Week Beginning Sunday, 2/7

Getting the Lay of the Cotton Patch


  • Watch 5-minute video intro to Koinonia:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwIYJA7_klI&list=PL49B219E71C4FF54C

  • Read:
  1. Foreword by Tom Key (pages vii-xii)
  2. Introduction by Millard Fuller (pages xiii – xvi)
  3. A Note on the Cotton Patch Gospel – Matthew and John by Clarence Jordan (pages xii – xix)

Consider these questions as you read:

  1. What are you most anticipating in reading this unique paraphrase?
  2. Is there something that struck you in learning about Clarence Jordan?

Respond with your thoughts by Saturday, 2/13, using the “Leave a Reply” box below. You may give your thoughts on the above questions or just thoughts of your own. What do you think?

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8 thoughts on “Week Beginning Sunday, 2/7”

    1. I wonder the same about my own faith … In part because it’s so easy to delude ourselves when we’re “advantaged” in culture. We’re often tempted to assume that our privilege is a spiritual birthright — and we resist anything that might diminish our social advantage. Lord, please remove my social blinders, so I can see the world and myself as you see!

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  1. Yes, it is a unique paraphrase. Clarence was brave like many before his time, during his time and now, but he didn’t let it stop him from doing what he knew was right. When evil came knocking at his door he did what was right by doing good. Something that we have been hearing once again in the sermons lately. Loving not only those we love, but our enemies too.
    Praying for them too.

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  2. I’ve loved the chance to revisit the context of Clarence’s writing — and found the foreword and intro so helpful — including Tom Key’s observation, “I couldn’t reconcile the shock value of the original story with the mainstream acceptance it had acquired 2,000 years later in modern culture.” Also loved the line from his Jewish publicist: “I think Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar are both about a man who became a God, but Cotton Patch Gospel is about a God who became a man.”

    I also appreciated Key’s frank notation that, as a result of seeing the musical based on the book, some have described re-entering ministry, giving up drugs, etc. — and that others are outraged at the idea and cast aspersions on it (often without reading or seeing it). That, strangely enough, sounds JUST LIKE the response to Jesus … so maybe Clarence really did reinstate the shock value of the gospel.

    LOVED Clarence’s observation that his efforts are imprecise (such as the attempt to capture the horror of crucifixion by replacing it with a lynching). But I think he succeeds in his hope, stated in the Note at the beginning: “It seeks to restore the original feeling and excitement of the fast-breaking new — good news — rather than musty history.” Yes!

    I look forward to re-awakening to that as I re-read this translation!

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    1. I saw Jesus Christ Superstar many years ago at a local high school. They did a really nice job.
      I feel I need to go back and reread this just because.

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  3. After going back and re-reading this first part there were a few things that I once again was reminded of. The story of the founder and president of Habitat for Humanity. The life changing decision the family made to seek a life of Christian service. If they hadn’t made that decision where would the many individuals that were blessed with one of those homes be now? I even think about the time many years ago when a group of us from church went down
    right here in Orlando to help with cleaning a home before the family moved in. In 2006 on
    our mission trip to New Orleans after Katrina we helped out at Habitat for Humanity. I remember some of us loading a truck in the dead of heat. Then again on our second trip to New Orleans in 2007 we were once again down at Habitat for Humanity Village. Millard Fuller
    shares how he was captivated by Clarence Jordan. Clarence’s favorite topic was “the God Movement.”
    Millard Fuller shared toward the end of the introduction – I encourage you to open your heart
    and mind as you read these pages. Yes, it’s a different read, but it’s a matter of opening up my
    mind and heart. I like the way Clarence Jordan ends -A Note on The Cotton Patch Gospel-Matthew and John. The last few sentences – He (Jesus) may let us sit at his feet and wash them with our tears. Perhaps he’ll startle us with his parables and powerful sermons, and sting us with his honest rebukes. He may come alive. And we too.

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