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Showing posts from March, 2010

Paul, Philippians, Being a Real Man, Being a Pastor

One dimension I absolutely adore in Philippians is the love Paul expresses for his converts. Some people think Paul is a hard man, that he is anti-woman, that he had an anger problem etc. Look more closely and you see that is not the case. The only time Paul really gets aggressive is with false teachers who are plundering his flock. Take 2 Cor 10-12, Galatians and Phil 3:2, 18 and you will see these examples. He becomes a shepherd defending his flock, and calls people angels of Satan, dogs, evil workers, mutilators etc., and even tells them to emasculate themselves. Tis true in 2 Corinthians he gets quite sarcastic with his opponents, and that there are texts that appear anti-women; yet, on closer analysis one finds Paul to be utterly counter cultural in regards to his language.

Leaving aside the issue of women and Paul, look at Philippians his language. We see Paul the shepherd, Paul the pastor.

In 1:2 he does what he always does one way or another, and prays a blessing of peace and …

Mark's Gospel and a Call to War

I have been re-reading Mark's Gospel against the backdrop of Jewish expectations of the Messiah. There was at the time a range of expectations. Some did not have a theology of a Messiah (e.g. Sadducees). Some believed in two Messiahs (Essenes: priestly, royal). The dominant view was of a Messianic deliverer, a descendent of David, spiritually powerful, born in Bethlehem, who would lead the overthrow of the Gentiles (Rome!), would establish God's reign on a renewed or new earth centred on Jerusalem, Zion, temple and law. All would submit to the Torah, and tribute would flow to Jerusalem. The Messiah then would be a military man, a spiritually empowered David like figure.

So when you think of this, the whole of Mark comes to light in fresh ways. When Jesus calls out 'the kingdom of God is near' many perceived that the physical overthrow of Rome was coming. When he began to gather disciples, did miracles, fed the crowds, etc., he was doing the stuff of a prophet, but one …