-13); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Sunflower Dance Party" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Don't Be Fooled by the Crowds
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1388
Don't Be Fooled by the Crowds

People deal with the miracles and parables of Jesus as biblical vignettes that can be extracted from the gospels and presented on their own. Biblical scholars refer to these vignettes as "pericopes," literally, a section of the Bible that has been cut out and extracted from the narrative. The problem, of course, is that a section of the Bible, like a sentence or a single word, when taken out of context, loses its meaning. Nowhere is this more evident than in the healing of the Paralytic in Mark. If we hear the parable without the urgency and emphasis of Jesus' physical movement in chapter 1, the miracle cannot be understood correctly. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Mark 2:1-13. (Episode 147; Mark 2:1-13); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Rainbows" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Do Not Be Amazed, Be Obedient
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1421
Do Not Be Amazed, Be Obedient

The fallacy of the Messianic Secret is based on a presupposition that openly contradicts the teaching of Mark's Gospel. While scholars assume that Jesus is preoccupied with his identity and secrecy, in the text of Mark, Jesus is in a big rush to preach to as many people as possible in as many places as possible and he wants his followers to do the same. He does not want them to sit around and be amazed with him and his acts of mercy. He wants them to hear the Gospel and to do the same work he is doing, immediately. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the Gospel of Mark 1:29-45. (Episode 146; Mark 1:29-45); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Voltaic" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

A New Teaching?
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1333
A New Teaching?

Teaching is tedious work. No matter how many times you explain something, for every one person who doesn't get it, there are a thousand people you can't get to. It's even harder when the teaching itself is so counterintuitive that even people who think they get it have to keep relearning it. It's no wonder that people believe the New Testament is saying something new. But the New Testament is not new. If it sounds new, it's because you have not been paying attention and as a result, have fallen yet further behind those who came before you. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the Gospel of Mark 1:15-28. (Episode 145; Mark 1:15-28); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Fearless First" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Pleased With Himself
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1063
Pleased With Himself

Ancient religions stood on a simple premise: find a way to please the gods or face their wrath. Are you afraid of bad weather? Make a sacrifice. Worried about your family? Make a sacrifice. Afraid of impending war or plague? Make a sacrifice. Like all people in power, the ancient gods lived off the backs of their subjects. Since such gods reflect the behavior of those who make them, it's easy to see human religion for what it is: ritual betrayal of your neighbor for the sake of your security. But what if there were a God who refused to dwell in a temple and who could not be pleased, no matter how hard his subjects tried to impress him? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the Gospel of Mark 1:9-15. (Episode 144; Mark 1:9-15); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "DarxieLand" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

A Path in the Wilderness?
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1324
A Path in the Wilderness?

The first few verses of Mark’s gospel are packed with prophetic imagery. From the impossible concept of a path in the wilderness to the Baptist’s position outside Jerusalem, the Markan prologue heralds the victory of the Prophets’ teaching against human cities and the imminent inclusion of those beyond the Jordan in God’s city. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the Gospel of Mark 1:1-8. (Episode 143; Mark 1:1-8); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Thinking Music" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Eye of the Needle Jokes
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1209
Eye of the Needle Jokes

The biblical system proposes hyperbole, scandal, and logical contradiction as a means to disassemble the statues and false gods we construct in our minds. At the same time, hearers of the Bible tend to rationalize these tensions away, explaining to themselves and others what Jesus "really" meant. Yes, the Bible is a language of metaphor, but on the whole—far from pacifying us—those metaphors are given to amplify the Bible's attack on our egos. Besides, as we'll learn from Mark, sometimes an eye of the needle is just an eye of the needle. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the Gospel of Mark 10:13-31. (Episode 142; Mark 10:13-31); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "BossaBossa" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Third Time is Not a Charm
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1517
Third Time is Not a Charm

We Christians assume that God’s love is unconditional and that it is never too late to change our ways. Although comforting, this idea contradicts the story of the Bible. Yes, it’s true, God is patient. In fact, he is so patient in the Bible that by the time you get to the New Testament, his patience is running out. In each of his letters, St. Paul repeats a stern warning: you were given an opportunity to repent and you failed. You are now on your second chance. Be wary: the Lord is coming soon for the third and final time, and it will not be a charm. Richard and Fr. Marc conclude their reading of 2 Corinthians. (Episode 141; 2 Corinthians 13); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Drankin Song" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

It's Not a Two-way Street
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1303
It's Not a Two-way Street

In broken families, parents complain that their children "owe" them and children delude themselves that their parents "need" them. From each perspective, the relationship devolves into extortion. A broken parent shames their child because they want repayment, "after everything [they] did for them." In stark contrast, St. Paul shames his children, not to extract worldly honor or repayment for himself, but to pressure them to become providers for the sake of others, canceling out a child's sense of entitlement and self-importance. True parents, St. Paul explains, do not need anything from their children, except that they do the commandments of God. Richard and Fr. Marc review 2 Corinthians 12:14-21. (Episode 140; 2 Corinthians 12:14-21); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Zig Zag" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Silence is Not Golden
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1298
Silence is Not Golden

What good would it be if a man were to ascend to the highest heaven and return with nothing to say? Would you be impressed by him? Would you brag about him to others? If so, what would you say? If this man has nothing to say about his so called revelation, what is there to brag about? I know how some of you will answer. You will talk about his feelings and the life changing wonder of having such an experience. Unfortunately, your feelings, your experience and 50 cents will not buy me a cup of coffee. Actually, in 2016, your feelings, your experience and $2 will not buy me a cup of coffee. But I digress… (Episode 139; 2 Corinthians 12:1-13); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Super Cool Dude" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Let No One Think Me Foolish
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1241
Let No One Think Me Foolish

People embrace social norms in much the same way that fundamentalists embrace religious rules: as a means of self-approval. A person feigns modesty either to win acceptance or to exemplify correctness. That's why St. Paul's disciples in 2 Corinthians are so distressed by his boasting. Not only because his behavior is socially unacceptable and grossly immodest, but because in human eyes, his cause for boasting is even more absurd than his arrogance. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 2 Corinthians 11:16-33. (Episode 138; 2 Corinthians 11:16-33); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Curse of the Scarab" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

The Great Corinthian Brain Hack
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1554
The Great Corinthian Brain Hack

How can a teacher reach someone who is set in their ways or engulfed by ideology? What if the way a person looks at the world -- their unstated assumption about everything -- is backwards? Is it possible to help them reason their way out? Can you talk someone out of their own ego? According to St. Paul, the answer is no -- "we are not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers." (2 Timothy 2:14) So how does Paul reach his disciples in Roman Corinth? Before modern computers, there was another form of dangerous malware. It was a kind of analog software, distributed by God himself, through "the hands of Moses in letters divinely inscribed." Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 2 Corinthians 11:1-15. (Episode 137; 2 Corinthians 11:1-15); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Severe Tire Damage" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

A Yo Yo for Your Sake
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1628
A Yo Yo for Your Sake

Unfortunately, Christians often co-opt the Bible to justify philosophical axioms, such as, "it is good to be humble," or, "it is wrong to boast;" “it is good to be nice," or, "cruelty is evil." You get the point. We take the Bible, which turns human morality on its head and we use it to justify the way that we think people should be. But in Paul's teaching, there is no "way to be." On the contrary, there is a teaching to follow, and for that teaching, boasting can be as useful as humility and cruelty as helpful as kindness. Everything depends on our premise and the reference for our actions. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 2 Corinthians 10. (Episode 136; 2 Corinthians 10); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Vicious” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

No Thanks to You
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1383
No Thanks to You

Is it possible to do something good without allowing yourself to take credit? I'm not talking about haughty expressions of socially encouraged self-deprication. On the contrary, is it possible to do something good while knowing--with absolute certainty--that you are not good and that you do not deserve any credit? What is a selfless act? Some would say it is impossible. Thankfully, with God all things are possible. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 2 Corinthians 9. (Episode 135; 2 Corinthians 9); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Dreamer" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

The Bus Keeps Moving
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1340
The Bus Keeps Moving

People tend to overestimate their own importance while ignoring--or at least underestimating--the value of others. This problem is keenly felt in the church at Roman Corinth, where Paul uses the success of others to realign the self-view of his disciples. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 2 Corinthians 8:16-24. (Episode 134; 2 Corinthians 8:16-24); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Peaceful Desolation" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

True Equality is Not Fair
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1356
True Equality is Not Fair

On some level, people recognize the importance of being fair. We know that our laws should treat people equally and we understand that no one should take more than their "fair share" from anyone else. From the moment we step on the playground as kids until the day we calculate our retirement pay, we live and operate in a world that frames equality in terms of reciprocity. But what if equality could not be achieved by fairness? Worse, what if true equality meant cheating everyone? Would we still demand equality? Fortunately, it's not what we demand, but what St. Paul commands, that truly counts. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 2 Corinthians 8:1-15. (Episode 133; 2 Corinthians 8:1-15); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Secret of Tikki Island” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

The Story of God's Will
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1122
The Story of God's Will

Life coaches love to talk about having confidence in their clients and the importance of building self-worth and self-esteem. Fortunately, for the church in Roman Corinth, Paul does not view his followers as customers and he definitely does not have confidence in them. On the contrary, Paul's boldness is in God’s teaching at work in his children. St. Paul's hope is not in the ability of his disciples, but in the power of the teaching to manifest its fruit on its own terms. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 2 Corinthians 7:8-16. (Episode 132; 2 Corinthians 7:8-16); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Nonstop" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat!
1192
2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1192
Repeat, Repeat, Repeat!

Most leaders motivate others by boasting of their accomplishments. They talk about past goals they have achieved, they reflect on how effective they were at leading others to meet those goals, they praise others for their efforts, they explain the virtue of their future goals, and they repeat the message over and over again to motivate their teams. But what if your leader only spoke of his failures and sufferings? What would you think of him? How much confidence would you have in his leadership? What if he kept repeating his message of failure? Would you remain loyal to him? Would you follow his instructions? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 2 Corinthians 7:1-8. (Episode 131; 2 Corinthians 7:1-8); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Super Power Cool Dude" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Life is Not Gray
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1458
Life is Not Gray

People resolve the tension of diversity either by clinging to fundamentalism or by embracing relativism. Unfortunately, both approaches share a desire to be right: to have the right ideas, to associate with the right people, to know who is clean and who is unclean. The relativist, like the fundamentalist, is fine with "everyone," so long as "everyone" agrees with them that everything is relative. In 2 Corinthians 6, Paul admonishes his disciples to separate "righteousness and lawlessness" but also warns the church that when God says "be separate" or don't touch what is unclean, he is not talking about people who disagree with you. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 2 Corinthians 6:11-18. (Episode 130; 2 Corinthians 6:11-18); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "District Four" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1273
Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It

We human beings love having an excuse; or having the opportunity to blame someone else for our problems; or having the freedom to blame our failures on unforeseen circumstances. Unfortunately for us, according to St. Paul, no matter who you are, no matter what you do in life, no matter where you come from, no matter what is happening to you, no matter what others do to you, no matter what you think, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to remain steadfast in your trust of God's teaching. (Episode 129; 2 Corinthians 6:1-10); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Dead Drop” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

The Great Divorce
1680
2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1680
The Great Divorce

In one of his most popular works, C.S. Lewis talks about the inevitable divorce between good and evil: a comforting philosophical notion that allows adherents to be right or to be able to choose the winning side--as the sons of men often and arrogantly boast--"to be on the right side of history." But what if there are no winning sides? What if, as Jesus said, "no one is good?" In 2 Corinthians, St. Paul also talks about a divorce, not between good and evil, but between what is perishable and what is imperishable. Richard and Fr. Marc continue their discussion of 2 Corinthians 5. (Episode 128; 2 Corinthians 5:10-20); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Overworld” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Don't Get Comfortable
1471
2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1471
Don't Get Comfortable

When Paul talks about being "absent from the body," our Hellenized ears want to believe that he is talking about a dualism with some version of a Platonic soul inhabiting (or exiting) our "earthen vessel." As appealing as this may be to some, it has nothing to do with St. Paul's letter. Paul is not talking about your soul leaving your body. On the contrary, he is admonishing you to embrace discomfort in your body, trusting God's teaching against all hope, especially when it is unpleasant. In the immortal words of Tertullian, "What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?" Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 2 Corinthians 5:1-10. (Episode 127; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Deadly Roulette” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Which Life is Life?
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1795
Which Life is Life?

When someone sets out to do something difficult, they console themselves that their sacrifice is worth the effort because of what they will have achieved or attained. The problem, of course, is that we humans are as much aware of our own futility as we are comforted by delusions of permanence. In other words, no matter how much we lie to ourselves about life, sooner or later, everyone asks, “what’s it all for?” The answer, Paul explains, lies behind us because it was before us and mercifully, it was handed down to us. We need only honor the one who taught us by repeating it and acting on it. No matter how tough it gets or how futile our efforts seem, we have hope, because what we have received and what we now speak manifests a glory that does not die. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 2 Corinthians 4. (Episode 126; 2 Corinthians 4); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Eternity” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

From Glory to Glory
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1554
From Glory to Glory

When St. Paul contrasts tablets of stone with the human heart, or the letter inscribed in stone with the Spirit, or the Old Covenant with the New, Christians are quick to assume that the Old is incomplete without the New, or, worse, that the human heart is preferable to following the letter of the law. Strange, how people convince themselves that God would inscribe a teaching and then say, "oops," I never meant for you to actually read it or do it. Just get the gist, so that Obi Wan can teach you to reach out to me with the force. Then you can ignore the letter of my law and be free. That might work for a hollywood screenplay embedded with product placements, but it has nothing to do with the Bible. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 2 Corinthians 3. (Episode 125; 2 Corinthians 3); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Upbeat Forever” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Who is Testing Whom?
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1114
Who is Testing Whom?

It is common for students to judge their teachers. Worse, students today are encouraged to do so, being routinely asked to fill out teacher evaluation forms. Some have even created websites to aggregate student gossip about their teachers. In a culture that lauds greed and shames mothers, it seems that everyone has an opinion about the one who stands before them bearing gifts. Not so and not on Paul's watch, who reminds the church, it is not you who evaluates me, but I who evaluate you, "So that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things." Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 2 Corinthians 2. (Episode 124; 2 Corinthians 2; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Meatball Parade” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Wax On Wax Off
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1093
Wax On Wax Off

According to human standards of leadership, when Paul changes course midstream, it appears to his disciples that he is vascillating between "yes" and "no," like a man who can't keep his promises. In reality, it is the church that is wavering because Paul's disciples are unwilling to place all their trust in the instruction that controls their teacher's actions. Richard and Fr. Marc discussion 2 Corinthians 1:12-24 (Episode 123; 2 Corinthians 1:12-24); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “SONG NAME” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

The Blessing and the Curse
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1669
The Blessing and the Curse

When Paul talks about comfort in 2 Corinthians, it is easy to receive his words as much needed nurturing, as though we have suffered unjustly and are in need of God's intervention. But what if God has already intervened? What if the difficulties in our life are not unjust? What if the suffering of which we complain is not evil? What if the blessings and the curses in our life come from the same source? Richard and Fr. Marc begin their discussion of 2 Corinthians. (Episode 122; 2 Corinthians 1:1-11); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Fife and Drum” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Whistling to the Flock
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1597
Whistling to the Flock

Without realizing it, when people hear the word “church,” they usually imagine a meta institution with clear organizational or ideological boundaries, akin to a government or global corporation. Worse, in our various expressions of Christianity, one way or another, we tend to operate as such. Whether attempting to control the world through ideology, or to market ourselves for institutional gain, our understanding of church rebels against the Lord’s teaching. As disciples of Scripture, our duty, according to St. Paul, is to refresh our minds, supplanting our idolatrous notions of institution with the literary context imposed by the Bible. For Paul, who invites his addressees to hear him “according to the Scriptures,” the reference for “church” is something far less glamorous than the powerful institutions idolized by human beings. A church, in Scripture, is akin to a shepherd’s flock, and Paul himself is the slave, not of a powerful institution, but of a Shepherd who gave his life for his sheep. Richard and Fr. Marc conclude their study of 1 Corinthians. (Episode 121; 1 Corinthians 14:29-58); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Floating Cities” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Baptism for the Dead
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1456
Baptism for the Dead

Isaiah 22:12 Therefore in that day the Lord God of hosts called you to weeping, to wailing, To shaving the head and to wearing sackcloth. 13 Instead, there is gaiety and gladness, Killing of cattle and slaughtering of sheep, Eating of meat and drinking of wine: “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we may die. 14 But the Lord of hosts revealed Himself to me, “Surely this iniquity shall not be forgiven you Until you die,” says the Lord God of hosts. You guessed it: in preaching the Resurrection in 1 Corinthians, Paul is explaining and applying the judgement of Isaiah 22 to the church. However, what’s really clever is that the phrase in Isaiah, “Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we may die,” was also used by Roman gladiators on the eve of battle. Interesting, that the people of Israel, and now, the church in Corinth, share the same understanding of life and death as the Roman pagans. “Do not be deceived,” Paul explains, “Bad company corrupts good morals.” Richard and Fr. Marc conclude their discussion of 1 Corinthians 15. (Episode 120; 1 Corinthians 14:29-58); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Thief in the Night” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

According to the Scriptures
1984
2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1984
According to the Scriptures

Psalm 2:1 Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, 3 “Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!” 4 He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them. 5 Then He will speak to them in His anger And terrify them in His fury, saying, 6 “But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain.” 7 “I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. 8 ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession. 9 ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware. ’” 10 Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth. 11 Worship the Lord with reverence And rejoice with trembling. 12 Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him. (NASB) Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 1 Corinthians 15.

Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1888
Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent

When reading an ancient text in translation—especially one laden with nuance—there is a high risk of misunderstanding. On the one hand, there are expressions, cultural and historical references, and terminology that are not immediately accessible to modern readers. At the same time, a statement’s meaning often seems obvious, when, in fact, the translation is misleading or the reader has assumed a context that is foreign to the narrative. The first rule of exegesis is that everything must be heard in context. Historical context, linguistic context, but most importantly, narrative context. When a phrase seems to jut out of St. Paul’s letter, such as, “women are to keep silent in the churches,” It feels jolting and chauvinist to modern readers. As jolting as it seems, rest assured, such a statement flows with the broader discussion and does not mean what your twenty first century ears think it means. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 1 Corinthians 14:20-39. (Episode 118; 1 Corinthians 14:20-39); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Anamalie” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Five Words
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1879
Five Words

Better to “speak five words” that give instruction, Paul explains, “than ten thousand words” that mean something to you but are useless for everyone else. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 1 Corinthians 14:1-19. Prompted by listener feedback, this week’s episode begins with a review of the function of sin in the Torah and its implications for Paul’s gospel. (Episode 117; 1 Corinthians 14:1-19); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Awesome Call” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

A More Excellent Way
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1501
A More Excellent Way

After spending the better part of 12 chapters putting the church’s household in order, in chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians, St. Paul crowns the power structure he established with something more excellent and of greater importance than any household station or duty: the act of love. For Scripture, how we treat others is not just a litmus test--it is the only test--of our knowledge of the commandments of God. For, “If I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” Richard and Fr. Marc continue their reading of St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. (Episode 116; 1 Corinthians 13); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Unwritten Return” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Hell Was Created Just for Me
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1794
Hell Was Created Just for Me

The key to understanding any idea, statement or position is to examine its premise. What underlying assumptions must be made for an idea to make sense? What motivations drive these assumptions? Once you are able to examine an argument in this way, even the most clever intellectuals are quickly put to shame. No matter how sophisticated the theology of the elite in Roman Corinth, because their assumptions were predicated on human principles, nothing they said could ever pass muster with Paul and everything they did caused division in the church. Why? Because from the Bible’s point of view, if it’s a human word, it is naturally selfish. So what is an apostle to do? Take a stand against all sides and do so at your own expense. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 1 Corinthians 12. (Episode 115; 1 Corinthians 12); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “East of Tunesia” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Paul's Kung Fu
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 2194
Paul's Kung Fu

According to our friend Google, a contradiction is, “a combination of statements, ideas, or features of a situation that are opposed to one another.” According to St. Paul, this combination is a mechanism of wisdom, as in, “I will undermine power by exercising power,” or “I will create heterarchy by imposing hierarchy.” Welcome to 1 Corinthians 11. (Episode 114; 1 Corinthians 11); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Rynos Theme” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

A Tribe of One?
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1626
A Tribe of One?

