Archive | August, 2020

questioning Jesus, Mark 12 – the kingdom questioned

31 Aug

We are half thru Mark 12 and today I would like to answer the question: what is Jesus’ kingdom, temple teaching?

Mark 12 describes a day of Jesus’ Temple teaching, perhaps the first day after he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, after he emptied the Temple of the money changers.

Jesus is approached by first the people; ( including the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders ) then, the Pharisees and Herodians; and now, the Sadducees,

Then the Sadducees,who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question.19 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 20 Now there were seven brothers. The first one married and died without leaving any children. 21 The second one married the widow, but he also died, leaving no child. It was the same with the third. 22 In fact, none of the seven left any children. Last of all, the woman died too. 23 At the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?”

24 Jesus replied, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? 25 When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 26 Now about the dead rising—have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the account of the burning bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’ 27 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!”

Jesus is teaching all this, -his first full day in the Temple,-he is teaching on the kingdom of God.

It is a kingdom of the living, not the dead. It is a kingdom that gives to the authorities , to Caesars, the coins they imprint, not our hearts and souls. It is a vineyard, a loved card for land,

It is not a place we bring our earthly life, our marriage. It is not a government that divides and enriches the poor from the rich. It is not a land we own, but talents and treasures we are stewards over.

Jesus this first day teaches on eternal days. His answer to all: love the kingdom as our Lord lives you. With all.

questioning Jesus, Mark 12, a question& an answer amazes

31 Aug

some people who don’t want an answer, a true answer. what they desire is to control, and especially to control responds, replies, content, answers.

How ca you identify these people who do not desire truth? They frame their questions as these ‘Pharisees and Herodians’ in Mark 12: Jesus, give us a yes or no.

They don’t want to think, to swim deeply. They want to catch ‘Jesus in his words.’

Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words. 14 They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not? 15 Should we pay or shouldn’t we?”’

But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?” he asked. “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” 16 They brought the coin, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”

Caesar’s,” they replied.

17 Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”

And Jesus amazes.

questioning Jesus, Mark 12, death

29 Aug

Parable of the Vine-growers

12 ‘And He began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard and put a wall around it, and dug a vat under the wine press and built a tower, and rented it out to vine-growers and went on a journey. 2 At the harvest time he sent a slave to the vine-growers, in order to receive some of the produce of the vineyard from the vine-growers. 3 They took him, and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Again he sent them another slave, and they wounded him in the head, and treated him shamefully. 5 And he sent another, and that one they killed; and so with many others, beating some and killing others.6 He had one more to send, a beloved son; he sent him last of all to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7 But those vine-growers said to one another, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours!’ 8 They took him, and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. 9 What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vine-growers, and will give the vineyard to others. 10 Have you not even read this Scripture:

‘The stone which the builders rejected,
This became the chief corner stone;
11 This came about from the Lord,
And it is marvelous in our eyes’?”

12 And they were seeking to seize Him, and yet they feared the people, for they understood that He spoke the parable against them. And so they left Him and went away.

Jesus asks the question after the story today: What will the owner of the vineyard do?

He will come and destroy; he will give the vineyard to others. He will reject, expel, silent those who do not see the marvellous cornerstone. What were these teacher builders seeking, seeing?

Jesus’ death.

Jesus in his mercy tells them the hate filled story of their hearts. And they can’t hear; can’t see. Jesus asks and answers his own question so they can be have the absolute, the cornerstone truth.

And so they continue to plan to kill Jesus. This is what they are planting: death.safly, their own.

questioning Jesus, Mark 12, stories

29 Aug

The first verse of Mark 12, ‘Then Jesus started telling them stories.’ Message

Jesus has entered Jerusalem. He has overturned tables in the temples; he has cursed a fig tree that had promised but not produced fruit; he has overturned scholars’ questions about his authority. Jesus is turning the city upside down. And how?

Jesus now proceeds to tell stories to all. And he ends his stories with a question. His stories, his parables, are his questions.

They are living stories, mutable, yet also unchangeable. They live by asking questions, of Jerusalem’s people, of London’s and of Logos’ peoples. These stories live by questioning hearts. Our hearts; my heart.

Keep questioning me Jesus, keep questioning with your stories, your parables.

May I always love your questioning.


28 Aug

usually, as a former NYC principal, I don’t write on education-

In fact, this is the first time. So, Why now?

Because …Chancellor Richard Carranza is destroying NYC. How?

Under Deputy Chancellor Eric Nadelstern a culture o empowered principals as problem solvers was identified, defined, developed and deployed into action.

This culture survived his leaving NYC DoE ten years ( or so ) past. Today’s Chancellor Richard Carranza is attempting to make decisions for principals, not with them; for families without listening; for a dysfunctional Mayor rather than a school community. As the Gothamist reports,

‘Chancellor Richard Carranza has promised to deploy substitutes and other certified personnel to schools, but principals said they haven’t gotten any specifics.

“It’s very deflating,” said Reginald Landeau Jr., principal of M.S. 216 in Queens. “Most principals are problem solvers. But if the variables are continually changing, including what came out yesterday, it’s very hard for me to wrap my head around what’s the best solution to this problem.”

In addition, principals said they’re frustrated that the new guidelines come after they were required to deliver plans and schedules to the education department and parents. Some said it will mean drastically rethinking plans they’d already put in place.’

Take problem solvers, disempower them; create structures which increase issues, problems, for them; take monies out of there hands and say ‘ready, set, open, start schools.’

