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Emergent Jesus Met The Woman At The Well

Oh, this is superb: [1]

Exhausted from global warming in oppressed Palestine, Jesus chilled at Jacob’s Well in the realm of “the other” called Samaria. Jesus’ cohort left him to buy organic at the nearest fair-trade kiosk. A Samaritan woman, “the other,” approached the community’s gathering space, carrying a jar, the symbol of her status in a harsh, patriarchal culture.

Jesus said to her, “Water is good. Water is to be shared. Water is life. May we share in a drink of water together?” He lit two candles, too, symbolizing the two flames of life at the well. The woman replied, “I am in the oppressed class–a Samaritan–and you are in the religiously oppressive class– the Jew. I am victim; you are power. How is it that you encounter me in such a counterintuitive egalitarianway in a world of power-assigned values?”

Jesus mildly pushed back, “Woman, I am post-Jewish. I am post-Second Temple Judaism. I am the Revolution as I assign new symbolic value to people, places and religion itself. I am on a journey through liminal space into the emerging reality where all is love.”

“Friend and soul-mate, how can this be, this new paradigm of meaning?” the woman asked

Jesus continued in soft-toned dialogue with the woman, “I don’t know. No one knows. We see through a glass darkly. We are now simply deconstructing the old and hoping to see the new emerge. No one can step up and lead, of course.”

Read the whole thing. [1] It gets even better at the end. Know what’s funny but really harsh? Paul Rudnick’s “New Jersey Quiz.” [2] Excerpt:

5. The slogan of New Jersey’s capital, which appears in glowing letters on one of the city’s bridges, is “Trenton Makes, the World Takes.” What were the three runners-up?

(a) “Trenton Pees, the World Sees.”

(b) “Trenton Poops, the World Scoops.”

(c) “If You Lived in Trenton, You’d Be Home Now So You Could Kill Yourself.”

Ouch.

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35 Comments To "Emergent Jesus Met The Woman At The Well"

#1 Comment By vandelay On January 26, 2014 @ 10:12 am

Quite a few butthurt emergents in the comments complaining that the satire is just so unfair. Fits with what I’ve seen from emergents before. No one likes seeing their ox being gored, but they seem to take it extremely personally, even after they’ve gone out of their way to offend traditional Christians.

#2 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On January 26, 2014 @ 11:19 am

Actually, this “satire” seems to me a reasonably valid interpretation of the meaning of Jesus’s encounter with the woman at the well.

Of course Jesus would not have been so averse to speaking authoritatively, as, in all the canonical accounts and translations available, he certainly does. Naturally, since this is a “satire,” somethin incongruously unlike Jesus had to be stuck in to make this funny. But otherwise, its a reasonable presentation of the relation of Orthodox Jews to Samaritans, and the perplexity of the woman at Jesus speaking with her.

As to the Trenton, New Jersey stuff… borderline pornographic. Or, is the current crunch con social conservative schtick that scatalogical is cool, only sexual porn is evil and perverse?

#3 Comment By WorkingClass On January 26, 2014 @ 11:29 am

From comments:

“It doesn’t seem remotely reminiscent of McClaren or Rollins, as someone earlier suggested. So, to me, it mostly seems like straw-man trying to be satire.”

Maybe. I wouldn’t know. But it’s hilarious. Thanks Rod.

#4 Comment By charles cosimano On January 26, 2014 @ 12:04 pm

Not bad but it would have been funnier if Jesus had thrown the woman into the well.

But then the Biblical account would have been funnier if Jesus had thrown the woman into the well.

#5 Comment By CatherineNY On January 26, 2014 @ 12:08 pm

Emergent Jesus is very funny. The NJ thing, not so much (says the person who was born in Trenton).

