Friday, August 31, 2012

communal heart

Pentecost +14 - Year B

why didn’t you listen
to your mother
when you were told
wash your hands
before during after
eating or playing

did you also forget
to put on clean underwear
or not to follow blindly
and jump off a bridge
oh scratch that
we want your blindness

I was too busy
remembering my mother’s stories
about angels, shepherds, and magi
that were confirmed at Jordan
with doves and clouds
speaking belovedness

listen again
dirt has needed minerals
absolute rules of denial
reveal corrupt desires
for absolute power
strive for balance

and yet again
arise my repressed one
step away from reductions
bad case law is over
flowers grow in dirt
let’s garden together

yes attend to cleanliness
“seek a heart that’s joyful,
heart that’s honest, heart that’s clean”
and know this
communal heart is needed
for common distress

- - -

quote above from a translation of Calon Lân (video) by Malcolm Cowen.

James 1:17-27

Pentecost +14 - Year B

An introduction of Mitt Romney by Grant Bennett at the 2012 Republican Convention included two scripture quotes. 

The first from Matthew 25,  “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” [emphasis in original] My ear was struck by the cadenced and tonal emphasis placed upon the word “one”. In the context of the focus on individualism throughout the convention, this confirmed a perspective that simple kindness to folks is only done in a context of one-on-one. In this setting it continues a denial of our working together to express simple kindness to a whole class of people. And so food stamps become an illegitimate expression of, “I was hungry and you fed me”?

The second was from the pericope from James we are dealing with this week. Grant reported: “In our early morning calls, Mitt didn’t discuss questions of theology. He found the definition of religion given by James in the New Testament to be a practical guide: ‘Pure religion … is to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction....’”

This continues a theme of individual actors who are “doers” of “a perfect law, the law of liberty”. In current Republican parlance, liberty means my liberty. These individual actors claim “they built that” — their salvation. Here it is actors, one-by-one, who see themselves as modeling G*D that are key. these individual actors make up a “religion” only through their individual action.

If we back up a bit there is an image of seeing G*D as though looking in a mirror to see ourself and what we find is that G*D’s face becomes indistinguishable from our Neighbor’s face as well as our own. Everywhere we look we see G*D revealed, not just in any good deeds done.

What was left out of the quote was keeping “oneself unstained by the world”. The Republican convention seems to want to keep itself unstained by only dealing with individuals, never working in concert to see the original “us” in our main creation story [“let us make humanity in our image”]. This gets implemented here by never working together through our corporate decision-making processes of government to care for whole groups of people, orphans and widows and any others discriminated against. These would not be named if death and circumstance simply happened. It is that we have structured inequalities, based on any number of criteria, into our societies. This means we have to deal with structural matters structurally as well as individually. It is not that one is an orphan but that we have decided that such a happenstance defines one as less than blessed and someone who can be ignored.

We are all stained by our discriminatory mores. We don’t keep ourselves unstained but in lifting the stain of discrimination from others we find our own life less diminished. This happens in both individual and collective action. We are always discussing “questions of theology”. Let’s not avoid this — the water is fine, jump in and play. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Psalm 45:1-2, 6-9

Pentecost +14 - Year B

So what keeps us tied to outdated rules based upon a once-upon-a-time experience, enshrined rather than learned from? One reality is the way power co-opts religious imagery to equate itself with G*D and is unchallenged in its arrogance.

A shift from an official version reveals how we need to take a look at much of the scriptures through the lens of a political convention. Attend to the subtle things like color choices, whether a speech is directed to the immediate audience or a media-extended one, and repetition of phrases (to mention only three). Noting such details help immunize us against easy manipulation (none of us are exempt, but we can make the manipulator’s work more difficult).

I thought you might appreciate Jim Taylor’s paraphrase of this pericope. Here is his intro, re-write, and notice about how you can receive more like it.

