Hearty Heresy

The Last Week
March 26, 2007, 4:49 pm
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, Heresy, Jesus, Religion, Theology

I started reading Borg & Crossan’s The Last Week last night. It’s really quite interesting, especially in relation to my Lenten practice of repeatedly reading Stephen Mitchell’s Gospel According to Jesus. Mitchell’s version is basically a stripped down version of Mark’s Gospel, with a little Luke and Matthew sprinkled in (and very little John). The Last Week is an day-by-day interpretation of the end of Mark, from chapter 11 on. Of course there is much more here than in Mitchell’s version, which gives me an opportunity to evaluate his decisions about what to put in and what to leave out. One thing’s abundantly clear: both Mark and Mitchell were adapting the story of Jesus for their particular audience. And so are Borg and Crossan, of course.

Two things about The Last Week that have really grabbed me: 1.) The authors mention that Daryl Schmidt in his book The Gospel of Mark refers to Mark as “a wartime gospel,” and 2.) Their quick definition of “ancient domination systems”–rule by a few, economic exploitation, and religious legitimation–sounds awfully close to contemporary domination systems. But as I said, Borg and Crossan are interpreting the story of the Holy Week for their audience, too, which seems to be people like me–progressives who are troubled by both the political and religious direction of this country. That’s exactly what got Jesus in trouble, wouldn’t you say?


5 Comments so far
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OK, but you know there are some of us out here who are “traditionalists” (evangelicals) who are troubled by the religious direction of the church and the political culture of the nation (which I am not equating to a political party) but to both parties and a whole corrupt culture.

I hate thinking of myself as a traditionalist. Can I be an evangelical progressive?

Comment by j4jesus

I will have to check out Borg and Crossan’s book. It sounds fascinating.

So, are evangelicals calling themselves “traditionalists”? It has been 17 years since I was in that camp. If you need it, I’ll give you permission to call yourself a evangelical progressive. They sound like an interesting mix. Although, I think they might already have a particular definition. Isn’t that kinda what Jim Wallis is advocating?

Comment by pastorofdisaster

I think there’s plenty to be troubled about for both conservatives and progressives (or whatever labels you might want to apply). And I’m pretty sure that evangelicals can be progressives, too. And I’ve met some fairly progressive folks who have very traditional views when it comes to their faith. Guess it works both ways.

Comment by heartyheretic

See, I’m kind of thinking (and discovering) that following the crucified and resurrected Son of God (which is a wildly, radical claim despite what the church has done to it) really means that you have to think outside of the box – and act outside of it to from time to time or, perhaps, most of the time 🙂

Jesus is unpredictable – and – it’s much better that way. Keeps me from getting too comfortable or too fat, happy and stupid.

Comment by j4jesus

You know, I think that if one truly follows the teachings of Jesus (no matter what they believe about his divinity), they are going to be thinking and acting outside of the box. In fact, putting God and Jesus inside of a box is exactly what I believe Brand Xianity does by making Jesus too predictable.

Comment by heartyheretic

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