#6 Comment By EliteCommInc. On January 26, 2014 @ 12:17 pm

“Early Christianity & the Gospel of Mary

Few people today are acquainted with the Gospel of Mary. Written early in the second century CE, it disappeared for over fifteen hundred years until a single, fragmentary copy in Coptic translation came to light in the late nineteenth century. Although details of the discovery itself are obscure, we do know that the fifth-century manuscript in which it was inscribed was purchased in Cairo by Carl Reinhardt and brought to Berlin in 1896. Two additional fragments in Greek have come to light in the twentieth century. Yet still no complete copy of the Gospel of Mary is known. Fewer than eight pages of the ancient papyrus text survive, which means that about half of the Gospel of Mary is lost to us, perhaps forever.

This is the best authoritative edition available, and includes a superb commentary by Karen King.
Buy the Book

Yet these scant pages provide an intriguing glimpse into a kind of Christianity lost for almost fifteen hundred years. This astonishingly brief narrative presents a radical interpretation of Jesus’ teachings as a path to inner spiritual knowledge; it rejects his suffering and death as the path to eternal life; it exposes the erroneous view that Mary of Magdala was a prostitute for what it is-a piece of theological fiction; it presents the most straightforward and convincing argument in any early Christian writing for the legitimacy of women’s leadership; it offers a sharp critique of illegitimate power and a utopian vision of spiritual perfection; it challenges our rather romantic views about the harmony and unanimity of the first Christians; and it asks us to rethink the basis for church authority. All written in the name of a woman.”

In light of this Gnostic rendition — probably not satire at all. But rather a disguised introduction of the new Mary.

Not that the woman at the well is Mary Magdelene, but the dialogue rings of similar forms of conversations and writings from this Gnostic text.

#7 Comment By Jack Shifflett On January 26, 2014 @ 12:21 pm

Funny stuff, because trendy academic jargon is always funny (as well as ephemeral)and easily mocked. You could equally take any traditional exegetical text and find its labored (if accurate) analysis of this episode humorous. On the other hand, when Jesus speaks of “the emerging reality where all is is love,” I don’t get the joke–isn’t that precisely what “the Kingdom” is supposed to be about?

#8 Comment By EngineerScotty On January 26, 2014 @ 12:28 pm

Jesus calls her “woman”, as though gender were a fixed, binary, and manifest attribute. Obviously whoever wrote this satire doesn’t fully grok pomos.

🙂

#9 Comment By ck On January 26, 2014 @ 12:29 pm

New Jersey, as if anyone from the New Yorker could talk. And if If You Lived in Manhattan, You’d Be Home Now So You Could Kill Yourself.

#10 Comment By Fulton On January 26, 2014 @ 1:00 pm

Is this Emergent thing actually a big thing? I’ve only ever read about it here, but I may not be hip with what the kids are doing these days. The Pastrix seems okay.

#11 Comment By HeartRight On January 26, 2014 @ 1:05 pm

I seem to recall from a few months back – linkd through Rod’s blog – some ‘Emergent’ arguing that the Spirit had spoken on the matter of female ordination.

[ Of course, that begs the question what kind of Ordination there can actually be if you have only 2 Sacraments ]

[3]

Considering the style of the ‘Emergents’ themselves,I am at a loss to understand how they could possibly have a valid complaint to make if anyone within the Oikoumene treats them with satire without actually calling for their expulsion from Christianity.

#12 Comment By scottinnj On January 26, 2014 @ 1:56 pm

Come on with the Jersey jokes – gotta love a state where the highest honor is naming a rest area on the NJ Turnpike after you.

Also note the horsehead in our state seal…anyone see the Godfather?…just saying.

Scott, Exit 16W

#13 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On January 26, 2014 @ 1:56 pm

Reasons not to throw Charles Cosimano, or the Samaritan woman, or much of anyone else, into a well:

Dead bodies render the water unsanitary and unfit to drink.

#14 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On January 26, 2014 @ 2:35 pm

Re: [ Of course, that begs the question what kind of Ordination there can actually be if you have only 2 Sacraments ]

Most Protestants don’t see ordination as a sacrament, that’s the whole point. That’s why its easier for them to decide that, as a human institution, it can be extended semlessly to women.

