The Kingdom Is Like…Good Soil

The Kingdom Is Like…Good Soil

Matt Tintera
Mark 4:1-20

“There is an entire ecosystem in a handful of soil: bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, earthworms. Through their breeding and dying such creatures vivify the world…Soil is not dirt. It is a living organism, or rather a collection of organisms, and it must be fed. Soil both craves life and wants to produce more life, even a hundredfold.” –Fred Bahnson

“The true profundity of our soil [at Anathoth] was difficult to gauge. One day I slid my hand into one of the greenhouse beds. I gently pushed down and kept pushing until my arm vanished and my shoulder touched the soil’s surface. It had seemed then as if I could keep burrowing downward, until my entire body was swallowed by the warm, dark earth. Soil is a portal to another world.” –Fred Bahnson

“…one has to have a powerful religious imagination to see redemption in the cross, to discover life in death and hope in tragedy.” –James Cone

I love your simple story of the sower,

With all its close attention to the soil,

Its movement from the knowledge to the knower,

Its take on the tenacity of toil.


I feel the fall of seed a sower scatters,

So equally available to all,

Your story takes me straight to all that matters,

Yet understands the reasons why I fall.


Oh deepen me where I am thin and shallow,

Uproot in me the thistle and the thorn,

Keep far from me that swiftly snatching shadow,

That seizes on your seed to mock and scorn.


O break me open, Jesus, set me free,

Then find and keep your own good ground in me.

-Good Ground by Malcolm Guite

(audio of the author’s reading)

Further Parables Reading

Soil & Sacrament by Fred Bahnson

Sowing and Reaping by Emil Bruner

Kingdom, Grace, Judgment by Robert Farrar Capon

The Power of Parable by John Dominic Crossan

Parables of Jesus by Joachim Jeremias

Short Stories by Jesus by Amy-Jill Levine

Reading the Parables by Richard Lischer

Tell it Slant by Eugene Peterson

Stories with Intent by Klyne Snodgrass


Isaiah 6:5

Genesis 32:22-32


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