Posts Tagged ‘ This Present Darkness ’

The Rogue Ninja Child

The Daily Selectionary

Friday, January 14, 2011

Today’s Readings:

Daily Office Readings: (AM) Psalm 16, 17; (PM) Psalm 22   
Isa. 42:(1-9)10-17; Eph. 3:1-13; Mark 2:13-22 

Eucharistic ReadingsHeb. 4:1-5,11
Psalm 78:3-8; Mark 2:1-12


The Rogue Ninja Child

Christopher Hodge


Mark 2:13-22

13 He went out again beside the sea; and all the crowd gathered about him, and he taught them. 14 And as he passed on, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. 15 And as he sat at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were sitting with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many who followed him. 16 And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” 18 Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting; and people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” 19 And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20 The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. 21 No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; if he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. 22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; if he does, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but new wine is for fresh skins.”.

                There has been this inner turmoil with me since I can remember.  My interests have always been in the arts.  In kindergarten I was even writing short stories.  I can not recall most of them.  I can remember that I gained a lot of popularity from my school chums and some recognition from the teachers.  All of the talk about my writing was not all positive.  It had nothing to do with the writing itself, grammar etc.  It had to do with the content.  I remember when I was in third grade there was a parent-teacher conference pulled on me to discuss worry about my state of mind.  Apparently I had scared the powers-that-be with a story I had written about a rogue ninja child who, in part of his initiation, had to ransack through his own house and kill his parents.  Where that scribbled story came from I have no clue.  I was highly into ninjas then.  I watched a lot of movies and some of them probably were too violent for a nine year-old, but they fueled my imagination.  It was just a story.  They finally chalked it up to a “wild mind.” It is comical thinking back on that story and the reaction that came from it.  That is when I decided I wanted to be a writer one day.  That reaction from my readers fed me something then that I started craving; I wanted more.

                I tell this story from my early childhood because it does somehow relate to today’s reading.  At least it has done some relating for me.  Growing up in a religious household as the son of a Southern Baptist preacher, my mother took notice of my creativity, my “wild mind,” and decided to try to direct it toward a positive door passage: evangelical Christian publishing houses.  She was afraid that I would be hanging with the wrong crowd if I did not invite Christ into my writing.  She knew I loved horror.  Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness was very popular then and I decided to read it.  Not bad.  It did satisfy me in some way, but I knew even then that I did not want to be pigeon-holed into a category; especially a rigid evangelical one.  I was a Christian.  I was proud of that fact, and as my faith grew as I got older, I started taking Christ’s reactions to nay-sayers, like those in today’s passage to heart.  “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”  My writing has developed a spiritual slant over the years.  Flannery O’Connor comes to mind as one of my inspirations, how she welded together her deep Catholic upbringing with the peculiarities of the deep-south. 

                Jesus enjoyed hanging out in the bars with those whom the religious elite found offensive.  Why would he spend his days inside the church talking scriptural law with those who already knew it?  Sadly, a lot of the leaders in the churches knew the law but lived like they were above God’s laws; like they were there to make sure everyone else was following them.  When Jesus spoke to those who were not part of the inner circle of Pharisees, God’s words fell on receptive ears for the most part.  The spirit quenched their thirst for their deserted longings.  The religious leaders could mutter whatever they wanted against him, but Jesus stayed his course.

                As I pursue my fiction, I hope to somehow be what Jesus was.  I want my subtly worded stories to speak to hearts.  We never know what is going on in the minds of those around us.  Preaching to people is not going to lead them to the love that Christ set out to give.  It is only by being among those in the world, and by living a real and not a fake “churchy” life among them, that God’s creation can embrace all that He has created for them.

Daily Scripture readings are taken from The Revised Common Lectionary and can be read in full at  NRSV translation of the Holy Scriptures.  Please feel free to pass along this devotion to whomever you feel may benefit from it. – © Christopher Hodge  2011   email: