Monday, July 29, 2019

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)


Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 is a further revision and refinement of my Lectionary Ruminations and Lectionary Ruminations 2.0.  Focusing on The Revised Common Lectionary Readings for the upcoming Sunday from New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible, Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 draws on over thirty years of pastoral experience.  Believing that the questions we ask are often more important than any answers we find, without over reliance on commentaries, I intend with sometimes pointed and sometimes snarky comments and Socratic like questions, to encourage reflection and rumination for readers preparing to lead a Bible study, draft liturgy, preach, or hear the Word. Reader comments are invited and encouraged.

ISAIAH 5:1-7
5:1 Does this remind you of the Song of Solomon? Who is speaking? I wonder what this song’s tune sounded like.
5:2 What is the difference between wild grapes and cultivated grapes?
5:3 In this context, what does it mean to judge?
5:4 Is this a rhetorical question?
5:5 This sounds like a pretty severe judgment. Why would a vineyard owner do this?
5:6 Now any grapes that might grow will really and truly be wild grapes.
5:7 So, justice and righteousness are equivalent to cultivated grapes while bloodshed and cries (resulting from wickedness?) are the equivalent of wild grapes?  What sort of grapes are we?

PSALM 80:1-2, 8-19
80:1 The Isaiah reading gave us vineyard imagery.  Today’s Psalm begins by offering us shepherd imagery. Who is the Shepherd of Israel? What and where are cherubim?
80:2 Who or what are Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh?
80:8 Here is some vineyard imagery to juxtapose with similar imagery from the Isaiah Reading.  How do we deal with the changing and mixed metaphors of shepherds, flocks, and vineyards?
80:9 What came first, Isaiah’s imagery or the psalmis’s imagery?
80:10-11 Hyperbole?
80:12 This reads like a specific reflection on Isaiah 5:5-6.  Are both the Isaiah reading and the Psalm perhaps reflecting on a larger cultural and religious image popular at the time?
80:13 Are these allusions to anyone in particular?
80:14 Again?
80:15 What is the symbolism of the right hand?
80:16 Who are “they”?
80:17 Who is “the one at your right hand, the one whom you made strong for yourself?”  How can we not read this illuminated by Hebrews 11:2?
80:18 Is there a quid pro quo at work here?
80:19 What does God’s shining face symbolize?
80:1-2, 8-19 There are several images in this reading that can be employed to address God.  How many can you identify?

HEBREWS 11:29-12:2
11:29, 30, 31 Note the repetition of ‘By faith.”  By comparison, what have we done recently “by faith?”
11:29 If there had been no faith, would the people not have passed through the Red Sea as if it were dry ground?
11:30 Is the writer suggesting that miracles rely upon faith?
11:31 Rahab had faith? What was the nature of Rahab’s faith?
11:32 I wish the author had taken the time to write more. Even though Rahab is mentioned, I wish more women had been named.
11:33-34 “By Faith” is replaced by “through faith.”  Is there is difference? I find some of these examples a little too militaristic.
11:35 What in the world does “Women received their dread by resurrection” mean? What is a “better resurrection?”
11:36 Is the author now writing about Christian martyrs?
11:37 This is gruesome. I wonder how children might hear this.
11:38 Who is the author writing about? This was at least two centuries before the advent of the desert mothers and fathers.
11:39 What was promised?
11:40 What does it mean to be made perfect?
12:1 The author has previously given us a long list of names to include among the great cloud of witnesses, but I am sure the list is not meant to be all inclusive.  What names would you add?  What does it mean to be surrounded by “so great a cloud of witnesses?”  Does this image send shivers up your spine and cause the hairs on the back of your neck to stand on edge?  I think it should! How does this “great a cloud of witnesses” correlate with the communion of the saints? What is the nature of the race that is set before us? Is it a sprint or a marathon?
12:2 Do we look to Jesus as the finish line, the leading runner, the prize, or what? How was Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith? What was shameful about the cross?

