Science of the Social Credit Measured in Terms of Human Satisfaction
Christian based service movement warning about threats to rights and freedom irrespective of the label, Science of the Social Credit Measured in Terms of Human Satisfaction

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing"
Edmund Burke

Science of the Social Credit Measured in Terms of Human Satisfaction

The Beginnings of Things (from the Gospel of Mark)
January 2005

What follows is a naïve reading of another book in the Jesusian Cycle, the Gospel of Mark, seen as supplementing the narrative already outlined. I treat the Gospels first and foremost as literature because that is what they are: literature is anything written down. As literature, the style of the Gospels is episodic. Scenes follow one another without transition or obvious connection. Indeed, the style conspires to make you forget the scene just past, so that reading them can be a very "ADD" experience. Does that make them bad literature? The textual critic tribe says they are composites of composites; but that begs the question, for there is still a final hand, and cannot a composite also be a composition, an artistic whole? Whatever the textual prehistory, we still have to come back to the final product as a work of literature. So if we want get beyond the "ADD" experience, we must try holding in our mind sequences of seemingly disparate scenes and see if we can discover the connections and supply the transitions. In this task scholarship, which views the text from the outside, can be a help, but only a help. The primary effort comes from a different place, from the will that enters the story with empathy, making the story want to give itself.

After being baptized and proclaimed by the desert-saint, King Jesus declines to lead an uprising. Instead he withdraws to the desert by himself for about six weeks. Ever after this, wild, lonely places will have an attraction to him. And in the throes of a painfully public career, they are the places he will always seek out for solace and renewal.

After the king's First Mission to Judea, where he heals and baptizes, after the imprisonment of John for treason, and after a sojourn in Samaria, Jesus embarks on his First Mission to the Lake Country. His message to people struggling under oppression of Mammon: "The Kingdom of God is near! Turn away from your sins." Here is both hope and a job. With five or six retainers, he travels by rowboat and on foot all around the Lake Country, speaking in the churches1 and healing madness and other illnesses - but especially madness, which seems to have been at epidemic proportions at the time. I cannot help but think of C. H. Douglas's graph showing a relation between bankruptcies and the suicide rate in England during the Depression. In Palestine as in England, the cruel times they lived in drove many people over the edge. A campaign against this epidemic, combined with the proclamation of a new Kingdom was an implicit criticism of the powers that be.2

On one occasion, four men bring their paralyzed friend to where Jesus is speaking. However, the crowd prevents them, being so thick they can't get through and unwilling to part to make way. Jesus is the man who is saying, "Turn away from your sins!" To people who are happy the way they are and don't want to change, that would be off-putting. If the men were half-hearted in their wish to get to Jesus, the crowd would have given them a good excuse. But they really want to get to him, for the sake of their sick member, and they are not afraid. So determined are they, in fact, that they overcome the obstacle with some engineering: they lower the sick man down through the roof. Jesus acknowledges this act as faith and blesses it. In fact, he says to the man, "My son, your sins are forgiven."

The churchmen are outraged; but the king says, "Is it easier to say, 'Your sins are forgiven' or 'Pick up your mat and walk'? . . . Pick up your mat and go home!" And the man does it, the crowd, note, now parting to make way. "Your sins are forgiven" is easier to SAY because sins are invisible, so there's no obvious and immediate reality check; whereas if you say, "Pick up your mat and walk" and can't deliver, you are immediately found out. So Jesus uses the lower healing to give credibility to the higher. The faith belongs to all five, but Jesus addresses only the one. As the four came not for themselves but for their needy comrade, so Jesus takes them by their actions and rewards them by giving them their friend back whole.

I observed in reference to the Gospel of John that Jesus "always sees the deeper pain beneath the surface, the hurt heart, the personal tragedy, the desperate subterfuges, and the shame." This is the region of sin, and "Your sins are forgiven" points to a healing in that region. The Greek word translated "forgiven" can mean "let go, yielded, released, divorced from." If "Your sins are forgiven" meant, "I hereby cancel punishment for your past misdeeds," not only would it be vulgar in itself but it would not parallel, "Pick up your mat and walk." Both the dignity and the parallelism are maintained if it means, "The sinfulness in your heart is sent away," "Your sins in their very beginnings are cut adrift from you." That of course does not mean the process is finished but that it is begun. The beginnings of things are a continual theme of Jesus, witness his fascination with organic processes -- fermentation, leavening, sprouting seed, ripening corn, fruiting tree -- as likewise with phenomena such as how light passes from a lamp to the eye and how taste passes from salt to the tongue.

