111022237418785138

The Blind Man

I have been thinking lately about doing something like what we used to do back in Canton for Bible study. It was biblical study based off the Quaker idea that all people are endowed with the Spirit of God to a greater or lesser extent depending on your obedience to it, but that all people have some of the “light of Christ” as we are all His artwork.

So what I thought would be stimulating and valuable for all of us, whether a spiritual novice, new to any faith at all or to Christianity, or like me one who has been around this stuff from an early age – I invite you to participate in this community wide dialogue. Spend as little or as much time as you like in reflection and dialogue with this passage, but please put it on the blog so that we can all interact.

can to join the table?

Here are some guidelines:
Ask the Holy Spirit to open your mind to the passage.

1. Comment on how the passage strikes you, what stands out to you, or what meaning it has in your life (any, all three or some different observation can be made).

2. Leave comments on what others stated, how you resonate with another’s viewpoint, how it encourages you, or brings something else to mind.

3. Even if you don’t comment please read, reflect and enter into the offerings of other’s writings, try to appreciate and take away something from them for your own spiritual life and/or community.

4. If you care to disagree with another’s interpretation, first check to see whether the person meant their interpretation as an all inclusive thought or a personal thought (this makes a big difference in how one might apply a thought) and second – the motivation for disagreement is to exhort, sharpen as iron or further stimulate thought. It should be done in the Spirit of Christ, and not as slander, ridicule or as one being superior to another.

Remember that we all have something to learn from one another regardless of how many points you think you may or may not have in the kingdom…

I will chime in from time to time and participate in the dialogue at hand.

Below is the passage to comment on
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John 9:1-13
As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” Some were saying, “It is he.” Others were saying, “No, but it is someone like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” But they kept asking him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ Then I went and washed and received my sight.” They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”

Next week I will finish this story but for now focusing on this will be enough.

Published by

Wess

...is the William R. Rogers Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC., PhD in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary, served as a "released minister" at Camas Friends Church, and father of three. He enjoys sketchnoting, sharing conversation over coffee with a friend, listening to vinyl and writing creative nonfiction.

2 thoughts on “111022237418785138”

  1. I guess i’ll go first. this whole passage struck me when it was read at the catholic mass this past sunday, and I wondered if I should put the whole thing up at once but because it is so long I figured it would have a lesser chance of being read – because I know I don’t like to read really long things on my computer.

    anyways some of my own impressions on the story:
    1. I know growing up either I was taught or somehow had the impression that people who have some kind of handicap or disease have sinned or they are reaping the consequences of their parents. I love the fact that Jesus says, “no don’t try to understand everything with a religious category – there are other reasons – namely God’s own glorification.” I have even wondered at times why I have asthma (and since I was four), I have often prayed for it to go away, it never has. I have always wondered if I did something or is it the consequence of my parents decisions before my birth. But Jesus says “no, its just something that came about through creation.”

    2. My last sentence may be somewhat puzzling but here is what I see as a possible explanation for what Jesus said. “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him.” Now its possible to think that Jesus meant – God made this man blind at birth so that this very day when I walked past him, I could do a miracle – this is true only if we like to think of God as a big trickster, as if there aren’t already enough problems in the world to be fixed that he would need to make an extra one for Jesus to play supernatural doctor on. No, I think what Jesus was saying is this, “everyone has their own story, their own trials and struggles, this man’s blindness is his. He has had the choice to show the work of God despite his handicap, he could also choose to not.” I think that is why he says those strange words right after his explanation of sickness, about now being the time to “work the works.”

    So i guess I think what i get out of this is that we have the choice to go one way or the other given our own stories, struggles and handicaps. I choose in my own to go the way Jesus suggested and “work the works of him who sent me” take what is to the worlds eyes a bad thing, subvert it and make glorify God.

  2. This passage reminds me of a visit from the ole’ Jehovah’s Witnesses when I was about 10 years old. My brother and I answered the door and explained that our parents were deaf (I don’t remember why we told them). They wanted to explain to us why in our church we were told they were deaf because they sinned. Not only was that untrue but that was the first time anyone even brought up the notion that a handicap (my folks would be angry if they knew I referred to their deafness as a handicap) would be some sort of evidence of God’s wrath. The idea seemed stupid to us.

    The other thing that sticks out to me about the passage is Jesus explaining “We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work.” A few random thoughts are: is he referring to works as miracles? What work will no one be able to do when it is night? (I presume He means night as when He is gone.) For me it brings up a big question I’ve yet to come to a conclusion on: Whether being truly Christ-like requires us to do as he did- rejecting everyday life for his revolution. Or is living as Christ living a normal American life trying to follow his example as it fits into our present world?

    Maybe that gets away from the central idea of the passage… This is where my mind went after reading it.

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