LUKE 12:49-56
12:49 Who is speaking? What does fire represent or symbolize?
12:50 We had fire language in the previous verse. Now we have Baptism language. Is this baptism by water or baptism by fire?
12:51 Well, there goes our image of Jesus the peacemaker. How do we read this in the midst of America’s divisive political rhetoric?
12:52 Do the numbers matter? What is the meaning of “household?”
12:53 So much for Christian family values.  I wonder how James Dobson and Focus on the Family handle this verse. Note that there is no division based on sex or gender.
12:54-56 Apparently weather forecasting was a more highly developed art or science in Jesus’ day than was social critique.  Do we do any better?
12:55 Why the weather imagery in this and the preceding verse?
12:56 So weather forecasting is more of a science than prophecy?
12:49-56 Shall we classify these verses as some of the tough, harsh, and troubling sayings of Jesus? Is this apocalyptic language?
                                                                  
ADDENDUM
I am a Minister Member of Upper Ohio Valley Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and am serving as the Interim Pastor of the Richmond United Presbyterian Church, Richmond, Ohio. Sunday Worship at Richmond begins at 11:00 AM. Some of my other blog posts have appeared on PRESBYTERIAN BLOGGERS and The Trek.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)


Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 is a further revision and refinement of my Lectionary Ruminations and Lectionary Ruminations 2.0.  Focusing on The Revised Common Lectionary Readings for the upcoming Sunday from New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible, Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 draws on over thirty years of pastoral experience.  Believing that the questions we ask are often more important than any answers we find, without over reliance on commentaries, I intend with sometimes pointed and sometimes snarky comments and Socratic like questions, to encourage reflection and rumination for readers preparing to lead a Bible study, draft liturgy, preach, or hear the Word. Reader comments are invited and encouraged.

ISAIAH 1:1, 10-20
1:1 Did Isaiah have only one vision.  What is a vision? Have you ever seen a vision? Does it matter that Isaiah was the son of Amoz? When were the days of these kings and what were their reigns like?
1:10 Why are the rulers of Sodom and the people of Gomorrah singled out?
1:11 Is this an anti-institutional rant? Is this anything more than a call for the end of sacrifices?
1:12 Had the LORD not previously asked for sacrifices?
1:13 This could sound like an indictment of corporate worship, or at least high church liturgical worship with smells and bells, but it is not. What is it?
1:14 The Lord is beginning to sound like a reforming iconoclast.
1:15 What does the mention of stretched out hands refer to? How are the people’s hands full of blood? Does the LORD ever not hear our prayers?
1:16 What sort of washing is envisioned? Can Christians read this as a prefiguration of baptism?
1:17 A good progressive call to social and economic justice, especially during any election season. I wonder how the current inhabitant of the Oval Office and current inhabitants of Congress read this.
1:18 What does “argue it out” mean?  Is this a legal reference? Are you ready to argue with the LORD? Why might sins be the color of scarlet and crimson?
1:19 Where else in Scripture do we find a connection between obedience and a vibrant land?  Is there a similar idea expressed in the Grail Legend?
1:20 Following upon the preceding verse, this almost sounds like a “two ways” proposition.

PSALM 50:1-8, 22-23
51:1 How and why does God summon the earth? What does it mean to summon the earth?
51:2 If God is omnipresent, why does God shine forth out of Zion? Can God not shine forth out of anywhere?
51:3 This sounds like the God of the storm.  What about the God of sheer silence?
51:4 What does calling to the heavens and to the earth have to do with judgment?
51:5 I thought God made a covenant, not the faithful ones. What was the sacrifice?
51:6 How do the heavens declare God’s righteousness? Can the Hubble Space Telescope help us see this declaration?
51:7 Why does God testify “against” Israel? Is this a legal reference?
51:8 Then why does God rebuke?
51:22 This verse makes God sound like a ravishing lion. How do we forget God?
51:23 This verse, as well as 51:8, sound contradictory to the reading from Isaiah. I am thinking of the Eucharistic liturgy where we pray “Accept this, our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.”

HEBREWS 11:1-3, 8-16
11:1 This definition sounds antithetical to those who seek to “prove” God’s existence.  I like this definition of faith, but I also like Calvin’s definition of faith as   “a firm and certain knowledge of God's benevolence toward us, founded upon the truth of the freely given promise in Christ, both revealed to our minds and sealed upon our hearts through the Holy Spirit." (Institutes 3.2.7)
11:2 Note that “ancestors” is plural, so who else might Paul have had in mind in addition to Abraham? Do we have faith in order to be accepted, or are we accepted because we have faith?
11:3 Why “worlds” plural?  How many worlds are there? Which creation account might Paul be alluding to?
11:8 Abraham is established as the archetypal faithful person.  Why is Sarah not mentioned? How do immigrants like Abraham influence the Christian attitudes toward immigration?
11:9 Why was staying in the promised land after he arrived an example of Abraham’s faith?
11:10 What city did Abraham look forward to?
11:11 Sarah is finally mentioned! I think this passage reflects a pre-modern understanding of the biology and genetics of reproduction.
11:12 Modern biology would say “from these two people”.
11:13 Who are these?  Are we talking about more than Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Jacob?  Are we all still not strangers and foreigners on the earth?
11:14 Where do Christians find their homeland?
11:15 One should never look back?
11:16 How does this verse influence Christian attitudes to the Nation of Israel and the physical Holy Land? What is the relationship between the “better country” and “the city prepared for them”? Can Christians read this passage through the Book of Revelation’s promise of a new heaven, a new earth, and the holy city of Jerusalem coming down out of heaven?

