One of the better programs on television from 2003 to 2005 was a series on CBS called Joan of Arcadia. Like many thoughtful shows, this one did not score high enough to stay on the air for long, but it did last two seasons.
The title alludes to Joan of Arc, the fifteenth-century teenager who believed she heard the voice of God urging her to save France from England during the Hundred Years War. That Joan led an army into battle, successfully forcing the British to retreat from Orleans. Later, captured by the British, she was tried for heresy and burned at the stake.
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Oscar Wilde penned a powerful story about behaviors and definitions and justice called The Picture of Dorian Gray. Dorian was a handsome young man, a model of physical beauty and moral virtue. People complimented him on his good graces. Parents pointed to him as an example to their youth. One artist even painted an exquisite portrait of him.
"Have you seen it?" whispered the Barbie doll to her next door neighbour.
The next Barbie doll in line was instantly alert. There were five different Barbie dolls, who lived jumbled together in the toy cupboard but who were so jealous of each other that they rarely spoke. "Seen what?" asked the second Barbie doll, blue eyes darting all round the room.
"The Princess," replied the first Barbie with glee. "Caitlin's done her hair and it looks terrible!"
These verses from Mark's gospel are a call to commitment, a call to sacrifice, and a call to give up everything of earthly value in life. To say these are difficult verses is truly an understatement. It is pretty clear that the disciples are not at all ready for what Jesus is saying. They are not ready for Jesus to die and they certainly are not ready to die themselves.