What if you know something is OK, but someone else does not? What if you know something is not OK, but others think it is fine? What if someone offers you something that is OK, and they think it is OK, but someone else is confused and thinks that it is not OK? Can something be both OK and not OK at the same time? What do you do then? Most people are fine when the gospel says, “do not judge,” but what if the commandment also means allowing others to judge you? What should you do about the negative people in your life? We’ll give a little hint: St. Paul does not believe in the pursuit of your happiness, but he is is fine if others are happy because of you; even better if they are happy at your expense. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 1 Corinthians 10:14-31. (Episode 113; 1 Corinthians 10:14-31); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Fretless” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

First Among Average
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1283
First Among Average

What does it mean to be chosen in the Bible? What is the purpose of having a chosen people? How does God honor his chosen? What is expected of those who hope to join the ranks of the chosen? How long is a chosen person’s tenure? Doesn’t the whole idea of being chosen go against human fellowship? When it comes to the Bible, one man’s curse is another man’s blessing, and vice versa, ad eternum. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 1 Corinthians 10:1-13. (Episode 112; 1 Corinthians 10:1-13); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Casa Bossa Nova” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Trickle Up Economics
1916
2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1916
Trickle Up Economics

Can you make yourself the least of all by insisting on your title and station? Can you sacrifice everything for the sake of others without them liking it? Are you able to repeatedly flip an argument on its head until no one is able to stake out a position? Can you use a metaphor over and over again to illustrate how you should be treated but then turn on your own use of the metaphor because, not only are you not talking about oxen, but you are not talking about food? If you answered yes, your name must be Paul, and this must be 1 Corinthians 9. (Episode 111; 1 Corinthians 9); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Spy Glass” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Not So Smart After All
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1693
Not So Smart After All

According to Wikipedia, “Illusory superiority is a cognitive bias whereby individuals overestimate their own qualities and abilities relative to others. This is evident in a variety of areas including intelligence, performance on tasks or tests, and the possession of desirable characteristics or personality traits.” This may explain why so many students believe they have something to offer their professors. It may also explain why—for all their supposed knowledge—the elite of the church in Roman Corinth were absolutely clueless about the gospel. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 1 Corinthians 8. (Episode 110; 1 Corinthians 8); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Thatched Villagers” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

How To Play Both Sides Without Waffling
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1463
How To Play Both Sides Without Waffling

For as long as religion has been around, people have come forward with a single, destructive question: "O religious leader, what does our religion say," or, "What does our religious leader say about X?" One way or another, people eventually find someone who can provide clarity on issue X. Then everybody gives a big sigh of relief until someone comes along with a different opinion about said issue, X. By now, I'm sure our podcast listeners are asking the real question, namely, how does St. Paul solve the question of issue X? Well, he explains, "I think the answer is X, but then again, I think the answer is Y. But then again, it could be X, but, then again, if it's not, or if maybe it is, keep in mind--now, this is just my opinion--but I think Y is also fine, so long as you keep your priorities straight." Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 1 Corinthians 7:25-40. (Episode 109; 1 Corinthians 7:25-40); Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Conflicted" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Not Your Ordinary Life Coach
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1587
Not Your Ordinary Life Coach

When couples want marriage or divorce, they think "fairness." When people are dissatisfied with their place in life, they think "change." When people look at their own status, they think, "better" or "worse." If all this makes sense to you, then, according to 1 Corinthians, your priorities are all wrong. Instead of caring about the gospel, you are thinking about you. That may please your life coach, but it won't get you very far with St. Paul. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 1 Corinthians 7:1-24. (Episode 108; 1 Corinthians 7:1-24; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Aurea Carmina" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Égoïsme à deux
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1642
Égoïsme à deux

People love to defend themselves. They defend their choices. They defend their group. They defend their rights; their property; their beliefs. Oh, yes, and people love to be right. They love it. It's like a drug. They love it so much that when something goes unavoidably wrong, they devise clever ways to blame other people. Human beings are so committed to defending themselves that in the US alone, we spend $234 billion annually on legal fees. That's enough money to stop world hunger for 8 years. Now, what if I told you about an ancient method of conflict resolution guaranteed to work in every situation, without exception. If only people knew. (Episode 107; 1 Corinthians 6; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "TV Melodrama" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

The Problem Within
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1434
The Problem Within

At first glance, St. Paul's admonition in 1 Corinthians 5, that the faithful are not to associate with immoral people, seems to imply that the church should safeguard its purity by avoiding association people outside the community. No interpretation of 1 Corinthians could be further from the truth. On the contrary, when Paul speaks of immoral people in chapter 5, he is referring to people within the church. To borrow a line from Mark's gospel, "there is nothing outside a man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man." (Mark 7:15) Richard and Fr. Marc continue their discussion of 1 Corinthians. (Episode 106; 1 Corinthians 5; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Open Those Bright Eyes" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

The Art of Biblical Shame
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 2025
The Art of Biblical Shame

When reading 1 Corinthians, it is easy to mistake Paul's discussion of weakness and strength as a universal condemnation of power. On the contrary, Paul presents the teaching of the cross as a way of replacing one kind of power with another. You might be tempted to let yourself off the hook by claiming that he is replacing man's power with God's power. Well, OK, but you are avoiding the tougher question: how is God's power made manifest? In abstraction? Theoretically? Intellectually? In chapter 4 of 1 Corinthians, Paul demonstrates what God's power consists of and how it is to be wielded in the church. Like the embarrassment of confession, it is neither theoretical, invisible nor mystical. You should be so lucky. (Episode 105; 1 Corinthians 4; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Cool Hard Facts" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Neither is Anything
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1338
Neither is Anything

Scientists believe that plant life first formed on the Earth 700 million years ago and that the first fungi appeared on land 1300 million years ago. In contrast, human agriculture did not develop in the Fertile Crescent until 11,500 years ago. Now, I am not a math expert, but it seems to me that if all this is true, seeds were sown, watered and growing on Earth for millions and millions and millions...and millions of years before human beings began farming. If that's the case, why on Earth would anyone imagine that the human being who plants and the human being who waters amount to anything? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 1 Corinthians 3. (Episode 104; 1 Corinthians 3; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Four Beers Polka" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Spiritual Authority
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 2147
Spiritual Authority

How can St. Paul emphasize the importance of weakness while boasting that his own preaching is a "demonstration of the Spirit and of power?" How can he preach weakness from a position of strength? Is Paul contradicting himself? Why would someone proclaiming the crucified Christ claim to do so with power? What part does Roman culture play in the content of the gospel? That’s right. No need to clean the wax out of your ears. I did not say, "how do we separate Roman culture from the true meaning of the gospel?" I said, "what part does Roman culture play in the content of the gospel?" Richard and Fr. Marc discuss 1 Corinthians 2. (Episode 103; 1 Corinthians 2; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "OctoBlues" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

A Practical Impracticality
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1815
A Practical Impracticality

What does it mean to hope in the Kingdom of God and how does this hope differ from the false promises of idealism? How is the biblical teaching, which seems impractical, ruthlessly practical in its transformation of human behavior? Why is the content of the gospel readily dismissed by both religious and secular thinkers? What opportunity does this teaching and the decline of religion in the United States present to Christians? Richard and Fr. Marc continue their discussion of chapter 1 of 1 Corinthians. (Episode 102; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Daily Beetle” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

An Appeal to Fellowship
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1955
An Appeal to Fellowship

What is the answer to every human conflict and how is this answer sabotaged by human wisdom? What does it mean, in biblical terms, to be called by God? How does St. Paul use praise as a tool of judgment against the church in Roman Corinth? This Christmas Eve, Richard and Fr. Marc celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ with the first in a series of episodes covering 1 Corinthians. May it always be pleasant for you to remember upon Christmas Day the one who made lame beggars walk and blind men see; And by your remembering, may the poor always have good news brought to them. A very Merry Christmas to you. (Episode 101; 1 Corinthians 1:1-17; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Silent Night” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Epilogue: Freeing the Dove
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 4132
Epilogue: Freeing the Dove

In a special anniversary edition marking the 100th episode of the podcast, Richard and Fr. Marc take the opportunity to draw on themes from the show's first two years while unpacking the surprising meaning of Genesis 47. An epilogue to their six part series on Galatians, this week's episode also serves as an introduction for Walid Issa, the keynote speaker at Bethlehem 2015, an interfaith event hosted at St. Elizabeth Orthodox Church in Eagan, MN. This week’s show was recorded in front of a live audience. Walid's keynote is included at the end of the program. (Episode 100; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Christmas Rap" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

Unearned Suffering: In Memory of John Price
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 2306
Unearned Suffering: In Memory of John Price

On December 4, 2015, John Ashton Price IV, age 18, and Jacob Flynn, age 17, were killed in an automobile accident in Lakeville, Minnesota. In concluding their six part series on the letter to the Galatians, Richard and Fr. Marc take time to reflect on the tragedy of this unbearable loss in the light of the St. Paul's teaching. This week's episode is offered on behalf of the Price family: John, Lisa and Tom, in memory of their beloved son and brother, "John John" and his dear friend, Jacob. (Episode 99; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; Cover photo: "Lined With Angels" John Price; Music: "Winter Chimes" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/)

The Sons of Jacob
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 1826
The Sons of Jacob

Hearing Galatians in translation and out of context, it’s tempting to conclude that St. Paul is arguing for some new alternative to the teaching of Old Testament; but for those who make an effort to hear the text in context, it becomes quickly clear that Paul’s letter is not only reading and explaining -- but applying -- the Torah to the church in Galatia. At the center of this wrangle is Jerusalem’s misreading of the meaning of circumcision in Genesis. In their discussion of Galatians 5, Richard and Fr. Marc compare the abuse of circumcision in Genesis 34 with it’s misuse at the hands of Peter and James. (Episode 98; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; "Pippin the Hunchback" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ )

The Children of Hagar
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2017-10-07 19:53:06 UTC 2137
The Children of Hagar

