Monday, September 19, 2016

Fooling with Scripture, Ep 7 -- Respect My Exousia!

Check out the episode 7 of the Fooling with Scripture podcast, where I dig in a bit more to the concepts of authority and authorship that I introduced last week. I look at two scriptures this week, both of which include the Greek term exousia, often translated as "authority." You can read the Mark passage here and the Matthew passage here.

This week's podcast is as good a one as any to quote from one of my favorite bands, mewithoutYou: "The truth belongs to God. The mistakes are mine."

For a commentary on Mark, particularly the sort of upside-down image of power presented by Mark's Jesus, I'd again recommend the first chapter of William C. Placher's Narratives of a Vulnerable God: Christ, Theology, and Scripture (Westminister John Knox, 1994), particularly pages 11-18. For Matthew's gospel, I'd once again mention David Bosch's book Transforming Mission (Orbis Books, 2011), from page 57 on. I most certainly owe to Bosch the insight that one can't understand Jesus telling the disciples to teach others to obey Jesus' commandments without referring back to Jesus' identification of the greatest commandments, to love God and neighbor. 

The Anne Lamott quote is from the wonderful Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life (Anchor Books, 1995), pages 85-86. Here's the quote in full, with a bit more of Lamott's trademark wit:
My students assume that when well-respected writers sit down to write their books, they know pretty much what is going to happen because they've outlined most of the plot, and this is why their books turn out so beautifully and why their lives are so easy and joyful, their self-esteem so great, their childlike senses of trust and wonder so intact. Well. I do not know anyone fitting this description at all. Everyone I know flails around, kvetching and growing despondent, on the way to finding a plot and structure that work. You are welcome to join the club.  
On the other hand, in lieu of a plot you may find that you have a sort of temporary destination, perhaps a scene that you envision as the climax. So you write toward this scene, but when you get there, or close, you see that because of all you've learned about your characters along the way, it no longer works. The scene may have triggered the confidence that got you to work on your piece, but now it doesn't ring true and so it does not make the final cut.  
The Richard Rohr quote is from his book,, with Andreas Ebert, called The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective:
Only a few people have gotten permission from authority figures to trust themselves. Much louder and more frequent has been the order: "Trust us! Obey us! We know what's good for you." 
Rohr goes on to say:
I can still vividly recall that day when a priest for the first time allowed me to be my own authority figure and 'inner authority.' He begged me: 'Promise me, Richard, that you'll always trust yourself.'
Thank to you Father Howard Gray and Rev. Karen Thomas Smith for the insights that I shared in this podcast!

And finally, hat tip to the writers of South Park for inspiring the title of this episode:

Questions? Comments? Scripture you're interested in? Email me!

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