Monday, August 21, 2006

Gospel Fatigue

Have you ever found yourself getting tired of a partcular Gospel?

John's Gospel has always been my favorite -- the Gospel that goes beyond the narrative to explore the meaning of it all. But -- it hurts me to say this -- John is starting to wear on me. Which is especially unfortunate since this is the Gospel we're discussing in my next lay ministry class.

What I need is some Mark -- short, sharp, shocked.


Mata H said...

Here is the Zen of Gospel Fatigue -- find what is wearing on you the most. Go into the heart of it -- it may be the pearl in the oyster. (Worth a try anyway.)

LutheranChik said...

That's also the advice given to me by a good pastor mentor regarding writing a sermon -- if there's part of the sermon texts that irritate you, confuse you, otherwise fail to send you down a rainbow of joy and new insight...that's the part of the text to focus on.

Quotidian Grace said...

The Gospel of John is very talky, unlike Mark. I realized this a few years ago when I went to see the movie Gospel of John which is a word-for-word presentation.

Christopher said...

I've been haranged by the multitudes of the Gospel of Luke, many a time, but it is still my favorite in spite of that fact.
Just wondering is the Lutheran Midway going to happen again? I've been out of the loop for a while.

Beth said...

I've got to admit, John has been my least favorite Gospel for a long, long time. I have trouble dealing with the exclusivity and the greater degree of anti-Judaism. I know that Luther said called John the Gospel with the most gospel in it, or something like that, but sometimes I really have to dig for it.

Tom in Ontario said...

Thankfully this Sunday is the last Sunday in chapter 6 of John. I think the lectionary committee had a collective brain cramp when they scheduled this part of year B. Not only 5 weeks in one chapter of John but some of them overlap!

Proper 12: John 6.1-21
Proper 13: John 6.24-35
Proper 14: John 6.35, 41-51
Proper 15: John 6.51-58
Proper 16: John 6.56-69

Well, on the long weekend we get back to the short, sharp, shocked gospel, Mark 7.1-8, 14-15, 21-23, although I'm intrigued to find out just what they're skipping over in the omitted verses.

BruceA said...

I'm just glad the early church saw fit to leave us four gospels, and rejected attempts by Tatian and others to harmonize them all into one text. The richness of the four different perspectives adds vitality to the gospel message, I think.

Tom in Ontario said...

I should qualify that I don't dislike John. I wouldn't say it's my favourite but I certainly don't dislike it. But if you're talking "Gospel Fatigue" I can see when you've got 5 Sundays in chapter 6 of John talking about bread. Not that I dislike bread...

hipastorzwife2B said...

I love to hear pastors talk like this. Teehee -Don't mind me.

Anonymous said...

No shame in needing a break from a Gospel - that's why we've got 4!
Someone told me once that the each gospel is directed to a different audience; Matthew to the Jews, Mark to the Romans, Luke to the Greeks, and John to those brought up in the faith. Since our culture(s) are influenced by all of these groups, naturally we need to focus on different gospels as our worldview changes.
Enjoy rereading Mark!

God Bless, Whitelaughter.

Jody said...

Listening to John so much these last few weeks, I'm reminded that Jesus sounds ... well, not like the Jesus of the other three gospels, but like a minister speaking very, very well to an exceptionally engaged confirmation class. I used to think the resulting language and theology was beautiful, but now it irritates me a little. A lot, actually, because it draws my attention to the author of this Gospel, and all his "fear of the Jews" talk.

Not to mention the utilization of this particular Gospel for 2000 years of pogroms.

I miss my unfiltered adoration of the language. Those were the days.

P.S. Can you explain why no pastor ever seems to tackle the compositional/tonal questions in this gospel from the pulpit? Only a fraction of the Lutherans I know have ever gone to Sunday adult bible study, let alone a weekly study. Why are these issues rarely if ever addressed in worship, where people actually attend?

LutheranChik said... might be the 10-minute sermon time limit, LOL...or, more seriously, because the pastor is so focused on maintaining a Law/Gospel paradigm that s/he doesn't spend a lot of time discussing context. Or there's perhaps a paternalistic supposition that getting into textual criticism is too harrrrrrd for Fritz and Frieda in the pew to handle. (And, sadly, I've heard Fritzes and Friedas complain that Pastor's sermons are too "wordy" and "like a lecture," and that they'd rather have sermons with snappy catch phrases that they can remember the rest of the week.)

Thinking about the stages of educational development...I think it's really difficult to preach a sermon that feeds both someone on the simple end of the continuum and also someone at the other end, who craves context and depth. I know I'm not particularly good at it.

One of the best preachers I ever heard was a Catholic priest at the campus parish near my university -- an actual Bible scholar. He gave very enlightening sermons that added a lot of dimensionality to the sermon texts.

womiles said...

you have to be just a wee suspicious of anyone who talks about himself in the third person the way The Disciple That Jesus Loved does, eh?

Sarcastic Lutheran said...

I haven't experienced Gospel fatigue yet, but Paul is grating on my nerves right now. (as I read through the epistles) He's really got to stop with the whole "I am not commending myself.....I'm not boasting....I'm not trying to puff myself up" I think the disciple doth protest too much.