125: Proper 12B (July 26, 2015)


For Sunday July 26, Proper 12, Year B

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Featured Musician - Christopher Grundy, “Taste and Believe” from from his album Stepping In

Episode 125 Proper 12B
Hello and welcome to the Pulpit Fiction Podcast, the lectionary podcast for preachers, seekers and Bible geeks. This is episode 125 for Sunday July 26, Proper 12, Year B.

Introduction and Check-in  

Mid-Fire Scripture: John 6:1-21 - Loaves, Fish and Stormy Sea

  • Miraculous Feeding
    • Clearly a redaction of the synoptics stories
      • no Eucharistic verbs
      • no mention of the woman and children
      • Same message of abundance in the face of skepticism
    • Feeding of the multitude and Emmaus as a original stories of the Eucharist
      • How does that shape our understanding of Eucharist (“Thanksgiving”) if we remove it from the death, betrayal and sacrificial atonement?
    • Interesting tidbits:
      • Takes place nearly time for Passover. Next few stories include mentioning “bread of life,” and “bread of heaven.”
      • 12 baskets of leftovers = 12 tribes of Israel.
  • Jesus leaves because he knows they will “force” him to be their king
    • They want Jesus to be the problem solver- but that isn’t Jesus’ role
  • Storm at sea
    • The Disciples still do not believe or trust
    • “I Am” shows up as both frightening theophany and comforter
    • Are the disciples scared of the storm or of Jesus?

Featured Musician - Christopher Grundy, “Taste and Believe” from from his album Stepping In


First Scripture - 2 Samuel 11:1-15 - David, Bathsheba & Uriah
Initial Thoughts

  • Difficult passage to read in a mixed-audience. If this were a TV show, I wouldn’t let my daughter watch it.
  • No good news here. Just sex (rape), deceit, and murder.
  • “We are now at a the pivotal turning point in the narrative plot of the books of Samuel. We are also invited into the presence of delicate, subtle art. We are the threshold of deeping, aching psychology, and at the same time we are about to witness a most ruthless political performance… Innocence is never to be retrieved. From now on the life of David is marked, and all Israel must live with that mark.” (Walter Brueggemann, Interpretation: First and Second Samuel, p. 271-2)

Bible Study

  • David
    • King fully entrenched in power.
    • Not in the field as he had promised, or as the Israelites had asked (1 Samuel 8:20)
    • Sitting on couch he sees her.
    • Finds out that she is the daughter of an important advisor, and the wife of a Hittite soldier.
    • Summons her. Has sex with her. ‘He takes her,’ is exactly what Samuel had warned the people what Kings would do: “[a King] will take your daughters”.” (1 Samuel 8:13)
    • She becomes pregnant.
    • David tries to cover it up by sending for Uriah, then sending him home to “wash his feet.”
    • Uriah refuses to lie in his own bed when his comrades are in the midst of war. His honor - which is in stark contrast to David, who is sitting on his couch during the war - does him in.
    • David then sends Uriah with a note that is basically his death sentence.
  • Bathsheba
    • One of the most famous examples of victim-blaming in history.
    • She is essentially raped by the King
    • Her husband is murdered.
    • For this, she is treated in history as a temptress, and named in a popular Christian book as a “Really Bad Girls of the Bible.” Liz Curtis Higgs, author of the book Really Bad Girls of the Bible at least partially implicates her because there’s no evidence that she “put up a fight.”
    • Author Susan McGeowan offers a great study guide about Bathsheba, one that outlines the different interpretations of her character, but comes to the conclusion that “She must have been an amazing woman. Despite their inauspicious beginning, despite her being the focal point for a time in David’s life of his most horrible sin, she remained a powerful and favored influence over him through the remainder of his life - as evidence by their final recorded time together when she secures Solomon’s future as the next king of Israel.”
    • Blogger Kate Schell writes, “She was powerless, but we cast her as seductress.  Today, I grieve for Bathsheba. I grieve for this woman coerced and bereaved. I grieve for this woman who mourned, her clothing torn and her life upended. I grieve for this woman who has been reduced to adulteress, to a naked body in the wrong spot at the wrong time.”
  • Aftermath-next week
    • David has Uriah killed. Bathsheba mourns, then becomes David’s wife.
    • The baby of the rape doesn’t survive.
    • She is the mother of several, including Solomon, who becomes David’s heir.

Sermon Thoughts and Questions:

  • The way that Bathsheba is treated is telling. She is treated - in the text itself and in much interpretation of the text - as voiceless. Objectified and known only as a body and an object of a powerful man’s desire. The story implies that her nakedness is to blame for the death of her husband, her child, and the division of the Kingdom itself. History has gone on to tell of David’s greatness, but often leaves out the part about cowardly avoiding war, then raping a woman and killing her husband, who was, by the way, fighting honorably in the war David should have been at in the first place. How do we continue to victim blame? How many victims of domestic abuse or sexual assault have been charged with “asking for it”? How many time must a girl be told that modesty is her best defense against rape? How many pastors will try to redeem this unredeemable text?

Psalm Nugget: Psalm 14 with Richard Bruxvoort Colligan (psalmimmersion.com, @pomopsalmist)

The Pulpit Fiction Podcast is brought to you in part by audible. For listeners of Pulpit Fiction, Audible is offering a free 30-day trial and get a free audio book simply by going to audibletrial.com/pulpitfiction. There are a ton of books, 150,000 titles to choose from, including some great works by friends of the show Peter Rollins, Adam Hamilton and Nadia Bolz-Weber. We recommend Rachel Held Evans’ new book Searching for Sundays which is available on audible right now! Get it for free at audibleTRIAL.com/PulpitFiction. Again, support the show by going to audibletrial.com/PulpitFiction to start your free 30-Day trial and get a free audio book download.

