Mark 6:23

and he swore to her that he would give her whatever she asked him – up to half his kingdom.

evaluating our sphere of influence
is a never-ending task
continually getting bogged down
on physical boundaries
to be opened or walled off

what usually is over-looked
are intangibles eliciting joy
caught on the materials of life
we never consider their consequences
substituting surface for depth

who wouldn’t offer half their value
for a moment of lingering pleasure
by half is meant geography not friends
is meant treasure not learning
is meant life-time not healthy ego

It is very easy to say more than we mean. This is part of the energy behind every canon. Time and again, every question needs a definitive answer; no response will do, only a binary decision—“it is this way, not that way”.

Having set a public promise, public figures have a very difficult time modifying their position in light of subsequent information. They and all get trapped with both a righteous ego and fear of loss of status should our first word not also be our last word.

Swearing, here, is not cursing, but a vow, a placing a hand on a sacred object or over one’s heart or sharing blood that what is said will be literally followed to the letter and part of a letter. Once this is witnessed, it will bring with it predictably dire consequences.

Wright76 reminds us of the banality of evil, best described by Hannah Arendt’s, Eichman in Jerusalem;

The casual, accidental nature of the event gives an extra dimension to the tragedy, a belittling of the noble and lonely prophet.

If royalty, sex and religion form such an explosive mixture, we shouldn’t be surprised at the chequered history of court intrigue, scandal and disaster that have dogged the steps of the church ever since royalty became interested in Christianity.

Like Herod, the church, in turn, can be sworn at, cursed, for the ways it has sworn allegiance to its own—bishops forced into creedal statements, denial of physical/scientific realities, crusades of many sorts, divine right of rulers, just war theory, sexism, patriarchy….

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