LUKE 12:32-40
12:32 What was the little flock afraid of?  How little was it? What are YOU afraid of? What is the relationship of “the kingdom” in this verse to the “country” and “city” in Hebrews 11:16? What is the kingdom?
12:33 How do capitalist American Christians, especially “Prosperity Gospel” Christians, reconcile their economic behavior with this verse? How are ancient arms related to present day charity and tithing?
12:34 Where is YOUR treasure? WHAT is your treasurer?
12:35 What might be a present day image or metaphor to capture the idea of this verse – perhaps “Have your clothes, shoes, flashlight, and cell phone close at hand, your ‘go bag’ ready”?
12:36 Does the fact that the master was returning from a wedding banquet rather than some other function influence the way we interpret this passage?
12:37 The servers become the served. The master becomes the servant.
12:37-38 How do we deal with “slavery” language with all its racial, cultural, and historic baggage?
12:39 The introduction of a “thief” seems to confuse the metaphor.  Can we drop this verse and still preserve the message?
12:40 What is the historical significance of “Son of Man” imagery and language?  Is the Son of Man coming like a master returning from a wedding banquet or like a thief? Does it make a difference?
                                                                  
ADDENDUM
I am a Minister Member of Upper Ohio Valley Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and am serving as the Interim Pastor of the Richmond United Presbyterian Church, Richmond, Ohio. Sunday Worship at Richmond begins at 11:00 AM. Some of my other blog posts have appeared on PRESBYTERIAN BLOGGERS and The Trek.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Prayer Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11


God who stretched the Spangled Heavens,
this past week of remembering and reliving the Apollo 11 Moon landing
has not only jogged the memories of older adults
but excited the imagination and wanderlust of all humanity.
You showed Abraham and Sara the stars
     and said their descendants would be more numerous.
We gaze out at the night sky
     and marvel at the mystery and lure
     of your ever-expanding universe.
As we dream of and plan for travelling back to the moon,
     to Mars,
     and beyond,
help also to recapture the vision of peace for all humankind.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Four Mornings in Red Rock Canyon



