Thursday, August 22, 2019

Queerying 11th after Pentecost C

Periodic queerier, River Needham, queeries the Tanakh reading.


Tanakh: Jeremiah 1:4-10

The word of the Becoming One came to me:
Before I created you in the womb, I selected you; before you were born, I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet concerning the nations.
I replied: Ah, Becoming God! I don’t know how to speak, for I am still a boy.
Then the Becoming One said to me: Do not say, “I am still a boy,” But go wherever I send you and speak whatever I command you. Have no fear of them, for I am with you to deliver you —declares the Becoming One.
The Becoming One put out hir hand and touched my mouth, and said to me:
Here I put my words into your mouth. See, I appoint you this day over nations and kingdoms: to uproot and to pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.

Queeries for the text:
Can words perform actions?
Do people exist before birth?
What does it mean to be consecrated?
Where else in the world are children used to carry a message? Is this fair?
Where else does the Becoming One touch lips or mouths
Who else does the Becoming One appoint?

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Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

Gospel: Luke 13:10-17
10Now Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath.
11And just then there appeared a woman
with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years.
She was bent over
and was quite unable to stand up straight.
12When Jesus saw her,
he called her over and said,
“Woman, you are set free from your ailment.”
13When Jesus laid his hands on her,
immediately she stood up straight and began praising God.
14But the leader of the synagogue,
indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath,
kept saying to the crowd,
“There are six days on which work ought to be done;
come on those days and be cured,
and not on the sabbath day.”
15But the One with Authority answered him and said,
“You hypocrites!
Does not each of you on the sabbath untie your ox or your donkey from the manger,
and lead it away to give it water?
16And ought not this woman,
a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years,
be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?”
17When Jesus said this,
all his opponents were put to shame;
and the entire crowd was rejoicing
at all the wonderful things that Jesus was doing.


Queeries for the text:
What did we skip this time?
Does any good come from Jesus teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath?
Can children cripple people?
How are spirits and ailments related?
Do we ever want to do anything straight?
What gifts does the sabbath bring?
How are people still in bondage?
How can we be set free?
Who was Jesus' intended audience?

What are your queeries?



Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Queerying 10th after Pentecost C

https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/1162991/Perseid-meteor-shower-2019-hundreds-meteors-light-up-night-sky-astronomy

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

Gospel: Luke 12:49-56
Jesus said:
49“I came to bring fire to the earth,
and how I wish it were already kindled!
50I have a baptism with which to be baptized,
and what stress I am under until it is completed!
51Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth?
No, I tell you, but rather division!
52From now on five in one household will be divided,
three against two and two against three;
53they will be divided:
father against son and son against father,
mother against daughter and daughter against mother,
mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

54Jesus also said to the crowds,
“When you see a cloud rising in the west,
you immediately say, ‘It is going to rain’;
and so it happens.
55And when you see the south wind blowing,
you say, ‘There will be scorching heat’;
and it happens.
56You hypocrites!
You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky,
but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?

Queeries for the text:
What did we skip?  Why do we keep skipping verses?
Was Jesus a pyro?  How is fire helpful?
When are families divided?
Does Jesus bring the division or shed light on it?
What can we interpret from earth and sky?
What is in the present time?
What stress does baptism cause?
How are we divided?

What are your queeries?



Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Queerying 9th after Pentecost C

Periodic queerier, River Needham, queeries the Tanakh reading.


Tanakh: Isaiah 1:1, 10-20

1:The prophecies of Isaiah son of Amoz, who prophesied concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
10-20:Hear the word of the Becoming One, you chieftains of Sodom; give ear to our God’s instruction, you folk of Gomorrah!
“What need have I of all your sacrifices?” says the Becoming One. “I am sated with burnt offerings of rams, and suet of fatlings, and blood of bulls; and I have no delight in lambs and he-goats. That you come to appear before me—Who asked that of you? Trample My courts no more; bringing oblations is futile, incense is offensive to me. New moon and sabbath, proclaiming of solemnities, assemblies with iniquity, I cannot abide. Your new moons and fixed seasons fill me with loathing; they became a burden to me, I cannot endure them. And when you lift up your hands, I will turn my eyes away from you; though you pray at length, I will not listen. Your hands are stained with crime— wash yourselves clean; put your evil doings away from My sight. Cease to do evil; learn to do good. Devote yourselves to justice; aid the wronged. Uphold the rights of the orphan; defend the cause of the widow.
“Come, let us reach an understanding,—says the Becoming One. Be your sins like crimson, they can turn snow-bright; be they red as dyed wool, they can become like fleece.”
If, then, you agree and give heed, you will eat the good things of the earth; but if you refuse and disobey, you will be devoured by the sword.—for it was the Becoming One who spoke.

