Sunday, February 01, 2009


Mark 1:21-28

Today's Gospel is the story of one of Jesus' first public teaching appearances in the synagogue. As our celebrant reminded us this morning, he encountered every teacher's worst nightmare: a loud mouth with an agenda who disrupts the proceedings. This particular loud mouth also spoke the truth "you Holy One of God". Everyone was watching. Now what?

Although he was new to public speaking engagements, Jesus had the presence of mind to take command of the situation. And... according to the Gospel, apparently everyone was impressed.

Our preacher brought her analogy to the present. She commented on Obama's first full week in office, and how, as with Jesus, everyone was watching his every move. And a few were already making trouble, causing disruption. Back then they named it an evil spirit.

What about today? Whatever it is, we just cannot be content with listening to people who speak with authority. We have to take potshots, have to disrupt. What's that about? It certainly makes the role of leadership that more taxing, and the ability to stay on message now becomes one of the marks of a good leader.

The question posed then was this: what is legitimate criticism as opposed to just harping to undermine the process? She asked us to look at our own lives and examine how we behave... both as leaders and when we are not leaders... to look at the temptation to criticize. Is it legitimate? Or do we just need to bring them down a peg? Are we jealous? Jealous that someone else is actually good at what they do? 

She spoke to the strife in the Anglican Communion... all the arguments over who could and could not be ordained and why, the interpretation of Scripture, the clinging to dogma. Much of the huge debate acting as distraction, disruption from the true mission of the church. 

What are we jealous of... and why?

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