Jesus, at once intuitively aware that they were debating with themselves in this way, said to them, “Why are you debating in your minds about this?
bidden and unbidden
asked and answered
alpha and omega
confuse and constrain
depth and height
creation and renewal
intentions and actions
why and why
We are all able to sharpen our discernment skills to recognize what is going on in others—their unease and resistance. This opens new lines of conversation and clarification. It does not assure there will be agreement, but it does give a better chance of honorable contact.
A precious gift in our lives are those who toss us back into our wilderness with encouragement to reflect again on what is driving us and the basic principles upon which we engage the rest of the world. May we have friends who both provide this challenge to us and, in turn, receive it from us.
Why do we continue to think, reflect on, feel, demand, enforce our particular images of G*D and community? Whatever this “substance of we feeling (SOWF)” is that is described in Doris Lessing’s novel, Shikasta, it is powerful in our lives. Without it we wither. With it we can live together without constructing Procrustean beds for one another.
This process of wrestling our way through differences is shown in this exchange as Jesus teaches (2:2), Scribes are confounded (2:6) and double-down on their perspective (2:7), Jesus takes the feedback and sharpens his teaching (2:8-9) with an example (2:10-12a).
All along the way it takes intentional engagement by at least one party to see a larger dynamic at work and to persist in deepening the conversation one step at a time and backing up when it is evident something has been missed along the way. Note this same pattern in the way Jesus engaged his followers and in your best teachers.
We are not to take this passage as discounting all questions but to be able to ask why we are so enthralled by our fight-questions that primarily solidify and protect a current understanding.