Showing posts from February, 2012

Did the 'Same Crowd' that Waved Palms Later Condemn Jesus? (2)

To summarize, it looks like the crowd on Palm Sunday is associated with those sympathetic to Jesus, as Luke mentions "a whole multitude of the disciples" and John mentions those who had "been with Jesus" at Lazarus' resurrection, who continued to testify to this act. Both Luke and John mention the presence of the Pharisees, either as those in the crowd itself, or as onlookers. Matthew and Mark offer the least help in naming the participants.

Jesus' sentence of death before Pilate is what now concerns us. It's especially important to consult the Gospels themselves to see who was in the crowd before Pilate, the group who pronounces the judgment of death by crucifixion (a Roman punishment). There are plenty of inconsistencies in the accounts with actual Roman law as it was supposedly practiced in the time of Jesus, and a great resource in this area is the classic, The Trial of Jesus by Chandler. Here, however, we're just trying to answer the question …

Did the 'Same Crowd' that Waved Palms Later Condemn Jesus? (1)

As Lent begins, the chant heard from Christian pulpits and chancels will grow until it becomes one of the overriding themes of Holy Week, the week before Easter. But what in text of the Gospels suggests that this is really the case? What in the text contradicts this refrain? Instead of consulting commentaries old and new, the actual biblical text should supply the answer, shouldn't it?

First, the story of Palm Sunday is told, also known as Jesus' Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. (Luke 19: 28-40, Mark 11:1-10, and Matthew 21:1-9, and John 12:12-19) Mark writes, "And many spread their garments on the road, and others spread leafy branches which they had cut from the fields. And those who went before and those who followed cried out, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is coming! Hosanna in the highest!" Matthew describes the group and its actions thusly: "Most of the crowd spread their g…

The Case for Healing Systems

We don't need another word about taking a day off! Most of the stuff I read about clergy health has to do with getting ministers to make a personal change. For every ten articles read on the subject, you will possibly find one that attempts some larger analysis of the problem.

The question of justice, of first doing no harm, asks, why is the health and wholeness of clergy falling at a rate faster than the health of parishioners? Very few are asking it- fewer are addressing it.

While there are exceptions, many pieces patronizingly conclude the obvious, with a sort of Good Housekeeping checklist for better health: better diet and exercise and rest. But that's all you get if the problem of clergy burn-out is only about certain individuals being careless about their health.

In some harsher, more extreme pieces, the culprits lie with clergy themselves: our idolatry, false teaching, and lack of true repentance is what gets us burned out. Elsewhere, clergy drop outs are explained

The Absurdity of Ministry Models

Richard Lischer's wonderful memoir, Open Secrets, reminded me of an oft repeated phrase from divinity school days. Being a "quivering mass of availability" was an epithet used for those of the Rogerian bent. Carl Rogers, the founder of the Rational-Emotive School of Psychotherapy, was the Socratic figure of the Twentieth Century.

In contrast to the Rogerian method of listening to and validating others, we were warned not be rudderless and passive in our pastoral leadership. It was the 80's and the new model, "pastoral assertiveness," was in. But the assertive leader, I later learned, assumed that one is available first to God and to oneself, in order to be fully present to others. As one wise clinician in pastoral care said, "The quality of any pastoral intervention depends on the quality of your inner self."

Like a vortex of false promises, the tempting lie is to try to please others or ourselves by copying some ideal. It makes us susceptible t…