Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Week 4: Bridges, Wisdom and Prophecy

As you can see by the David Lee photo here,
and as you have been experiencing in class,
traveling the bridge can be a foggy and frustrating affair.

Or to mix the metaphor, the bridge can be
"all wet" (photo below and story here).

To play with the bridge image one more time:
Here 's a pic of the New Choluteca Bridge, which, thanks to a hurricane, effectively links "nothing to nowhere":


On the "hermeneutical bridge" (Don't forget, that "h" word is on the quiz next week) image for interpreting/bridging literary/historical worlds to the contemporary worlds:
here (scroll down to page 19-21) is the section from Brian Dodd's book that inspired the image/diagram.

After test-driving on the bridge in tonight's class with three scriptures, I would guess that...

1)After tonight's video and discussion on the "literary world" and "historical world" of the Caeserea Phillipi/Gates of Hell you'll probably never be able to look at Matthew 16 the same way again. You'll probably always see this image <
............. which will speak volumes about "contemporary world" implications.

Here is VanDer Laan's own summary of his video, and here is another outline of it.

The same is likely true of Jesus crucifixion scene in Mark. Here is a summarybelow from Shane Claiborne's book, "Jesus For President":

Coronation and Procession (8 steps)

1. Caesar: The Praetorian guard (six thousand soldiers) gathered in the Praetorium. The would-be Caesar was brought into the middle of the gathering.

1. Jesus: Jesus was brought to the Praetorium in Jerusalem. And the whole company of soldiers (at least two hundred) gathered there.


2. Caesar: A purple robe was placed on the candidate. They were also given an olive-leaf wreath made of gold and a sceptre for the authority of Rome.

2. Jesus: Soldiers brought Jesus a wreath (of thorns), a sceptre (an old stick), and a purple robe.


3. Caesar: Caesar was loudly acclaimed as triumphant by the Praetorian Guard.

3. Jesus: Sarcastically, the soldiers acclaimed, mocked, and paid homage to Jesus.


4. Caesar: A procession through the streets began. Caesar walked with a sacrificial bull and a slave with an axe to kill the bull behind him.

4. Jesus: The procession began. But instead of a bull the would-be king and god became the sacrifice and Simon of Cyrene was to carry the cross.


5. Caesar: The procession moved to the highest hill in Rome, the Capitolene hill (‘head hill’).

5. Jesus: Jesus was led up to Golgotha (in Aramaic ‘head hill’).


6. Caesar: The candidate stood before the temple altar and was offered a bowl of wine mixed with myrrh, which he was to refuse. The wine was then poured onto the bull and the bull was then killed.

6. Jesus: He was offered wine, and he refused. Right after, it is written, “And they crucified him.”


7. Caesar: The Caesar-to-be gathered his second in command on his right hand and his third on his left.

7. Jesus: Next came the account of those being crucified on his right and left.


8. Caesar: The crowd acclaimed the inaugurated emperor. And for the divine seal of approval, the gods would send signs, such as a flock of doves or a solar eclipse.

8. Jesus: He was again acclaimed (mocked) and a divine sign confirmed God’s presence (the temple curtain ripped in two). Finally, the Roman guard, who undoubtedly pledged allegiance to Caesar, the other ‘Son of God’, was converted and acclaimed this man as the Son of God.


This extraordinary symbolism would have been unmistakable to the first readers of the Gospel. The crown of thorns, the purple robe, the royal staff; the whole section leading up to the crucifixion reads like the coronation of Jesus! At the apex of this passage is the Roman Centurion’s exclamation that “Surely this man was the Son of God!” He saw how Jesus died and became the first evangelist. His realisation tears apart his whole view of the world and reveals the fallacy of earthly empire and the nature of the true King.

Mark is trying to show us where our allegiance should lie. At the foot of the cross, when even those that Jesus loved must have been bewildered (only failed Messiahs hung on crosses), a Roman Centurion proclaimed that Jesus was the Son of God! The journey to the cross was the final coronation of the Son of God, the rightful King, who in the cross defeated sin and death.

-Link: Shapevine

BONUS: Here's a Ray VanDer Laan article that Shane Claiborne drew from in the coronation article above..

Here below is a podcast interview Keltic Ken and I did with Shane Claiborne..may be helpful in writing your paper:

(Subscribe Free for future posts Add this player to my Page)


3)The same is also likely true for the Rob Bell message (below) on Revelation..Is there room for subversion/satire/spoof of "Empire" in your view of Scripture?:



Remember the story of the bridge built from both sides, where workers met in the middle?
Here's a picture (source). See yourself on it? That's where you live...at least for the rest of this class(:

Keep up the great work, class...More pics on the cohort facebook page.
Don't forget the quiz next week, study guide posted at this click.



  1. Still on my mind is Rob Bell's admonition to us to never bow down. Maybe it's easy for us fortunate Americans (who are not forced at gunpoint to believe anything)to say what we would do in a given situation, but until we are faced with such a choice, how can we really know?
    I like to think that I am a person who would stand up for my beliefs. And, then again, maybe there are valid reasons/times to "bow down."

    I found myself thinking about the Spanish Inquisition, when the Christian Catholics gave the Muslims and Jews a choice: convert to our faith or die. Some refused to back down and sacrificed themselves to a a horrible death. Others went through the motions of converting but continued to practice their faiths in secret, thereby assuring the continuance of their family lines and their religion itself.

    I thought about the Holocaust-- there were some individuals who did absolutely anything to survive-- and maybe one of the reasons they did so was that somebody had to live through it to bear witness that it actually happened.

    Had I been the sole support of a bunch of children, ready to sell my wares at Ephesus, I wonder what I would've done. I think it's possible that I would've just taken the burnt offering and gone along with it so I could feed my family.

    One final thought: maybe there is more "bowing down" going on, even in the Christian community, (god of wealth, god of fashion, anyone?) than we would like to admit.

    J. Butterfield

  2. Hi St, J!
    wow, i so appreciate those insightful comments.
    I wish we had time in class to show the Van Der Lann video on the Crusades, and how that we often buy into that spirit.