#15 Comment By Hetzer On January 26, 2014 @ 2:57 pm

NJ taking flak is fine, the less people that move here the better.

#16 Comment By Maxi On January 26, 2014 @ 3:27 pm

Siarlys Jenkins: “Actually, this “satire” seems to me a reasonably valid interpretation of the meaning of Jesus’s encounter with the woman at the well.”

This was my exact reaction as well. In fact it’s most likely offensive to Jesus that some people who call themselves “Christians” think this is only satire.

#17 Comment By ahunt On January 26, 2014 @ 3:58 pm

So sharing. And Rod…you need to issue a “pee first” warning for us’n post-menopausal women when you post stuff like this.

#18 Comment By anori On January 26, 2014 @ 4:01 pm

My father and his siblings, during their childhood in New Jersey (so they’re allowed to say it!) came up with “Trenton chucks, the world ducks.”

#19 Comment By HeartRight On January 26, 2014 @ 4:24 pm

Hector:

‘Most Protestants don’t see ordination as a sacrament, that’s the whole point. That’s why its easier for them to decide that, as a human institution, it can be extended semlessly to women.’

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing in His hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth
Our full homage to demand.

#20 Comment By Pat On January 26, 2014 @ 6:47 pm

That satire sounds just like most of the translations from the Aramaic that I’ve been exposed to (e.g. [4]).

Don’t like it myself, but I’m like lots of people – I like the version I heard as a child. Other versions make me think, and I don’t go to church to think but to experience.

#21 Comment By Steve Hoffmann On January 26, 2014 @ 7:22 pm

Hey, Rod–dumping on NJ by the . . . New Yorker?! That’s news? Also–up the road a piece from Trenton is arguably the most beautiful college campus in the country. It was in a grad seminar in Russian history during the Cold War era when the distinguished old Russia hand casually mentioned . . . “You know, the bathroom fixtures in the Kremlin come from Trenton.”

#22 Comment By M_Young On January 26, 2014 @ 8:26 pm

Well, this has nothing to do with the post, except that it involves a religious figure, Pope Francis. But it is hella funny.

[5]

#23 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On January 26, 2014 @ 8:26 pm

Hector, that’s an excellent exposition on the difference between priesthood and ministry. One Protestant explanation I’ve heard, and tend to agree with, is we have only one high priest, and that is Christ Jesus.

Heart Right, you must explain yourself. That poem you recited is neither obvious in its reference to Hector’s observation, nor is it specific as to what “our full homage” consists of, although I’m sure most of us agree it is owed.

#24 Comment By Elijah On January 26, 2014 @ 9:01 pm

Siarlys is right: chucking the woman in the well would render the water unfit. Let’s chuck in her foolishness instead. Gospel of Mary indeed. Good grief.

#25 Comment By Chris On January 26, 2014 @ 9:25 pm

One of the nice things about being Orthodox is that concepts like the emergent church are so utterly foreign to my experience and understanding. People in the emergent church movement have tried to explain it to me but myeyes glaze over. It all seems like a heaping high hill of post-modern confusion. The satire selected above sure reads like the crap that comes out of humanities departments these days. But the religious aspect is baffling. This is one of the advantages of being part of a pre-modeern religious tradition stuck in the early Middle Ages.

[NFR: D’accord. Every time I read something Emergent, I think, “Good grief, why trouble yourselves so, people?” — RD]

#26 Comment By dominic1955 On January 26, 2014 @ 10:42 pm

“One of the nice things about being Orthodox is that concepts like the emergent church are so utterly foreign to my experience and understanding.”

Catholic, but yeah, pretty much.

#27 Comment By charles cosimano On January 26, 2014 @ 11:01 pm

Hmm, ok, so no throwing Siarlys into the lake. Damn. We were so looking forward to it. 🙂

#28 Comment By Thursday On January 27, 2014 @ 12:25 am

Actually, this “satire” seems to me a reasonably valid interpretation of the meaning of Jesus’s encounter with the woman at the well.

Uh, no.