What is the difference between a child and an heir in Roman society and what role does the Roman household play in the content of Paul’s gospel? Why does Paul use two different languages, Aramaic and Greek, to address the Father of Jesus? How could a barren woman have more children than someone capable of childbirth? Who are the children of Hagar and what is the Jerusalem above? Richard and Fr. Marc tackle Galatians 4. (Episode 97; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Only the Dead are Perfect
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 2095
Only the Dead are Perfect

What is the purpose of the Law in Galatians and how does it relate to Abraham’s faith in God’s instruction? What is the connection between the Law of Moses and the Crucifixion of Jesus? How and why does the Torah illustrate Abraham’s wickedness while also insisting on his centrality? Does the Law contradict faith? If the works of the Law cannot attain righteousness before God, what is the point of the Law? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Galatians 3. (Episode 96; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Broken for the Sake of the Poor
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 2376
Broken for the Sake of the Poor

Why does St. Paul specify that he was away from Jerusalem for an interval of fourteen years? Does the length of time have any significance? Why did he insist on meeting privately with Peter and James during his visit? Why are Peter, James and John referred to as the Pillars? Why is the death of Jesus considered a victory and how do Paul’s opponents jeopardize this victory? Richard and Fr. Marc continue their discussion of Galatians with a review of chapter 2. (Episode 95; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

God is My Judge
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1789
God is My Judge

What does St. Paul mean when he explains that no one, not even an "angel from heaven," can contradict the gospel that was preached in Galatia? To what does Paul appeal in making the claim that his authority comes directly from God and not from men? How do the norms of civil law shed light on Paul's opening argument in Galatians 1? Why do fascists and dictators, who control every aspect of civil society, still seek legitimacy from their respective constitutions? What does all of this have to do with a dead guy names Hammurabi? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss St. Paul's letter to the Galatians. (Episode 94; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

No Oxygen Allowed
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1669
No Oxygen Allowed

Rationalize (verb): to attempt to explain or justify (one's own or another's behavior or attitude) with logical, plausible reasons, even if these are not true or appropriate. Synonyms: justify, explain, explain away, account for, defend, vindicate, or excuse, as in, "he tried to rationalize his behavior." Thanks, Google Dictionary, for providing such a lucid description of how we twist the Bible to get ourselves off the hook. Put your seat-belts on! This week, Richard and Fr. Marc revisit Lazarus and the Rich Man in the Gospel of Luke. (Episode 93; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Bless Thine Inheritance
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1222
Bless Thine Inheritance

What if someone wrote a book that imposed patriarchal authority at the expense of patriarchs, redeemed inheritance at the expense of wealth, upheld a patronymic without blessing the name, linked patrimony and childbirth to each other and to God’s teaching while emphasizing the commandment to care for the widow, the orphan and the foreigner, rubbed in the fact that God blesses couples, households and communities that by all rights should not be blessed, and finally, presented a vision of some future kingdom that will include the very people that everyone is trying to avoid. You don’t have to ask "what if?" We have the book in hand and will cover it’s final chapter today. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Ruth 4. (Episode 92; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Hear, O Daughter
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1380
Hear, O Daughter

At your right hand stood the Queen in vesture of gold; Hear, O daughter, and see, and incline your ear! The rich among the people shall entreat your favor and the King shall greatly desire your beauty; For he is your Lord and you shall worship him. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Ruth 3. (Episode 91; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Waking Ned Devine
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1770
Waking Ned Devine

How is the content of Ruth reflected in the teaching of St. Paul and in the gospel narratives? Why, in Ruth, does it matter who is whose relative and who is connected to whom? Why do Richard and Fr. Marc make such a big deal out of biblical names? Why does Ruth prostrate herself in front of a man? Isn’t she the one making all the big sacrifices to support Naomi? Shouldn’t everyone bow to her? Who is this mighty Boaz, anyway? Is power always evil? Only for those whose mind can’t get past the person to see God’s function in operation. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Ruth 2. (Episode 90; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Dialogue is the Problem
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1476
Dialogue is the Problem

Why do discussions about race in the United States always seem to widen the gap between neighbors? How do our assumptions about race cripple our ability to recognize oppression in unfamiliar places? Is racism the main issue, or is it symptomatic of a deeper human dysfunction? In the first episode of a four part series, Richard and Fr. Marc examine the problem of identity in the Book of Ruth. As is to be expected, the Bible's wisdom on this subject will embarrass folks on both sides of the aisle. (Episode 89; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Their Confusion is at Hand
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1423
Their Confusion is at Hand

Why would Jesus, who warns against the sword in Matthew 26 threaten to use one in Matthew 10? Why would Jesus set a man against his father and a daughter against her mother, when in the Torah God commands that parents are to be honored? In Luke, the gospel heralds the coming of Jesus with the proclamation "peace on earth." Why, then, in Matthew, does Jesus say, "I did not come to bring peace?" If you are looking for a simple answer along the lines of "for" or "against," then turn off this podcast and watch cable news. If you hope to use Matthew 10 to support your just war theory, at best, you are being lazy. Yes, the Bible does bring a sword and it is connected to the real violence we experience in the world. The question is, on which end of the sword are the followers of Jesus expected to find themselves? (Episode 88; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Grant Victory Against Me
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1567
Grant Victory Against Me

The Passion narrative in John 19 is unequivocal: the life of Jesus ended in humiliation, abuse, abject betrayal, subjugation and utter failure. You might try to comfort yourself by arguing that Jesus was treated unfairly, however, in truth, the outcome of his life was a direct result of his Father’s teaching. In other words, in the gospel story, following God’s Torah leads to absolute defeat; a fact, St. Paul explains, that confounds religious people and attracts scorn from rational thinkers. With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that from the beginning, Christians themselves have failed to embrace the gospel. That this failure is obvious, to be expected, and nothing new does not make it less painful. (Episode 87; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Knock Yourself Out
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1639
Knock Yourself Out

A recent article in Salon magazine views the ongoing decline in American religion "in part, as an inevitable result of the politicization of Christianity." Where does the temptation to infuse church with political ideology come from? What does politicized religion hope to achieve and what are its consequences? Are there examples of politicization in the Bible? Is there a biblical alternative that can avoid politics and ideology without ignoring current events? Richard and Fr. Marc reflect on these questions as they discuss 1 Samuel. American Christians, take heed: the Lord is patient and ready to give you exactly what you want; so be careful what you ask for. (Episode 86; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

The Empire Strikes Back
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1233
The Empire Strikes Back

Often and wrongly promoted as a biblical precept, unconditional love works against the purpose of Jesus in the New Testament. Nowhere is this point more clearly expressed than in the parable of the wicked vinedressers in Matthew 21. What does Matthew’s parable reveal about biblical grace and the problem of entitlement? Why does God allow the vinedressers to commit such violent crimes, against not only his servants, but his own son? What implication do God’s actions in the story have for human parents and teachers? As always, the pastoral wisdom gleaned from Scripture looks foolish to human eyes; but then, so too looked the stone in the eyes of the builders. (Episode 85; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

The Tower of Babel
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1414
The Tower of Babel

Of language diversity in the United States, Saul Bellow once quipped, "A melting pot, yes. A tower of Babel, no." The Nobel Laureate's comment, indicative of American norms, undermines the meaning of the parable he invokes. Where human institutions (in line with Bellow's axiom) consolidate and unify, the biblical God imposes diversity. Where powerful nations go beyond lingua franca to demand una lingua, in Genesis, the Lord deliberately confounds human speech. Proponents of institution sometimes assert that multilingualism in Genesis is a negative outcome, but this assumption falls out of step with the story's plot. In Genesis, God's victory at the Tower of Babel is part of a larger war against the strategic agendas of human empire. This week, Richard and Fr. Marc reflect on the Tower of Babel in Genesis and its implications for multilingualism in North America. (Episode 84; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

The Problem of the Justified
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1877
The Problem of the Justified

A culture's moral platitudes expose the sins for which its adherents hope to atone. This tension is present in popular critiques of the biblical commandment, "an eye for an eye." But what happens when our assumed high ground amplifies the sins we want to erase? Worse, what if the people harmed by our platitudes respond to our abuse with a counter-morality? What happens when society disintegrates into a community of justified ideologues and entitled victims? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss St. Paul’s compensation in 1 Corinthians, the merciless servant in Matthew, and the problem of vengeance in the book of Judges and 1 and 2 Kings. Given the state of the world, the instruction, "an eye for an eye," may be a goal beyond our reach. (Episode 83; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Until the Lord Comes
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 2070
Until the Lord Comes

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens: Lo, it is better to be patient than arrogant, for the end of something is better than its beginning--not because your toil has ended, but because the reward for patience is wisdom and understanding. So admonishes the Preacher's eulogist, who shames us with the Preacher's labours, goading us with his instruction: the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and this fear is man's duty during his brief season under the sun. Remember to keep this commandment, for God will bring every deed into judgment, whether good or evil. This week's episode brings our 12 week series on Ecclesiastes to its conclusion. But don't worry, we'll keep turning the pages with you on this podcast for as long as we can, God willing, until the Lord comes. Until then, turn, turn, turn! (Episode 82; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Famous for Scrubbing Toilets
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1635
Famous for Scrubbing Toilets

Since everything you have is already passing away, why hold onto it? Since you can't control the weather, why worry about? Since everything you do is vanishing breath, why not do it? Yes, it's true, you can't add a single hour to your life span by worrying. But look a the bright side: if God cares for the prairie grass of Minnesota's rolling plains, which today is alive and tomorrow is cast into the oven, how much more will he care for you, O ye of little faith? Yes, all is still vanity for both the Preacher and the Gospel of Matthew, but don't worry. You can still become famous for scrubbing toilets. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Ecclesiastes 11. (Episode 81; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Man Cannot Judge
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1688
Man Cannot Judge

Ecclesiastes 10 presents a world in which two paths, one foolish and one wise, both lead to the same outcome. Where temporal human eyes see the benefits of wisdom, the Preacher exposes folly. Where men see failure and assume folly, the Preacher proclaims great dignity; but not always, he argues, since the reverse is often true. So how is man to judge? What is man to do? The answer, my friend, is not blowing in the wind, it’s handed down in the content Scripture, open only to those who surrender themselves to its pages. (Episode 80; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Play the Cards You're Dealt
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1391
Play the Cards You're Dealt

