Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Cross from a Distance

Peter Bolt writes in The Cross from a Distance, p28:
“Mark exposes religion as having multiple faults. It has teaching that lacked authority (1:22-28). It had allowed the daimonic into its core (1:21-28). Mark shows that the Jewish religion had rules that excluded people from their own homes in the interest of cleanliness (1:40-45), and rituals that could pronounce that people had become clean, but could not do anything to make them so (1:44). It grumbled over potential blasphemy (2:7) while committing the greatest blasphemy of all time, the destruction of the Messiah. It fostered a judgemental spirit, in which rules were placed above relationships. It displayed an inability to offer real help in the face of human suffering. When somebody died, religion could provide the professional mourners and the rule to ensure that the corpse did not pollute, but could do nothing about the problem of death itself and the grief under which it forces human beings to live. Obsessed with status and position, the religious leaders could miss the miracles in their midst (6:1-6) while demanding miracles more in keeping with their own desires (:11-13). They nullify the Word of God in order to keep the human traditions (7:1-13), and have the appearance of being scrupulous about the things of God, but in reality have hearts that are rotten to the core (7:14-23)..."

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