“The Feast of Bartimaeus: Celebrating an Old Tome, a New Home, and a Sacred Story,” by Ched Myers

Note:  This is an edited version of a homily given at Farm Church on Oct 21, 2018.  Right: Francis Ferdinand Maurice Cook, “Head of an Apostle (Blind Bartimaeus),” 1962 (https://artuk.org/).

We have, from time to time, used the sermon time of our Farm Church gatherings to learn more about one of us, in the spirit of “biography as theology.”  I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing several of you for this.  Today it’s my turn, for two reasons.

One is that this month is the 30th anniversary of the publication of my first book.  Binding the Strong Man was/is a commentary on Mark’s gospel—long before political readings of the Bible were cool.  I feel gratified to have helped pioneer what is now an expansive field in biblical studies called “imperial-critical studies.” The commentary has had a good run, and is still widely used in seminaries and by preachers, especially during Lectionary Year B.  Countless people have told me it has changed their perspective and deepened their faith. Continue reading ““The Feast of Bartimaeus: Celebrating an Old Tome, a New Home, and a Sacred Story,” by Ched Myers”

Welcome to the all-new chedmyers.org

We have a new website!  As our old site was decommissioned, I redesigned chedmyers.org to continue to serve as the home of resources from Ched Myers, Elaine Enns and Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries. Here you can access (now at no charge):

The following products are still available for purchase at http://www.bcm-net.org:

You can use the Search function (upper right), sort by Category (middle right), or click on one of the Themes (lower right) to browse the material on this site.  Any questions or problems accessing material, please email me.

— Chris Wight, BCM Communications

Nature against Empire: Exodus Plagues, Climate Crisis and Hardheartedness

Note:  This is an excerpted, edited text of a talk given to the Alliance of Baptists Annual Gathering in Dayton, OH on April 27, 2018.  It was published (with images and graphs, absent here) in our May 2018 BCM Enews , and is part of my ongoing search to find theological ways to talk about the urgency of climate crisis.  This piece is long (10 pages), but I hope readers will spend some time with it and give me some feedback.  You can also hear the audio presentation as a 3-part podcast here.  Image above: From a 2012 Community Art Project on Exodus 7-11.

The realities of climate chaos hit me particularly hard this last December with the Thomas Fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.  California’s largest wildfire on record, scorching 80 % of our watershed, was for us an existential apocalyptic unveiling, the kind shared by survivors of recent hurricanes in Houston and Puerto Rico.  Continue reading “Nature against Empire: Exodus Plagues, Climate Crisis and Hardheartedness”

After Execution: Martin Luther King, Memphis and Luke’s Emmaus Road as a Call to Prophetic Literacy

Today is the 50th anniversary of the extra-judicial execution of our nation’s greatest prophet. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was gunned down on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, in what was proven in a court of law in 1999 as a government “Black Ops” operation.  The building was only saved by a concerted community struggle in the 1980s, and now houses the compelling National Civil Rights MuseumContinue reading “After Execution: Martin Luther King, Memphis and Luke’s Emmaus Road as a Call to Prophetic Literacy”

THE END OF THE WORLD (MARK 15:21-46): A Good Friday Reflection by Ched Myers

Below is a slightly edited excerpt from Myers, et al, Say to This Mountain: Mark’s Story of Discipleship (Orbis, 1996), pp 199-202.

Above: Good Friday falls on the full moon of the first day of Passover this year, 2018.

Mark’s story, which began heralding a Way through the wilderness (1:2f),  ends on the Way of the cross.  In Mark’s time the cross could scarcely have been further from a religious icon.  To restive imperial subjects it conjured the fate awaiting those who dared challenge Caesar’s sovereignty.  To the civilized it was a form of punishment so inhumane that Cicero once urged that it be “banished from the body and life of Roman citizens.”  But to Jesus it symbolized the cost of discipleship.  Continue reading “THE END OF THE WORLD (MARK 15:21-46): A Good Friday Reflection by Ched Myers”

Re-membering the Asistencia Santa Gertrudis

  The “Asistencia Santa Gertrudis” (named after Saint Gertrude the Great, a favorite of medieval Iberian Catholics; see here) was an outlying chapel from Mission San Buenaventura.  Records indicate it was constructed sometime between 1804-08.  In our watershed, along Ventura Ave., is an obscure roadside memorial to this long-disappeared structure.  It “served the Indians in the early days,” says the plaque erected by a local historical society.  But there is more to the story than that, and I’ve been intrigued to discover it since we moved into the valley in 2005.

Continue reading “Re-membering the Asistencia Santa Gertrudis”

If an Ancient Cathedral Had Burned: A Lament for Grandmother Oak by Ched Myers



Old trees are our parents, and our parents’ parents, perchance.

                     — Henry David Thoreau, Journal, Oct 1855

On the afternoon of Christmas Eve, three weeks into the Thomas Fire here in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, the losses from California’s largest wildfire on record (scorching more than 280,000 acres) became searingly real, personal, and almost unbearable.

Continue reading “If an Ancient Cathedral Had Burned: A Lament for Grandmother Oak by Ched Myers”

“50/500: A Season of Protest and Remembering,” by Ched Myers

Image: Fr. Phil Berrigan pouring blood on 1-A draft files at the Customs House, Baltimore, MD, October 27, 1967.

Today, October 31st, we prepare to embrace that great feast of remembering, the “Triduum of Saints”: All Hallow’s Eve, Saints and All Souls Day, or Dia de los Muertos).

As I have gotten older this season of the Saints has become my favorite time of year.   This morning Elaine and I sat and prayed at our table, pictures of parents and other missed loved ones spread out.  We both cried telling stories.  Tears always help.

Continue reading ““50/500: A Season of Protest and Remembering,” by Ched Myers”

Season of Creation, Year A: September 10 is “Land Sunday” (a reflection by Ched Myers)

Note: The “Season of Creation” is a contemporary liturgical and lectionary movement celebrated during the four Sundays in September prior to St Francis of Assisi Day (Oct 4).  This ecumenical observance was begun by a Lutheran pastor in Australia in 2000 and has spread worldwide (see the Season of Creation website, a great resource for churches).  The season begins on September 1, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, an observance started by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and recently adopted by the Roman Catholic Church. This Sunday (Sept 10) is “Land Sunday.”  Below is the opening excerpted from my reflections for this day published in Norman Habel, David Rhoads, and Paul Santmire, eds.,  The Season of Creation: A Preaching Commentary (Augsburg Fortress, 2011), pp 83-97.

Most contemporary North Americans have been socialized to see and value the earthy terrain around them in terms of private possession, economic exploitation, and commodification. But in stark contrast to the cosmology of modernity, the Bible does not understood land as “real estate”—ever. Instead, we can identify at least four major characteristics of land in the biblical tradition: as mother of life; as abundant sustainer of living beings; as altar for worship of the Creator; and as home place.

Continue reading “Season of Creation, Year A: September 10 is “Land Sunday” (a reflection by Ched Myers)”