Mark 9:20

They brought him to Jesus; but no sooner did the boy see him than the spirit threw him into convulsions; and he fell on the ground, and rolled about, foaming at the mouth.


sure enough
reports of disorganization
are true

just a glance
at people’s lives
falling apart

false promises
deepen everyone’s despair
finally revealed

it’s worse
in reality than in report
forever fires


There is a sense of distance in all that has gone before. Someone, somewhere in the crowd, claimed the source of the hubbub as a failure of the disciples to heal a child. All of the above can be seen with noisy milling about and shouting back and forth as opposed to a quiet inquiry and measured response.

If so there would not have been any interaction between Jesus and the child in question. Now we have a first contact.

We don’t know the dynamics of these “evil” spirits and their connection with one another that would lead them to know the jig is up when Jesus comes on the scene. Even if the child was not made mute, this spirit may have learned from reports of earlier healings that there is not much use in trying to call Jesus out or interact or bargain with him. The 100th Monkey model can be used negatively as well as positively.

This repeat of the child’s problem varies slightly from 9:18. This report does not include grinding teeth and withering/stiffening. We might well chalk this up to the details a parent might cascade out in presenting in an emergency room to emphasize the importance of being seen, while the clinician boils it down to the clearest diagnosis. A fit (Falling and rolling) and foaming are sufficient to bring an intervention.

These are obvious signs of not being able to engage the world around in an expected manner. Whether this is from a personal point of view in response to an internal state or a communal sign of a canary in a mine responding to a sickness within the society can be debated for a long time.

Mark is working back from a crowd having a fit and foaming at the mouth to a person and, in both cases, revealing the impotence of any who care—a double silencing.

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