Faith in a Wounded World

Using the Story of Legion in a Congregational Setting Part 2

Using the Story of Legion in a Congregational Setting Part 2

  The Perspective of Legion. It is clear that Legion has been rejected by his community. Once again we wonder about the story behind the story. We can say that, directly or indirectly, he was a victim of three centuries of violence and repression. It is even possible that he became a perpetrator of the violence inflicted on subjected people by the Roman Empire. Strong young men in the regions could be selected and trained for service in the Roman… Keep reading

Using the Story of Legion in a Congregational Setting Part 1

Using the Story of Legion in a Congregational Setting Part 1

I encouraged a thick reading of the encounter of Jesus with a man named Legion in earlier blogs. I do not intend to provide a summary here other than to repeat two observations. First, this passage is the most detailed healing story in the synoptic gospels. Second, the theme of exorcisms in the gospels reveal the vast “worldview” separation between our time and social locations of the first century Mediterranean world. Ideas of evil spirits may seem to many people… Keep reading

Using the Story of Legion to Understand the Violence of the World 3

Using the Story of Legion to Understand the Violence of the World 3

This blog post is the third in a series. The overall theme is the use of the Legion narrative in Mark 5 to reflect on the violence of the world. I have advocated a thick reading of the story that considers the nature of this troubled man, the reactions of the surrounding community, and the transforming power of Jesus. The second post proposed that a deep reading needs to examine the socio-historical factors embedded in the story (which would have… Keep reading

Using the Story of Legion (Mark 5.1-20) to Reflect on the Violence of Our Times 2

Using the Story of Legion (Mark 5.1-20) to Reflect on the Violence of Our Times 2

We will observe in April the twenty-fourth anniversary of the Rwandan Tutsi Genocide. Romeo Dallaire, commander of the UN Forces in Rwanda, wrote a book entitled “Shake Hands with the Devil.” The devil, for Dallaire, was embodied in the person of General Theoneste Bagosora, one of the principal authors of the murder of an estiimated 800 thousand people in 100 days. Evil is incarnated in people. People often do thin readings of accounts of mass violence. North Americans that visit… Keep reading

Using the story of Legion to Understand the Violence of the World (Mark 5.1-20)

Using the story of Legion to Understand the Violence of the World (Mark 5.1-20)

The violence of the world generates death, destruction, terror, trauma, anger, and apprehension. This list of six impacts could be expanded. Organized violence leaves direct victims, mourners, and threatens the well-being of communities and nations. Many of us believe in a gracious and loving God. We hold that God desires dignity and fulness of life for each person that bears his image. How do we explain the following violent events in our world and our reactions to them? The murder… Keep reading

When Prayers for Healing do not Seem to Work: Part 1

When Prayers for Healing do not Seem to Work: Part 1

When Prayers for Healing Do Not Seem to Work: A Pauline Perspective A few years ago we prayed fervently for a beloved colleague that was diagnosed with cancer. Her journey was long, painful, and accompanied by the prayers of her church and work colleagues. Eventually we gathered together at her funeral. Many of us felt sad and deflated that God had not answered our prayers for physical recovery. Certain New Testament texts give the impression that God heals diseased and… Keep reading

When prayers for healing do not seem to work: Part 2

When prayers for healing do not seem to work: Part 2

Did God Answer Paul’s Prayers for Healing? I neither want to say that God did not answer Paul’s prayer nor that he answered “no.” Earlier I wrote about seven dimensions of health that are integral to well-being. I argued that the bio-medical dimension is often given exclusive attention with the result that other components are overlooked. The seven dimensions are: Biomedical Mental health Supportive relationships Security of basic needs Intellectual (freedom of thought) Harmony with the created order Spiritual These… Keep reading

The Theme of Faith in Mark’s Account of Jesus and the Paralytic Part 2

The Theme of Faith in Mark’s Account of Jesus and the Paralytic Part 2

Faith is an important theme in Mark’s Gospel. Jesus entered Galilee announcing that the kingdom of God was at hand. Listeners were encouraged to repent and believe the good news (1.14-15). I think this statement represents the starting point for faith. It is the conviction that the Creator God has entered the world in a new way through Jesus. The healing stories help us to understand God’s intention to bring wholeness to all areas of life. As we journey with… Keep reading

The theme of faith in Mark’s Account of Jesus and the Paralytic Part 1

The theme of faith in Mark’s Account of Jesus and the Paralytic Part 1

The story of the healing of the paralytic offers a rich opportunity to engage in narrative theology. In this piece, I explore the theme of faith. I have written it in two parts for ease of use by readers. Part 1 The western tradition, to which I belong, values intellectual thought and concepts. Faith is often defined as the content of what one believes. Accordingly, there are basic doctrinal statements about God, Jesus, and the Spirit that are define the… Keep reading

The Healing of the Paralytic Mark 2.1-12

The Healing of the Paralytic Mark 2.1-12

I want to reflect on the healing of the paralytic in the next few posts. One of the intriguing features of Mark’s narrative is the connection between the forgiveness of sin and the physical restoration of the man that was carried to Jesus by his friends. This passage represents the only time in Mark when Jesus explicitly tells someone that they are forgiven and released of their sins. The pronouncement of forgiveness is controversial here because Jesus acts with the… Keep reading