                The first time I drove into Red Rock Canyon from Las Vegas the canyon overwhelmed me with its desert beauty and expansive views. I came to the canyon early in the morning, as soon as it opened to visitors, so I would avoid the midday heat. I parked the rental car at the Visitor Center shortly after 6:00 AM and looked out toward the Calico  Hills to the north  and Rainbow Mountain, Bride Mountain, and North Peak to the west, all bathed in early morning light. I found it hard  to believe that the nearby Calico Hills were still at least  half a mile away and that the lowest slopes of those three peaks to the west were still  nearly three and a half miles away.
                I am used to hiking in the Eastern United States, especially in the Appalachian Mountains, where tree covered slopes block any distant  views unless I am hiking along a ridge and come upon a rocky overlook or climb above tree line. When hiking back in the east, I feel fortunate to see a hundred feet down the trail. I could, at times, see several miles in all directions as I hiked in Red Rock Canyon.
                That first morning, I stepped out onto the Moenkopi Trail, an “easy” rated trail that took me through open desert past Yucca, Joshua Trees, and Prickly Pear Cactus until I picked up the Calico Hills Trail, a “moderate” trail that seemed no more difficult than the Moenkopi Trail and that led me back to the car at the visitor center. My hiking shoes and socks were a little dusty, and my feet were warm and sweaty, but I was no worse for the wear. The round-trip hike was about 2 miles of open, easy to negotiate, and beautiful desert.
                Not ready to call it a day after just two miles, I drove the car over to the Calico I parking area where I
Calico 1 parking with rocks in the background
had just hiked through, and after parking the car, I climbed down into a small canyon to explore. As I climbed upon an outcrop, I saw a man below holding a stone to  carve his initials with into the rock face over his head. With little hesitation I called out, “That’s not cool.” Looking at me, he dropped the stone in his hand and said, “I am sorry. I didn’t know. This is my first time here.” He then asked, “Do you come here often?”  Not wanting to give away the fact that this was also my first visit to Red Rock Canyon, I replied, “I get around.” I then continued hiking down  into the canyon and  did not see another person until I returned to near the parking area.
The next morning, again entering the canyon soon after it opened to visitors, I drove directly to the Calico I parking area, intending to again hike the Calico Hills Trail, but this time  a mile up to the Calico II parking area and back. When I reached the dry wash, I saw that the trail divide, right and up toward the ridge,  and left  along the dusty wash, but the maps I was using did not show a loop. Not wanting to follow the trail up to the ridge in case it dead ended, I followed the trail through the dry, sandy, and rocky wash. This lower trail, heading toward the Calico II parking area,  seemed to promise a clear hike to my intended destination while the upper trail was questionable.
After hiking past some large boulders which I explored, including one with ancient petroglyphs,  I approached the parking area and noticed, off to the right,  large rock cairns enclosed in what looked like  wire mesh. Consisting of rocks piled into a wire cylinder about two feet wide and a yard high, each cairn leading to another, I followed them toward the ridge top. Climbing over rock ledges and up through crevices, I eventually  reached the ridge above, where I was greeted by one last cairn and a scene that reminded me of something out of The Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones. Once at the top of the ridge,  I found the trail easier to follow and hiked it back to the car. The entire loop was  a spectacular hike of two miles that at times, both in terms of route finding and the scrambling,  not always seeing where the trail led and having to rely on hands as well as feet to climb up and through some rocky slopes, qualified, in my mind, as “moderate.”
Again, not wanting to call it a day after hiking just two miles, I drove up to and parked at the Calico II parking area where once more I picked up the  Calico Hills Trail, but this time following it up to the  Sandstone Quarry trailhead. This section of the Calico Hills Trail was about as easy as the first section I had hiked the day before and not nearly as difficult as the section I had hiked earlier that morning.
Upon reaching the Sandstone Quarry trail head, I looked around and then headed back from whence I came, following the same trail, hoping to get back to the car before what looked like approaching rain clouds dumped their precipitation on me. Other than a few sprinkles, I was able to add over another two miles to my day for a total of over four miles before rain started falling and the wind increased.
The third morning I again entered the Canyon around 6:00 AM.  Driving toward the Sandstone Quarry
The Calico Tanks Trail, heading up toward the overlook
Trailhead, I debated  whether to hike from  the 4,280 feet above sea level trailhead on the  “moderate” Calico Tanks Trail up to the tanks  at an elevation of about 4,680 feet, a three mile round trip,  or to hike the “difficult” Turtlehead Peak Trail up to the 6,323 foot high summit of Turtlehead Peak, a five mile round trip. I mention the altitudes because I am used to hiking eastern  elevations between 1,300 and 4,200 feet. Since I was hiking by myself and was a little out of shape after a cold, wet, miserable eastern winter, I opted for the “moderate” hike up to the Calico Tanks rather than the “difficult” climb up to Turtlehead Peak  thinking I might hike up to Turtlehead Peak the following day.
The Calico Tanks trail was at first easy to follow, but the higher it climbed up into the canyon, the harder it became to follow. More than once I would follow a clearly followable trail up onto a rocky flat ledge only to spend several minutes searching for where the trail continued. As the canyon became narrower and steeper,  I found myself scrambling more and more and wondering how this hike could be rated as “moderate” rather than “difficult.”
Near the high end of the canyon, when I stepped up over a rock and looked down upon a tinaja, or natural rock formation that holds surface water runoff, I knew I was near the end of the trail. I then saw a couple small cairns leading up to  wide but exposed sloping rock ledge ahead and to the right. I followed the cairns to the last one where, under an overhang, I was rewarded with a sweeping view of a hazy Las Vegas.  Despite the haze, I was  able to pick out the resort where I was staying, the Red Rock Canyon Resort and Spa, as well as the very recognizable pyramid shape of the Grand Luxor.
The return hike back to the car was a little easier than the hike up. At least once, however, I had to pause on a rock ledge and look around to find where the trail continued. While I had not encountered any other hikers on my way up, I encountered dozens who were hiking up as I was descending, including one large group for whom I stepped off to the side of the trail for a few minutes so they could pass. The quiet solitude of the early morning had turned into a mass of humanity by midmorning and I knew I was no longer alone. While other hikers on the trail increased my level of safety, I prefer hiking alone or with just one or two others than in or near large groups like the one I moved to the side for.
As I was nearing the trailhead parking area, I was certain that while this had not been one of my longest hikes, it was certainly one of the most difficult ones I had undertaken in a long time. It was tough both in terms of route finding and rock scrambling, two problems I rarely encounter back in the worn-down and weathered Appalachian  Mountains. Still, I was not ready to call it a day.
Looking west toward Rainbow Mountain,
                 Bride Mountain, and North Peak
I next drove over to the Willow Spring Picnic Area where I hiked the short and “easy” Petroglyph Wall Trail to view  a petroglyph wall at the base of North Peak. I was a little disappointed with the petroglyph because it seemed no  larger, though perhaps a little better defined, that the petroglyph I had encountered along the Calico Hills Trail the day before. Adding the Petroglyph Wall Trail hike to my Calico Tanks Trail hike gave me a total of over three miles for the day, a shorter but more taxing and more trying hike than either of my previous two days.
On my  final morning, I once again entered the canyon around 6:00 AM. Based on my “moderate” hike the day before, I decided not to head up the “difficult” Turtle Peak Trail and instead opted to follow the Scenic Drive to the Lost Creek parking lot. After parking the car, I followed the “easy” one-and-a-half-mile Willow Spring Loop past  agave roasting pits but did not see any of the pictographs that were supposed to be located near the trail. Back near where I started, I hiked the “easy” three-quarter mile long Lost Creek-Children’s Discovery Trail, a short hike that rewarded me with better views, a few pictographs, and a more varied ecology than the Willow Springs Loop.  With over two miles under my hiking shoes, I got back into the car and headed for the Pine Creek Trail.
From the Pine Creek Canyon  overlook and parking area, I followed the “moderate” one-and-a-half-mile Pine Creek Trail until it brought me to the “easy” three-quarter mile long loop Fire Ecology Loop Trail. This was one of my favorite trails as it meandered through Ponderosa Pines  and crossed over the shallow and easily crossed Pine Creek. I could hear drumming off in the distance as I was hiking and  wondered if Native Americans were engaged in a religious ritual or some New Age drummers were getting it on with nature.
Reconnecting with the Pine Creek Trail, I followed it all the way to near the end  of the canyon where
Looking into Pine Creek Canyon
it branched off in a one-mile loop over rocks, across Pine Creek, and back upon itself. I then retraced my steps back to the car, all the while thinking this “moderate” three-mile hike was a lot easier than the  mile hike along the Calico Tanks Trail I had taken the previous day. Adding all the distances I had hiked that morning, I realized I had covered about six miles. My last day in Red Rock Canyon provided me with my longest hike in the Canyon but not the hardest. That label belonged to my hike on the Calico Tanks Trail the day before.
The four mornings I hiked in Red Rock Canyon was the first time I had hiked in the desert in over twenty-two years  when I last enjoyed a day hike near Abiquiu, New Mexico. The time since then had dulled my memory about  what it was like to hike in such a fierce landscape, its beauty and charm as well as its challenges and dangers. As I drove out of Red Rock Canyon along the Scenic Drive for perhaps the last time, I knew I had found a new love and hoped to someday return. After all, Turtlehead Peak was still waiting for me.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)


Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 is a further revision and refinement of my Lectionary Ruminations and Lectionary Ruminations 2.0.  Focusing on The Revised Common Lectionary Readings for the upcoming Sunday from New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible, Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 draws on over thirty years of pastoral experience.  Believing that the questions we ask are often more important than any answers we find, without over reliance on commentaries, I intend with sometimes pointed and sometimes snarky comments and Socratic like questions, to encourage reflection and rumination for readers preparing to lead a Bible study, draft liturgy, preach, or hear the Word. Reader comments are invited and encouraged.

HOSEA 11:1-11
11:1 When was Israel a child and when did it move out of childhood?
11:2 As I read this, the problem as I see it is not offering incense but rather offering incense to idols.
11:3 Who is Ephraim? When did God heal Ephraim?
11:4 Is there any special meaning or symbolism associated with “cords” and “bands?”  Are they technical religious terms?
11:1-4 Last Sunday we heard about Hosea’s Children.  This week we hear about God’s children.  How many parents have you heard wax and wane like God about their errant, wayward children?
11:5 How can they return to Egypt if Assyria is their king?
11:6 Who and what are oracle-priests?
11:7 Why does the Most High not raise them up?
11:5-7 Is this an example of God exercising some “tough love?”
11:8 Who were Admah and Zeboiim and how did God give them up?
11:9 How do proponents of a wrathful God deal with this one? “The Holy One in your midst” is one of my favorite monikers for God.
11:8-9 Is this an example of God having second thoughts?  Is it an example of God repenting?
11:10 I am seeing images of C.S. Lewis’s Aslan. I wonder if the God sounds anything at all like Liam Neeson?
11:11 What is the meaning of birds from Egypt and doves from the land of Assyria?

