This week's chat is hosted by Pastor Anna Hoesly of Storyline and Pastor Jesse Christopherson of Milwaukie Lutheran. Mark 10:46-52 is the story of Bartimaeus, a blind beggar. Though it seems fairly simple, Jesse and Anna uncover some often overlooked nuance in the text. Jesse explains the significance of one's cloak in their social setting and why that is worth considering. Anna shares how she finds Jesus recognizing and honoring the agency of Bartimaeus - he doesnt assume, he asks what Bartimaeus wants. They also caution against the idea that perfect faith equals perfect health and healing.
Stori (Storyline Pastor) and Rayah (community activist) host today's discussion of Mark 10:35-45 and Isaiah 53:4-12. In Mark, James and John decide they want to secure their positions at Jesus's sides. This story often feels like some power-hungry punks moving in to secure their spots. Flipping over to Isaiah, an oft quoted passage seems to point directly to the future suffering of Jesus. But maybe there is some room to imagine these stories differently and stretch our understanding.
Sacred Organizer Amira Stanley and Pastor Julia Nielsen work through an uncomfortable passage: Amos 5:6-7, 10-15. Julia gives a bit of history and context for Amos. Unlike some of the more well-known prophets, Amos doesn't seem to give the people much hope. Being involved in community work means that there are going to be some losses and times of grief. Amira reminds us to approach these times in a way that is loving to ourselves. They reflect on the need to sit in the discomfort of what's happening now without rushing to "but everything will be okay!"
Amira asks - What area of your life needs a little more nurturing and a little more focus?
This week Rev. Sara Gross-Samuelson and Sacred Organizer Amira Stanley discuss Mark 9:38-50. The beginning of the passage starts with the disciples trying to stop some folks that were casting out demons because they weren't with Jesus's group. Amira reflects on her work within activism and the ways that people often put stumbling blocks in front of each other because they aren't doing it "right," when really, it's just that they're doing it differently. They discuss how God works in all sorts of ways and that can be challenging to see. Sara asks the community to reflect on the question - Where do you see God in the community? and if you don't see God, why is that?
This week Pastor Anna Hoesly and community activist Rayah Dickerson dig into Jeremiah 11:18-20 and James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a. They explore the levels of trauma - this isnt just about the pain of one particular prophet - Jeremiah's pain comes from being betrayed while speaking the truth about community trauma. Pulling in the James texts lends insight as to what can happen when trauma and harms are brushed over in the name of peacemaking instead of revealed - an internal spiral of focus rather than a path toward healing. The reality is that you cannot have true peace when people are being harmed or are suffering alone. Speaking the truth about difficult things gives us the chance to address harms and heal by giving us a tangible place to begin.
This week Rev. Sara Gross-Samuelson (Storyline) and Pastor Jesse Christopherson of Milwaukie Lutheran talk through Isaiah 50:4-9a and Mark 8:27-38. Suffering can be confusing and complicated - Sara and Jesse wrestle through it and then get down to the simplicity of the bottom line - stuff happens, dont be ashamed of it, it's a part of your story. Bonus - Harry Potter parallels and a nod to the Dark Side of Star Wars.
This week Pastor Anna Hoesly and Sacred Organizer Amira Stanley talk the poetry of Song of Songs 2:8-14 and the woman's voice being highlighted here. Poetry, like scripture, can be interpreted in many different ways, so they describe the danger of ascribing "rightness" to one specific understanding of this poetry. They talk the intimacy of creation, the power and discomfort of sensuality and sexuality as it intersects with our faith, and the art of seeing and connecting with the world and people around you and with yourself.
Rev. Sara Gross-Samuelson (Storyline) and activist, podcaster, mental health advocate Rayah Dickerson dig into Ephesians 6:10-20 and John 6:56-69 talk liberation, power, truth, and shedding of the lies of the empire that are used to control, manipulate and convince us into thinking that we only need to look out for ourselves and not our neighbors.
Pastor Jesse and Pastor Anna "dig in" (kinda literally) into a common and confusing metaphor often used in the Bible, Jesus as the living bread. We say this often and just "accept" it as a metaphor without ever truly exploring what it actually means for us in reality and what is actually being offered to us in our day-to-day.