#29 Comment By Mike Ehling On January 27, 2014 @ 2:50 am

How many sacraments do Catholics have? Just seven? What about Ash Wednesday ashes? What about Saint Blaise throat-blessings? So Catholics have rituals and ceremonies that aren’t “sacraments” — call them “sacramentals” if you will.

Reformed churches have marriages, ordinations, confirmations — but these are blessings and commissionings and the like, not sacraments. And praying at sickbeds is certainly quite commendable — though not sacramental, and I do find the whole concept of “viaticum” to be a bit of a magical reworking of the eucharist (on the sacramental nature of which I adhere to Zwingli over Aquinas).

#30 Comment By Tyro On January 27, 2014 @ 7:57 am

This reminds me of that quote from Tom Tomorrow that conservatives have “heard of satire but never experienced it first hand.”

Liberal storytelling doesn’t actually sound like that, and when critical analysis of literature, I have always wondered what exactly is it about discussing the role of the “other” in our stories and narratives that gets conservatives so riled up. This honestly befuddles me. They don’t, to my knowledge, have a problem with “scapegoat”, and even conservative writer Malcolm Gladwell, reflecting on how Jamaicans in the USA are feted as the “good blacks” while in his native Canada are regarded as criminal troublemakers and source of social problems, observed, “in every culture, someone has to be the n—-r.”

#31 Comment By dominic1955 On January 27, 2014 @ 10:03 am

“How many sacraments do Catholics have? Just seven? What about Ash Wednesday ashes? What about Saint Blaise throat-blessings? So Catholics have rituals and ceremonies that aren’t “sacraments” — call them “sacramentals” if you will.”

That is what we call them. The sacrament vs. sacramental distinction is an extremely basic one in sacramental theology.

“Reformed churches have marriages, ordinations, confirmations — but these are blessings and commissionings and the like, not sacraments. And praying at sickbeds is certainly quite commendable — though not sacramental, and I do find the whole concept of “viaticum” to be a bit of a magical reworking of the eucharist (on the sacramental nature of which I adhere to Zwingli over Aquinas).”

Why would you think Viaticum was any more “magical” than Trent’s teaching on the Eucharist? Do you know what “viaticum” is?

#32 Comment By George Waite On January 27, 2014 @ 10:33 am

There should have been “g-dself” inserted at least once; nothing says “emergent” like refusing to use male pronouns”. And neither party to the dialogue mentioned how “fiercely” he/she/they was “struggling with White privilege”.
And obviously with simply reading something you miss the vapid, simpering primness found throughout Mainline protestantism.
Other than that, since you’ve gotten so much “I don’t this this is funny” pouting from “Emergents”, the writer has clearly hit the bullseye.

#33 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On January 27, 2014 @ 11:06 am

Cosimano, in your area, any lake you could throw me into is surrounded by old mansions or new McMansions, inhabited by people with “I Miss Reagan” bumper stickers on their third Mercedes, and they would strenuously object to having the likes of me tossed into THEIR lake.

Thursday, your monosyllables are not edifying. Pray, explain yourself. You may have a point — or not, in which case, it would be fun to reply.

Domini, who the Sam Hill is Trent, and why should I care WHAT he said about the Eucharist?

#34 Comment By RBH On January 27, 2014 @ 11:08 am

That’s funny, but my first thought was how apt and acceptable that interpretation (minus the jargon) would seem at a run of the mill evangelical, non-dom church. How many of those post-denomination churches, usually led by baby boomers, have had conferences or retreats with the theme of Revolution?

#35 Comment By Franklin Evans On January 27, 2014 @ 12:28 pm

I can personally attest to the fallacy that “No one lives in New Jersey. They all commute.” The produce stands one can see on every local road on the way to The Shore are by themselves testament to why “Garden State” is a badge of honor as well as an accurate moniker.

Franklin, across the river from Camden. 😀

P.S. But darnit, can’t they do something about Admiral Wilson Blvd. flooding every time someone sneezes? 😉