Many people around the world have been given a Western-cultural Jesus and a highly individualized, Westernized "Gospel." Some serious weaknesses in modern Western Christian life come from this root. Today we begin by identifying the different cultural lenses, and we start reading the Gospel of Mark from a more Eastern, "honour-shame" and "mystical" cultural standpoint - closer to the original. This yields some surprises! Good News "for the rest of us" is good news for "all" of us!
So much of how we learn and what we see is conditioned by the culture we were raised in. In this series, we're turning the frog on its side, looking at Mark's Gospel from 2 other cultural viewpoints ("honour-shame" and "power-fear") - see what we've been missing! Today, Mark 1 - 2: Why did Jesus do miracles, anyway? What does it mean? What happened to the people He helped in this way? The answers are in these stories. He left His high place to come be with us, to make things right. He comes to bring God's new reign into the lives of people all around us, too - we can be part of that.
"Jesus for the rest of us" in a tattoo font for today 😉 "Clean" and "unclean" is a big deal: when your life is built around keeping your own status, "unclean" always trumps "clean." But what if you've got authority from outside, that trumps "unclean"?! That's why Jesus could boldly go where no one was willing to go. His life in us is the reason why we can, too.
"Jesus, Also for the Rest of Us": stories from the Gospel of Mark from a majority-world point of view: we're watching Jesus break the boundaries of the old clean-unclean religion to reach people - and we're watching rising opposition. The King is here, making things right! What does it mean to have "faith" in Jesus in this polarized environment? Faith goes beyond "believing in things about Jesus," even beyond "trust" in Jesus. It's about "allegiance": He offers His allegiance to you. Will you offer yours to Him?
What if you've been told all your life that God hates people like you? Mark 5 shows us how "the King who's coming to make things right" helps unclean people in a messed-up land, who are oppressed and beaten down by their own history (and everyone else's). They see what Jesus does, they're terrified and want Him to leave. But "something awesome this way comes." They can't hear yet, but maybe they can see!
What to do some further reading? Take a look at our written articles.