I find the juxtaposition between Mark 3: 20-35 and Genesis 3:8-15 very rich this week. Here we have Jesus’s family coming to cast out his demons, and Adam and Eve are about to be Cast Out of the Garden of Eden.
I can’t help but think of Pride month, when Jesus is going to be cast out with his family, he actually disowns them first. He claims those who love and care for him as his family, Is every disowning also a reclaiming? This setting of boundaries by Jesus is healthy. If his family wants to restrain him, cast out his demons and denounce him, then clearly there is something broken in this relationship. I know of so many people in the LGBTQUIA family who are forced out of their family relationships one way or another and forge a new family.
Sometimes, its healthy to be disowned. My father, who was a victim of abuse, finally got disowned when he chose to be a Protestant Pastor. Raised Catholic, his relationship with his parents was always rocky. The nail in the coffin was leaving the Catholic faith–which he did because he was married, felt called to be a pastor, and wasn’t so sure about how Catholicism was structured re: marriage, women, homosexuals. He says that being disowned was one the best things that happened to him, because he could distance and heal from the abusiveness of both of his parents.
Choosing a family is important, and that family can be a faith family. One of my favorite stories Nadia Bolz-Weber tells is when her congregation started to really take off, so much so that the “normal” people started coming, and this congregation of outcasts wanted to figure out what to do about the “normal” people, and planned a big meeting about it. And then the transgendered teen, started out the meeting by saying (note: this is not an exact quote) “I just wanted to say that its so affirming to me to have normal surburban people who are like my mom and dad coming to church and loving me, because I feel like they are giving me the love that my mom and dad can’t.” And Nadia Bolz-Weber, who had been so upset about this set of people and so certain that this wasn’t the target group for her church to attract, felt struck by this honesty, and at that moment the meeting was over.
And what does it mean that Adam and Eve have to redefine their existence? That the place they called home was no longer home? What did it mean that God was still their God, but they could choose differently. God’s love was a given, but a relationship with God no longer was.
I think of a Pakistani-American woman who I know, who recently, finally got ordained in the Pakistani American Church, but in pursuing her call to ministry she also had to pursue asylum. A religious and political refugee from her own country, this woman has had to figure out what it means to choose to be a Pakistani American who cannot return to Pakistan. She still has family in Pakistan, but she has chosen to live in America. She is building her church connections and she is making her way with her new husband, even as he is forced to wait 2 years for his green card to come into the United States. She loves Pakistan, but can no longer live there. She loves her husband, but cannot yet live with him.
Where do you see people cast out from where they call home? Where do you see how people are building their homes and families?
What are you preaching on this week? Are you pursuing 2nd, Corinthians, Samuel or the Psalms instead of Genesis or Mark? Let us know what your crafting this week and what direction God is leading you.
Katy Stenta has been a solo pastor at a tiny church that is bigger on the inside for over seven years in Albany, NY. When she is not dreaming up projects and ideas, some of which creep into the church, she plays with her three boys-boys or goes and visits her husband at the library, while he works, to read.