Explorations in Theology

The series explores a theology that is human friendly! Jesus as the true human shows us who God is, and because of his consideration for us ('who are we, that God should make note of us?') defines who humanity was created to be. The nature of sin is to fall short of the glory of God. The glory of God as revealed in the truly human one - 'we beheld his glory full of grace and truth'. This volume is a foundation for the other volumes. And there are ZOOM groups available...
Volume 2 Significant Other now also available!
El libro electrónico (en Español) también ya está disponible
.

So go on... you know you want to!!! Order a copy Boz Publications

Small acts

Two cents worth

In editing a chapter in Volume 3 (surely it will be even better than Volumes 1 and 2?) I looked up the references that I was alluding to. I was referencing the widow who put her last couple of pence in the offering. I had written:

Perhaps, in Scripture, the widow who put her small contribution into the Temple treasury made a much bigger contribution than she realised. Did her sacrifice accelerate the coming to an end of such a magnificent and impressive structure?

The chapter I was editing is on how small acts being the catalyst for change, suggesting that although there are times when there are believers who shape the future and are appointed to the realm of the high and mighty (Daniel), that the movement of the ekklesia is a subversive movement, many times unseen and unrecognised. So in tidying the chapter up I thought I would go read the text (never a bad idea!). Here’s what I noticed.

The end of Luke 20 is a rebuke on the religious hierarchy. Jesus’ strongest rebukes were always reserved for those people for they were not releasing the human agency of God to serve their purpose but were in fact using them to serve their own ends, and in the process they,

devour widow’s houses (Luke 20: 47).

In the name of religion they exploit and impoverish those that the law said were to be protected. In the next chapter the opening verses that immediately follow this exposure of what is going on is the story of the widow depositing her last coins in the temple offering:

As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” (Luke 21:1-4).

They devour widows’ houses, as Jesus looked up he saw… Then the disciples saw how wonderful the Temple was, how magnificient (Luke 21:5). Jesus provoked them to look to what was going to happen within a few years:

As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down (Luke 21:6).

Religion, those at the top… a widow exploited and at the bottom… acting with integrity… her offering was far beyond what anyone else put in to protect and beautify the structure yet even more… she did something of eternal value… what was temporal now had a sell by date stamped on it.

Letting People In

Compassion Fatigue

A new post by Gaz


As a self proclaimed introvert, I have had to learn to find the sweet fruits that are within relationships and social environments. There is much written about such animals as myself and our need for ebb and flow, to flow out and to retreat back to the place of nurture. It is a necessary but also most bizarre dance to have to learn and navigate lest we become isolated, limited and over domesticated by our chosen cave, because the wild, the unscheduled happenings, the joyous being acted upon by others, is beyond our door.

I remember doing mainstream counselling against the advice of my sectarian Christian counter parts, since it was insufficiently sanctified (controlled and safe). 

I chose to be stretched on many fronts, my openness, my vulnerabilities and imposed limitations of the culture of my chosen faith. In year two we had to choose a working partner for the year and submit to the lecturers why we were making such a selection. Mine was that I wanted to be paired with a female, since such things were not permitted in my world (having been told as a youth pastor that you meet a female co worker with the door open and if you have to be in the same car, she sits in the back). 

I was very Southern in my cultural trappings and she was exceptionally Northern, it was awesome to spend time with her and bare our souls in the context of our work objectives. We needed to attend a long weekend away twice a year to get the sufficient number or course hours in and on this one occasion my co-worker did not show up. In the sessions I was feeling withdrawn and unable to engage, and at one moment I was triggered by the session and needed to go sit outside and simply cry. After a while the lecturer came and sat with me and said to me “you don’t really ‘do’ people do you, but your trying to let them in. Is there anything different about this time away which has gotten under your skin, reached into your insides?”

I had no idea really, as I was experiencing something deep in my being which was outside my rational minds ability to control, supress or articulate. “ I am aware that your co-worker of several months isn’t here… could it be that you have let someone in, that you are feeling the loss of them in this part of our journey together”? The snot and tears that ensued suggested that she was on the money, on target and correct.  

What she said next was transformative for me. “ I feel that the kind of person you are, but also your journey so far, has made you able to get by and survive without allowing too many people to get into your insides. What you don’t realise is that you have found a way to survive but to truly live, you have need of people, and what you are experiencing is loss, and even in this moment, grief because they are not here. To be complete, you have to let others in, and perhaps at times, carry one another”.

These days I work helping those who are burning out working with refugees who are serving them through legal support or even the provision of food. Almost without exception it is because they are letting people, and their stories in.

What they are experiencing is called secondary trauma, where an aspect of what you hear from another, becomes your own and you have to process, heal and recover from what you have let in. Keeping people out comes at a price, and so does letting them in.

Perhaps, aside from my created personality type, there was a fear of letting people in for me, perhaps somewhere I had allowed this and it cost me too much, perhaps I didn’t know how deep within us this sits, where ‘letting people’ and their stories in actually resides within us. So my need to self manage had created what became too much distance. It is, after all, a dance of ebb and flow and frequent imbalance.

For a Christian this is problematic since if we are alive, at all on our insides, we are driven by a God given compassion. Compassion is deeply profound and we need to learn to manage it and walk with it with an understanding of where compassion begins and where compassion resides. I have personally had to learn the dance of compassion, the dance of proximity to others, the dance of like, love and loss, which were once kept in a box under lock and key. Today I am learning how to truly live.

So what does it mean to let people in, in a way that is productive, life giving at a mutual level and does not tip the balance towards destructive?

The Hebrew word for Compassion is Rachamim, it is derived from the word Rechem, which is the word for Womb … and there you have it. 

There is nothing shallow about allowing our compassion and love for others to creep into our insides, because in reality this is the place that the feeling began, in the most intimate place of carrying another life through aspects of need and growth. Does it cost, absolutely, but rewards also. Does it cause us pain and need of recovery yes, but life in equal measure.

An anchor

Anchoring the future, preparations now

While in conversation yesterday with Gayle we were trying to make sense of the battle we had to get a foot in the door of Madrid and then effectively being shut out because of the pandemic. With things as they are it will probably be around a year before we can return. We came up with a conviction that I thought might just resonate beyond ourselves and could be a help to others.

I saw a hook thrown into the city, like a grappling hook or even an anchor, a hook that went into the land and caught (for us in Madrid). A stake in the land but something more than that, a hook into the land and our future. We talk of Madrid as a 10 year push, and the next phase being a ten year focus. Now we are in Oliva, practically better and always has been the ”in-between place’, but not what is pulling us forward. Our experience is that this hiatus has been very formative indeed. As well as writing, many video calls, new connections (most of which we would not have had time nor space for had we not been here); we have also ‘seen’ who we are to become over this next season. It has been huge for us…

Not close to the hope of the Gospel but the same principle:

We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain (Heb. 6:19).


So putting this all together. A hook is established into the future to secure it ahead of time. This then is combined with an intense season of preparation for what is to come, not simply preparation as in material etc, but preparation with connections and also internal preparation. The pause button is to enable preparation.

Hope that makes sense, and maybe for some it will resonate and clarify what had been happening in your situation over the past months.

Two Trees

One of my privileges is to participate in the Zoom groups that are discussing the first volume, Humanising the Divine. Preparing for, and thinking about, the discussion afterwards occasionally helps me see some new patterns. Some groups have been in the chapter on Cornelius this week, and in that chapter I touch on ‘alienation’ as being the result of the various falls. (Note to reader, I read those chapters Gen. 1-11 as myth, myth being used to communicate truth, and in that setting more profound than anything literal; I see Gen. 1 and 2 being from two different sources, they being complementary; Gen. 3-11 being the backdrop to the call of Abraham, the one called to be the agent t solve the issues Genesis 3-11 outline.

If alienation is the result then the work of the Cross is that of reconciliation. Not reconciling God, but the God who was in Christ was reconciling the world to himself.

So this pushed me to look again at the trees. The only tree that was forbidden being the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The temptation by the serpent (seen in ancient texts as the provocative agent of wisdom – ‘wise as serpents’? – , later Jewish and Christian of course as the Satan, the adversary) was to become as God. This would mean they (humanity) could determine what was right and wrong. It outworks either without God – I decide; or as present within religion, with ‘god’, and my book / tradition on my side informing me what is right and wrong, and I act it out. The ‘I’ in both cases is at the centre.

