Monkey's picture

The MonkeyBar Challenge Week 23

Hi everyone.

You're doing great! It's not long till our half-way mark. Keep on reading and keep on swinging those MonkeyBars!

4 Jun: 2 Sam 5:6 – 6:23; Psalm 69:29 – 36; Acts 1:23 – 2:21
5 Jun: 2 Sam 7:1 – 8:18; Proverbs 14:5 – 14; Acts 2:22 – 2:47
6 Jun: 2 Sam 9:1 – 10:19; Psalm 70:1 – 5; Acts 3:1 – 3:26
7 Jun: 2 Sam 11:1 – 12:31; Psalm 71:1 – 8; Acts 4:1 – 4:22
8 Jun: 2 Sam 13:1 – 13:39; Psalm 71:9 – 18; Acts 4:23 – 5:11
9 Jun: 2 Sam 14:1 – 15:12; Proverbs 14:15 – 24; Acts 5:12 – 5:42
10 Jun: 2 Sam 15:13 – 16:14; Psalm 71:19 – 24; Acts 6:1 – 7:19

Enjoy!
Monkey


Matt Valler's picture

Introduction

In the film Toy Story, Buzz Lightyear has to discover that he is not in fact a space ranger from the Gamma Quadrant of Sector 4. He is a toy, resident in Andy's bedroom. His famous cry, 'To infinity, and beyond!' is reframed, as the mission of a galactic superhero becomes the localised adventure of a little boy and his imagination.

Infinity is a strange concept. It speaks of possibility. But that possibility is not always very far away.

As I read it, John's Gospel opens up possibilities. It's written against a kind of philosophy which said this physical world was rubbish, compared with the 'spiritual' realm. And it's written against the might of an oppressive empire which trod down the day-to-day reality of physical life. And it makes possibilities.

It takes us to a new space. And beyond.


Matt Valler's picture

Part 4: Neither here nor there (John Ch 18-21)

Bill Bryson titled his travels around Europe, Neither here nor there. It's a flick of Bryson's wit as with this one underwhelming phrase he distances a continent that for a good few hundred years was the centre of the world. In John's world, Rome was the centre. But John's distancing is even more sublime.

The political context of the Jews - living under Roman rule - is further from the surface in John than in the other gospels. Yet in these final chapters it emerges as Pilate takes centre stage. Jesus is brought before the governor, and the author of life is subject to the deliberations of an empire.

But Jesus is a subversive.

And Pilate is in no mood for games.


Community of Readers's picture

Episode #22: Check your heartbeat

Saul and David. Two men, each with a following, pursuing destiny is two very different ways. In the power plays which force their way into our daily lives, whose path will we follow? And what will become of our heart?


Monkey's picture

The MonkeyBar Challenge Week 22

Hi everyone,

It's taken us a full five months to get here, but this week we finish our readings through the gospels! Definitely a moment to think back and ask how reading Jesus again and again has impacted you.

Next comes the birth of the church!

28 May: 1 Sam 21:1 – 23:29; Proverbs 13:10 – 19; John 18:1 – 18:24
29 May: 1 Sam 24:1 – 25:44; Psalm 68:15 – 20; John 18:25 – 40
30 May: 1 Sam 26:1 – 28:25; Psalm 68:21 – 27; John 19:1 – 19:27
31 May: 1 Sam 29:1 – 31:13; Psalm 68:28 – 35; John 19:28 – 20:9
1 Jun: 2 Sam 1:1 – 2:7; Proverbs 13:20 – 14:4; John 20:10 – 20:31
2 Jun: 2 Sam 2:8 – 3:21; Psalm 69:1 – 12; John 21:1 – 21:25
3 Jun: 2 Sam 3:22 – 5:5; Psalm 69:13 – 28; Acts 1:1 – 1:22

Enjoy!
Monkey


Matt Valler's picture

Part 3: What in the world? (John Ch 13-17)

Tomorrow night the rapture is due.

According to Harold Camping, an 89 year old talk radio host from Boulder, Colorado, at some point on the 21st May 2011 all the faithful will be taken. And the renegade destroyed exactly five months later.

The story has grabbed media attention and generated great comedy. But rapture-predictions are the loony tip of a titanic iceberg: the genuine hope of departure from this world. Whether in our lifetime, or after death, huge swathes of Christian theology has lauded the chance to escape this life and the grounded physical existence we inhabit.

In John's account of the Upper Room (chapters 13 - 17) we encounter a unique story. It is very different to the other gospels (which are fairly similar to each other). There is no bread and wine - such a integral part of the story for the modern church. Instead Jesus washes his disciples feet and then has a rather convoluted conversation with them before praying an extended prayer.


Community of Readers's picture

Episode #21: When hope is gone

The early chapters of 1 Samuel are a pivot point in Israel's life. The die-hard theocracy rejects its Judges and chooses a king. But it is a sorry tale of underwhelming proportions. How do we deal with disappointment, and where is God when it's all gone wrong?


Monkey's picture

The MonkeyBar Challenge Week 21

Hi everyone,

It's all about 1 Samuel and John this week. If you've got lost with your readings, 1 Samuel is a good place to pick up - reading to the end of 2 Kings will give you a massive part of the story. Next week we reach a big milestone with the last of our readings in the gospels.

21 May: 1 Sam 8:1 – 10:8; Psalm 65:1 – 13; John 12:12 – 12:36
22 May: 1 Sam 10:9 – 12:25; Psalm 66:1 – 12; John 12:37 – 13:17
23 May: 1 Sam 13:1 – 14:23; Psalm 66:13 – 20; John 13:18 – 13:38
24 May: 1 Sam 14:24 – 15:35; Proverbs 12:28 – 13:9; John 14:1 – 14:31
25 May: 1 Sam 16:1 – 17:37; Psalm 67:1 – 7; John 15:1 – 16:4
26 May: 1 Sam 17:38 – 18:30; Psalm 68:1 – 6; John 16:5 – 17:5
27 May: 1 Sam 19:1 – 20:42; Psalm 68:7 – 14; John 17:6 – 17:26

Enjoy!
Monkey


Matt Valler's picture

Part 2: Sign language (John Ch2-12)

My four-year old son is learning to read and write. It's a slow process, as squiggles give way to letters and the signs on the page gradually give up their meaning. Humankind communicates by using signs. But until you learn their language the meaning remains hidden.

The second section of John, from chapters 2 to 12, is defined by its seven 'signs'. Jesus turns water into wine (2:1-11), heals a royal official's son (4:46-54), heals a man by the pool (5:1-15), feeds 5000 people (6:1-15), walks on water (6:16-24), heals a blind man (9:1-41), and raises Lazarus from the dead (11:1-44).

The astute reader might notice that some of these are included in Mark, Matthew and Luke, and some are not. But the story around these miracles turns them into something quite different.

In chapter 3, Jesus meets Nicodemus in the middle of the night and tells him that a person must be 'born again' to enter the kingdom of God. You can understand why Nicodemus thought Jesus was a nutcase. We've got pretty used to the phrase 'born again' as its come to mean a certain form of evangelical conversion experience. But was that what Jesus meant? Could it be something stranger still?


Community of Readers's picture

Episode #20: Against the odds

Ruth is a subversive story of hope. The tale of the widow from Moab challenges the assumptions and values of Israel. And it provokes us to expose the silent stereotypes that shape our world. What will we do differently? Because we might have to ask ourselves some uncomfortable questions.