Mark 4:31

Perhaps by the growth of a mustard seed. This seed, when sown in the ground, though it is smaller than all other seeds,


consider the inconceivable
overlooked at every turn

debate the undebateable
which was never defined

ponder weak and weary
every inconsequential event

wake up to interpret a nightmare
filled with slippery dream logic

this is our natural starting place
a drop of water and outward glance

we have no other beginning point
than a minute detail to be extended


The smallness of a mustard seed (1-2 millimeters) isn’t all that small compared to a human seed (egg, 0.1 mm; sperm, 0.05 mm). Of course this is not something known by Jesus (if you want to get pious, Jesus knew but no one else did so he didn’t use this later information, but this sort of rationalization is not helpful).

The ratio of growth of a mustard seed to over 12 feet is about 250 times. That of humans to 6 feet is more than an increase of 18,000 times.

This is simply a reminder to mind what is being compared to what. This is particularly important in times when one party controls another, whether that is Empire to subjects or Patriarchy to women.

Another more modern example is the famous equation E=mc2. That squaring of the speed of light multiplies even the teensiest amount of fissionable material by 8.98755179 × 1016 m2 / s2 or, shifted to the Imperial system, 448,900,000,000,000,000 mph. Different people have a different reference or comparison model. At any rate, in Einstein’s formula we are dealing with growth numbers beyond our understanding.

Exponential growth might also be translated in units of humility (if we had a common referent) or, something we are more familiar with, rating our sense of weakness in a dangerous wilderness that will test us until we have forgotten our ability to retreat deeper into wilderness and respond helpfully to any test.

Any way this is looked at, we continue in the realm of mystery as definitions of seeds and growth and parable and a presence of G*D continue to come back empty. Life is beyond definition. Yet, slowly and surely, we poke away at it with one image and then another.

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