The relevance of this for the Cornelius chapter is Peter, the Jew, comes on the scene with an ‘unclean / clean’ divide. He is one side, Cornelius the other. His first words when entering the house of Cornelius is ‘now I perceive’. He saw differently. God has not endorsed the line that Peter had drawn.

The cross (tree) that Jesus died on (symbolically) was that tree (of the knowledge of good and evil). The tree that divides, that puts me on the right side and you on the wrong side. He dies (as human representative) to being the one who can determine what was right and wrong. That alone is reserved for God. Who is in / out… what does in /out mean… is there an in / out… what is unclean / clean… God’s territory, not ours. Result of death – reconciliation where there is no Jew nor Gentile…

So we are to be careful in making judgements. While we are keen to be under the judgement (assessment / critique) of heaven at a personal level. There remains what is unclean and what is clean… I think a clue is what dehumanises, what endorses me as above someone else. We have to be tentative as to how we respond to this. Brings me to the second tree:

The tree of life. Not to be eaten from alone. Not eaten from and then given to someone else. There is something corporate in the eating, a prelude to the final great banquet. It is the source of life, and life is not what is consumed but in what is given. In the giving there is a return. I think we even see the corporate nature in the protection of that tree – ‘lest they eat and live for ever.’ Every Gospel meal with Jesus is eating fruit from that tree.

Alienation. Only overcome by embracing the ‘other’. It was never good for there to be a solitary human, so the ‘other’ is formed. The other can be seen as the opposite – and that is one of the alienations resulting from the falls; or seen as ‘flesh of my flesh’. Different, but equal – humanised. The other acts as the mirror to see oneself.

Post falls the other is blamed and scapegoated. The blame game is the source of alienation resulting from dehumanisation.

Sadly our currently polarised oppositional world illustrates how far we are off course. The major fuel for the oppositional stance is supplied by ideologies and religion (the tree of the knowledge of good and evil).

Time for Gospel meals. ‘All of you (including Judas) eat’. ‘Eat what is set before you’ and there is healing and peace in the home.

So we can make no judgements as to what is good and evil? That would make life easy would it not? Live and let live… The background though is leaning that way – do not judge otherwise you will be judged. That needs a little balancing out, cos we will be judged! The area of greater caution is that of ‘judging the world’. Paul said:

What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside (1 Cor. 5: 12,13).

There is an appointed judgement but that is in the hands of the one appointed by God – the only true Human, Jesus.

But among those of us who follow Jesus. Seems Paul is saying ‘grow up’. You have been touched by the values of the age to come, when you will even judge angels – an indication that humanity in the image of God is closer to God than the angelic. If that is how we are to be then we should be able to sort out stuff among ourselves – even down to court cases (1 Cor. 6:1-3).

Never easy working all this stuff out. Don’t judge. Do judge. You will judge. A key seems to be that we give ourselves to ‘sincerity and truth’ (1 Cor. 5:8), and if anyone says ‘I follow Jesus’ but the core of their being is sexually immorality, greed, idolatry, slandering, drunkenness or swindling (1 Cor. 5: 11) we cannot ignore it. Pretty serious stuff as Paul says ‘Do not even eat with such people’. It seems there are two elements to help us move forward cautiously in this – we are to live personally with sincerity and truth; and the list is not simply pointing out traits but something at the core that they are giving themselves to (and of course we note that this is not something applied to those who make no claim to follow Jesus).

Volume Two

A piece of advice for all who are wanting to know what should they really do today. Rush to the web-site at Boz Publications:
https://www.bozpublications.com/significant-other
and get your order in. I do not wish to big this up but this is definitely the most significant Volume Two I have written in this series. Just in case I have overdone the publicity there let me counterbalance it with – wish I could say that this one is written so much better than Volume One, but I really can’t. Ah well we await a dynamic Volume Three!

If wishing to engage with this book I guess it can be done just as is, but it is really a follow on from Vol. 1. For that reason if you have not read Vol. 1 it is best to start there.

In it I suggest that the work of Jesus on the Cross is finished but the work of Jesus through his body is unfinished. Hence I explore the two ends of the spectrum concerning healthy groups: community (here to enhance one another) and movement (here to bring about a transformation in the wider world). Not surprisingly I emphasise the latter, while giving a nod toward the former! Following the trajectory of Israel, called for the health of the world as royal priesthood. Blah blah blah.

