A Pause

Thank you for reading here.

I am taking 11 days off from this part of my Mark project. I have been offered an opportunity to present a narrative approach to reading the Bible, using Mark as a focal point. To prepare for this I need to finish a draft of a companion piece—a paraphrase of Mark based on my last reading of Mark. This time will also coincide with participation in a multi-day, denominational annual meeting.

As every reading also entails a concurrent re-writing of the material read, if only in one’s head, this paraphrase is an intriguing task. I will be using a variant of sense-lines (phrase lines) instead of a prose format. A larger explanation of sense-lines can be found in this out-of-print book (use your library) by James A. Kleist—The Memoirs of St. Peter or The Gospel According to St. Mark, Translated into English Sense-Lines.

I would appreciate your thought/prayers/comments/suggestions about this paraphrase over the next week plus, as well as general preparation work for a 6-session, participative exploration of Mark.

The current plan is return with verse-by-verse comments on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. With some luck these comments on Mark will conclude before the end of this calendar year.

The initial blurb about this adult group:

READING AND BEING READ BY MARK’S EXCELLENT, VERY GOOD NEWS will use the Gospel of Mark to teach you how to read the Bible narratively–that is, how to place yourself into the stories of Jesus to experience them in a whole new way. 6 sessions. Meets Mondays at 6:00p, beginning June 26, downstairs in the Youth Room at Onalaska United Methodist Church.

Mark 12:44

for everyone else put in something from what he had to spare, while she, in her need, put in all she had – everything that she had to live on.”

assurance as disequilibrium
turns us upside down
as stomachs turn inside out
hearing they’ve backed the wrong horse

we so desire to be assured
our present perks will extend
and precede us into every future
we’ll fudge every transaction

I assure you every assurance
relied upon until now
will suffer and die on their way
to a larger appreciation of smaller

Bratcher395 reports this verse has been translated for the Chontal of Tabasco to include these phrases:

…they gave money which they didn’t need.

…all she had; this was her food.

Some, like Myers165, see this as a critique:

Ever class-conscious, Mark emphasizes the contrast between the large contributions placed in the till by the rich and the meager sums by the poor. Infuriated by a widow who has been made destitute by her tithing obligation, Jesus summons his disciples for another solemn teaching.
…The Temple, like the scribal class, no longer protects the poor, but crushes them. His attack on the political economy of the Temple and its stewards complete, Jesus exits the Temple ground for the last time in disgust.

This perspective is consistent with the description of Jesus as both compassionate and angry regarding those he encountered as a healer, but might better be read as an assured avowal of the commitment that will be required for Jesus as he proceeds toward suffering and death, the commitment that will be required for the disciples after they experience a Jesus risen from suffering and death, and the commitment that will be required for a Reader to have been read by Mark and proceed to live this story into their own life.

Sabin1102, remembers Jeremiah “equating oppression of widows with idolatry” and Malachi placing the oppression of widows alongside “adultery and false oaths”:

…to the prophets, true worship is never a matter of prayer alone but always includes the practical matter of how one uses money. The contrast between the greedy scribes and the generous widow is thus, first of all, a contrast in true worship.