82: P21A (Sept. 28) Deviled Eggs for Everyone!


For Sunday September 28, Proper 21A/Ordinary 26A/16 Sundays after Pentecost. 

Click read more for show notes!
SHOW NOTES -  9/28/2014
Episode 82: P21A (Sept. 28) No Respect for Authority These Days
For Sunday, September 28, 2014
Image by: Debbie R

This is the Pulpit Fiction Podcast, where two local pastors discuss the  lectionary reading for the week. This is episode 82 for Sunday September 28, Proper 21A/Ordinary 26A/16 Sundays after Pentecost.

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Introduction and Check-in

Featured Musician - My Anchor Holds, “Dirty Jesus,” from their album of the same name. Learn more about them at myanchorholds.net follow them @My_Anchor_Holds, Facebook, YouTube

Primary Scripture - Matthew 21:23-32 Jesus’ Authority Questioned
Initial Thoughts

  • Don’t assume the Chief priests and scribes are the bad guys- this could be an honest question. Guys shows up and does miracles- wouldn’t you want to know how?
    • Of course by the end of the chapter they do want to arrest him, but still be careful to paint all the religious authorities with too broad a brush
    • Similar to say “the church sided with the Nazis”...well, yes, the majority of the Christian churches did, but NOT all e.g. Barmen Declaration, Bonhoeffer, etc.

Bible Study

  • Context:
    • Jesus had just entered Jerusalem
    • Jesus overthrew the money changers
      • which upset the chief priests and scribes but delighted the children, lame and blind
  • Authority
    • By whose authority?
    • Asked by those who were in places of human authority: politically and religiously
    • Jesus’ authority or God’s authority? Haurwas (see below) and Katharyn Blanchard (from Feasting on the Word) claim Jesus acts by his own authority, but Jesus himself does NOT claim this but God’s authority- Even Jesus point onward to God, not himself
      • Hauerwas -  "to establish grounds more determinative than Jesus's life, death, and resurrection for why we should believe in him results in idolatry. If one needs a standard of truth to insure that Jesus is the Messiah, then one ought to worship that standard of truth, not Jesus." (Stanley Hauerwas, Matthew (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2006), 185)
  • John and Jesus
    • Similar messages - repentance, turn toward God, don’t be a hypocrite, your lineage or worldly power/ position doesn’t matter to God - who you are and what you do matters to God
    • Different locations: John preached in the desert, Jesus is preaching in the temple and Jerusalem
    • The priests and scribes cannot answer because they are afraid…afraid to answer and are afraid to arrest Jesus
      • afraid to lose their authority? They don’t have it to begin with
      • afraid to lose their power? wealth? self image? The radical love of Jesus should be both terrifying and liberating
  • Parable
    • Repentance vs Hypocrisy - Jesus declares it is better to be a repentant sinner than a hypocritical “saint”
    • Deeds matter more than words
      • BUT WORDS MATTER! This is not an either/or but a both/and - we must remember that Jesus is not talking to the prostitutes and tax collectors, but to the priests and scribes- these are words for them in response to their actions/questions. We know that words to Matter to Jesus for those that cause someone to stumble from the righteous path should be thrown into the sea (Matt. 9:42)
    • The tax collectors and prostitutes will enter the Kingdom of God ahead of you - note Jesus does not say that they will NOT enter the Kingdom, they will just enter behind the tax collectors and prostitutes
      • Why is this a problem? Should we celebrate that we are all going to the Kingdom and if not, perhaps that is what is keeping us away

Preaching Thoughts

  • How would you feel about someone coming off the street and overthrowing the money changers (that is the questionable practices, the endowments, the security systems and locked doors) in your church? WOuld you call their “authority” into question or would you call the authorities?
    • From postChristian, “If you could completely realize the mission of [your] congregation today, here, and now, but in order to do it, you’d have to close the doors of [your] church and walk away forever, would you do it?” p. 197
  • How do we begin to repent from hypocrisy? What is the first step? How do we do this as a community?
  • Do you care who gets to the Kingdom before you?

Featured Musician - My Anchor Holds, “Dirty Jesus,” from their album of the same name. Learn more about them at myanchorholds.net follow them @My_Anchor_Holds, Facebook, YouTube

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Secondary scripture - Exodus 17:1-7 Stone Soup
Initial Thoughts

  • Context:
    • Immediately after the giving of manna and meat.  This time the people have no water.
    • First, manna from heaven.  Now, water from rock.
    • Second time they lacked for good water.  The first time, Moses was instructed to put a piece of wood in the water.