I have not yet decided but will probably run Zoom groups on this one on the book as a whole not on the individual chapters. I think that would allow for a freer discussion. Zoom groups would not begin before January.

Life… but not as we know it?

I was never a great Star Trek viewer but I do remember the line that was woven into a song:

It’s life Jim… but not as we know it.

Humanising the Divine. The Incarnation does just that. The resurrection makes it permanent. God was and is eternally humanised. Humble and accessible.

Then we come to the life of Jesus – fully human, but the temptation is to respond with ‘He’s human [Jim], but not as we know it’. And that is where it stops for many. An affirmation that Jesus is fully God and fully human but with a huge advantage. Once we understand the miracles are not performed through his divinity, but by the anointing of the Spirit that closes the gap a little, but I think the aspect I am pursuing at the moment closes the gap further.

He is the GREAT LEARNER, breaking out beyond his contextually induced prejudices through his encounters with those he would not have been able to see (naturally) as fully human. Gentiles, Samaritans and women (maybe also children?).

Jesus gives God a human face, a human life; the great learner then humanises Jesus (I think Hebrews is the book that pushes this aspect, further than Paul for example does in his letters).

Maybe Jesus has an advantage over us. I certainly was not filled from my mother’s womb with the Spirit. But living life from then on? We are both on the same track. Through our encounters with those who our tradition / culture conditions us not to fully see, we can grow toward true humanness. (And maybe from a Christian perspective, those we have been able to label as ‘unclean’, and so are unable to see them with different eyes?)

And perhaps Jesus had an advantage. I am sure that I could not make it to becoming truly human, without sin along the way, and thus become a source of eternal salvation to all! Anointed by the Spirit, but always with a choice to follow the path of the Spirit or not. I am glad that he rescued us.

  • Jesus fully human – not an infusion mixture of divine and human. Like us.(Also fully God.)
  • Jesus, human anointed by the Spirit, in ways that we are not by nature, but in order to rescue us so that we can be anointed by the same Spirit.
  • Jesus, without sin, but not mature, going through the natural process of growth and development, with provocative encounters that confronted his environmentally induced perspectives that he stepped beyond. Thus becomes mature, becomes truly human.

I have often quoted the remarkable response of Jesus in the dialogue of Luke 13: 27, 28.

As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

The woman’s worldview was one shared by and deeply imprinted on her mind by her culture. A woman started at the bottom, but could rise, provided: she was married, she was a mother, she gave birth to a son, and if the son could be a rabbi like Jesus then she would indeed be blessed.

Jesus’ reply completely transformed that worldview. With a ‘no… you are human, in the image of the divine… not in any way lesser than anyone else… gender does not enter into any assessment of value.’

Now I wonder did Jesus carry that transformative worldview with him, or did it come to him in that moment. Like us, most revelation of where we need to adopt a different worldview comes when we encounter something / someone that means we can no longer live with authenticity from the former box.

Jesus… When we look there we can say – there’s life and just as I know and experience it. His responses, his willingness to learn and adapt – now there’s a gap.

The small

I am just finishing the edits of volume 3 in the amazing series (oops… and I had some paragraphs in earlier versions of not believing one’s own advertising) of explorations in theology. The second volume will be available any day soon. Below I put in some extracts from the closing chapter of Volume 3.


We can be very thankful when there are believers who have a position where they can influence the future. In those situations they face particular challenges as to how they exercise any influence they have. The powers might even make space for believers who do not understand the kenotic nature of God. As a result the church might rejoice, and yet the healthy outcome the kingdom of God should bring is set back years. In such situations I think we might be witnessing two aspects: answered prayer and kingdom setback! So ironic as those two phrases (‘answered prayer’ and ‘kingdom setback’) should be a total oxymoron.

Following Jesus was once simple for me. Respond to Jesus as Saviour, read the Bible with a set of lenses that my tradition gave me, keep on track and make sure that I remained thankful for the ticket to heaven. Now, I realise that with a fresh prescription, the Bible ends up more wonderful, relevant and challenging than ever, that there is a path to follow, and as I long for heaven to come… I think you get the thrust.

I can only see the future that is healthy being made up of the multiplicity of the small. Not the uniformity of the big, the ‘one size fits all’ program. The small complemented by the richness of diversity.

