A colleague I admire offers her friends a space to express themselves unreservedly each week, hosting CAPS LOCK THURSDAY on her Facebook timeline. It may be only Tuesday of Holy Week in today’s reading, but it’s definitely CAPS LOCK material. We start with the Sadducees posing a word problem for Jesus about how many brothers a woman needs to marry in order to get into heaven – well, no, whose wife she will be in the general resurrection? It’s a trick question, because they don’t believe in a resurrection anyway.
Jesus said to them, “Isn’t this the reason you are wrong, because you don’t know either the scriptures or God’s power? When people rise from the dead, they won’t marry nor will they be given in marriage. Instead, they will be like God’s angels. As for the resurrection from the dead, haven’t you read in the scroll from Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God said to Moses, I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He isn’t the God of the dead but of the living. You are seriously mistaken.” (Mark 12:24-27, CEB)
YOU ARE SERIOUSLY MISTAKEN.
I’ve been thinking a lot today about people who also describe themselves as Christian yet do not think about important aspects of Christian theology as I do. I’m not speaking here of practice, liturgical and otherwise. I helped create an ecumenical organization that stands on what feels true to me: all our ways of worship are good and pleasing to God, and we can understand things differently and still hold to some basics about Jesus that bind us together.
But today I have had to consider whether there is any part of the Christian theology and homeschooling curriculum that formed the Austin bomber to which I can bind myself. I’ve struggled with the way churches with an evangelical or fundamentalist bent form disciples, particularly when they define themselves by excluding and condemning people I feel pretty sure Jesus would embrace.
Jesus offered that embrace to the sick, the weary, the broken, and the outcasts. I’ve heard people minimize his openness by noting how often he said, “Go, and sin no more,” but I want to note that when he did throw down, it was most often with people of privilege, specifically men carrying religious authority. On CAPS LOCK Tuesday, Jesus deconstructs all kinds of mistaken thinking and sends the religious leaders back to the book. Don’t you know the stories? Have you not read and studied?
YOU ARE SERIOUSLY MISTAKEN!
Sometimes I wish we could have a day like that again, a day when Christ himself comes with his angels and tells the people who are in power how off-base they are. It may be that I would turn out to be wrong, that Jesus would send me back to study harder and think more deeply and reach a better understanding. But the very next thing that happens inclines me to think that even if I am missing some of the particulars, I have a firm foundation. A legal expert comes and questions him. What is the greatest commandment? I love that Mark puts the answer in Jesus’ mouth (in other gospels, Jesus asks the question): You must love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.
This is the foundation of my gospel understanding. If I’m seriously mistaken, at least I’m going to err on the side of love.
When I am seriously mistaken, Lord, forgive me. Let me start again to love you with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength. Amen.
I’m reading and blogging about Mark for Lent and using the Common English Bible because it messes with my expectations of familiar passages. I also sometimes refer to NRSV-based resources including The Jewish Annotated New Testament, and the New Interpreter’s Study Bible, as well as the online Greek interlinear Bible.