Mark 4:16

So, too, those meant by the seed sown on the rocky places are the people who, when they have heard the message, at once accept it joyfully;

first impressions
become straitjackets
forcing new realities
into old fantasies

our sense of depth
of meaning of hope
keeps being fooled
by our depth of desire

new information
provisional pointing
show the incompleteness
of humble ignorance

increasing areas of inquiry
overwhelm joy with anger
flooding our surroundings
with red darkness

until seeing again
remembers much more
than could be known
a new fantasy
bears a second look

The reports of astounded crowds attending to Jesus’ teaching could use a second qualifier: astounded rocky crowds. As the story proceeds the image of a crowd degenerates from “Jesus is King!” into a mob whose final word is “Crucify!”

The Oxford Dictionary names the 2016 Word-of-the-Year—“post-truth”. This follows Merriam-Webster’s choice of “truthiness” from a decade earlier (2006). Crowds are still manipulated through appeals to their anger, fear, disappointed expectation, and trained inability to assess various forms of news (overly balanced reporting to “fake/lying” news). With truth degraded, Psalm 126:6 reminds us about the gift of seeds and time yet available:

We have thrown away so many opportunities;
There is so little time left.
For this chance to start again, Lord, we thank you.
[Everyday Psalms, Jim Taylor]

When Baptizer John was working, people went out to him in an attitude of confession (weeping?) to plant themselves in a vision he carried from prophets of yore. They were to return to Jerusalem and Judea with a new sense of commitment (joy?) to a changed life.

Jesus seems to come to folks and their first response is approval (joy?). When a choice of safety (the death of one rather than that of many) arose, their final act was condemnation (weeping?).

Are we perverse creatures? Yes, aren’t we perverse creatures!

This can be explained through a soil/heart analysis, but ultimately there is no linear line of inquiry that will satisfy. This has a predestinarian feel to it—it is creation’s nature to be rocky.

On to the parallel second part of a longer verse.