Queeries for the text:
When did Isaiah write?
Which Isaiah wrote this?
Who were Sodom and Gomorrah? Who has this reference become toxic to today? Who commits the sin of Sodom today?
Who asked for sacrifices? Why?
What is the significance of new moons and fixed seasons?
What other religious traditions do these commitments sound like?
What is the offer the Becoming One makes at the end? Is it a good one?

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Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.


Gospel: Luke 12:32-40
Jesus said:
32“Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Mapa’s good pleasure to give you the reign. 33Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

35“Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; 36be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for them as soon as they come and knock. 37Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when they come; truly I tell you, the master will fasten their belt and have them sit down to eat, and they will come and serve them. 38If the master comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.

39“But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, ze would not have let zir house be broken into. 40You also must be ready, for the Human One is coming at an unexpected hour.”

Queeries for the text:
What did we skip from last time?
Why would Jesus' flock be afraid?
Why would we sell possessions, give alms, and make a purse?
Where is my treasure? our treasure?
What does Jesus' promise mean for capitalism?
What do we need to be ready for?
Why would a master fasten their belt?
Is the Human One a thief?

What are your queeries?



Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Queerying 8th after Pentecost C

Periodic queerier, River Needham, queeries the Tanakh reading.


Tanakh: Hosea 11:1-11
God Said:
I fell in love with Israel when he was still a child; I have called him my son ever since Egypt. Thus were they called, but they went their own way; they sacrifice to Ba'als and offer to carved images. I have pampered Ephraim, taking them in my arms; but they have ignored my healing care. I drew them with human ties, with cords of love; but I seemed to them as one who imposed a yoke on their jaws, though I was offering them food. No! They return to the land of Egypt, and Assyria is their king. Because they refuse to repent, a sword shall descend upon their towns and consume their limbs and devour them because of their designs. For my people persists in its defection from me; when it is summoned upward, it does not rise at all. How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I surrender you, O Israel? How can I make you like Admah, render you like Zeboiim? I have had a change of heart, all my tenderness is stirred. I will not act on my wrath, will not turn to destroy Ephraim. For I am God, not human, the Holy One in your midst: I will not come in fury. The Becoming One will roar like a lion, and they shall march behind Hir; when Ze roars, Hir children shall come fluttering out of the west. They shall flutter from Egypt like sparrows, from the land of Assyria like doves; and I will settle them in their homes —declares the Becoming One

Queeries for the text
:
Where else is God jealous?
What do we know about jealousy today?
How do religious expression and intimate partner violence interact?
Who can you turn to if you are experiencing intimate partner violence?
What happened to Admah and Zeboiim?
What cycle stages are happening toward the end of the passage?
What flutters?

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Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.



Gospel: Luke 12:13-21
13Someone in the crowd said to Jesus,
“Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.”
14But Jesus said to them,
“Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?”
15And Jesus said to the crowd,
“Take care!
Be on your guard against all kinds of greed;
for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”
16Then Jesus told them a parable:
“The land of a rich man produced abundantly.
17And he thought to himself,
‘What should I do,
for I have no place to store my crops?’
18Then the rich man said,
‘I will do this:
I will pull down my barns and build larger ones,
and there I will store all my grain and my goods.
19And I will say to my soul,
‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years;
relax, eat, drink, be merry.’
20But God said to the rich man,
‘You fool!
This very night your life is being demanded of you.
And the things you have prepared,
whose will they be?’
21So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves
but are not rich toward God.”

Queeries for the text:
Why would(n't) a sibling share the inheritance?
When do we set the wrong people up to be judge?
How many kinds of greed are there?
Why is it "his crops" when the land is the one to produce?
Is a famine coming?  Is the rich man planning for climate change?
Why does size matter to the rich man?  Is bigger actually better?
Can goods last for many years?
Why is the rich man talking to his own soul?  Is he Voldemort?
What is demanding his life?
Where do our treasures go?


What are your queeries?



Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Queerying 7th after Pentecost C

Periodic queerier, River Needham, queeries the Tanakh reading.