The process begun in the paralyzed man seems to me to be the same as that begun in the Samaritan woman at the well, whom Jesus told to ask for the living water, and she did. I suggested there that perhaps he or his men baptized her. This scene seems to me also a kind of baptism, although not with water. I also observe that the man's faith, like hers, is of the simplest, most direct kind. It is not faith in any thing but faith in the man. It is not faith in the Cross, for there is no Cross; but it is faith that says, "I am aware that there is sinfulness in my heart, but I am not afraid to come to you, because I trust you." If Jesus asked the paralyzed man, "Do you believe I would lay down my life for you?," I think the man would say yes. But this question doesn't come up explicitly, and it doesn't have to come up. Jesus' love includes it, and the man trusts in his love.

The radical conservative John is in prison, and his followers are still in communication with him. Not unnaturally, they look to King Jesus, whom he proclaimed, to break him out. But Jesus won't do it, and he just isn't the strict, austere, pure, conservative, Cromwellian champion they are looking for. In fact, he is downright sloppy when it comes to fasting, ritual washing and eating, sacrifice, and Sabbath-keeping. How can Mammon be dethroned -- how can the Kingdom be restored -- like this? This is war, and a war, they feel, needs discipline and a sterling example in the leader.

Challenged on his laxity in regard to fasting, Jesus offers a metaphor totally opposite to this expectation: "Do you expect the guests at a wedding party to go without food?" A wedding party?! Is he mad? He goes on to compare the old, dead forms to old fabric or old wineskins. Just as new fabric sewn to old will tear it and new wine put in old skins will burst them, so the new-born soul that Jesus described to Nicodemus is incompatible with the old, brittle forms. In order to reach its full potential, it needs new forms, just as a man and woman live by new forms when they get married. Jesus doesn't conduct himself like one purifying himself before a battle, he conducts himself like one who just got married.

He also disregards the blue laws about Sunday. One Sunday he and his men harvest some wheat to eat as "fast food"; then, in church, Jesus doctors a man's hand. John's Gospel describes a similar incident of healing on a Sunday in Jesus' Second Mission to Judea about this time. This flaunting of the law by the pseudo king enrages the churchmen, who immediately begin conspiring with the government to assassinate him.

Jesus responds to this plot with a move that his enemies must have thought threatening. If we conceive him now returning from his Second Mission to Judea, that would make this his Second Mission to the Lake Country. He names Twelve men for special commissions to proclaim the Kingdom and to cure the insane. The latter are all too numerous in a world where people's lives, valued at naught, are ground under the heel alternately of church and state. A campaign against this epidemic combined with a proclamation of a new Kingdom is understood by the powers that be a line drawn in the sand. They retaliate with a media blitz saying, "It is the chief of demons who gives him the power to drive them out," to which Jesus replies that they blaspheme against the Holy Spirit - indicating thereby that it is by the power of the Spirit that the Twelve will do cures. As Jesus said to Nicodemus, those born of the Spirit can do such things.

Jesus' family attempts an intervention, hoping probably to talk some sense into him and save his life; but he rebuffs them: "Whoever does what God wants him to do is my brother, my sister, my mother." Again the call to walk the walk, as in, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me." This is itself the Kingdom of God in its beginnings. Then from a boat, so that all can hear and see him without jostling him, the poet-king gives illustration. The Kingdom of God in its beginnings is like a mustard seed: seemingly insignificant, it grows into a magnificent tree. Your job is to be like good soil and let that seed bear abundant fruit. Being good soil is not hard work: you just have to let the Living Water seep through you. You don't have to understand God's part, only your part. Similarly, the Kingdom is like a lamp: the flame is small, but if you set the lamp on a table, its light spreads to fill an entire room.

That evening Jesus takes his Twelve raw recruits across the lake to Decapolis, a heathen country. Jesus must know a storm is coming on and naps to see what they will do. A storm does come on, and the rowboat is going down, and they rouse him, bewailing their fate. So much for the Kingdom of God! But Jesus simply commands the wind, "Be quiet!" and the waves, "Be still!," and all becomes calm. If they were frightened before, they are even more so now, as if he were a monster. Maybe it IS the chief of demons who gives him power! "Why are you frightened?" he cries. "Are you still without faith?"

