Mark 8:28

“John the Baptist,” they answered, “but others say Elijah, while others say one of the prophets.”


we know what we know
and this little bit
we use and recycle
seeing it everywhere

in specific or general
we are stuck
on our meaning plateau
awaiting a next insight

until there is growth
to be carried on
we circle our heroes
naming them one by one

Dipper John
Leather-belted Elijah
Whispering Jonah
Dancing Miriam

Within their bounds
we bind our responses
bouncing from judge to prophet
in search of a larger justice


Are you remembering 6:14–15 where Herod is hearing exactly these same rumors. We each are a part of a cultural rumor, urban legend, fake news system. It is a background of perceptions among which we either choose or find ourselves drawn to as a result of our genetic make-up or prior experiences pre-dispose us to.

It takes a conversion experience to begin considering a move outside whatever choir we are currently part of. This is prelude to a repentance that can lead to changed hearts and lives.

A more cynical approach would have a narcissist being able to switch categories at a moments notice to take advantage of whatever will bring them praise and adulation they are convinced is already theirs.

Not only are we always fighting the last war, we are looking for a last leader. The people listed in the stanza above are energetic movers-and-shakers, not gentle and mild shepherds. There is fire and energy in them that was noticed by others, perhaps jealously so.

They are also counter-cultural. The stasis of institutions seems to require great energy to call it to account for having lost its way. There is a roughness here that cannot be contained in the shrouds within which the institution has wrapped itself and its heroes.

Consider a recent call, hundreds of years late, to remove monuments to Confederates who lost their war to keep slavery. Note the difficulty to affect cultural mores even after more than a hundred straight days of a mass shooting that kills 4 or more.

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