Tanakh: Hosea 1:2-10

When the Becoming One first spoke to Hosea, the Becoming One said to Hosea, “Go, get yourself a wife of whoredom and children of whoredom; for the land will stray from following the Becoming One.”
So Hosea went and married Gomer daughter of Diblaim. She conceived and bore him a son, and the Becoming One instructed him, “Name him Jezreel; for, I will soon punish the House of Jehu for the bloody deeds at Jezreel and put an end to the monarchy of the House of Israel. In that day, I will break the bow of Israel in the Valley of Jezreel.”
She conceived again and bore a daughter; and Ze said to him, “Name her Lo-ruhamah; for I will no longer accept the House of Israel or pardon them. (But I will accept the House of Judah. And I will give them victory through the Becoming One their God; I will not give them victory with bow and sword and battle and horses and riders.)”
After weaning Lo-ruhamah, she conceived and bore a son. Then Ze said, “Name him Lo-ammi; for you are not My people, and I will not be your God.” The number of the people of Israel shall be like that of the sands of the sea, which cannot be measured or counted; and instead of being told, “You are Not-My-People,” they shall be called Children-of-the-Living-God.

Queeries for the text:
How has whoredom been misappropriated?
Where else does whoredom show up in the Tanakh?
How does the land move?
Where does whoredom exist today?
What is whoredom?
What does it mean to not recieve mercy (lo-ruhamah)?
What does this passage say about the status of women?
Would you change this passage, if you were able to write it today? How would you change it?
What do we need mercy for today?
Who am I not asking about?

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Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.


Gospel: Luke 11:1-13
Jesus was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”  

2Jesus said to them, “When you pray, say: Zaza, hallowed be your name. Let your reign come. 3Give us each day our daily bread. 4And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial.”  

5And Jesus said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to that friend at midnight and say to zir, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before them.’ 7And ze answers from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ 8I tell you, even though ze will not get up and give you anything because you are zir friend, at least because of your persistence ze will get up and give you whatever you need.

9“So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 10For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 11Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? 12Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? 13If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Zaza give the Holy Spirit to those who ask!”

Queeries for the text:
What's with all the certain places?
How are these words different from the versions of the Jesus' Prayer used today?  How else could we pray with this model?
What time of trial?
What quality of friends do you have to not lend bread?
What is asked for and not given?
What do we search for and not find?
What doors are still locked closed?
Would Slytherins give snakes instead of fish?
How are the disciples evil?

What are your queeries?


Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Queerying 6th after Pentecost C

Periodic queerier, River Needham, queeries the Tanakh reading.


Tanakh: Amos 8:1-12
This is what my Becoming God showed me: there was a basket of figs.
Ze said, “What do you see, Amos?”
“A basket of figs,” I replied.
Then, the Becoming One said to me: “The hour of doom has come for My people Israel; I will not pardon them again. The singing women of the palace shall howl on that day—declares my Becoming God: So many corpses left lying everywhere! Hush!”

Listen to this, you who devour the needy, annihilating the poor of the land,  saying, “If only the new moon were over, so that we could sell grain; the sabbath, so that we could offer wheat for sale, using an ephah that is too small, and a shekel that is too big, tilting a dishonest scale, and selling grain refuse as grain! We will buy the poor for silver, the needy for a pair of sandals.”
The Becoming One swears by the pride of Jacob: “I will never forget any of their doings.”

Shall not the earth shake for this, and all that dwell on it mourn? Shall it not all rise like the Nile and surge and subside like the Nile of Egypt?

And in that day —declares my Becoming God— I will make the sun set at noon, I will darken the earth on a sunny day.

I will turn your festivals into mourning, all your songs into dirges; I will put sackcloth on all loins, tonsures on every head. I will make it mourn as for an only child, all of it as on a bitter day.

A time is coming—declares my Becoming God—when I will send a famine upon the land: not a hunger for bread or a thirst for water, but for hearing the words of the Becoming One.

So that they shall possess the rest of Edom and all the nations once attached to my name —declares the Becoming One who will bring this to pass.

Queeries for the text:
Where else do figs show up?
What measures are used today?
What is the pride of Jacob?
When is noon?
How do only children come up culturally?
For what do we repent today?
For what do we repent today?
For what do we repent today?
What are the words of the Becoming One today? What might they mean?

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Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.


Gospel: Luke 10:38-42
38Now as the Jesus and the disciples went on their way,
Jesus entered a certain village,
where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home.
39She had a sister named Mary,
who sat at the Boss’ feet
and listened to what he was saying.
40But Martha was distracted by her many tasks;
so she came to Jesus and asked,
“Boss, do you not care that my sister has left me
to do all the work by myself?
Tell her then to help me.”
41But the Boss answered her,
“Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things;
42there is need of only one thing.
Mary has chosen the better part,
which will not be taken away from her.”

Queeries for the text:
Which "certain village" did Jesus enter?
Why was it Martha's house?  Did she and Mary not share it?  Were they sisters or "sisters"?
Which tasks distracted Martha?  Which tasks distract us?
Is there anything about which Jesus doesn't care?
Did Martha already ask for Mary to help her?
What worries Martha?  What worries us?  Why?
What is the better part for usIs it guaranteed the way Jesus guarantees Mary's better part?

