Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Week 3 Presentations, Parties, Points about Parables/Jesus as Teacher (The Other Side)

The website is malfunctioning so that the YouTube videos do not play if you hit the play button . Instead, you have to go to the top left corner of the videos and click the title of the video ( (usually in white) ., and the very far left of the title ( like first letter). That will play videos .May not work on phones but will work on computer .
In case that doesnt work;Under or above  most videos, I will try to add a link to click to see video on YouTube.  Sorry!

First thing we did was watch the "Teenage Affluenza" video:

Click to direct link to video.
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 Here are some of the things you  (and other classes) said about it.

  • subversive
  • satirical
  • spoof
  • sarcastic
  • ironic
  • inductive
  • interactive
  • intuitive
  • earthy
  • earthly
  • juxtaposing
  • convicting
  • comedic
  • abductive
  • pointed
  • prophetic
  • sneaky
  • back door
  • non sequitur
  • cheesy
  • you're not sure whether you're supposed to laugh
  • feel uncomfortable laughing at funny parts near the end
  • tweaking
  • nonlinear
  • risky
  • "over the top"
  • maddening
  • convicting
  • offensive (to some)

Then  we watched "Ignatius the Youth Pastor":

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   Here are some of the things you  (and other classes) said about it.

We made the case that they  (both videos) were both parables, and everything you said were great definitions of parables.

FUN TIMEs: We broke up into groups by party.  Each group took 15 minutes to discern the main point of the parable.

Then each group acted out a new parable which made the same point as the parable we read.


stills from class:


 Dave on parables Intro:
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--part 1:  click the link or watch below
Click to watch
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Click to watch part 2:
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part 2:

314 parables part uno

parables part 2
part 2


Faith Lessons by Ray Vander Laan: On the Prodigal Son and Thinking the Eastern Way, Part a

The Western mode of thought comes from the ancient Greeks. We think abstractly. We like to take what we learn apart, see how it’s made, and extract the underlying principles.
RVL’s students in high school have to dissect a frog in their biology classes. When they cut a frog apart and look inside, they learn many truths about the frog. They learn how his heart works, how his lungs work, and so on. They never learn who his girlfriend is. You can only learn who the frog’s mate is by observing him in the wild. You can’t take him out of the pond and learn how he lives.
The Western approach to a frog is to dissect it. The Eastern approach is to learn the frog’s story. Both approaches gain truths. But you can’t truly understand much of what’s written in the Bible unless you study it in its native environment before you take it apart. After all, many of the scriptures were written by Easterners for Easterners.
Consider the Parable of the Prodigal Son.
(Luke 15:17-22)  “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.”
Notice that the father ran to the son. In Palestine, fathers do not run. It’s considered extraordinarily undignified. And they certainly don’t run toward a sinful son. Rather, honor requires that the son come to the father. For the father to run toward the son, before the son has apologized, would have been shameful. And yet this father was willing to suffer humiliation just to reach his son a few minutes sooner.
The father embraced the son before he expressed his repentance. Indeed, the son only intended to ask for a job so he could eat. He had no intention of asking for forgiveness, only a little mercy.
We typically ignore both the cultural environment of the story and its textual environment. The story is preceded with —
(Luke 15:1-2)  Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear him. 2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
What did the father do in the story? He ate with the prodigal son — a son who’d been shamed and humbled. The father suffered humiliation to do so. And who is the father?
The father is God. And who was suffering shame for eating with humble sinners? Jesus. Jesus was doing exactly what the father does in the story — hurrying to meet sinners coming toward him, before they even realize how much grace is available — and eating with them, in that culture, a sign of acceptance and even protection.
Jesus was claiming to be God — and to be a God who acted in this wondrous way, a way of behavior utterly foreign to those who criticized him. Indeed, his critics were being caricatured as the older brother —
(Luke 15:29)  But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends.”
This is a rebuke. This older son never learned to be like his father and reacted to his brother’s return selfishly and lovelessly. And yet God is gracious even to the older brother —
(Luke 15:31-32)  “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'”
Imagine being in the crowd and hearing Jesus treat both the “sinners” and Pharisees with such compassion, while putting himself in God’s place. It would have been obvious that the Pharisees were God’s children, but children who were severe disappointments who had totally misunderstood their father’s heart. And the God that Jesus portrays would be far more attractive than the God presented by the Pharisees.


Good Samaritan misunderstood

the point and punch of parables..
“The greatest
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thing by far is to be master of is also a sign of genius, since a good metaphor implies an intuitive perception of thesimilarity in dissimilars.”
(Poetics, 1459 a 5-8, "The Basic Works of Aristotle")

If Jesus "never opened his mouth once  (at least to 'outsiders') without speaking an analogy-metaphor-parable," (Matt 13:34-35).. what a genius!