The NRSV calls Psalm 45 an “Ode for a Royal Wedding.” Indeed, the whole thing, verses 1-17, does read as a tribute to a royal person entering a new phase of life. However, the excerpt scheduled by the lectionary for Sunday September 1 feels more like sucking up to a corporate CEO. 
1        Thank you for taking time to see me.
       I’m so grateful.
2        I know you have much more important things to deal with;
       you move in circles that are far beyond me.
6        This is a marvelous office you have here.
       The view over the city is spectacular.
       It makes all other corporate towers look insignificant.
7        You make the rules we must follow;
       You brook no exceptions;
       You don’t bend them for anybody.
       We know where we stand.
8        Your business suits must be hand-tailored,
       they fit you so well.
       Is your after-shave custom-made for you too?
9        And your secretary is stunning!
       Oh yes, and competent too.
       She must be a joy to work with.
       I’d love to be more like you. 
For other paraphrases, you can order Everyday Psalms through Wood Lake Publications, or 1-800-663-2775.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Song of Solomon 2:8-13

Pentecost +14 - Year B

The voice of my be-lover comes leaping and bounding from tomorrow. Like Felix on catnip my beloved is here and there and everywhere, touching every past and present shibboleth with repurposed energy.

In word and grunt and grin tomorrow speaks, 
Rise up, dearest,
     fairest, and come.
Finally, winter is past;
     rains have come and gone.
Blossoms have appeared in the land;
     another season of singing has arrived,
     a turtledove is again heard in our land.
A green fruit is on the fig tree,
     and grapevines fragrantly bloom.
Rise up, beloved,
     fairest, and come.
With or without clean hands, you are loved. Presume cleanness, hold hands, gaze ahead, and come. Together we step beyond regular rounds, persistent residence, into expanding joy. Leap, cavort, gambol — there is enough dying to go around without our cooperation. The next is yet to come.

— — — — — — —

How do you deal with this translational variation in verse 12?
The time of pruning has come
The time of singing has come
Are you singing a yet unseen future into being by setting past and present to the side?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

Pentecost +14 - Year B

Our primary experience is not repeatable and yet we institute traditions to keep it going, even if in a secondary way. Eventually our tradition becomes our primary experience and we are frozen into our explanation, not our experience.

Every generation needs to wrestle with this phenomena of locating experience rather than carrying it with us as preparation for a next experience.

In the time of American Empire we are facing this as we exhaust an old experience of finding a sense of freedom in a new configuration of community. Our traditions of such have led us to a time confusion and an attempt to find a new configuration of community in an extreme freedom for the individual where each person is responsible for their own outcome.

A review of communal karma would be helpful but we have so indoctrinated ourselves and left my thinking outside of your critique and vice versa that we have no way to evaluate expected consequences and appropriate risk.

Freedom, individual, community are all excellent words and holders of deep vision. Left to their own devices, outside of relationship, they are no longer nourishing, but each defiles the other. As each becomes filled with too much of itself we find their various extremes unbalanced and unbalancing.

Out of tradition comes frozen experience. Out of freedom comes fascism. Out of individuals comes narcissism. Out of community comes tribalism.

May Pentecost revive your appreciation of communal karma and from your experience of resurrection come the basis re-experiencing primary experience in all its raw wind and fire.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

public soul

Pentecost +13 - Year B

how armor the public?
for the public carries our soul

budgets abandoning the public
abandon our soul to evil intent

teen adventurism of independence
can be addictive when abandoned

when a child’s eye on tomorrow
shifts focus from us to me

when an adult’s sense of having been there
is silenced by whiny yelling

a moral commitment to general welfare
comes unstuck and we dizzily spin

fashion a thinking cap
of long-term budgeting

ties that bind open community
to thankful next generations

stand in one another’s shoes
to know what makes for equity

have faith in a common defense
of community response

avoid shooting flaming arrows
of evil’s preemptive fear

institutionalized “you are on-your-own”
ultimately destroys the wealth it seeks

it is not a lie so much as blindness
to the value of the public

blindness to the public
is blindness to the future

trunkless legs of Ozymandias stand
as testament to power budgets

- - - - - - -

[above based on Ephesians 6:11-18 and this article.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ephesians 6:10-20

Pentecost +13 - Year B

Finally, be beautiful. Remember, you are an image of beauty. Remember, others are also images of beauty.

Our struggle is not against others as much as it is against those messages planted within ourselves that we are less than beautiful. That which negates beauty in is a principality and power. Therefore take up this song and put down all that other armor for those who put on armor will die in armor and that’s no way to live.

Pray that we may declare it boldly—“It gets better.”

Psalm 84

Pentecost +13 - Year B

Beauty — a marker of the presence of G*D. We yearn for it even as we trash our planet and relationships with one another. Beauty for some is a mighty temple and for some lowly bread. And for you?

When we partner with a living G*D the smallest sparrow has its place as does the largest whale. A beauty of partnering and mature-relating is easy to spot. It is evident in every vale of tears transformed to deep joy and singing in the rain.

