Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Friday, February 13, 2015


CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith from a Place of Winter for the Years of Winter

I remember how intrigued I was when I learned that people did not just read the Bible verse by verse but saw lines of meaning that ran through it. I was especially fascinated by “The Messianic Secret” in Mark. Over and over again, Jesus would work miracles and do other stuff that indicated that he was special, so special he was probably even the predicted Messiah of Hebrew scripture and tradition, and he kept telling everybody to keep quiet about it. Why? Why keep quiet? Aren’t you supposed to blare this from the rooftop?

The Gospel reading for this week is Mark’s story of “The Transfiguration,” when Jesus goes up onto the mountain and his disciples see him chatting with Moses and Elijah, the two major characters in Hebrew history.

He’s one of them! Their friend, Jesus, knows the main guys.

It’s impressive when someone you know in turn knows someone important. We have friends who let us eat off plates made by Pete Seeger’s sister. It’s almost like knowing Pete. Or Brian Williams.

When our granddaughter was young she wanted to meet Mark Twain and figured if he were alive I could introduce her to Mark. I knew some important writers, like Bob Hammel and Marcus Borg. So she figured I would know any good writer.

It’s like 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon. I know Bob Hammel, who knows Bob Knight, who knew Phog Allen, who knew James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, who knew Ugla, the cave woman who invented the basket. So if you ask me, I say, “Oh, yes, Ugla, good woman.”

So the disciples of course wanted to go tell everybody what they had seen. “You know, we hang out on the mountain with Elijah and Moses.”

But Jesus said, “No. Keep your mouths shut about this.”

I knew a college professor who had a series of one semester jobs, filling in for faculty members who were on sabbatical. He got a chance for a full-time job at a semi-Christian college in another state, a job for which he was very well qualified academically. When he returned from his interview, he told me that the first thing he had done when he entered the interview room was to “testify to Jesus,” since that was what a Christian was supposed to do. He did not get the job.

I suspect his interviewers did not reject him because they were against testimonies to Jesus, but because Walter did not understand the difference between the time to speak and the time to keep quiet. Why would you hire a teacher who did not understand about teachable moments?

Not everyone is always ready to hear. There is a teachable moment, and maybe it is not now. Even the most important news will be ignored if the hearer is not ready. Sometimes the proper testimony is silence.

John Robert McFarland

The “place of winter” mentioned in the title line is Iron Mountain, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula [The UP], where life is defined by winter even in the summer! [This phrase is explained in the post for March 20, 2014.]

I used to keep a careful index of all the things I told in this blog so that I would not repeat. That has become unwieldy. Now I just trust to… what’s it called… oh, yes, memory. Sorry about repeats.

I have also started an author blog, JUST WORDS, about writing and reading. Writing guru Kristen Lamb says author blogs are counter-productive, that blogs must be “high concept.” I don’t know what that means, but consider Just Words as a high concept blog in preparation for the publication, by Black Opal Books, of my novel, VETS, about four handicapped and homeless Iraqistan veterans who are accused of murdering a VA doctor, in 2015.

I tweet as yooper1721.

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