According to the Preacher, no matter what you do, you are doomed to the one fate that awaits everyone. Are you a righteous man? Are you wicked? Can you, by your actions, determine the outcome of your life? Since all share the same fate, does it matter? For the author of Ecclesiastes, it does matter, but not in the way that you imagine and not in a way that makes sense—unless you accept that all deeds (and all things), both good and evil, are in the hand of God. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Ecclesiastes 9. (Episode 79; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Judgment As Hope
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1491
Judgment As Hope

When a human judge seeks meaning in the abuses of the wicked or in the misfortunes of the righteous, if he is as honest with himself as the Preacher in Jerusalem, his pursuit of wisdom leads nowhere. As each door closes in his face and each path turns to vanity, he comes to a realization: every possibility he considers is judged by God. "Although a sinner does evil a hundred times and may lengthen his life," says the Preacher, "still I know that it will be well for those who fear God, and who fear him openly." (Episode 78; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Stick To It, Don’t Stick It To Yourself
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1876
Stick To It, Don’t Stick It To Yourself

If, for the sake of wisdom, death is better than birth, sorrow is better than laughter and mourning is better than feasting, what hope has the wise man of escaping ruin? Is such wisdom truly wise, or is it better to grasp righteousness without abandoning wickedness? God, the Preacher explains, has made the one as well as the other; the person who embraces this contradiction is the one who fears the Lord. This week, Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Ecclesiastes 7. (Episode 77; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Back From Greece
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1469
Back From Greece

What would happen if God gave you honor, riches and wealth such that nothing you desired was beyond your reach? What if he then invited foreigners to enjoy this wealth in your place? What does this mean? Is the foreigner wrong to partake of your treasure? Is he now better off than you? Would you be right to condemn him? How can anyone reconcile God’s generosity with such terrible affliction? For that matter, how can one reconcile bounty with famine; honor with obscurity; or purpose with futility? Richard and Fr. Marc explore these questions as they discuss Ecclesiastes 6. This week’s episode is produced in solidarity with the people of Greece. We love you and we are praying for you. (Episode 76; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

You Can’t Take It With You
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1292
You Can’t Take It With You

In a culture that loves money and values everyone’s input, Ecclesiastes 5 is a bitter pill. Human speech, cries the Preacher, is the sacrifice of idiots and the gathering of wealth a grievous evil under the sun. Let your words be few. Shun the acquisition of wealth. Delight in your work and in the few years that God has given you. Sleep on an empty stomach. Fear God and trust in his judgment, even when faced with injustice, for even an oppressor, in the palm of God’s hand, brings advantage to the land. I would pay real money to see Hollywood try to package that message in a movie trailer. (Episode 75; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Two Are Better Than One
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1231
Two Are Better Than One

Who is worse off, the oppressor or the oppressed? Is the power wielded by kings and empires real? Is a king of humble origins better than an old fool on the throne? What does Ecclesiastes have to do with Judas Iscariot or New Testament questions dealing with works of the Law and grace? Is there any way to salvage the vanity of man’s striving after wind? What does all this have to do with the invention of the automatic dish washer? For answers to these compelling questions and more, stay tuned for this week’s episode of the Bible as Literature. (Episode 74; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Turn Turn Turn
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1436
Turn Turn Turn

There is a time for every season under heaven: A time to be silent and a time to speak; A time to love and a time to hate; A time for war and a time for peace: For many, these words call to mind a beautiful ballad lamenting the futility of war. However, for the Preacher in Jerusalem, the list of dichotomies presented in Ecclesiastes 3 speak to something far more difficult: inasmuch as war is as certain as peace, and tears are as certain laughter, all things, even the things we hate, are a gift from God. (Episode 73; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

The Pursuit of Happiness?
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1590
The Pursuit of Happiness?

Is there a difference between a fool and a wise man? Does a man who acts correctly gain advantage over one who stumbles? What has the Preacher in Jerusalem to do with the suburbs in Minnesota? Richard and Fr. Marc continue their discussion of Ecclesiastes. This week’s episode is dedicated to Paul Boulos, who died on May 29, 2015. (Episode 72; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

A Generation Goes and a Generation Comes
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1237
A Generation Goes and a Generation Comes

This past week, Fr. Marc’s dad, Paul Boulos, was transferred to a hospice facility. As Fr. Marc and Richard reflect on Paul's life and the meaning of his death, no text in the Bible brings more clarity than Ecclesiastes. (Episode 71; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Because You Have Rejected Knowledge
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1623
Because You Have Rejected Knowledge

Fundamentalists are quick to apply biblical texts to current events, making fantastic claims about world leaders, foreign countries, and, as Matthew says, about "wars and rumors of war." (Matthew 24:6) Aside from having no real or legitimate connection to the Bible (or reality) such claims always deflect God's wrath, leveling judgment at other groups and other cultures but never at the Bible's intended audience: the person reading it. In this week's episode, Richard and Fr. Marc reflect on Hosea 4 and the insight it brings to recent examples of aberrant behavior among pre-teens. The discussion demonstrates how the Bible can and should be applied to current events without succumbing to self-righteousness or ignorance. (Episode 70; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Choosing the Better Portion
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1356
Choosing the Better Portion

In the gospel of John, how do the actions of the Samaritan woman set her apart from the disciples of Jesus? What does it mean to be a disciple? Is discipleship only about learning and following, or is more required? Why does fundamentalism make discipleship impossible? The answer to these questions comes with the difficult reminder that biblical knowledge can only be received at the expense of the disciple's ego. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the parable of the Samaritan woman in John 4. (Episode 69; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

It’s Not Who You Know
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1114
It’s Not Who You Know

Religious and secular ideologies share much in common, including their emphasis on personality and identity. Who are you? What are you? What group are you from? What do you believe? Are you one of us? These questions betray our fear of each other and take attention away from what really matters, namely, our ability to receive and to share knowledge, and the actions we take based on knowledge. In religion, this emphasis unfolds as idolatry under the guise of devotion to God. Instead of asking, "what does God teach," we ask, "who is God?" Instead of acting on God's teaching, we ask others about their relationship with God. Contrary to widely held assumptions about the fourth gospel, it is not God’s identity that concerns John, but knowing the teaching of the Father, the very wisdom that sent Jesus to the Gentiles. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss John 5. (Episode 68; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

What Has Athens To Do With Jerusalem?
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1626
What Has Athens To Do With Jerusalem?

It's easy to allow symbols and ideas from outside the Bible to shape our understanding of the text. In contrast, serious biblical students set aside extra-biblical influences, so that only Scripture can interpret Scripture. In late antiquity, this tension was felt in the divergent schools of Antioch and Alexandria. While metaphor and allegory are present in both traditions, the Antiochians looked to the Bible as their primary source, forgoing Alexandria's affinity for Hellenistic philosophy. In this week's episode, Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the problem of biblical interpretation and the metaphor of the empty tomb in Mark 16. (Episode 67; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Your Feelings Are Immaterial
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1411
Your Feelings Are Immaterial

What do the ending of John's gospel and the first chapters of Acts teach us about the problem of human feelings? How do our assumptions about love and its relationship to emotion cripple our ability to fulfill God's instruction? Why is it destructive and idolatrous to associate the Holy Spirit with an emotional response? Don't trust your feelings; Don't follow your heart; Turn off the Disney channel and stay tuned to this podcast. You might not feel good, but we promise not to lie to you. (Episode 66; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Be It Known to You O King
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1497
Be It Known to You O King

What do the narratives of Exodus and Daniel have to do with the Resurrection of Jesus Christ? Why were these stories understood historically as penultimate readings during Easter week? What is the common thread that connects these texts with gospel accounts of Christ's Passion? If you've noticed that all of these stories feature oppressive kings, you're on the right track. Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the meaning of Pascha in light of Daniel 3:13-18. This week's episode is in loving memory of Ralph Sergi. (Episode 65; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

The Truth is Your Neighbor
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1643
The Truth is Your Neighbor

Pilate's insecurity about the trial of Jesus is often and wrongly understood as evidence that the New Testament was written to gain Rome's favor. Some have gone further, claiming that the Gospel of John is anti-Semitic. This week, Richard and Fr. Marc tackle these questions during their discussion of John 18. Once again, when John (or any biblical text) is read in light of the prophetic tradition, such claims betray a deep biblical illiteracy. (Episode 64; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature)

Ignorance is Not Bliss
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1555
Ignorance is Not Bliss

Like the other disciples in Mark 10, everyone who hears the gospel is quick to assume they understand why James and John were wrong to request positions of honor next to Jesus. Is it simply that this request is presumptuous or is something else going on? Why does Jesus insist that such an honor can only be bestowed? Were the other disciples right to upbraid James and John? What is the real sin being addressed in the story and why does everyone miss the point? In the gospel of Mark, missing the point is the point and ignorance is not bliss. (Episode 63)

What is a Spirit?
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1665
What is a Spirit?

