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Book: Mark

From Mountaintops to Valleys

Transfiguration means to be challenged and governed by a different set of norms, in opposition to this world and the powers that disfigure the image of God in each one of us. Theologically, transfiguration is an eschatological vision that transforms and revolutionises our present.

Family is a Fluid Construct

Jesus and his disciples can be seen to both affirm and expand the construction of first-century family, even as they are not limited by it. Such a reading of Mark complicates any single definition of “biblical family” in favor of recognizing the fluid and constructed nature of family systems across time.

He Saw the Heavens Torn Apart

The tearing open of the cosmic order is the descent of the true justice of God, waged against the empires of this world who rule under the banner of “order and justice,” but whose “justice” is always only violence and oppression.

Dangerous Beginnings

The Gospel of Mark’s beguiling beginning bids us to consider the dangers of beginnings. John the Baptist’s heralding of Jesus’s coming was not the finality of salvation, but merely a herald to its coming. In this light should we consider our works of bringing God’s salvation and liberation to the world. The work of justice and liberation is long and hard, and many of us will be called to herald it, to lay the groundwork for its eventual manifestation.

Shaking the Foundations—Mark 13:1-8

We have been led astray by those who invoke religion to undergird their own social, political, and economic power. When we find ourselves enthralled to their apparent grandeur, we, too, will find the world beginning to crumble around us.

A Widow’s Presence—Mark 12:38-44

In her very presence, the widow performs the political act of bringing to light oppression and injustice. Our task is to learn how to see her.

To Love and To Disagree—Mark 12:28-34

As Jesus and the scribes agree, and as today every major religion agrees, the right answer to the greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself.

Receiving the Kingdom as a Little Child—Mark 9:30-37

When we stop clinging to what we know and what we are, we can go out into the world without fear, insecurity, resentment, and judgment, as true Children of God. The image of a playing child helps us see alternatives to our childish attitudes.

The Politics of Victimhood and Shame—Mark 8:27-38 and Isaiah 50:4-9a

“Victimhood culture” has swept our nation in recent years where victimhood has become an identity to be ashamed of. However, Jesus teaches his followers to bear their victimhood without shame, just as he bore his own without shame.

Healing the Broken Social Body—Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23; James 2:1-10, 14-17; Isaiah 35:4-7a; Mark 7:24-37

How is the riven social body, with its divisions between poor and rich, to be healed?

It’s Not About the Cake—Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

The Pharisees were not wrong to question Jesus, but as much as we might want to empathize with them, to agree that there are simply certain things good people do not do, Jesus rejects human propriety as an orienting standard. Jesus is talking about the human heart, something Christians today also must consider.

Embodying Compassion—Mark 6:30-56

The power of state in both Greco-Roman times as well as today hinges upon a hierarchal power structure. Jesus, however, calls us to compassion in a horizontal social structure.