Bible Study

  • Terrence Fretheim calls this period the “adolescence” of Israel.  (Interpretation: Exodus, p. 171)
    • Adolescence is a time of growth, challenging, finding independence.  Learning how to have an identity.
    • The Israelites are “forged in the fire” of the wilderness.  They learn to completely depend on God.  They have no food. It falls from the sky.  They have no water. It comes out of rocks.  They are attacked, they prevail simply by having Moses raise his hand.
    • “Even in the wilderness God is responsive to the needs of these complaining people.  God provides what the context cannot.  The protests are answered, the cries are heard, quite undeservedly.  Deliverance comes, but not in being removed from the wilderness.  A table is spread in the very presence of the enemy.  There is a gift of food where the resources are only ephemeral.  There is a gift of water where only rocks abound.  There is a gift of healing where the pain never ends.  The movement from death to life occurs within the very experience of godforesakenness.  Death is transformed into life from within a death-filled context.  A sanctuary is provided, but in the wilderness.” (Frethiem, p. 172)
  • Continuing motif of “moving”
    • The people are on the move.  Moving toward the fulfillment of a promise.
    • The movement, however is agonizingly slow.  It has already been said that the delay of the promise will be 40 years.
    • Here it is said that the people are moving “in stages,” but could find nothing to drink.
  • Continuing the motif of “murmuring”
    • Fretheim points to two different kinds of Wilderness stories.  Murmuring in response to genuine need, and murmuring without cause.  This story falls into the first category of murmuring as a response to genuine need.
    • Water is a legitimate request, so there is no sense of judgment from God (as opposed to later, when God’s response is more negative)
    • The people’s murmuring now so bad that they are about to stone Moses.
  • Continuing the motif of “testing.”
    • Over and over, God tests the people, and the people test God.
    • This is a new relationship, both sides are testing.
      • Kids test parents’ boundaries
      • “Honeymoon” period in a marriage ends when people start testing.
      • Only when relationships are mature do people stop “testing,” and settle into a more comfortable intimacy.
    • “I wonder if all these tests Moses and God keep referencing are intended to teach the people radical trust in a god who is opposed to hoarding and yet who is also present and responsive to their needs. This display of divine power is far less dramatic than controlling the waters of the Red Sea and turning them into dry land, but it does seem to present that act, in which the sea became dry, in reverse. The dry rock here flows with water. God brings water -- and with it, life -- to the arid wilderness.” (Amy Erickson from the Working Preacher)

Preaching Thoughts

  • The same staff that poisoned the water in Egypt is now providing water in the wilderness.  The same God that delivered them from Egypt is now providing for their sustenance in the wilderness.
  • The wilderness is not without benefits.  Though not without its pitfalls, the wilderness provides the people a chance to learn about who they are.  The people are strengthened by this experience, and are learning to depend upon God.  
  • God brings water out of rock, just as God brings order out of chaos, and life out of death.  God’s creative work continues.  

Tasty Wafers of the Week!

  • Thursday Night Special with Christian Piatt- what do Walter White, Huey Lewis and the News and Jesus have in common? Check out TNS and postChristian.
  • Festival of Psalms at Eden Theological Seminary on September 28. “Singing the Psalms Toward Justice and Wholeness” will feature friend of the show Richard Bruxvoort Colligan.  Richard was a repeat guest on Pulpit Fiction as we did a series on the Psalms.  The Festival will feature a workshop from 4-5:30, and then the festival at 7:00.    

TY listeners
Shout outs:


  • Debbie Graham - This is a great podcast. Helpful to me, a real Bible geek. It will be helpful and enjoyable for anyone wrestling with Scripture. Enjoy!


  • Several retweets of the quote from PostChristian we posted, "God is not a being to be named, but rather an 'event' to be experienced."
  • Another @ChristianPiatt quote that struck a nerve was “The survival of the organization itself will always come a distant second to living out the commands of Jesus to love…”

Comments on the Website

  • David Lick: “Thanks for another great episode! I just wanted to let you know that I've read three of the books you're advertising - two of them BECAUSE of your recommendations (I read "Making Sense of the Bible" of my own accord). I picked up "Postchristian" (which was alright; I agree with all of Piatt's presuppositions, I just didn't love the execution - but to each his/her own, right?) and "Pastrix" (which I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVED). Just wanted to thank you for your book recommendations.”  Talked more about the Matthew text, and the Ray Rice situation.  Great conversation.  Go to Episode 81 to join in.

Our Featured Musician - My Anchor Holds, “Dirty Jesus,” from their album of the same name. Learn more about them at myanchorholds.net follow them @My_Anchor_Holds, Facebook, YouTube

Thanks 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(“Second of May” from their album Live at Goose Creek) and Paul and Storm for our closing music( “Oh No”).