How is the word spirit used in the Bible? What does it mean to be possessed by an unclean spirit? Are spirits real? What does the unclean spirit in Mark 9 tell us about the disciples of Jesus? Why is the afflicted child in Mark unable to hear or speak? Who is to blame for the boy's impairment? What does all this have to do with angels, weather forecasts, and narcissism? Trust the Lord, because on that day, if you are found under the influence of an unclean spirit, you will not be able to say, "the devil made me do it." (Episode 62)

Spend It Before You Lose It
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1498
Spend It Before You Lose It

Why does Mark associate prophetic concepts of abundance with the commandment to take up the cross? In what way do popular concepts of carrying the cross, associated with hardship, fall short of the commandment's meaning? How does the crucifixion in Mark test our trust in God's generosity? This week's episode is in memory of Fr. Thomas Hopko. (Episode 61)

Fat of the Land
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1591
Fat of the Land

Much of Ezekiel is spent emphasizing God's anti-locality, namely, that there is no structure or land to which the biblical God is chained. In Ezekiel, God moves freely upon the earth, outside the control of his subjects. With this in mind, the book's closing verse is a kind of literary surprise. What does Ezekiel mean when he says the name of the city shall be called "the Lord is there?" What are the implications of the last four chapters of Ezekiel for the meaning of the entire book? How does all of this illumine our understanding of the biblical writers' perspective on history? (Episode 60)

Come and See
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1207
Come and See

Given the Bible's persistent emphasis on the problem of idolatry, why suddenly, in John, are we confronted with the phrase, "Come and see?" This seems especially odd, since the opening verses of John deliberately limit the reader’s purview to the divine word, which begins with the inscription "in the beginning," referring to Genesis. Obviously, Philip is calling Nathaniel to go out and meet Jesus, but why the emphasis on sight? What is John inviting us to "see" when the Bible repeatedly calls us to "hear?" Is John making an about face with respect to idolatry, or is something else going on? Let’s ask John Chrysostom. (Episode 59)

Broken Records
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1592
Broken Records

In a biblical narrative that is overwhelmingly anti-kingly, how can one make sense of Paul’s apparent endorsement of governing authorities in Romans 13? Why would Paul ask the church to submit to ruling authorities in a setting where those authorities pose a real and present danger? What implications does Paul’s admonition have for civil disobedience and non-violent resistance? Dust off that vinyl, because it’s time to play a broken record, brought to you by the Pauline School. (Episode 58)

The Marketplace
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1331
The Marketplace

How should the Bible’s addressees understand the parable of the wise and foolish virgins at the outset of Matthew 25? In what way does the metaphor of lamp oil relate to the story of the foolish stewards? How does the marketplace, first mentioned in chapter 20, frame our understanding of the final judgement and the commandment to care for the weaker neighbor? This week's discussion challenges popular interpretations of lenten piety and raises questions about the way in which Christians identify with current events. (Episode 57)

Blood Sacrifice
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1276
Blood Sacrifice

What is the purpose of ritual sacrifice in the Bible? Why is so much emphasis placed on blood sacrifice as a means of expiation? Why would Ezekiel incorporate blood sacrifice in his depiction of the heavenly Jerusalem? In a continuation of last week’s theme, Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the importance of sticking with difficult or confusing texts, even when you're not sure what to make of them. A review of Ezekiel 43 leads to an interesting discussion of Genesis and the sanctity of animal life. (Episode 56)

Boring Texts
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 984
Boring Texts

Why do chapters 41 and 42 of Ezekiel spend so much time talking about the monotonous details of temple architecture? Why would these details matter in a book like Ezekiel, which undermines the temple cult in Jerusalem? Are the design schematics outlined in Ezekiel applicable to real world construction? Even if they were, why list these lengthy, boring details as part of the biblical storyline? Richard and Fr. Marc reflect on the usefulness of boring texts found in Ezekiel, Exodus and elsewhere in the Bible. Like all good things, the blessings of these passages come to those who are patient and willing to listen, over and over again. (Episode 55)

Interview with Fr. Timothy Lowe
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1763
Interview with Fr. Timothy Lowe

This week, Richard and Fr. Marc interview Fr. Timothy Lowe about his paper, The Gospel of Matthew and the Law Interpreted for Jew and Gentile, one of several excellent papers presented in Phoenix, AZ at the 2015 Symposium of the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies. Fr. Timothy explains how the gospel of Matthew was written, not just to carry but to impose the Torah on both Israel and the Nations.

Wheat, Wine, and Oil
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1367
Wheat, Wine, and Oil

The BBC recently reported that "the share of the world's wealth owned by the richest 1% increased from 44% in 2009 to 48%" in 2015 and that "on current trends, Oxfam...expects the wealthiest 1% to own more than 50% of the world's wealth by 2016." What must we hear from the biblical prophets in the face of this staggering trend? How should the rich and the poor relate to each other? How does scripture understand wealth and the consequences of greed? Fr. Marc and Richard reflect on these questions and the shame that God's generosity brings to those who believe that they've earned what they have.

What’s More Important?
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1371
What’s More Important?

What is the purpose of St. Paul’s discussion of gender and marriage in 1 Corinthians? Why is he seemingly ambivalent about the status of Roman slaves? On what basis does he chastise his disciples for airing their grievances in the Roman court system? How does his critique of 'speaking in tongues’ or his discussion of idolatry and Roman religion (summarized in his excursus on infidelity) relate to these questions? Not surprisingly, the series of pastoral issues presented in Paul's letter are systematic and interconnected with his overall argument. 1 Corinthians hinges on the question of one’s allegiance and the ruthless priority of the gospel in all things. As usual, the discussion leads Richard and Fr. Marc to some uncomfortable conclusions. (Episode 52)

Interview with Dr. Mary Youssef
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1725
Interview with Dr. Mary Youssef

Dr. Mary Youssef is Associate Professor of Arabic Literature in the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies at Binghamton University. Her research areas include Modern and Contemporary Arabic Literature, Postcolonial Studies, World Literature, Genre Studies, Migration Studies, Gender Studies, Arab Women's Writing and African Literature. She is currently working on a new book: Rethinking Difference: The Emergence of a New Consciousness in the Contemporary Egyptian Novel. Dr. Youssef describes a new development among contemporary Egyptian writers, who present Egyptian society as fundamentally heterogeneous, consisting of several diverse groups that undermine commonly held assumptions about national identity. Fr. Marc and Richard reflect on Dr. Youssef's ideas as they relate to the biblical tradition, especially her thesis on the function of "the other" in Arabic literature. The discussion leads to some surprising and helpful parallels bewtween the two genres. (Episode 51)

Cloud of Witnesses
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1362
Cloud of Witnesses

Is each generation an improvement on the previous one? Are people living today the apex of human progress? In practical terms, most of us intuit the problems of western idealism. Even so, we continue to cling to assumptions about human progress that cripple our ability to hear the wisdom handed down to us in the Bible. Nowhere is this more keenly felt than in Hebrews chapters 11 and 12. Some might say we stand on the shoulders of giants. For the sake of wisdom, it may be more helpful for us to tremble in the shadow of mighty ancestors. (Episode 50)

Who's Your Daddy?
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1103
Who's Your Daddy?

When people think of meaningful passages in the Bible, the many lengthy genealogies found in Genesis and elsewhere rarely, if ever, come to mind. Yet, it is exactly one such passage--the genealogy in the Gospel of Matthew--that holds significant meaning for the Christmas season. Who are the people listed in the opening verses of Matthew's gospel, and why do they matter? What is the purpose of Matthew's genealogy? Is the Messiah's pedigree relevant, or is something else going on? Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 1:1-17. (Episode 49)

Playing All Sides
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 750
Playing All Sides

In this week's episode, Richard explores the Lord's counter-intuitive stance in Ezekiel, in which judgement falls on all sides and no human being finds favor in God's sight. Why would the story present God as the one who brings evil against Israel? Why would he use Israel's enemies only to bring more evil against them, after the fact? The podcast explores these questions as we discuss the very passages in Ezekiel which gave rise to the expression, "fire and brimstone." (Episode 48)

The Apostle Paul's Book Club
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1150
The Apostle Paul's Book Club

Does it matter which book of the Bible you read or which testament it comes from? Where should beginners start? Are some books more important than others? What is the purpose of the New Testament? Is the concept of grace a new idea, or was it part of the story all along? How do the books of the Bible interact with each other within the context of the Bible's storyline? Richard and Fr. Marc reflect on the continuity of the Bible and the importance of--well--jumping in head first. (Episode 47)

Society of Biblical Literature
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1475
Society of Biblical Literature

This week, Richard talks about his presentation at the Society of Biblical Literature gathering in San Diego, where he explored the various ways in which the study of language and poetry can enhance our understanding of the biblical text. The conversation sheds light on the broader goal of this podcast series: to hear, read and reflect on the content of the Bible as literature. (Episode 46)

The Dead Shall Hear the Voice of God and Live
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 962
The Dead Shall Hear the Voice of God and Live

Preachers often adapt themes from popular books and movies to make their sermons seem relevant for children and teens. But what happens when the content of the Bible is so nuanced that even C.S. Lewis can't capture it in a popular story? What happens when popular Christian themes are out of step with biblical meaning? Is the Bible still relevant? Can it still capture the attention of young adults? Of course it can--and maybe even especially--for those who have ears to hear. (Episode 45)

Torah to the Gentiles
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1503
Torah to the Gentiles

Richard interviews Fr. Marc about his new book, Torah to the Gentiles. The letter to the Galatians offers a brief but demanding exposition of the teaching of the Older Testament for a gentile audience. Highlighting the Bible's struggle against idolatry, power, and human identity, St. Paul's letter exposes Jerusalem's fatal misreading of biblical circumcision: a practice given to remove social barriers had been co-opted to build the same. By imposing their religious identity and practices on the gentiles, the Pillars of Jerusalem had betrayed the Torah, offering things that pass away as though they were eternal. Worse, they had done so at the expense of the weaker brother. Having been liberated by God from the worship of Caesar, why would the Galatians now turn to another human master? (Episode 44) To learn more, visit OCABS Press: http://www.ocabspress.org/news/2014/11/11/new-commentary-on-galatians-by-fr-marc-boulos

I, Paul
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1088
I, Paul

In a culture that thrives on positive messages and expects praise from everyone for just about everything, it is easy to assume that St. Paul's use of praise in his letters is a gesture of kindness. Unfortunately for Philemon, a word of praise isn't always praise; kindness is not always kind; and useful blessings come in ways that you least expect and may not appreciate--but when they come from Paul, they are always presented as an offer you can't refuse. (Episode 43)

Do Not Feed Thyself
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1277
Do Not Feed Thyself

Richard and Fr. Marc continue their discussion of the biblical functions "shepherd" and "sheep," exploring these roles in context of Ezekiel 34. Ezekiel's critique exposes the corruption of Israel's shepherds, but also undermines common assumptions about the role sheep play in the life of the flock. Do sheep have a career path? I'll give you a hint. Go with the obvious answer. We are talking about sheep. (Episode 42)

Ezekiel 33: Double or Nothing
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1232
Ezekiel 33: Double or Nothing

Do our good deeds count for anything? Is there a difference between a wicked person and a person who behaves correctly most of the time? What does it mean to be a child of Abraham? Who get's what inheritance? What is the inheritance of those who do not keep the Law? No, you guessed wrong. This week's episode is not about Paul's letter to the Galatians; it's about Ezekiel chapter 33. If only people knew. (Episode 41)

It's All About the Shepherd
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1075
It's All About the Shepherd