Landing, they encounter a violent madman. Jesus asks him his name, and he says "Mob - there are so many of us!" Jesus sends the spirits into a herd of pigs, which immediately go berserk and charge off a cliff into the lake. Although the Jews considered the pig unclean, I cannot believe that the man who said, "Not that which goes into the mouth" and made no concessions to eating rules would take gratification in the destruction of a herd of pigs. I can't make sense of the "crime" aspect; but apart from that I think the purpose was an object demonstration, for the benefit of the Twelve, of the pathology of madness. The creature said his name was Mob, but now the Twelve can actually see the mob. The people of Decapolis, like the Twelve on the lake, are afraid of Jesus and in fact ask him to leave, which he does.

They return across the lake and are met by a churchman, who throws himself down at Jesus' feet and begs him to come save his dying daughter. En route, people are crowding around Jesus and touching him. So when Jesus suddenly asks, "Who touched my clothes?," the Twelve think it a strange question, but a terrified woman confesses. She knows it is she he means because she was, the moment she touched him, healed of the chronic bleeding from which she suffered. He says, "My daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace." The gospeler tells us that Jesus felt power go out of him when she touched him. Elsewhere, we read such things as, "The power of the Lord was present for Jesus to heal the sick" and "All who touched [the edge of his cloak] were made well" and "He was not able to perform any miracles there." That this woman is so unmistakably healed through Jesus but not by him reminds us and the Twelve what Jesus is constantly saying: it is the Father alone who heals.

The company finally arrive at the churchman's house, but his little girl is already dead. Taking only the parents and three disciples, Jesus enters the room. He calls her, and she gets up. It is done without any fanfare. In fact, he enjoins secrecy on those present. Most of his sympathizers among the churchmen are secret sympathizers, and he will not force publicity on the father. The father had already showed courage in appealing to Jesus; for it is his own colleagues who were already conspiring against the life of the blasphemer, Sabbath-breaker, and Devil-worshipper.

It is immediately after this, in Jesus' hometown, that the Twelve on the eve of their missions receive a humbling reminder from God; for Jesus himself is "not able to perform any miracles" except a few. Whether because the people did not come to him or came with the wrong attitude and so failed to be healed, the gospeler tells us Jesus was "greatly surprised." It is the Father alone who heals. After this, Jesus sends out his men on their own, on the "buddy" system, to preach "Turn away from your sins" and to cure madness and other illnesses. He allows them sandals and a walking stick -- the bare minimum for one traveling on foot -- but nothing else. For food and shelter, they are simply to rely on God's providence.

Mark mentions the murder of John in prison as a thing past at this point. Matthew adds that Jesus now "heard the news." John has Jesus speak of John in the past tense in his Second Mission to Judea, just before naming the Twelve. What these accounts have in common is that the murder of John is juxtaposed with the commission of the Twelve. John's murder would have made a martyr of him and strengthened Jesus' ranks. The movement is catching like fire, so Jesus blows on it by sending out the Twelve. Herod is not really wrong when he says John lives on in Jesus.

Mark adds some interesting details to the story of feeding the multitude and walking on water. The Twelve are back with Jesus, having returned from their commissions. Such is the constant hubbub around him that they have not had time to eat. So they take food and go off by rowboat to get away from the crowd, but the crowd catches up with them. That is when the multiplication of the food takes place, and I suggested they were ready to crown him and rise up. He sends his men away by boat and then slips off after dark over the water, a way his pursuers could not have anticipated. As on the trip to Decapolis, there is a storm, and the rowboat is in trouble; as before, his action calms the storm; and as before, the Twelve are afraid of him.

In this highly charged atmosphere, Jesus and the Twelve leave the Lake Country and seek anonymity. John has them go to Jerusalem (the Third Mission to Judea), where it was possible to travel incognito. Mark has them go north to heathen Phoenicia. (We'll assume it was both.) Even in Phoenicia, he is recognized by a woman, who begs him to cure her mad daughter. He sets her an obstacle: "It isn't right to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs," that is, the heathen. But she takes no offense and gives back the beautiful answer, "Even the dogs under the table eat the children's leftovers." He acknowledges her faith, and her daughter is cured.

They return for their Third Mission to the Lake Country. Jesus once again feeds a hungry crowd, multiplying food in his hands. The churchmen then have the gall to demand a miracle! When people come to Jesus in faith, expressing a need either for themselves or for a loved one, miracles are granted them freely. The churchmen, however, are satisfied with themselves. They feel no need, they don't want to change their lives. Their plan is to get Jesus to show off and then condemn him for it. Even if he could do a miracle for the sake of doing a miracle, on command, he would not. He embarks at once by boat, warning the Twelve against the churchmen's (and the government's) "yeast."