PSALM 107:1-9, 43
107:1 Apparently this Psalm is intended to reflect Hosea 11:8-11 rather than Hosea 11:1-7. I think this first verse sounds like a call and response.
            One: O give thanks to the LORD,
            All:  for the LORD is God.
                    The LORD’s steadfast love endures forever.
107:2 This sounds like a liturgical instruction, a rubric.
107:3 Note the four cardinal directions and similar language in the Invitation to the Lord’s Table found in the 2018 Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Book of Common Worship page 26 top of the page.
107:4 Is this an allusion to the Exodus?
107:5 Why am I thinking of Jesus?
107:6 What does it mean to cry to the LORD?
107:7 Is a straight way always the better way, or does this have nothing to do with physical attributes?
107:8 Perhaps this is an invitation to return to 107:1. Note that the LORD’s works to humankind rather than to the redeemed is mentioned.
107:9 Like 107:3, this is language that could be used in a Eucharistic setting. It also harkens back to an answer to the cry in 107: 6
107:43 This last verse echoes, and in a sense, sends us back to 107:1

COLOSSIANS 3:1-11
3:1 Is this a hypothetical “if?” When might we have ben raised with Christ?
3:1-2 How do we, in a post Copernican world, handle “above” language when it points to the spiritual dwelling place of the “ascended” Christ and of God (and of the Holy Spirit), when our “above” is “down” on the other side of the globe?
3:3 When did we die? What is the meaning of “hidden?”
3:4 What does it mean for Christ to be revealed and for us to be revealed with him? What is the relationship between things hidden and revealed?
3:5 Is it safe to assume that this list is not exhaustive? How is greed the same as idolatry? Why the parenthesis?
3:6 Here comes Paul’s wrathful God! Can we please have a just and merciful God without also having an angry and wrathful God? Who are the disobedient?
3:7 In answer to my question, the list in 3:5 apparently was not exhaustive because the “ways” of this verse lead to the mention of more vices.
3:8 And the list grows …
3:9 … and grows. What do you make of the old vs. the new self? Why am I thinking of Thomas Merton, Richard Rohr, and other contemplatives?
3:9-10 What do you make of the old vs. the new self? Is Paul writing about what Merton and Rohr would consider the “false self” and the “true self?”
3:10 What is this “knowledge?”
3:11 A nice theological move, but were we prepared for it?  Is Paul suggesting that divisions based on such criteria are also expressions of disobedience? Did Paul mean for this list to be exhaustive? How does this verse speak to contemporary expressions of American racism and xenophobia?

LUKE 12:13-21
12:13 Was the person in the crowd being sincere, cynical, or simply showing respect by addressing Jesus as “Teacher?”  Shall we hear this as a prefiguration of Luke 15:11-32?
12:14 Why does Jesus refer to his interlocutor as “friend?”  Does the question Jesus ask assume the answer “no one?”
12:15 A nice one liner, especially within the context of American capitalism and consumerism.
12:16-20 Is there a risk that we might read too much into this parable?
12:16 Why is the man not named? What is a parable?
12:17 Is this antithetical to last week’s “give us each day our daily bread (Luke 11:3)”?
12:18 How do we do this in everyday life?  
12:19 In the present economy, with its growing economic inequality and the disappearance of the middle class, many in America would never feel like they could say this. They are living paycheck to paycheck.
12:20 Isn’t this what wills and estate plans are for?
12:21 Is it ok to store up treasurers on earth if one is also rich toward God?  Where does one draw the line between prudent investing for retirement and health care emergencies versus an obsessive/compulsive saving/hoarding of wealth?
                                                                  
ADDENDUM
I am a Minister Member of Upper Ohio Valley Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and am serving as the Interim Pastor of the Richmond United Presbyterian Church, Richmond, Ohio. Sunday Worship at Richmond begins at 11:00 AM. Some of my other blog posts have appeared on PRESBYTERIAN BLOGGERS and The Trek.