Some will be positioned in a place of influence. Use it wisely, prayerfully, and in following Jesus, kenotically. Others will be marginalised, their gift not welcomed. Seek to live at peace with all, ‘as far as is possible’ (Rom. 12:18), and find a way of rejoicing that the one you follow was likewise marginalised.

The body of Christ is here to influence, to shape the world as is. Paul, working in specifically defined localities, used the highly politicised word, ekklesia, to describe the community he planted. The politicised term for those called to speak up concerning the future direction and to act in a way that helped shape their localities. We should expect that to continue, and with the incredible developments beyond localities (even now with ‘virtual spaces’) we should also anticipate that there will be an even greater diversity of expression. Shapes can change, ways of doing things can develop, but faithfulness to the story has to continue.

********

With the resurrection of Jesus a new world had already been brought to birth therefore old values were not appropriate. The ethics he proposed were based on behaviour suitable for a world different to that of the Imperial order. Rome instructed behaviour to be ordered ‘because you are members of Rome’; Paul instructed believers to behave a certain way because they ‘were members of each other’. Those who had received the Spirit of Jesus, and Spirit as in Person, were equipped to be the ones acting in that world. They were uniquely placed to live it out, to show and to inspire, and also to be persecuted.

In the course of the ongoing history of the world’s interaction with the people of Jesus there have been times of influence (for good and for bad), times of compromise and also of great opposition. The church has grappled with the questions raised. Questions such as, ‘Is the church to be separate, somehow holy and set apart from the world?’ And at times of extreme opposition, ‘Is the world destined to always oppose the values of the kingdom?’ And at times when the lines have been blurred, the question arises ‘Is the world to embrace the values without embracing the Person of Jesus?’

Those, and many more, questions persist. This volume has not answered them all. In this book you will have had hints at my responses to the questions. My responses, not the final word, and my responses at this time and context. We can, and should, seek to make our response so that at this time in history we are faithful to the trajectory as we understand it. To do that we need wisdom from heaven, grace toward one another, and an insatiable draw to the world, the environment where God has placed us.

No Comment

I was sent a long (spelt looooooooooooong) message from someone who does not live in the USA asking me to forward it to contacts. It was a long explanation as to how much good Trump had done and how Biden is not going to be good for the USA, and written in very strong terms. I replied saying I could not forward it, and not because I am anti-Trump. I also could not forward such a message if the content was reversed.

Such messages do not help bring about a level of understanding of one another, but simply increase the polarisation. There are those who are extremists, but most people see themselves as pretty much in the centre. My centre for some is extreme! Gayle and I have been called communists when in the USA! For those who believe that health care is a privilege to be paid for we are extreme left! From my position on the spectrum others are extreme right. (In Spain where I am able to vote I vote for what the media often terms as ‘extreme left’, I am told most evangelicals are now leaning toward the ‘(extreme) right’. Votes are never easy – the party who tends to get my vote are pro-choice. That is not a comfortable position but I find many other parties are not pro-life once the life is born – that too is not comfortable if the X goes against their name.) There are extremists on both left and right but for the most part people simply want something better than what is here. The important part is not where we are on the spectrum but how we relate to those of a different persuasion.

I could not forward the message because there was nothing redemptive in it and it can only sow into the divide (again the documentary ‘The Social Media’ is an eye opener).

Second, not only do I not live in the USA but I am not responsible for her. Many things in the world disturb us and we can feel responsible but powerless. It leads more to criticism than effectiveness (I see no issue with being disturbed and as a result having an opinion, but taking responsibility for something is considerably more helpful). Whatever we mean by ‘the Lord spoke to me’, the Lord spoke to me one day saying that I was not responsible for the USA and I needed to leave that in the hands of those who were taking responsibility. It was a release, but also pushed me to take responsibility for what was – in measure – landing on my lap. If responsible I have a right of input, of say. Ever been tempted to criticise the parenting of someone else? For that reason I have never been able to claim that I was a ‘good’ father, nor for the same reason a ‘good’ husband.

In the flow of reading the LOOOOOONG message, footsteps came up our apartment block. There on the door was an eleven year old. He came in for about an hour. I had a Zoom call lined up. Into my incredibly important life he came.

Make the connection, Martin.

