Barbara Cawthorne Crafton
Barbara Cawthorne Crafton is an Episcopal priest and retreat leader. She founded The Geranium Farm, an online institute for the promotion of spiritual growth.
I remember a film about Doubting Thomas that I saw in Sunday school as a girl. It was one of a series that our church showed us: the Bible story was read while a sequence of tableaux ran on the screen—it was not a motion picture, really, but more like a slide show. The actors were all attractive people with earnest expressions, and their faces stayed on the screen for a long time while the text was read. Sometimes the camera would zoom in, so that we could get a really good, long look at a particularly earnest expression. I think I would find it all a bit too much if I were to view it today. But this was a long time ago. I remember Thomas's face.
April 9, 2012
Resurrection grows on you
You may recall that this ending of the Gospel of Mark, the one that appears in the most ancient manuscripts of the book, seemed too abrupt to later copyists. Before long, 11 more verses had found their way there, a busy digest of post-resurrection experiences from a variety of sources: John's account of the scene at the tomb with Mary Magdalene, John's story of Thomas the doubter, a version of the walk to Emmaus, an account of Jesus' ascension, other material from Luke/Acts. These are entered almost as bullet points. But the tacked-on verses need not concern us here--the Revised Common Lectionary walks away from them politely. We are left with the bald confusion and fear at the end of the ancient tale, from a time before it was canonized and liturgized.
April 2, 2012
Jesus is abandoned
This is a difficult moment in Jesus’ ministry....
August 17, 2009
Literalism that kills
It made a lot of sense for Jesus to use the metaphor of animal sacrifice—at least, it did in the first century.
August 10, 2009
Nothing is ordinary
This is a good week for preachers to share a little good-natured griping about the seemingly endless stream of bread-centered (panecentric?) gospel readings....
August 3, 2009
Eat it all today
In last week’s gospel reading and this one, a picture of a beleaguered Jesus emerges: he can’...
July 27, 2009
Jesus and a little boy vs. the voices of common sense
July 20, 2009
Lame excuse: Isaiah 43:18-25; Mark 2:1-12
People in Jesus’ time thought that illness arose from people’s sins in a fairly immediate cause-and-effect relationship. Today we are more apt to think that illness afflicts us in a more random way.
February 8, 2003
Miracle market: 2 Kings 5:1-14; Mark 1:40-45
There is an odd reticence about the healings in the lessons for this Sunday—there’s an expectation of big-bang pyrotechnics, followed by a matter-of-factness in the healings that seems to disappoint. The haughty Naaman is downright offended by the simplicity of Elisha’s prescription for curing his leprosy. I thought he would surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place . . . But nothing that glamorous is planned.
February 8, 2003
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