Mark 7 Verse by Verse

Photo for Mark edited

Jesus will address issues of tradition and ceremonial uncleanness, which were very important to Jewish life.  He will also go out to Gentile areas and begin a ministry to people there.

Mark 07.pdf

Mark 07.mp3

A Prayer Prompted by Mark 7

Dear heavenly Father,

You are an all-powerful, all-loving, unchanging God. We, however, need to change because without change we will never experience growth.

Help us to see where we have fallen into spiritual ruts. Help us not to get stuck in the patterns of religiosity, in human traditions. Instead, let us learn to draw near to you in all reality, sincerity and truth.

Jesus has taught us by both word and example that our lives need to be grounded in the Scriptures.

Prevent us from either adding or taking away from your word, but rather establish us firmly in it.

And from that foundation, bring us to the place where our faith truly grows.

In Christ,

Amen.

 

Matthew 19 Verse by Verse

Matt photoJesus answers a question about divorce by explaining God’s design for marriage.  He also highlights the importance of children and points out the flaw in the rich young man’s religion.

Matthew 19.pdf

Matthew 19.mp3

Religion in Rome – nothing to do with the Pope

First put this put this up about 4 years ago, and got to thinking about it again.  The key point is the title has to do with “decline and fall.  Not hoping for that by any means, just noticing a similarity.”

I recently stumbled upon this and thought it sounded a lot like the USA.  It’s from Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. I, ch. II:

“The policy of the emperors and the senate, as far as it concerned religion, was happily seconded by the reflections of the enlightened, and by the habits of the superstitious, part of their subjects. The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful. And thus toleration produced not only mutual indulgence, but even religious concord.”  (Emphasis added.)

In the yet-to-be-written The History of the Decline and Fall of the American Empire, vol. I, ch. II, it will state:  

“The average American was vaguely religious believing that it didn’t matter what one believed as long as one was sincere.  The devotee of science was convinced that all religion would become unnecessary if only people knew better.  Most politicians identified themselves as, ‘Christians who support Israel’ (but didn’t always give convincing evidence of either), and knew that Islam was undeniably a ‘religion of peace’ (while uncertain that religious knowledge even existed).  These points of view (though on the face of it contradictory) actually harmonized well enough in the public mind that the most of the diverse population managed to somehow get along with itself.”

An excerpt from Marilynne Robinson’s *The Death of Adam*

“History is a nightmare, generally speaking, and the effect of religion, where its authority has been claimed, has been horrific as well as benign.  Even in saying this, however, we are judging history in terms religion has supplied.  The proof of this is that, in the twentieth century, “scientific” policies of extermination, undertaken in the case of Stalin to purge society of parasitic or degenerate or recalcitrant elements, and in the case of Hitler to purge it of the weak or defective or, racially speaking, marginally human, have taken horror to new extremes.  Their scale and relentlessness have been owed to the disarming of moral response by theories authorized by the word “science,” which, quite inappropriately, has been used as if it meant “truth.”  Surely it is fair to say that science is to the “science,” that inspired exterminations as Christianity is to the “Christianity” that inspired Crusades.  In both cases the human genius for finding pretexts seized upon the most prestigious institution of the culture and appropriated a great part of its language and resources and legitimacy.  In the case of religion, the best and worst of it have been discredited together.  In the case of science, neither has been discredited.  The failure in both instances to distinguish best from worst means that both science and religion are effetively lost to us in terms of disciplining or enlarging our thinking.

“These are not the worst consequences, however.  The modern fable is that science has exposed religion as a delusion and more or less supplanted it.  But science cannot serve in the place of religion because it cannot generate an ethics or a morality.  It can give us no reason to prefer a child to a dog, or to choose honorable poverty over fraudulent wealth.  It can give us no grounds for preferring what is excellent to what is sensationalistic.  And this is more or less where we are now.”

– Marilynne Robinson, “Darwinism” in The Death of Adam:
Essays on Modern Thought
(New York, Picador, 1998, 2005), 70-71

Find the book here on Amazon:
amazon.com/Death-Adam-Essays-Modern-Thought

Religion in Rome

I recently stumbled upon this and thought it sounded a lot like the USA.  It’s from Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. I, ch. II:

“The policy of the emperors and the senate, as far as it concerned religion, was happily seconded by the reflections of the enlightened, and by the habits of the superstitious, part of their subjects. The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful. And thus toleration produced not only mutual indulgence, but even religious concord.”  (Emphasis added.)

In the yet-to-be-written The History of the Decline and Fall of the American Empire, vol. I, ch. II, it will state:  

“The average American was vaguely religious believing that it didn’t matter what one believed as long as one was sincere.  The devotee of science was convinced that all religion would become unnecessary if only people knew better.  Most politicians identified themselves as, ‘Christians who support Israel’ (but didn’t always give convincing evidence of either), and knew that Islam was undeniably a ‘religion of peace’ (while uncertain that religious knowledge even existed).  These points of view (though on the face of it contradictory) actually harmonized well enough in the public mind that the diverse population managed to somehow get along with itself.”