And then surely the essence of genius is to do the same: our primary job as  interpreters/communicators is to find, exploit, and communicate connections between two apparently unrelated things; modeling the great connectedness of all things in the Kingdom.

Eugene Peterson is a genius. Amazing pastor, writer, Bible translator.
One of his best lines ever..and you might read Parable" for ":metaphor":

 "metaphor is.. a loud fart in the salon of spirituality"
From "Answering God: The Psalms as Tools For Prayer", p. 76
Good article in the new Biblical Archaeology by Amy-Jill Levine (emphasis mine):
In the parable, the priest and Levite signal not a concern for ritual purity; rather, in good storytelling fashion, these first two figures anticipate the third: the hero. Jews in the first century (and today) typically are either priests or Levites or Israelites. Thus the expected third figure, the hero, would be an Israelite. The parable shocks us when the third figure is not an Israelite, but a Samaritan.
But numerous interpreters, missing the full import of the shock, describe the Samaritan as the outcast. This approach, while prompting compelling sermons, is the fourth anachronism. Samaritans were not outcasts at the time of Jesus; they were enemies.
In the chapter before the parable (Luke 9:51–56) Luke depicts Samaritans as refusing Jesus hospitality; the apostles James and John suggest retaliation: “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” (Luke 9:54). John 4:9 states, “Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.” The Jewish historian Josephus reports that during the governorship of Cumanus, Samaritans killed “a great many” Galilean pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem (Antiquities 20.118–136). The first-century Jewish person hearing this parable might well think: There is no such thing as a “good Samaritan.” But unless that acknowledgment is made, and help from the Samaritan is accepted, the person in the ditch will die.
The parable offers another vision, a vision of life rather than death. It evokes 2 Chronicles 28, which recounts how the prophet Oded convinced the Samaritans to aid their Judean captives. It insists that enemies can prove to be neighbors, that compassion has no boundaries, and that judging people on the basis of their religion or ethnicity will leave us dying in a ditch.  link
ee a great, hilarious  section by Capon:\

The defining character – the one to whom the other three respond by being non-neighbour or neighbour – is the man who fell among thieves. The actual Christ-figure in the story, therefore, is yet another loser, yet another down-and-outer who, by just lying there in his lostness and proximity to death, is in fact the closest thing to Jesus in the parable.

That runs counter, of course, to the better part of two thousand years’ worth of interpretation, but I shall insist on it. This parable, like so many of Jesus’ most telling ones, has been egregiously misnamed. It is not primarily about the Samaritan but about the man on the ground. This means, incidentally, that Good Samaritan Hospitals have been likewise misnamed. It is the suffering, dying patients in such institutions who look most like Jesus in his redeeming work, not the doctors with their authoritarian stethoscopes around their necks. Accordingly, it would have been much less misleading to have named them Man-Who-Fell-Among-Thieves Hospitals...{as if the doctors would stand for that} (p. 210ff, Kingdom, grace, judgment: paradox, outrage, and vindication in the parables of Jesus)
- See more at: 


"Parables are the most striking feature of Jesus’ teaching. They are what he is most famous for and what he seems to use most frequently. Parables are not unique to Jesus (other teachers of the day and others in Scripture use them, e.g. Nathan to David in 2 Sam 12), but he uses them so effectively and frequently they are characteristic of his teaching. The article explains that 1/3 of Jesus’ spoken words in the Synoptics are parables. The word parable (Greek parabole) refers essentially to a comparison. A look at the way the term is used both in the OT and by Jesus reveals a wide range of meanings, including proverbs, similes, metaphors, similitudes, story parables (most familiar to us perhaps), example parables, and allegories. The thing to remember is that they make a comparison..or comparitrast

Why Jesus teaches in parables?
The common answer (to illustrate his teaching) doesn’t go quite deep enough. Arguably, many of the parables don’t make things clearer, but more confusing. Even the disciples need to have them explained.   Read Matt 13:10-13.  There is no getting around the fact that this passage states the parables are not self-evident illustrations. The parables are provocative, often they include a surprising twist. The parables have a way of disarming hearer, drawing hearer in, and then evoking a response (e.g. Mark 12 parable of vineyard, good Samaritan has this effect too, Luke 10.)"
-Robert Stein, and article in Oxford Bible 

--"Parable"  literally means a "comparison," "a setting beside each other two things that have little in common, and asking what they have in common.

--Parable are often earthly, earthy illustrations.  "an earthly story making a heavenly point."

==Parables are multifaceted, they can be entered anywhere.  They are more "open" than a straight simile.

==The one primary point of a parable is that a parable has one primary point.  (they may sometimes be allegorical, but pus for the one primary point.

