What gospel are we reading?

February 10, 2017 § Leave a comment

Coming from an evangelical yet left-leaning in ideology (kind of) Christian campus fellowship, I’ve heard many teachings and led group studies on the book of Mark that some may label social gospel.

One such story is of a demon-possessed man and Jesus’ interaction in Mark 5:1-20.

The ultimate “in front of the text” question that really bothers me about this story is the quickness and almost a self-congratulatory way we point out the townspeople’s offense. Jesus heals the demoniac at the expense of their livelihood, about two thousand pigs drowned in the sea, highlighting a choice he presents the people–rejoicing at the restoration of an oppressed man in their midst, or despairing the drastic loss of economic gains. Ultimately, the people choose to place their pigs above freedom for a real person, a terrible sin we’re eager to recognize alongside Mark. This is contrary to the will of God, we point fingers at these greedy people.

But I am agitated because it’s not ever that easy when we have to make such choices. No one wants to speak of the way we are doing exactly the same in today’s context. Why aren’t we just as outraged about the silence on DAPL by our Christian leaders when the situation may be interpreted as our pigs? We’re placing “American jobs” above Native sovereignty, yet there’s no repentance there.

What is the point of Bible study if it remains a nice moral story without transformation? What kind of gospel are we reading?


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