In this week's episode, Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the parable of the Lost Sheep in Luke 15 and the importance of hearing the Bible in its proper historical context. Where modern disciples tend to impose a Hellenistic worldview on the story, this podcast invites listeners to consider the mentality of the ancient shepherd. Where Hellenism emphasizes the importance of individuals, in the Ancient Near East, a shepherd deals with his flock as a totality. The implications of this for the parable's meaning are significant. (Episode 40)

O How the Mighty Have Fallen
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1287
O How the Mighty Have Fallen

Time travel, alien tyrants, world domination, epic battles, post-apocalyptic cities, sudden drought, unnatural trees reaching above the clouds...despite what you are thinking, this week's podcast is not about Dr. Who or an old episode of Stargate SG1; it's about Ezekiel 31. Who knew the Bible could be so much fun? (Episode 39)

Lamentations
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1126
Lamentations

The book of Lamentations offers a series of poetic reflections on the destruction of Jerusalem. Abandoned by God, hungry, homeless, and bereft of hope, once a queen among the provinces, Jerusalem had become a slave. Ridiculed by enemies, cast aside by lovers and betrayed by elders and priests, the city of sacred stones had itself become unclean. Despite this misery, Jerusalem continued to place her hope in the Lord, knowing, in chapter 5, that his utter rejection of her may be forever. Where's the hope in that? (Episode 38)

Richard Goes to OCF
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1533
Richard Goes to OCF

What is the purpose of campus ministry? What do we hope for our youth? What do we expect of them as they enter adulthood? In a contemporary setting, where campus ministry tends to emphasize social issues, religious identity, and topical theology, how can teachers engage college students with the serious study of the Bible? In this week's episode, Richard talks about a recent experience he had working through Hosea 6 on campus at the University of Minnesota. You will not be surprised to hear that in just 15 minutes, Richard had his students reading the Bible, taking notes and doing exegesis. His method is not complicated, but unlike popular approaches to campus ministry, it does require effort. (Episode 37)

Whose wife or whose son?
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1006
Whose wife or whose son?

A parable, like a short story, has a beginning, a plot, a set of characters, a complete thought, and an ending. With such a clear, simple structure, its tempting to take these stories on their own, outside the context of the broader story. To help illustrate this point, in this week's podcast, Richard and Fr. Marc explore how their understanding of the parable of the wedding feast (from last week's episode) holds up against the broader context of Matthew 22. The discussion illuminates the continuity of the chapter and brings together key themes from Genesis. It also leads to a Star Wars reference. This was bound to happen, sooner or later. (Episode 36)

Happily Ever After?
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1100
Happily Ever After?

In this week's episode, Richard and Fr. Marc reflect on the parable of the wedding feast in the gospel of Matthew. When the host's invitations are rejected by his would be guests--some of whom went so far as to mistreat and then murder his servants--it seems obvious why some are chosen and others are cast out. You'd think the host would be happy to call those who come to the feast his friends. You might also imagine that those who who accepted the invitation are better off than those who acted out of selfishness and spite. Unfortunately for all of us, a friend in Matthew is not a friend, the good and the bad are both on the guest list, and the dinner jacket you need is not in your closet. (Episode 35)

Out of Egypt
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1309
Out of Egypt

What does the nation Egypt represent in the Bible? When Scripture mentions Egypt, Assyria, or any country, is it talking about historical empires, or is something more going on? What happens when we understand the nations mentioned in the Bible as characters in a story? Is Egypt a good or a bad character? What is the significance of Hosea's proclamation, "Out of Egypt have I called my son"? (Hosea 11:1) Working through these questions, Richard and Fr. Marc consider the many ways that Christians today continue to betray the Lord, turning away from him to seek the favor of empires long gone, but still very real. (Episode 34)

Are You Rich?
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1270
Are You Rich?

This week, Fr. Marc and Richard reflect on the story of the rich young man in Matthew 19. Why was it wrong for the young man to call Jesus "good?" Beyond the obvious problem of greed, what does the young man's wealth reveal about the aims of false religion? Why wasn't Jesus pleased to hear that the young followed the commandments? Can the story's admonition against wealth be applied to everyone, including the poor and working class? Can the rich enter the Kingdom of God? Do you really think it's possible to squeeze an impressively large animal through a very small opening? This is not a trick question. (Episode 33)

Live from St. Cloud
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1147
Live from St. Cloud

In this week's episode, Fr. Marc and Richard discuss the way in which St. Paul uses the categories "weak" and "strong" to undermine human judgment in 1 Corinthians. This sets the stage for God to shame the church in Roman Corinth with the foolishness of Paul's weakness. It also set the stage for a lecture Fr. Marc presented later that evening on the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. This week's podcast was recorded at Holy Myrrh-bearers Orthodox Church, in St. Cloud, MN, in front of a live, inter-faith audience. (Episode 32)

Not Before the Time
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1260
Not Before the Time

What is the biblical response to poverty, violence and suffering in the world? How does the biblical commandment to love the neighbor differ from progressive ideas of social justice? In this week's episode, Fr. Marc and Richard explore St. Paul's teaching in 1 Corinthians 4 and the way in which the Bible undermines human paradigms of "right and wrong," "good and evil," and "victim and oppressor." (Episode 31) View our trailer: http://youtu.be/rYgeXJh1xKM

Stay as You Are
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1168
Stay as You Are

In this week’s episode, Fr. Marc and Richard discuss the painful but critical role that slavery and hierarchy play in St. Paul’s epistles. Reflecting on the same teaching in Older Testament, they explore how the freedom proposed by the Pauline articulation of the Cross differs from popular concepts of social freedom. While the gospel seeks to aggressively undermine human tyranny, it does so in a way that places as much pressure on the downtrodden as it does the oppressor—hardly the stuff of Hollywood legends. (Episode 30) View our trailer: http://youtu.be/rYgeXJh1xKM

(#29 Republished) Our Daily Bread
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1120
(#29 Republished) Our Daily Bread

Fr. Marc interviews Richard about a sermon he recently presented on Matthew 14:14-22 and 1 Corinthians 1:10-18. Richard explains how in both readings, the American obsession with “being special,” is undermined by the Bible’s critique of the natural but deceptive human impulse to seek differentiation either through personal achievement or affiliation. (Episode 29) View our trailer: http://youtu.be/rYgeXJh1xKM

(#28 Republished) Jesus Goes to High School
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1435
(#28 Republished) Jesus Goes to High School

According to a 2014 study published by the National Education Association, approximately 160,000 teens skip school every day because of bullying. In many cases, the experience of cruelty or isolation in American schools has led young people to commit suicide or worse. What are the implications of the New Testament for American high schools? How can church school teachers equip their students to confront high school life with the wisdom of Scripture? Guest speaker Thomas Drenen talks with Richard and Fr. Marc about Roman paganism, its parallels with the culture of modern high school, and the pressure that the story of Jesus Christ places on both. We encourage parents to share this week’s podcast with their teenagers. (Episode 28) View our trailer: http://youtu.be/rYgeXJh1xKM

Our Daily Bread
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1168
Our Daily Bread

Fr. Marc interviews Richard about a sermon he recently presented on Matthew 14:14-22 and 1 Corinthians 1:10-18. Richard explains how in both readings, the American obsession with "being special," is undermined by the Bible's critique of the natural but deceptive human impulse to seek differentiation either through personal achievement or affiliation. (Episode 29) View our trailer: http://youtu.be/rYgeXJh1xKM

Jesus Goes to High School
1168
2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1168
Jesus Goes to High School

According to a 2014 study published by the National Education Association, approximately 160,000 teens skip school every day because of bullying. In many cases, the experience of cruelty or isolation in American schools has led young people to commit suicide or worse. What are the implications of the New Testament for American high schools? How can church school teachers equip their students to confront high school life with the wisdom of Scripture? Guest speaker Thomas Drenen talks with Richard and Fr. Marc about Roman paganism, its parallels with the culture of modern high school, and the pressure that the story of Jesus Christ places on both. We encourage parents to share this week’s podcast with their teenagers. (Episode 28) View our trailer: http://youtu.be/rYgeXJh1xKM

Do Not Heal Thyself
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1026
Do Not Heal Thyself

In the gospel of Luke (4:22-30) Jesus warns his own people that "no prophet is accepted in his own country." Hearers of the story usually equate this with the demeaning American expression, "who do you think are?" In fact, Jesus' people esteem his position, coveting the benefits of his honor for themselves. Working through the storyline, Fr. Marc and Richard discover that Jesus' people were enraged simply because he illustrated, through the story of Elijah and Elisha, his loyalty to his Father's teaching over loyalty to his own people. So incensed were all those in the synagogue, that they physically threw Jesus out of the city. Why was the story of Elijah and Elisha so painful? Jesus did not recognize the difference between insider and outsider; instead, he fulfilled Isaiah, bringing good news to the poor, without distinction. (Episode 27)

Thy Kingdom Come
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1393
Thy Kingdom Come

Fr. Marc and Richard lament the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in light of the biblical teaching. The episode begins with a special prayer recited by the children of Ephesus School. (Episode 26) For a translation of the The Jewish-Arab Peace Song at the end of the show, click here: http://youtu.be/5d_i2F2LlF8 View our trailer: http://youtu.be/rYgeXJh1xKM

Countless Teachers?
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1080
Countless Teachers?

Fr. Marc and Richard reflect on the primacy of loyalty for the discipline of biblical wisdom. In a culture where information flows freely, why do we suffer from a deficit of wisdom? With our openness to the many treasured schools and traditions of human knowledge, why do we fail at wisdom and understanding? Beginning with Israel's sojourn in the wilderness, the podcast explores the practical implications of the biblical function, "harlot." In the end, the discussion uncovers a painful truth: the secret of our failure is our inability to commit to a single tradition of wisdom and our infidelity toward teachers and the authority of knowledge they hold for our children. (Episode 25) View our trailer: http://youtu.be/rYgeXJh1xKM

Jacob's Folly
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 954
Jacob's Folly

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Hosea's reading of Genesis, exploring the biblical concept of antiheroism as expressed in Hosea's critique of the Patriarch Jacob. Along the lines of Hellenistic literature, the addresses of the Bible want to believe in its characters; they want to believe that Jacob is a good guy. Unfortunately for Jacob, and in contrast with Hellenistic literature, in the biblical tradition, there is no one who is good: there are no heroes, no champions, no protagonists and no individuals. In the Bible, there is only God and a single choice for humanity: life or death? (Episode 24)

What if it's Us?
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 875
What if it's Us?