Instead of measuring our life in drips of sin, live radically within the tides of beauty. Beauty honors G*D and Neighbor and Self.

1 Kings 8:(1,6,10-11), 22-30, 41-43

Pentecost +13 - Year B

After inserting tab A(rk) into slot T(emple), with plenty of references to David’s favor, Solomon’s humility, and a Horeb memorial, we hear some of the purpose of the Ark-filled Temple.

It is to be a focusing lens for G*D’s eye or conduit to G*D’s ear. When prayers are prayed “toward” an Ark-centered Temple, that which is prayed will be attended to. This is a great way to centralize power.

Note that the deleted verses 31-40 consistently equate sin with bad things happening to individuals and the state. This does, at least, recognize some predictable problems that will be coming down the pike: breaking faith within the community, being internationally prideful, disease and death arriving.

Around these realities, here too strongly linked with sin, is 1) a human trait of narrowing a view on G*D’s presence and interpretation of such and 2) the power of a foreigner’s prayer, albeit as an opportunity for them to recognize an answering G*D and convert. Neither of these are particularly virtuous, but at least they don’t turn regular occurrences in life into sin.

As you think about where you focus on G*D to be most readily accessible, can you develop a mantra or ditty that you can hum wherever you might be that your accessible spot is always in view. This will continue the journey back from Temple to Synagogue to Ark in your heart — your contract with G*D.

Monday, August 20, 2012

John 6:56-69

Pentecost +13 - Year B

“Those who rally to my flag are my comrades. Come, let us make an eternal pact. When victory is ours you will have your reward.”

This common appeal has in it a promise and a problem. The promise is heard. The problem is felt: “Oh yeah? Prove it.” And so even among true believers there is a modicum of doubt, or acceptance.

The expected response comes, “The proof is on the way, but delayed because of your unbelief.” 

We almost expect an appeal to clap loudly to bring Tinkerbell back. And it comes. “Your eternity has already been determined, so step forward—volunteer and join, you’ll see.”

Not unsurprisingly, many current followers left. Those remaining were heard to mutter, “More for me. Show me where to sign.”

In Pentecost it is important to ask the question: are you trusting because you expect some reward for doing so? If you remember back, the movement out of expectation into action of interpretation and community that risked losing everything came in a moment, not calculable.

It is not the degree of difficulty of belief that leads to greater maturity. That is for Olympic medals. For meaningful life it is simply doing the best available in the moment. Blessings on your willingness to move beyond whatever fear keeps us in a small room and away from the fresh air of engagement with a larger community beyond the calculation of marketplace.

Friday, August 17, 2012

dialogue between bread and money

Pentecost +12 - Year B

living bread
   Ahh, free money.

for you
   Yah, for me.

for the world
   Mmhum, for me.

eat up
   I’m livin’ large!

want more
   Never enough bread

anything more
   Nope. Well, Yes.


good choice - spend well
   No, wisdom on how to get more.

oh . . .
   Yeah. More.

careful . . .
   More time to get more bread.

your heart will be revealed
   Yep, in profligate creation’s image - more.

don’t be stupid
   Money is never stupid, stupid!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ephesians 5:15-20

Pentecost +12 - Year B

Solomon is known as “The Wise”. It is a questionable appellation. So how do we actually live wisely.

Well, instead of flattering G*D through feigned humility, it is listening to what builds creation and community, what extends steadfast love for all parts of creation and community. There is no time to waste on faking G*D out. There is plenty of time to make the most of.

We are not to build temples where singing spiritual songs go on apart from the world, but to express our heart’s desire and courage to build up creation and community.

“Wise” Solomon needs to be asked about a definition of debauchery or living carelessly. Do so many “wives” meet the standard of “extreme indulgence in sensuality”? Was it simply political wisdom to leverage power alliances through “wives” and is that a good use of time? What about the riches? Is being the top of the top long-term sustainable and thus wise? Read the story and where is anything left but ruin?

What are you working for beyond working to fill time, avoid something, or make money? 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Psalm 111

Pentecost +12 - Year B

Note how active this Psalm is. It is our legacy to identify with such energy.

Comparing and reflecting on this Psalm in The New Revised Version with The Message word by word and verse by verse is a great help in cutting through religious language (except for verse 9).

1 Praise the Lord! 
   I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, 
   in the company of the upright, in the congregation.   [NRSV]
1 Hallelujah! I give thanks to God with everything I've got— 
   Wherever good people gather, and in the congregation.   [MSG]

2 Great are the works of the Lord, 
   studied by all who delight in them.
2 God's works are so great, worth 
   A lifetime of study—endless enjoyment! 

