Welcome to episode 16 of Must Reads with Dr. Sarah Travis, featuring her book Unspeakable: Preaching and Trauma-Informed Theology. The book was inspired by Dr. Travis’ personal experience of grief over the loss of her son.
Some readers imagine that God here merely reiterates the sharp attacks against Job’s arrogance, but I think not. I see God winking slyly, and saying to Job to go on and “tread down the wicked in their place,” as you think I do, knowing full well that Job cannot do that, precisely because God does not do that either!
Within our hearts are both humility and arrogance, respect for others and a desire to outshine them, a desire to serve and a craving to be served. The one you feed wins. How do we feed the humility and spirit of service Jesus holds up as the model for discipleship in this passage from 10:35-45?
Job believes with assurance that “an upright person could reason with God,” and after the case has been argued Job is convinced that he “would be acquitted forever by my judge” (Job 23:7).
There are many varieties of baggage that necessitate our wearing a sign that says "WIDE LOAD." All of them need to be left behind when we head home to Jesus to follow in his Way.
It is only in year B in the round of lectionary texts that we get the opportunity to examine the rich and complex book of Job, and that for only four weeks. I urge you preachers to take full advantage of this chance to offer your congregation something of the wonders of this challenging story.
What Jesus does is take a traditional proverbial form used to offer clear-cut options and adds a dash of paradox and a big dollop of hyperbole. In everyday life when people exaggerate, they are stretching the truth. What is different about Jesus' use of hyperbole is that he is not exaggerating about the destructive potential consequences of our actions. Not really.
In reading this text, it struck me that the disciples were self-promoters when they should have been promoting Jesus and his message. I'm going to send them a memo, which I've entitled "Top Ten Ways You Are Failing at Promoting the Good News." In it, I make it very clear that they need to reverse their attitudes and actions if they want to spread the word about the gift (or in sales terms—the product) Jesus has to offer the world that needs it so badly.
Nearly all other materials from the book of Proverbs has to do with instructions given by male mentors to young men, but at the very end, the collectors of the book provide us with a portrait of a truly powerful and worthy woman, a wife, mother, provider, a hard-working and clever pillar of the community, praised by her husband and recognized by all as the very epitome of what it means to be a strong and capable woman in Israel, according to this branch of the school of wisdom.
The skies of Mark's gospel are full of spiritual skydivers. Jesus doesn't mean for you to go out and become a martyr. He does mean that there are times in our lives when we realize that in losing our agenda, our control, our wants, we find our true identity and purpose.
We find in Prov.1:20ff the intriguing and mysterious figure of Woman Wisdom, whose call to all is to embrace what she has to offer, namely true wisdom, the choice of which will lead inevitably to security and ease, and freedom from disaster (Prov.1:33).
She had a crumb of confidence and that was enough to make her persist. He called her a dog, using the term of derision commonly used by Jews to refer to Gentiles as unclean. In her desperation, she comes back at him with a wise retort that revealed she was not a dog, but a lioness: "Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs" (7:28).