"the one primary point 
                                        of a parable
is that
                                          a parable has
      one primary point"

--Parable, like metaphor," is a
"loud fart in the salon of spirituality":
(Eugene Peterson)
"the parables sizzle into the minds of the religious heavyweights: 
your attitude is the opposite of God's" , Kraybill, from your Upside Down Kingdom textbook p. 158

--Parables are signs of the Kingdom 

--Parables often have a God (or Jesus) figure, but watch out, it might be a surprising, subversive, "unobvious" character

--Context: What happens before/after the parable?  Who is addressed?  What is addressed?
Bounded set, centered set, fuzzy set?

--Why did Jesus tell parables?


a       To conceal his teaching from those “outside”
b      To illustrate and reveal his message to his followers
c       To disarm his listeners—they force a response somehow, leave you wrestling, are provocative

--Parables provoke a practical repentance and a radical response.

--What do you remember about the "Good" Samaritan and his road?
You will usually have to do some "historical world" research to get the punch and

This guy talks about the Samartitan. Which character are YOU?:

Levine: Good Samaritan parable teaches compassion for the enemy 

And this video version:

Amy-Jill Levine: Dangers on the Road to Jericho from Chautauqua Institution on

Matthew 13:
Therefore I speak to them in parables
A. Because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do
     not hear, nor do they understand
            B. And in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled,
                 which says,
                        C. You will keep on hearing, but will not understand,
                                    D. And you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive;
                                                E. For the heart of this people has become dull,
                                                            F. And with their ears they scarcely hear,
                                                                        G. And they have closed their eyes
                                                                        G.' Lest they should see with their eyes,
                                                            F.' And hear with their ears
                                                E.' And understand with their heart and return,
                                                     and I should heal them.
                                    D.' But blessed are your eyes, because they see;
                        C.' And your ears, because they hear.
            B.' For truly I say to you, that many prophets and righteous men
A.' Desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what
      you hear, and did not hear it.7


If Jesus "never opened his mouth once  (at least to 'outsiders') without speaking an analogy-metaphor-parable," (Matt 13:34-35).. what a genius!

And then surely the essence of genius is to do the same: our primary job as  interpreters/communicators is to find, exploit, and communicate connections between two apparently unrelated things; modeling the great connectedness of all things in the Kingdom.

Prodigal Son..retold in rap and mime.some amazing students of mine re-enacted The Prodigal Son, as Jesus might tell it today..Let's just say it's now about an Italian family whose dad owns a pizza parlor..and the prodigal got " hella hungry"...but it must be seen! — with Christian Bergthold.


1.     It would seem important to say that this is part of a larger unit.  Luke 15 really has three parables (the lost sheep, the lost son) that work like one parable with three parts.  Verse 1 says “Jesus spoke to them this parable,” and then the rest of the chapter is in red letters.  Since “the primary point of a parable is that a parable has one primary point” (class notes ), it seems best to treat the whole chapter as one parable with one main point.  Paragraph divisions can get in the way!
2.     Connecting the three stories as one, but as in a progression, you notice a decrease in percentage of who was lost (one out of  a hundred sheep; one out of ten coins, then one of two sons.  This might suggest that lost people really matter to God, no matter how many there are.
3.     The whole parable is addressed specifically to  elders and teachers.  It feels like the point of the parable is that they should see themselves  as the judgemental older brother.  The parable is told as a response to “Jesus welcome sinners and eats with them” (15:2)
4.     I wonder if the prodigal son really visited prostitutes as the elder son accused him.  It doesn’t SAY that earlier.
The story reads like classic art, even a poem, or well-thought-out literature or a movie

Climax is profound..but in a way, we are left hanging (Did the older brother ever rejoice?).

6.                 In an outline of Luke as a book, this section comes under the heading that one writer called “On the Road To Jerusalem.”  This may mean that everything that happens in this section has a sense of urgency.

7.                 The whole context of the broader section   (Luke 14-15)has an emphasis on parties/ banquets.  This could be intertextuality, intercalation (Capon, page 285).  Hmm, why would God throw a party?

8.                 The whole parable is structured as a huge chiasm, suggesting the theme is resurrection. Source:

9.                 In Matthew 18:12-14 There is a parallel parable to the lost sheep.  The main difference there is the sheep “wandered off,” as opposed to being “lost” in Luke.  This might raise the question of each writer’s “targeted theological purpose.”    That whole chapter in Matthew seems full of pleas for forgiveness and restoration, as does the Luke chapter.

