BibleWorm
Episode 344 Living the Christ Hymn (Philippians 2:1-13)

Episode 344 Living the Christ Hymn (Philippians 2:1-13)

May 22, 2022

This week BibleWorm reads the Christ Hymn in Philippians 2:1-13. We talk about Paul’s invitation to have the same mind that was in Christ Jesus, who gave up equality with God to be born in human form and die on the cross. We ask what it might mean to give up our own privileges, to divest ourselves of those things that give us higher status in order to be present with the disinherited and the marginalized. We wrestle with what it means to look to the interests of others before our own and how that can be both a wonderful and dangerous idea. And we reflect on Christ’s ultimate exaltation and the promise of salvation. Is it really being humble if you only do it to gain a heavenly reward? Or is there more to it than that?

Episode 343 May Your Love Overflow (Philippians 1:1-18a)

Episode 343 May Your Love Overflow (Philippians 1:1-18a)

May 15, 2022

This week BibleWorm reads Philippians 1:1-18a, where Paul begins the most loving and encouraging letter we can fathom to the people of Phillipi. We imagine the intersection of longing and compassion that Paul describes, and locate that feeling somewhere deep in your gut. We spend a long time turning over the idea of overflowing love that is rich with knowledge and insight, and wonder about the inverse – pursuing knowledge and insight with the express intention of becoming ever more capable of love through our learning. This is not the express goal of most learning ventures … but maybe it should be?

Episode 342 Paul in Athens (Acts 17:16-34)

Episode 342 Paul in Athens (Acts 17:16-34)

May 8, 2022

This week we’re reading Acts 17:16-34, the story of Paul’s visit to the Greek cultural center of Athens. We marvel at the way Paul engages with the people of Athens, appreciating their history and culture while also standing firm in his own beliefs. He admires Greek religiosity, quotes Greek poetry, and engages Greek philosophy, yet he does not hesitate when it comes time to express his own contrary beliefs in judgment and resurrection. We wonder why it often seems so difficult for us to do the same—whether by failing to recognize the value of other belief systems or by faltering when it comes time to state the essential claims of our own. Paul makes it look so simple! We wonder if we can do the same.

Episode 341 Of Jailers and Slave Girls (Acts 16:16-40)

Episode 341 Of Jailers and Slave Girls (Acts 16:16-40)

May 1, 2022

This week BibleWorm reads Acts 16:16-40, a story of Paul and Silas being thrown into prison in Phillipi. It’s a rich and complex story about power and faith and imprisonment and freedom, and it raises the ever-present question - how do we overturn harmful systems of power, while also protecting the vulnerable people who are bound up in those systems? We are amazed at the transformation that happens while Paul and Silas are in prison, where they sing and the others listen; where nobody bothers to run away once the shackles that bind their bodies are opened. And we are only more amazed at the care that Paul and Silas have taken to protect the prison guard. But there is someone else in this story whose fate they seem to overlook, whose story seems primarily to set up the main story. So we wonder, what ever happened to the slave girl?

Episode340 The Conversions of Paul and Ananias (Acts 9:1-19a)

Episode340 The Conversions of Paul and Ananias (Acts 9:1-19a)

April 24, 2022

This week BibleWorm reads the story of Saul’s encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus as told in Acts 9:1-19a. We reflect on Saul, the Greek-speaking Jew from Tarsus who is also known as Paul, a Roman citizen from Asia minor. We talk about how his hybrid identities—both Jew and Roman—may motivate both his persecution of others and ultimately his embrace of difference within the Christian faith. We wrestle with this story as a conversion story, concluding that Paul is ultimately converted not from Judaism to Christianity but from the way of violence to the way of openness and embrace. And we reflect on the disciple Ananias, who overcomes his fear and suspicion of Saul in order to welcome him as a brother in Christ.

Episode 339 Jesus Appears to Thomas (John 20:19-31)

Episode 339 Jesus Appears to Thomas (John 20:19-31)

April 17, 2022

This week BibleWorm reads John 20:19-31, the last text we will read together in the book of John. We sit for a long while with the question - what does it mean for the disciples to be sent into the world by Jesus in the way that Jesus was sent into the world by the Father? We give doubting Thomas some love, lifting up his bravery … and really seeing the bravery it takes to hang in there through moments of doubt and to speak what you need out loud. And we step back to look at the role this gospel might imagine itself to have in someone else’s life of faith – it is not the beginning and the end, but more like a starter pack, or a reserve to tap when you need it. Because we will all have our own story.

Episode 338 Come to the Tomb (John 20:1-18)

Episode 338 Come to the Tomb (John 20:1-18)

April 10, 2022

This week BibleWorm reads the story of Easter resurrection as told in John 20:1-18. We compare Mary’s mournful lingering at the tomb to Peter’s footrace with the Beloved Disciple, and we notice how the story unfolds a little more for each of them: Peter sees the clothes, the Beloved Disciple believes, Mary encounters the risen Lord. And we think, however you come to the tomb it is enough, whether lingering in your grief or racing in your urgency. It takes all of us together to recognize new life taking shape in the midst of death. You can come to the tomb just as you are.

Episode 337 Good Friday SPECIAL EPISODE (John 19:23-42)

Episode 337 Good Friday SPECIAL EPISODE (John 19:23-42)

April 8, 2022

On this Good Friday special episode, BibleWorm reads John 20:23-42, the account of the crucifixion. The intermingling here of cruelty and love, of care and humiliation, creates such a rich and complicated story - and mostly, we just try to hold it all. We raise up the way that even on the cross, Jesus is helping his people find new ways to love each other. We hold tenderly the fact that after he has died, his body is afforded the honor that was absent in his last hours of life. And we wonder what it means for John to cite scripture about how God protects for the righteous in this moment, even this one.

Episode 336 The Executed King (John 12:12-19 and 19:16b-22)

Episode 336 The Executed King (John 12:12-19 and 19:16b-22)

April 3, 2022

This week BibleWorm is pairing the Palm Sunday story in John 12:12-19 with the continuation of the crucifixion story in John 19:16b-22. We wrestle with the image of kingship in John’s Gospel, with the crowds hailing Jesus as “king of the Jews” even as Pilate sneeringly executes him as king of the Jews. We contrast Rome’s militant view of kingship with Zechariah’s vision of an anti-militarist king ultimately embodied in Jesus. We talk about the Empire’s way of violence and Jesus’s way of self-giving love that refuses to exercise power over others but instead lifts up even the ones who have betrayed him. And we discuss the danger these texts have posed throughout the centuries, especially for our Jewish siblings, and recognize the urgency of biblical interpretation that brings more love to the world rather than more violence.

Episode 335 The Trial Before Pilate (John 19:1-16a)

Episode 335 The Trial Before Pilate (John 19:1-16a)

March 27, 2022

This week BibleWorm reads John 19:1-16a, a continuation of Jesus’s trial, if one can even call it that. Despite the fact that Pilate repeatedly says he finds no charge against Jesus, the machinery of this human penal system is now in motion, and Pilate seems unwilling to stop it. We pull out our hair watching the web of forces that seem to hold sway over the characters – both the religious authorities and the empire’s authorities – many of which are based in fear, and none of which are based in speaking and acting upon what one actually believes to be true.  And we see pretty clearly that indeed the empire would lose its power if it could not hold the fear of death over its people. Good heavens, humans are a disaster.

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