3 Full of honor and majesty is his work, 
   and his righteousness endures forever.
3 Splendor and beauty mark his craft; 
   His generosity never gives out. 

4 He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds; 
   the Lord is gracious and merciful.
4 His miracles are his memorial— 
   This God of Grace, this God of Love.

5 He provides food for those who fear him; 
   he is ever mindful of his covenant.
5 He gave food to those who fear him, 
   He remembered to keep his ancient promise. 

6 He has shown his people the power of his works, 
   in giving them the heritage of the nations.
6 He proved to his people that he could do what he said: 
   Hand them the nations on a platter—a gift! 

7 The works of his hands are faithful and just; 
    all his precepts are trustworthy.
7 He manufactures truth and justice; 
   All his products are guaranteed to last— 

8 They are established forever and ever, 
   to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
8 Never out-of-date, never obsolete, rust-proof. 
   All that he makes and does is honest and true:

9 He sent redemption to his people; 
   he has commanded his covenant forever. 
   Holy and awesome is his name.
9 He paid the ransom for his people, 
   He ordered his Covenant kept forever. 
   He's so personal and holy, worthy of our respect.

10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; 
     all those who practice it have a good understanding. 
     His praise endures forever.
10 The good life begins in the fear of God— 
     Do that and you'll know the blessing of God. 
     His Hallelujah lasts forever!

In today’s political climate imagine what it would take to “manufacture truth and justice” and wouldn’t it be worth what it took to participate in such?

Does beauty mark your craft, your vocation? It will be one excellent measure of how you are doing on journey toward truth and justice. Without it we are probably dealing with truthiness and faux-fairness.

To add one more stimulant, here is the way Jim Taylor puts it after seeing a NASA photograph of earth from space.

1 The bright blue planet spins in the vast darkness of space;
   let all who live on earth rejoice.
2 Only on this one tiny orb do we know life exists;
   let all who live on earth give thanks.
3 The vision takes our breath away;
   let all who live on earth open their eyes.
4 This fragile ball bursting with life is a work of art;
   let all who live on earth recognize God's goodness.
5 Foxes and fieldmice, humans and whales, eagles and ants--
   all are woven together in a tapestry of relationships;
   let all who live on earth recognize this reality.
6 And God has delegated responsibility to us;
   let all who live on earth be mindful.
7 We must exercise care not to upset the delicate equilibrium of shared life;
   let all who live on earth understand their responsibility.
8 A tapestry cannot be reduced to a single thread;
   let all who live on earth accept their responsibility.
9 This egg floating in the dark womb of the universe is like God's own embryo;
   let all who live on earth treat it as holy.
10 We share an awesome and terrible responsibility;
     may God live forever.

After reflecting on this psalm through your experience, how would you phrase it?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14

Pentecost +12 - Year B

O what tangled webs we weave when we begin cherry-picking the scriptures. The elided section does not speak well for David or Solomon. There is no “peace from the Lord forevermore” when it is based on retribution leading to more. Oh, Solomon can fool some of the people some of time with his reputation for wisdom and wealth, but all that is left out will come back to haunt for generations. Power remains an uneasy ally.

It is simply not kosher to make this sort of false advertising for Solomon. One might think there are political ads in religious politics as well as public politics. Well, of course, they would be correct, but that is not good PR and the prosperity gospel of Solomon will eventually bite David’s descendants who get all  privileged and out of touch with reality.

What sort of G*D plays these succession-of-power games? Make me look good, says G*D, and I’ll do the same for you. This is an unequal bargain and eventually it tarnishes both parties.

So what will a congregation take away from this passage with a huge hole in it? That religion is surface-oriented, say humble things and be rewarded with expensive things? Any depth available here may well be stripped out with an appeal to a second-class wisdom (our wisdom is smaller than Solomon’s as no one as wise will follow him?). What is intended to make G*D look good, just shows the tricks Solomon has learned from David and Bathsheba to get his way. A rather sad passage, all in all.

Monday, August 13, 2012

John 6:51-58

Pentecost +12 - Year B

How do you describe your presence? Are you a feaster? Are you the feast? Gourmand? Gobbler? The main course?

How do you respond to the self-description of another? Trust their insight? Question their self-understanding? Take it literally? Appreciate the art-form?

