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Year B, Lent 3, 2018 – Foolish Behavior

February 28, 2018 / Molly Douthett / Lent

Welcome back! United States Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) once famously said that the internet was a series of tubes. Many memes were born that day, I tell you. I liked all the pictures of the cats. Whatever the internet is made of, tubes or fail, it is the place where actions live forever. I’ve had many friends comment on different social media platforms that they are so very glad the internet did not exist when we were younger so there is no record of the folly of yesteryear. Instead, we have stories told by people who were present, and you can believe what they said or not. Paul and John both present stories of God’s actions that you can believe or trust or not. To the Corinthians, Paul addresses the folly of God sending Jesus to die on the cross. In John, we see Jesus foolishly making a scene in the Temple, which very likely prodded his opponents to see death on a cross as the best way to deal with him. In both passages, God is behaving in a foolish way (as humanity sees it) in order to save humanity from our own foolish behavior. 


This week’s texts are:

Exodus 20:1-17 [01:58]

Since this passage was the Old Testament lesson for Year A, Ordinary 27, we opted to skip it for this podcast and spend a bit more time on the New Testament and Gospel passages. We recommend looking over what we did back in October. We do have some suggestions for the passage on the worksheet – which you can access by clicking the link just below. 


1 Corinthians 1:18-25 [3:14]

In our modern era, if you wish to be taken seriously as you put forth information, you must have sources for your facts. Of course, this may not always be enough to sway people who have no desire to be shifted, see #fakenews. In these verses in Corinthians, Paul is jumping feet first into a fact about Jesus of Nazareth that has been working against Paul’s assertion that he is the Christ – Jesus was crucified. On the worksheet in PEOPLE and SELF smart, we have about a half dozen quotes about what Paul was attempting to do by going directly to the way in which Jesus died. Unfortunately, we did not get around to using them in the podcast, but I recommend checking them out. Rather, we began in WORD smart by considering how language can be an indication of wisdom – or at least knowledge – and how to formulate an argument using critical thought. For MATH smart, think about how subatomic theory rattled the world of Newtonian physics; in much the same way proclaiming the cross as a way to salvation shook up well established notions of God’s saving activity. In BODY smart, lift some weights in a way that not only strengthens the muscles of the body, but the muscles of interpersonal connection. 

  • Smarts – Word [5:12], Math [9:19], Body [14:14]
  • 1 Corinthians 1 worksheet
  • Links in 1 Corinthians
    • WORD smart –
    • MATH smart –
      • The Love That Binds the Universe,” Rev. Canon Frank S. Logue. In this article, Logue remarks that subatomic reality blew Newtonian physics out of the water, unsettling a couple hundred years of accepted models for how reality works.
      • Check out the bottom of the worksheet for graphics related to this smart and WORD smart.
    • BODY smart –


John 2:13-22 [17:58]

Apparently, this story of Jesus throwing out the money changers has been used to justify Christians less than peaceful urges toward those in power. But does this passage really allow for that? In NATURE smart, we discuss Jesus using cords to drive out the animals in the courtyard, much the way a shepherd or farmer would get a flock or a herd moving. In John’s gospel alone, Jesus directs his actions towards the critters, which in turn leads the people to follow them out. He is very deliberate and seems more in control than as the story is presented in the Synoptics. It is possible, this was a political move, which we explore in EYE smart. Jesus responds to the leaders question about his authority to do this with a confusing statement about rebuilding the temple in three days. We have a suggested special effect in EYE smart, that could do double duty for MATH smart. For PEOPLE smart, ask your congregations to discuss if Jesus is passionately addressing treatment of the poor, or calmly disrupting commerce? Or doing both? And why? And in SELF smart, we think the disciples are given answers to questions before the questions even arise. 

  • Smarts – Eye [19;49], Nature [23:35], People [25:11], Self [26:19]
  • John 2 worksheet
  • Links in John
    • EYE smart –
    • NATURE smart –
      • Jesus drives out the animals as a shepherd would move a flock.
      • This link goes to an article referenced in the above Patheos post
    • SELF smart –
      • Your brain can’t not focus on a question!


Image Credit: Copyright: haywiremedia / 123RF Stock Photo. Used by permission.


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