As good yeast has the power to give life to the whole, so bad yeast has the power to spoil the whole. To go to the "yeast" is to go to the beginnings of things, the beginnings of sin or, contrarily, the beginnings of goodness. Yes, Jesus feeds the hungry and doctors the sick, but behind it he sees sick hearts, and that is the real sickness. None will go hungry in the new Kingdom, to be sure; but that is not where the Kingdom begins or what is it really about. The Kingdom begins where people one by one turn from sin and, heeding the still, small voice, walk the walk. And as far as walking the walk goes, the churchmen's yeast is poison! The Twelve are slow to understand this.

They go up north to the vicinity of Caesarea. There the king begins to talk to the Twelve about his death and resurrection and theirs. He says, "If anyone wants to come with me, he must forget himself, carry his cross, and follow me." If I were a peasant in Merry England and a charismatic outlaw said, "Carry your gallows and follow me," I would understand that to mean that if I followed him, I was likely sooner or later to run afoul of the authorities. Jesus then takes three of his men up a high mountain, where the poor man is transformed before their eyes to a figure of dazzling white, a king indeed! They are terrified. He speaks again of his death and resurrection; but this is too much for them, so they say, "What does this 'rising from death' mean?" even though they have just seen its promise with their own eyes.

While this was taking place, the other nine have been trying unsuccessfully to cure a boy of madness. As Jesus returns from the mountain, the churchmen are making the most of it. He deplores the people's lack of faith -- the cause of the failure. The boy's father says, "Help us, if you possibly can!" but Jesus turns it right around, saying, "If you can! Everything is possible for the person who has faith." That is, he sets him an obstacle. The man might at this point slink away with his tail between his legs, but he doesn't. He overcomes the obstacle by turning it round on Jesus again: "Help me have more!" That is faith indeed, and the boy is cured.

They return from their travels for their Fourth (and last) Mission to the Lake Country. The Twelve are growing impatient for the new Kingdom. When is Jesus going to make his move? And his talk about being killed is not helping. They worry about the organization, but he says there is no organization: "Whoever in my name welcomes one of these" and "Anyone who gives you a drink of water." The Father even does miracles through some of these people of faith. These "little ones" are not to be discouraged. They have the Kingdom in them; indeed, "everyone will be salted with fire." I think fire here means "life." Just as to the Samaritan woman he contrasted regular water with living water -- a living spring inside such that she would never thirst again -- so here he is contrasting regular salt that can become bland to a living salt inside that will never lose its savor. To be "salted with fire" is to have Life in you, permeating you and communicating its own "taste" through every pore.

According to John, there is a Fourth Mission to Judea, in which Jesus barely escapes with his life, fleeing across the Jordan, then a Fifth (and last) Mission to Judea in spite of the fact that his enemies lie in wait for him, prompted by a desire to be at the bedside of his sick friend, Lazarus. He loves to have children around him and offers them as models of simple faith. Children are by nature poor in things but rich in soul. In contrast, material riches and class expectations are apt to get in the way.

Jesus now goes up to Jerusalem for the national holiday. The Twelve are "filled with alarm." They are still worried about the organization and the chain of command, and he again tells them it's not about organization, it's about putting love into action. A barren fig tree provides an illustration: their one job is to put love into action, just as a fig tree's one job is to produce figs. If they won't do the one job assigned to them, what help is there for them?

The churchmen's plot is ripe. They send men to arrest Jesus, but the crowds around him make it impossible. They need to get him alone somehow. Meanwhile, they still need more evidence against him, because he still declines to start an uprising. They try to get him to incite people to refuse taxes, but he doesn't take the bait. They finally succeed in suborning one of the Twelve, Judas, to get Jesus alone where they can arrest him.

At his final supper with them -- the same supper at which he washes their feet like a happy slave -- he speaks of the bread as his body, the wine as his blood. Since he began his mission, he has lived on the edge, made many enemies. He has braved the city at a time when it was mortal danger for him, but "My food is to obey the will of him who sent me." He simply does what he has to do, looking neither to the right nor the left and leaving the result in God's hands. This time, he knows, it's going to be his death. His men are supposed to be keeping watch, but they fall asleep. They are surprised by Judas and the arresting party and quickly scatter.


1. I take the license of calling synagogues "churches" and the Pharisees "churchmen" to bring out a parallel with churchmen of today. Similarly, heathen for Decapolis and Phoenicia, Sunday for Sabbath, and Anti-Christ for Jesus as perceived by his enemies.

2. The same may be said, in fact, of physical illness, which may well be laid to the door of poverty, oppression, and war.