We can argue all we want about defining folks, but the first consideration is to give a benefit-of-the-doubt to self-identity. Then we can begin to see how that engages over time and beyond self.

No matter what the image used, we all come to every identity with experience that leads us to judge the worth of a self-description. We keep wanting to tell another who they are.

Knowing that raw human material is shaped by the family and culture in which they grow, we might hear again what it means to respond as a child - learning from the identities around us rather than deciding who has come the closest, according to our criteria, in identifying themselves most truthfully. We want to take the gold medal in other-definition.

To allow another to be present on their terms is to participate in heaven. Yes, even delusional understandings or wildly unrealistic identities. Putting that aside, now we can get down to asking better questions and listening for clearer responses.

- - -

You say you are heavenly bread? 
OK. Now, say some more. 
   An element catalyzed to energy. 
So you might also be light, a constant squaring mass?
   Sufficient to see Neighbors everywhere.
Condensing eternity to this moment?
   Myself in you and vice versa.
You seem comfortable with that, but I’m not.
   I could use some peanut butter; you OK with being that?
How about milk or honey?
Hmm, from other chosen to naturally sweet.
Quite a shift, I’ll let it settle for awhile.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Pentecost +11 - Year B

you claim I am
your bread of life

I claim I am
your bread of life

we thereby claim
to be lovers

we thereby claim
to be neighbors

those we claim
we choose

claims and choices
define our depths

= = = = = = = =

Once, some thirty years ago, I made a survey of sermons dealing with this story of the Samaritan from the early third century into the nineteenth century, and I found out that most preachers who commented on that passage felt that it was about how one ought to behave towards one’s neighbour, that it proposed a rule of conduct, or an exemplification of ethical duty. I believe that this is, in fact, precisely the opposite of what Jesus wanted to point out. He had not been asked, how should one behave towards one’s neighbour, but rather, who is my neighbour? And what he said, as I understand it, was, My neighbour is who I choose, not who I have to choose. There is no way of categorizing who my neighbour ought to be.
The Rivers North of the Future: The Testament of Ivan Illich, (page 51)

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Ephesians 4:25-5:2

Pentecost +11 - Year B

We are members of one another. Where do you draw the line on that understanding?

We can affirm that part of being in solidarity with our “in group” is some form of integrity, not breaking our fealty with one another, no overt lying.

A hard question is what we cover over with personal niceness and social conventions regarding our various memberships? When we have multiple identities, we have multiple memberships and it can be amazing the knots that we get tied into when two or more of those memberships come together at the same time. Lies we wouldn’t tell one group if we were only with them, get told in a larger setting. We reveal our ranking of memberships.

With our members we can bank our anger and keep it from flaring. Our sins are manageable, confessable, redeemable. Otherwise, look out.

Can this care of one another cross such boundaries as we have put up between ourselves? Can we imitate G*D’s forgiveness with all of creation, or just our membership group? Can we even hear a challenge to expand our imitation of G*D to those who are strangers?

Hopefully G*D is defined by non-commercial love even when described by ultra-membership oriented reporters. And you?

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Psalm 130

Pentecost +11 - Year B

with no where to turn
a cry arises
neither bidden nor
wherefore art thou

my need demands
a hearing
there will be no rest
until there is a faceoff
and someone blinks

I know I’m an underdog
in this context
but wobbly knees
are strengthened
for the stakes are high

my claim is not innocence
for there is none
but an honored hearing
a remembrance
presumed forgiveness

a standoff continues
waiting upon waiting
hope within hope
assumpton beneath assumption
as dark turns to morning

no more keeping of fouls
piled unbearably
on one party
we are in this together
freely bound

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33

Pentecost +11 - Year B

“The men of Israel were defeated by the servants of David.” Can you say Civil War? It happens even where covenantal partners live.

It appears to be rather run-of-the-mill for humans to ultimatize one particular or another, draw a line in the sand over it, and begin a battle royal. Things got so confused there are huge contradictions about Absalom’s death from verse to verse. We are likewise confused in this day about church life.

It seems the result of these rising energies for power always end in regret. Whichever way things turn out, the result is a lessening of communal cohesion and hope to build on for a better option for tomorrow.

Intentions, whether best or mediocre, go awry all the way to grief. There is something about that middle part, the going gang aft agley that we should be more curious about. How do things get messed up? “Original sin” is not a sufficient response.