If this is Chancellor Richard Carranza plan, using ATR s as virtual, or life classroom teachers as the promised reserve, welcome chaos.


blowing bubbles

28 Aug

bubbles, blowing bubbles

My grandkids and my child age children, love, loved bubbles, Priscilla even went on line and bought a ‘wand’, a large circle bubble wand, to do events at a sleep away Camp we ran for years; we blew bubbles for Easter egg hunts; she did it at times just for herself. I mean, the child, the joyful innocent in all of us love blowing bubbles. Don’t we?

Two days ago, beginning with the basketball team, the Milwaukee Bucks, the NBA players stopped blowing bubbles. They stopped playing. I believe they were willing to forfeit a playoff game. They believe that their actions within a bubble was not and is no longer a child’s game. They believed that their actions, their stoppage, their step as a community into the silent horror of another shooting had meaning. So they stopped blowing bubbles.

Whether their collective time within the NBA bubble with like preforming players from other teams engender deep conversations, or they as individuals they just had enough and were tired, they stopped blowing bubbles.

Kenny Smith stopped blowing bubbles.

MLB players with .7% African American players, stopped blowing bubbles.

NFL players with 70% African American players stopped blowing bubbles.

The WNBA players stopped in their bubble.

Time for state politicians to pass laws, new laws, removing the police officers from their bubble protections.

Stop, stop blowing bubbles. Stop blowing away people like bubbles.


questioning Jesus, Mark 11 ‘And who gave you the authority to do this?’

27 Aug

Jesus enters. He is no longer sitting and dining at tables. He is upturning, turning over tables. Tables in the temple; tables in the country by fig trees; tables of hearts and minds.

He is changing teaching tables. Expanding and deepening ideas, pre conceived concepts. Precepts upon precept are being renewed; refocused. There is rebirth.

And so, the Elders, the high priests, the religious scholars all come to Jesus with their one essential question: “Show us your credentials. Who authorized you to speak and act like this?” Message

It is not just Jesus’ words, his teachings. It is his words and actions that disturb them so,

His Credentials

27-28 “Then when they were back in Jerusalem once again, as they were walking through the Temple, the high priests, religion scholars, and leaders came up and demanded, “Show us your credentials. Who authorized you to speak and act like this?”

29-30 Jesus responded, “First let me ask you a question. Answer my question and then I’ll present my credentials. About the baptism of John—who authorized it: heaven or humans? Tell me.”

31-33 They were on the spot, and knew it. They pulled back into a huddle and whispered, “If we say ‘heaven,’ he’ll ask us why we didn’t believe John; if we say ‘humans,’ we’ll be up against it with the people because they all hold John up as a prophet.” They decided to concede that round to Jesus. “We don’t know,” they said.

Jesus replied, “Then I won’t answer your question either.”’

Jesus refuses to answer. Why?

Because he poses the questions, the question: who is Jesus?

He is Emmanuel, Son of David. He is our prophet, our priest, our king. He is our loving Saviour. A saviour whose love will bring him to a cross.

Jesus is, was, always in our temple.

questioning Jesus, Mark 11, an answering song

25 Aug

‘Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”


10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”(H)

11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,”

In front and behind him, their songs shouts their belief, their answer. He is Jesus, saviour Messiah. A song, an answer. .

questioning Jesus, Mark 11, six ‘asks’

24 Aug

Mark 11 has the word ‘ask’ within six times. Questions surround Jesus, as many as as different as the people around him. Before Jesus enters Jerusalem, he anticipates asking,

questioning Jesus, Mark 11, six asks

‘As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 3 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’” 4They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, 5 some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” 6 They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. 7 When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. 8 Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. 9 Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna!”

10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.’

‘…some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” 6 They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go.’

Were Jesus and his disciples ‘vicking’ or stealing a donkey? Is borrowing for a short time stealing?

No. Jesus showed, anticipated not just the owners’ concerns, but how to frame their answer do the donkey will be released.

‘The Lord needs it… is all the owners need to know. Jesus knows the need.

And he rides into Jerusalem on this donkey. He can ride because this city is his; he knows the questioning before the asking. And he knows the answers.

questioning Jesus, Mark 10 b, follow

23 Aug

Mark 10 is packed with questions. Jesus asks ‘Whys’ and the disciples, as well as followers, ask Jesus ‘whats’ and ‘hows.’

And they ask the big, macro, question: how can I inherit eternal life? what must I do to inherit this life?—

17 “As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandment: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”

20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

21 Jesus looked at him and loved him.

‘Jesus…loved him.’ We can’t say with certainty why Jesus loved him. But…

This man ran up to Jesus; he fell on his knees. He was seeking, desperately seeking. And Jesus responds as he looks at him, as he see , with love.

Jesus asks this kneeling man an imperative question. Whenever Jesus was about to gift a seeker with a miraculous healing, he gives a clear direction. To the father who’s son was demon possessed the directive was believe. Here, the imperative request is to sell all he possesses and give the sale’s proceeds to the poor and follow. Here is their dialogue.

“One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor,and you will have treasure in heaven.Then come, follow me.”

22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. 23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”

The man wanted an eternal inheritance; is told directly how to achieve it, and walks away without following Jesus. Following is hard.

The disciples are no longer afraid to ask questions after seeing this man walk away. And they ask their ‘eternal question’: …

24 ‘The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”’

‘Who then can be saved?”’

Jesus assures them: nothing is impossible with God. And they are with; they are following Him.

Follow, and be saved. Jesus is their, our, inheritance. He saves. Even the impossible me; he saves.