Mark 10:2

Presently some Pharisees came up and, to test him, asked, “Has a husband the right to divorce his wife?” 


mediators facing reality
come to learn
a new way
in such a common
perplexity
of social relationship
gone awry

knowing the difficulties
of any endeavor
to bear fruit
even with pruning
when hopes and fantasies
lie ruined
what out can be offered

this is no test
beyond what one
brings to it
what healing touch
is available
when a slightest touch
traumatizes wider


Remembering Baptizer John lost his head over a question of divorce, this is no little pop quiz.

To allow divorce, and on what grounds, has been a live debate in both the scriptures Jesus would have been familiar with and the differing rabbinic schools. Ezra 10 required divorce from “foreign” women. Hosea deliberately marries a whore, a key reason for divorce. Hillel and Shammai represent the rabbinic divide on this subject.

We will hear in a bit about the focus of this chapter being thought experiments on “the beginning of creation” (10:6). It is also about how creation ends.

Just as scripture and rabbis debate internally about divorce, there are equal debates about whether G*D brings a judgment that destroys the wicked and redeems the good or acts as a healer leading the people back to their origins. Too broadly put, this is a debate between prophetic and wisdom literature.

Where the Pharisees show up in Mark there are not only questions of the prevailing law but of nationalism. In this regard there is not only an overriding concern with having been conquered by Rome and desiring independence from Rome, but inter-family debate about which of the various interest groups will prevail among the others. This is not unique to humans more than 2,000 years ago. Now, as then, there is a disjuncture between advocacy groups all moving in the same direction, but unable to sort out their competition on the way to a more effective cooperation. Healing of systems is as crucial a need as the healing of individuals.

The question of divorce is still a live one on every level.

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