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss the relationship between Nebuchadnezzar the historical figure, and Nebuchadnezzar the biblical character. What role, if any, do historical events play in our understanding of the Older Testament’s narrative? How and for what purpose are events within the biblical storyline arranged relative to documentary history? What does the function, “Nebuchadnezzar,” reveal about the biblical teaching? (Episode 23)

No Place to Lay Your Head
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1178
No Place to Lay Your Head

In this week's episode, Fr. Marc and Richard discuss the function of circumcision in Galatians and it's implications for human identity. What is the purpose of circumcision in the Older Testament? How does it relate to Baptism in the New Testament? Fr. Marc begins the program by reviewing the social context in Palestine during late antiquity, in which the biblical teaching of circumcision had been sabotaged by a violent expression of identity politics. (Episode 22)

Interview with Dr. Greg Paulson
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1091
Interview with Dr. Greg Paulson

In this week’s episode, Richard and Fr. Marc interview Dr. Greg Paulson, a biblical scholar and text critic who was recently invited to work on the 29th edition of Nestle-Aland, the standard edition of the Greek New Testament used by scholars, Bible translators, professors, students, and pastors worldwide. In addition to discussing his up coming project, Dr. Paulson talks about the field of text criticism, and his own dissertation on the Gospel of Matthew. (Episode 21)

Push the Text
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1196
Push the Text

Is a paralytic just a paralytic? Why did the priest in Luke walk down from Jerusalem and not up? What is the significance of being half dead, or left for dead on the side of the road? Why are we told in Luke, not once, but twice, that functionaries of the Temple passed by, specifically, on the "other side" of the road? Are all these coincidences and casual occurrences, or is something more at stake? In this week's episode, Richard and Fr. Marc explore these questions, explaining the central role of rigorous study in a disciple's life-long quest for biblical wisdom. (Episode 20)

You Say You Wanna Teach?
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1210
You Say You Wanna Teach?

In this week's episode, Richard and Fr. Marc reflect on Jesus' famous declamation against the Scribes and the Pharisees in Matthew 23. It is commonly assumed that by condemning the hypocrisy of religious teachers, Jesus is endorsing an alternative, ethically correct teacher. In reality, Matthew's beautiful and emotionally explosive woes are a universal description of flaws inescapable and endemic to human preaching and teaching. This raises important questions about the prophetic function of a teacher's sins, and how these sins are used in Matthew to expose the self-righteous attitude of disciples. (Episode 19)

Can These Bones Live?
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1151
Can These Bones Live?

In this week's episode, Fr. Marc and Richard review Fr. Paul Tarazi's exegesis of the healing at Bethesda, (John 5:1-15) reflecting on the function of weakness in the New Testament and the Lord's commandment to keep the Sabbath. They discuss how these concepts relate to the purpose of the Torah in Genesis and Exodus, and how this purpose is fulfilled in John's proclamation of the Resurrection. This leads to interesting observations about the location of the biblical Promised Land and the subtle interplay in John between the function "Jew" and the function "Canaanite." (Episode 18)

Interview with Fr. Sergius Halvorsen
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1630
Interview with Fr. Sergius Halvorsen

In this week's episode, Richard and Fr. Marc interview Fr. Sergius Halvorsen, Assistant Professor of Homiletics and Rhetoric at St. Vladimir's Seminary in Crestwood, New York. In his work in the field of Homiletics, Fr. Sergius insists that his students strive to be faithful to the narrative in order that they, as he explains, might upset the equilibrium of their addressees. In this way, those who hear the sermon come face to face with the biblical story. (Episode 17)

Shame on Who?
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1539
Shame on Who?

In this week's episode, Richard and Fr. Marc contrast biblical and worldly shame, reflecting on the central role that shame plays in the biblical tradition and the various responses to shame portrayed in the characters of Matthew's gospel. In the Bible and in life, human shame can lead to alienation, mistreatment of those who are weaker, and in many cases, expiation by means of violence or suicide. Exploring these themes, the discussion sheds light on how biblical shame undermines these outcomes by redefining the object of our shame's loyalty. (Episode 16)

Who is the King of Glory?
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 979
Who is the King of Glory?

According to a 2014 survey published by The American Bible Society, the number of people who consider the Bible just a book “written by men” has doubled in just three years. In this week’s episode, Fr. Marc and Richard examine factors contributing to this trend through the lens of John 20 and the liturgical use of Psalm 24. You may be surprised where the bread crumbs lead. (Episode 15)

The Wrong Side of the Law
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1361
The Wrong Side of the Law

In this week's episode, Fr. Marc and Richard reflect on John 12 and how the dialogue between Jesus and Judas illuminates an uncomfortable tension between Scripture and human systems of ethics and morality. Twisting a deconstructive prophetic mechanism (preaching on behalf of the poor against the rich) into a moral principle, Judas finds himself on the wrong side of the Law--in this case--the scroll of the Torah made flesh in the gospel narrative. This week's program concludes with a special musical performance by children from the Ephesus School. (Episode 14)

Follow the Storyline
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1013
Follow the Storyline

In this week's episode of the Bible as Literature podcast, Richard and Fr. Marc reflect on Fr. Paul Tarazi's discussion in episode 12 of a biblical storyline, elaborating on various examples of how the Bible functions as a single story and how this understanding illuminates the text. (Episode 13)

Interview with Fr. Paul Tarazi
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1290
Interview with Fr. Paul Tarazi

Fr. Marc and Richard welcome their teacher and professor, Fr. Paul Tarazi, who discusses his understanding of the Bible as literature and its implications for Biblical Studies. (Episode 12)

The Merciful Father
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1343
The Merciful Father

In this week's episode Fr. Marc and Richard discuss the parable of the Merciful Father, a story commonly (and unfortunately) known by the name of its secondary character, the Prodigal Son. Where modern hearers of the Bible expect the Father to show mercy in the face of unspeakable betrayal, Fr. Marc explains that, taken in its proper context, the Father's act of compassion is both incorrect and unjust. This raises questions about the problems of fairness and entitlement as they relate to grace and thanksgiving in the biblical tradition. The text discussed is found in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 15, verses 11-32. (Episode 11)

Harlotry and Loyalty
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2017-10-07 19:53:07 UTC 1218
Harlotry and Loyalty

Richard elaborates on the concept of "harlotry" in the Book of the Twelve, explaining how this metaphor is used to highlight the disloyalty and ingratitude of God's people. He and Fr. Marc discuss how Israel turns their back on the Lord's generosity, repeatedly seeking self-justification and security from others. In this way, Israel insults God, not only to their own detriment, but at the expense of those in need. This week's episode concludes with a special tribute to Metropolitan Philip Saliba, who fell asleep in the Lord on March 19, 2014. (Episode 10)

Destruction of Jerusalem
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2017-10-07 19:53:08 UTC 847
Destruction of Jerusalem

In this week's episode, Fr. Marc and Richard discuss a dominant pattern of judgment in the Bible, sometimes referred to as the "Destruction of Jerusalem." This topic was prompted by a conversation with a friend from Nigeria, who was lamenting the problem of fundamentalism and the Muslim/Christian divide in his country. The podcast focuses on how this type of judgment works in the book of Amos, reflecting on God's unique stance against his own people in the Bible and its implications for individuals, groups, and nations--a topic relevant to the many challenges faced in Nigeria, and elsewhere. (Episode 9)

Suffer Little Children
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2017-10-07 19:53:08 UTC 875
Suffer Little Children

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss their experiences reading Ezekiel with children and teens, dispelling the assumption that younger audiences are unable to wrestle with uncomfortable metaphors. In some cases, the children were able to intuit the story's intended meaning where adults often misread or misunderstand. (Episode 8)

It's Functional!
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2017-10-07 19:53:08 UTC 846
It's Functional!

Fr. Marc and Richard discuss the concept of "function" in biblical studies; its application in word analysis, where it is used to help uncover the meaning of words, but also its implications for discernment with respect to human behavior. (Episode 7)

Whose Interpretation?
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2017-10-07 19:53:08 UTC 869
Whose Interpretation?

Fr. Marc and Richard discuss the problem of interpretation in Biblical Studies. (Episode 6)

Pain of Victory
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2017-10-07 19:53:08 UTC 1231
Pain of Victory

Richard reflects with Fr. Marc on the implications of reading the Minor Prophets as a unified story. (Episode 5)

Consumer or Consumed?
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2017-10-07 19:53:08 UTC 1551
Consumer or Consumed?

Fr. Marc and Richard discuss the connection between scriptural violence in Micah and the Eucharistic meal in the New Testament. (Episode 4)

Written on the Heart
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2017-10-07 19:53:08 UTC 740
Written on the Heart

Fr. Marc interviews Hollie Benton, co-founder and Director of the Ephesus School. (Episode 3)

Interview with Dr. Nicolae Roddy
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2017-10-07 19:53:08 UTC 859
Interview with Dr. Nicolae Roddy

Dr. Nicolae Roddy, Professor of Older Testament at Creighton University, is co-director of the Bethsaida Excavations Project, a consortium of universities excavating Bethsaida, an important city in biblical narrative located on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee. Dr. Rami Arav, professor of religion and philosophy at University of Nebraska, Omaha (UNO), re-discovered the site and identified it as Bethsaida in 1987. Since 1990, UNO has led a consortium of institutions in uncovering and studying artifacts. Their work has shed new light on the archaeology of the Bible Land and the way scholars interpret the Bible. In this interview, Dr. Roddy talks about biblical archeology and how it relates to his study of the Older Testament. (Episode 2)

Interview with Fr. William Mills
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2017-10-07 19:53:08 UTC 534
Interview with Fr. William Mills

William C. Mills specializes in scripture, spirituality, and ministry. He holds a Ph.D. in Pastoral Theology from the Union Institute and University in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is also the author of A 30 Day Retreat as well as numerous essays, and book reviews that have appeared in America Magazine, Congregation Magazine, Cistercian Studies Quarterly, Pro Ecclesia, Logos Journal, and Theological Studies.