Wearing God Sermon Series! God as Clothing
Focus 1 - Clothed in our Own Skins:

  • Genesis 3:21 - “And the Lord God made garments of skins for the man and for his wife, and clothed them.”


Preaching Thought

  • How do we encourage people (and ourselves) to be “comfortable in their own skins” as given to them by God, while also encouraging them to be healthy and faithful stewards of that gift?

Focus 2 - Clothed in Christ

  • Galatians 3:27 - “All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”
  • Colossians 3:12-14 “12 As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.13 Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
  • 1 Peter 5:5 “In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you must clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble."”


  • What does it mean to “wear” God?
  • Winner talks about how clothing informs our focus and identity, p.37-41
    • Fashion means “to mold or to shape”. Like we fashion a bowl out of clay or a bookshelf out of wood. How does our clothing fashion us?
    • Work clothes, school clothes, workout clothes, formal clothes, play clothes vs no clothes, lingerie, church clothes each of these sets of clothing is also a way of acting and interacting with others  
  • “It takes a lifetime to fathom Jesus; it takes a lifetime to appropriate Jesus; it takes a lifetime to be clothed with Jesus.” Alexander MacLaren, Commentary on Romans (quoted from Winner, p.40)
  • “Our body became your garment; Your spirit became our robe.” - Ephrem of Syria

Preaching Thought

  • How would we act, pray, worship, love, etc if we were truly clothed in Christ?
  • What if we thought about clothing ourselves with Christ each time we got dressed in the morning and allowed Christ to fashion us instead of our business suits, t-shirts, blouses, dresses and jeans?
  • Thought - have our one of the quotes or verses above and encourage people to post them in their closets as a reminder to be clothed in Christ

Focus 3 - What Our Clothing Says

  • Matthew 25:36a “I was naked and you gave me clothing”
  • James 2:15-16 “ 15 If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill," and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that?”


  • Our clothing also communicates something to others
    • Wearing black for mourning
    • Wearing red on Pentecost
    • Wearing a suit to an interview
  • Clothing was used to distinguish slaves from the Roman Empire to 18 century Caribbean
  • Clothing was used to distinguish Jews in Nazi Germany
  • Clothing is still used to distinguish prisoners, rich from poor,  
  • “For Thousands of years human beings have communicated with one another first the language of dress. Long before I am near enough to talk to you on the street, in a meeting, or at a party, you announce your sex, age and class to me through what you are wearing - and very possibly give me very important information (or misinformation) as to your occupation, origin, personality, opinions, tastes, sexual desires and current mood...By the time we meet and converse we have already spoken to another in an older and more universal tongue.” - Alison Lurie, The Language of Clothes (quoted from Winner, p. 44)
  • “Why I Preach in Jeans” by Chad Holtz
    • Great article about wearing jeans as a missional witness
    • [Woman who just got out of jail says], “I don’t have anything nice to wear. These jeans are about the best I got.” Just then, a member of my church jumped in, “That’s OK, our pastor preaches in jeans.” The relief on her face was obvious. My resolve to dress so that I can connect with people who need Jesus was strengthened.

Preaching Thought

  • What do we communicate through our clothes, our paraments and our banners?
  • In what ways do we allow our clothes, school uniforms, prison uniforms, bad vs good cloths, etc determine our worth and the worth of others?

Tasty Wafer of the Week:

  • Go Fund Me for “Bigger on the Inside Studio.” Jeremy Lafary, a pastor in Illinois had a career in music recording and promoting before he entered the ministry. Now he dreams of opening a music studio that will help rookie musicians make their first recordings - for FREE. You can learn more and support him at the link on our show notes: http://www.gofundme.com/ysd55zg

Thank you listeners and Shout-Outs
Jeannie- Weebly Comment
I think these women follow in the lines of the tricksters of Genesis, too. Women didn't have overt power, so they had to do what they had to do. If that meant dancing for a drunk king and taking advantage of his insecurity, so be it. You might want to call her an evil woman, but she may have been saving her one chance to re-marry, meaning her one chance to avoid being a widow in the midst of a culture where it kind of sucked to be a widow.... Maybe Herodias was pissed b/c Herod made her daughter dance for all these drunk guys. Good Mama-bear revenge perhaps? Still, she's not evil.

Featured Musician - “Taste and Believe” from from his album Stepping In

Thanks to our Psalms correspondent, Richard Bruxvoort Colligan (psalmimmersion.com, @pomopsalmist). Thank you to Scott Fletcher for our voice bumpers, Dick Dale and the Del Tones for our Theme music (“Misirlou”), Nicolai Heidlas (“Summertime”) and The Steel Wheels for our transition music(“Nola’s First Dance” from their album Lay Down, Lay Low) and Paul and Storm for our closing music (“Oh No”).

The Lion and Lamb Festival is seeking musicians and speakers. Already featuring friends of the show Heatherlyn and Sarah Renfro. Other participants can apply now. The Festival’s vision is to bring people together to inspire and be inspired by stories of peace, mercy, justice, and love. It is August 8, 2015 in the Quad Cities, Illinois.