Pray for the future of a land – and maybe we are not doing too well when we consider how things are for many people, but pray for the future and at least make some space for a person born in the land and in the future will fill space after I have gone from here.

So back to my WhatsApp. One candidate might be much better than the other. I might have an opinion on that… but I need to be able to see an eleven year old as through the eyes of his creator / redeemer. Resent him coming in and disturbing me, send the WhatsApp (or an opposite one) to whoever. I hope I am better than that. I hope we all are.

Jesus: great Teacher / Learner

Jesus was more than a great Rabbi, but a great teacher and revealer of who God truly is. When he spoke there was a wisdom that astounded people, so his words are words of ‘eternal life’, and the words are just that because they come from his inner reality, that reality that carried and revealed the God he spoke about.

Following on from the post on sinlessness being also a growth toward a fullness of true humanity, rather than something static and intrinsic to some internal nature, I have one further suggestion.

Jesus was a GREAT TEACHER because he was a GREAT LEARNER.

Jesus and sinlessness

A little cheat here – this post is a copy of a post I have written on the forum that I hope will develop with respect to discussing the book(s) I am writing on explorations in theology (invisible sub-title – ‘and with huge gaps in the suggestions’). I have suggested book #1 a re-centring of the concept of sin as being to fail to be truly human. That made me think – so if we re-centre that definition, we should also try to re-centre the definition of sinlessness.

Forum link:

Forum


An interesting possibility with regard to sin / sinlessness. If the heart of sin is defined as ‘never discovering the reason for which one was born’ (a paraphrase of Walter Wink’s creative approach), or as failing to be truly human, thus falling short of the glory of God (my attempt!), we would also need to re-think sinlessness.

Traditionally we have sin as falling short of a set of standards, and sinlessness (of Jesus) as being some form of perfection. If that view is badly skewed Jesus becomes the superhuman. However, when we raise questions such as ‘did baby Jesus cry?’, (or ‘did he push back against his parents’) we press into normal human behaviour and development. It is very hard not to attribute this level of normalcy to Jesus, otherwise in what sense was he fully human. So why not also posit other areas of development? He lived life as a first-Century Jew, his culture influencing him. He does not arrive here from somewhere else untouched by here. He is a baby that grows. I suggest that he grew in his truly humanness as he was confronted by situations. He learned obedience…

Although he was a son he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for who obey him (Heb. 5: 8,9).

These verses are either tied specifically to the struggle in Gethsemane (verse 7), but even if it is I think we are not pushing it too far to posit that what was applied to his struggle in Gethsemane, was typical of his journey throughout his life. He is on a journey toward ‘truly’ human. Once he becomes ‘perfect’ (the verb from the word group telos, to reach the goal). Although I question the literalness of Adam and Eve, the narrative does not have them created ‘perfect’ but with the possibility of moving toward perfection or away from it. To manifest glory, or to manifest shame; to display the image of God, or to distort it. The verdict is, whether we are in the people of the Law or not, all (‘both’: Jew and Gentile alike) have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

Jesus is not manifested ‘perfect’ – in the same sense of Adam and Eve. He can move toward ‘perfection’ (reach the goal of being truly human). It is a journey. Once reached he becomes the source of eternal salvation.

Did Jesus know the right response before the various events, or does he make the right responses when required? He challenges Simon the Pharisee concerning his sight of the prostitute, with the words ‘do you see this woman?’ Jesus saw the woman, but when did he see the woman? Did he approach the situation ‘perfect’ and ready, or was it a challenge to him and then he came through yet this one more hurdle on the path to being truly human.

He became perfect (a process), though was never with sin at any point.

[Another example might be that of the Syro-Phoenician woman, asking for healing for her daughter. Jesus replies with (a defence?) that he was sent to the house of Israel; she replies with ‘but even the dogs eat the crumbs’. Jesus replied with a comment about her faith, someone outside of the Israel community – and a woman. Does she help Jesus to jump another barrier, another prejudice? We could also suggest the centurion whose servant is healed simply through Jesus speaking the word, causing Jesus to respond that he had not found such faith anywhere else in Israel (Lk. 7:9). Are these encounters with non-Jews (and a woman) essential to help Jesus on the path of true-humanness? And on the latter story the connection to Cornelius, the centurion might make an interesting link (also in a book written by Luke).]

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