For decades it has been clear that the current model of how the world works, Capitalism, has passed its limited possibilities for building community. As a result we have returned to wilderness time. Each of us now needs to offer the resources at our disposal to reorient not only ourselves, but one another. My niche is 73 years of white, cis-gendered, male privilege, more than half of which was spent as United Methodist clergy in a denomination that has lost its own way around human identity issues—recently faux-repenting our relationship with the disadvantaged and poor exemplified by Women, Blacks, Native People and setting the stage for a next repentance regarding LGBTQIA… People.
Short-term profit, Mammon’s game, has led us to the negative side of the wild—the environment has been raped and is falling apart; one part of the community has been pitted against other parts to the advantage of those that already have; there is nothing we hold in common that can be defended by a military for the military’s sake; general welfare has been reduced to my welfare and that of my tribe; education is no longer public but private and teaches to tests rather than opening doors of curiosity; politics of negativity, partisanship, and non-compromise rule the day; and you can add to this list.
In the last year, images of the Gospel of Mark and the use of “wilderness” as a motif that runs through it from beginning to end have built to the point of my spending time with each verse to see if a book might come from such a look. Wilderness is not just a wild and dangerous place, but a place of testing, retreat, and renewal. This website/blog will begin a look at Mark, a verse at a time. Beginning with the first Sunday in Advent 2017 and Mark 1:1, I will daily post a stanzaic response to the verse in Mark and follow it with technical comments and connection with today’s wildernesses. With some 666 verses, this will prepare for and take us nearly through the Year of Mark in the Revised Common Lectionary—Year B (2017–2018).
My verse responses are done without punctuation. This will pose problems for how to read them but hopefully not as much difficulty as looking at the earliest Greek manuscripts of Mark. I recommend reading aloud and slowly as a help to catch whatever rhythm is present.
Your responses to this first draft material will be appreciated, particularly corrections. If you are engaged in preaching from Mark, I highly recommend two resources: Provoking the Gospel of Mark: A Storyteller’s Commentary by Richard W. Swanson and Re-Reading the Gospel of Mark Amidst Loss and Trauma by Maia Kotrosits and Hal Taussig.
The scripture text used at the beginning of each posting is from Open English Bible, http://openenglishbible.org/.
If you would like to receive a daily email about the verse for the day, you can signup at http://eepurl.com/cqvRmT.
Thanks for reading along.
Wesley White <firstname.lastname@example.org>
November 25, 2016