This may be an investigation that is particularly apt during Pentecost. Starting with such strange energy blasting its way out of a closed room of closed people, we might find sufficient freedom to ask why we insist on our own way instead of crossing boundaries and speaking another’s language rather than demand our own as standard.

Blessings on looking again at options available.

Monday, August 06, 2012

John 6:35-51

Pentecost +11 - Year B

To be “bread of life” is a very strong image. It is self-image, not a claim to power. Note that this self-affirmation takes place within a context of others who have experienced Jesus but don’t get all that he is about - they haven’t yet claimed their own sense of also being “bread of life”.

To understand that we won’t lose anything is a statement of faith, not a claim to power over others.

At best we can say that self-identity is wrapped up with eternities. Our sense of meaning is extendable.

“Bread of life” is not something to vote upon or to disparage. It is motivation to act, not a guarantee of position. There is no taking away what is so deeply understood.

This is not about being a singularity to which all is drawn, but a whole constellation or solar system of “bread of life” loci.

We have eternal life when we claim “bread of life” as our experience. Eternity is not belief in someone else’s sense of “bread of life”, but our own.

What is “bread of life”? - it is freedom to walk away from enslavement. Death is not the measuring spot here for even Jesus died. “Bread of life”? - simply our meaning and enactment, enfleshment of internally-fed authority.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

still not satisfied

Pentecost +10 - Year B

a road less travelled
or well trodden
is not a difference maker

some are beckoned
in one direction or another
both can make a difference

some find life on one
and some on another
at issue is life not path

what must we do
naught at all
but invest

engage where you are
make a wrong path yours
or jump tracks

engage where you aren’t
shifting gears is fine
no absolutes here

look for a next sign
follow as you can
it satisfies

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Ephesians 4:1-16

Pentecost +10 - Year B

“Make captivity a captive.” This reversal of fortune is key in every story worth the telling and hearing. It is the journey we are on toward some larger wholeness or maturity. It is a changed relationship to ourselves and the world around us that reveals a loyal opposition to our desires and social discrimination.

When we wrestle with that which holds us captive we discover gifts aplenty within that had been tamped down through self-censorship and peer pressure. Gifts here reveal our part in building up a context that will be healthy for others as well as ourselves.

It is these various gifts that we yearn for and eventually allow to come forth. Until they begin to bloom and blossom, we find our desires running away from our own better judgment and behaviors subject to all manner of crafty, deceitful scheming of others.

Without our gifts being engaged we continue to fall apart. With our gifts engaged in growing and maturing we are bound together, stronger.

Claim your gift and simply engage its implementation. In this we live our version of Jesus and other heroines and heroes.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Psalm 51:1-12

Pentecost +10 - Year B

Where through the Bathsheba incident (see how it can be dismissed as an aberration) would you have David penning this song? Was it his recognition of desire? or after Nathan’s story?

Might this much of a psalm be appropriate whenever a desire pops up, whether for food or sex?

Probably. Unfortunately it leaves things hanging. Does my desirous heart come clean this easily. Probably not.

Blessings on your engagement of the difficultly of real-life behavioral change. Recognition of a needed change is important, but then it takes the work of making a change and not just leaving it to G*D. This is a set-up to have someone to blame for failing to change. And if that someone is G*D, all the better. It is nowhere near as effective to blame an underling when an overlord is available to blame (but it can be a bit more dangerous).

2 Samuel 11:26-12:13a

Pentecost +10 - Year B

Regarding Bathsheba, what did David do that displeased G*D? The initial lust? The lying with? The lack of contraception? The plotting and lying to Uriah? The betrayal by instructing Joab? The waiting for an official mourning time to be up revealing hanky-panky before she came to David’s house?

Where along the way had David stolen Bathsheba from Uriah? What was the trigger point for G*D’s displeasure?

If it was the final straw of waiting so David’s behavior would be noticeable by others, how is that different than the covering up of abuse by clergy? If it was earlier, was G*D still hopeful that things could be put right - that David wouldn’t act on his lust? Would be discrete if he did? Would ’fess up if he did? Wouldn’t employ a final-solution? Would support a widow from afar? 

Where along the way would you have G*D send Nathan with a story of theft?

Did G*D really forgive David by killing a child instead - a sacrificial lamb, as it were? Wouldn’t you like to know the backstory to this face-saving by G*D - was it simply a royal promise that couldn’t be taken back to always support David? How many other children have been sacrificed by the church to save its face?

If this were April this could be tied to Child Abuse Month. Since it is not April, what has been going on in your setting that needs calling out?