What are your queeries?






Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Queerying 5th after Pentecost C



Periodic queerier, River Needham, queeries the Tanakh reading.

Tanakh: 2 Kings 5:1-14
Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was important to his ruler and high in his favor, for through Naaman the Becoming One had granted victory to Aram. But the man, though a great warrior, was a leper. Once, when the Arameans were out raiding, they carried off a young girl from the land of Israel, and she became an attendant to Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “I wish Master [Namaan] could come before the prophet in Samaria; he would cure Naaman of his leprosy.” Naaman went and told his ruler just what the girl from the land of Israel had said.

Then the king of Aram said, “Go to the king of Israel, and I will send along a letter.” Namaan set out, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing. He brought the letter to the king of Israel. It read: “Now, when this letter reaches you, know that I have sent my courtier Naaman to you, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” When the king of Israel read the letter, he rent his clothes and cried, “Am I God, to deal death or give life, that this fellow writes to me to cure a man of leprosy? Just see for yourselves that he is seeking a pretext against me!”

When Elisha, the man of God, heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, he sent a message to the king: “Why have you rent your clothes? Let him come to me, and he will learn that there is a prophet in Israel.” So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and halted at the door of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go and bathe seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean.” But Naaman was angered and walked away. “I thought,” he said, “he would surely come out to me, and would stand and invoke the Becoming One his God by name, and would wave his hand toward the spot, and cure the affected part. Are not the Amanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? I could bathe in them and be clean!” He stalked off in a rage. But his servants came forward and spoke to him. “Sir,” they said, “if the prophet told you to do something difficult, would you not do it? How much more when he has only said to you, ‘Bathe and be clean.’” So he went down and immersed himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had bidden; and his flesh became like a little boy’s, and he was clean.

Queeries for the text:
Where was Aram? When did this story take place?  Who were the ruling powers over these kings?  How does that change the power analysis in this story?
What is the significance of the prophet in Samaria?  What does it imply about when this took place or when it was written?
How do we expect healing and labor from people without recognizing the great cost that often comes with being a healer?
Why was the King of Israel so upset at the King of Aram's demand? What does this tell us about the power dynamics at play?  Who has the geo-political power?
Why does Elisha have a better relationship with the Monarchs than Elijah? What parts of the story have been omitted that helped that happen?
In which other traditions is water a gift from the divine(9-11)?  Does that giftedness change if God is not invoked in the cleansing bath?
If you were retelling this story in a modern setting, what details would you change, and how? Which ones would you keep the same, and why?
What does it mean for a child to be enslaved? What kinds of labor do u.s.ian's expect from children today?

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Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

Gospel: Luke 10:25-37
25Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus.
“Teacher,” he said,
“what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26Jesus said to him,
“What is written in the law?
What do you read there?”
27The lawyer answered,
“You shall love the Becoming One your God with all your heart,
and with all your soul,
and with all your strength,
and with all your mind;
and your neighbor as yourself.”
28And Jesus said to him,
“You have given the right answer;
do this, and you will live.”
29But wanting to justify himself,
the lawyer asked Jesus,
“And who is my neighbor?”
30Jesus replied,
“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho,
and fell into the hands of robbers,
who stripped him, beat him, and went away,
leaving him half dead.
31Now by chance a priest was going down that road;
and when he saw him,
he passed by on the other side.
32So likewise a Levite,
when he came to the place and saw him,
passed by on the other side.
33But a Samaritan while traveling came near him;
and when he saw the man,
he was moved with pity.
34He went to him and bandaged his wounds,
having poured oil and wine on them.
Then he put him on his own animal,
brought him to an inn,
and took care of him.
35The next day the Samaritan took out two denarii,
gave them to the innkeeper, and said,
‘Take care of him;
and when I come back,
I will repay you whatever more you spend.’
36Which of these three, do you think,
was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?”
37The lawyer said,
“The one who showed him mercy.”
Jesus said to him,
“Go and do likewise.”

Queeries for the text:
What is missing since last week? Was last week setting Jesus up for this parable?
Why do we test people?  How do you inherit life?
Why did the lawyer add mind?  How do we over-intellectualize faith?
Why doesn't the lawyer know who their neighbor is?
Who are the robbers today?
How do we pass by on the other side?
Where was the Samaritan supposed to be going?
Who are Samaritans in the dominate u.s. and white church culture today?  Who are Samaritans to me?  Why couldn't the lawyer say "Samaritan"?
Who is working to make the road to Jericho safer?

What are your queeries?