1)All three “lost” persons were “outcasts” in the Bible’s historical world: A shepherd was considered dirty

 (“Faith Lessons” video: “The Lord is My Shepherd”),  women were not  were not highly honored, and a son who had done unclean things was to be shunned.
(Summers, Commentary on Luke.  p.118 and Bible Background Commentary, online).  This even suggests that Jesus was talking a risk with his audience by having the “God figure” in the story an unrespectable person: dirty shepherd, woman…or a father who would seem effeminate by running in public (in that historical world.)

2.                 The prodigal asking for his inheritance early was like saying “Dad, I wish you were dead: a grave insult. The father putting a ring on the prodigal’s finger was the equivalent to him giving his son his credit card, a radical restoration (class notes  ).

3.Eating pig food would not be kosher for a  Jew, it must have been humiliating.  Or had he quit being a Jew at that point?  (Bounded set)

3.                 The father killing the calf was an intertextuality to Old Testament sacrifices.

1.Do I love unconditionally like all three God figures in the parable(s)?
2.Who am I in the story?  The elder brother?
3. If Jesus told the story today, what images would he use?  A lost computer, credit card, and mother?

4 As a mother, would I risk my reputation by doing something  taboo like running in public, if my wayward child returned home?
5. Capon (chapter four) calls this one of the “misnamed parables.”  If we call it the Prodigal Son, wd focus on the human.  If we call it the Prodigal Father (Prodigal meaning “lavish or excessive” we apply it by focusing more on “am I  radically loving like God the Father, taking initiative to seek lost or wayward sons?” than “Which brother am I”?

Week 3 Loud Farts

By now you have heard that Pastor Eugene Peterson calls metaphor..and thus parables, "a loud fart in the salon of spirituality."  So always look for the part of the parable that would have that same effect:
It surely will offend someone somewhere. 

Right now, think of something you could do that would offend/trip someone up in a similar way.
It can be anything in any area of your life: home, school, work, in public.  Just think of something you could do in a certain setting that would be received like a loud fart in a salon, library,  church, etc.. You can make it funny if you like, but remember your story, you may get a chance to use it in an assignment coming up very soon.

For those interested in an
  amazing, creative,
 hilarious, provocative,
book on the parables, test-drive
"Kingdom, grace, judgment: paradox, outrage, and vindication in the parables of Jesus"
by Robert Farrar Capon:
Pages 1-32 strongly recommended, SCROLL DOWN:

....or hear his podcast on The Prodigal Son here.-----------------

Note: if any YouTube videos do not play when you hit the play button, click on the video's title (white type at top)  

THE OTHER SIDE: We watched two videos "When Storms Come" and "Piercing the Darkness" to introduce the concept of the OTHER SIDE>
Click to watch video below

click to watch video below:
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part 2 paste

Alternative Case study: Would Jesus live in a gated community?

I really hope some of you choose to write your signature paper on this case study question.

Four short links to read (which would count for sources for your paper):

Click or paste

First video: "When Storms Come": 
Click to watch..or paste:

Here is a nice slideshow summary of this first video (just click each part):

If slideshow links don't work, click or paste this link:

Part 1: Sea of Galilee 
Part 2: Perceptions of Water 
Part 3: A Terrifying Night 
Part 4: Peter's Courage 
Part 5: Facing our Seas 
Part 6: Courage in the Storm

From that slideshow, pay special attention to   a)why bodies of water had negative "historical world" symbolism  and b)"The Orthodox Triangle" vs.  "the other side" (the Decapolis)

--Second video: "Piercing the Darkness":



  (must be logged into Moodle) to watch

or click  or paste this  link below



  • Note the cross-cultural implications of Jesus' two feedings of  the multitude:
  • see:

    (diagram below by John Stevenson, see 2nd link above)

    Feeding of the 5,000
    Feeding of the 4,000
    Mark 6:34-44
    Mark 8:1-9
    Took place after the multitude had been with Jesus for one day.Took place after the multitude had been with Jesus for three days.
    The multitude was mostly Jewish.The multitude would have been mostly Gentile.
    Took place near Bethsaida  on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee.Took place in the Decapolis on the southeastern shore of the Sea of Galilee.
    Jesus used 5 loaves and 2 fish.Jesus used 7 loaves and a few small fish.
    There were 12 small baskets of leftovers.There were 7 large baskets of leftovers.

    Q>Who is Jesus in Matthew?  
                  A>The one who is not afraid to go to "THE OTHER SIDE"


We did NOT do the following videos in class, but there is a moodle forum on them this week/
The topics (baptism and temptation we didn't get to fully explore last week.
Note: if you can't play below, these are on Moodle


testation part 1

part 2

Homework (if you want to be a genius, think like Jesus, understand parables and get five extra credit points ):

Pick two random things, that seem to have nothing to do with each other, and ask: "What do they have to do with each other?"  Bring the two items to class next week