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High Cost Of Discipleship


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#1 Jack of Spades

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Posted 30 March 2016 - 12:32 PM

My thoughts on point 8 sticky questions. Ideas and comments from others are appreciated!
 
 
1. What does the word “disciple” mean for you today? In what ways do you think it could be “costly?”
 
- Disciple means to me someone who has committed themselves to study and follow teachings and example of a certain teacher, like f.e. Jesus. For me, such commitment sounds very costly, in terms of basically giving away ones control over their own life and to a degree, ones own thinking. In Gospels, the disciples gave away pretty much everything to walk with Jesus.
 
Counterquestion: Is it possible to be just partly disciple of Jesus? Could this be the way to get some discount? Or does it have to be all-in or there won't be a deal?
 
 
2. How far would you be willing to go? What changes would you be willing to make? What risks would you be willing to take?
 
- I'm not yet ready to love my enemy, but I might be at times willing to try to love someone I don't particularly like, or who's views I find annoying.
 
 
3. How might we transform our negative fears into positive energy? How could we help others to do the same? 
 
- I don't think fear itself can be transformed into positive energy. But the process of overcoming the fear can be a great source of positive energy, because learning to overcome one fear will teach us the tools to overcome new fears in the future.
 
As for helping others, I have been mostly helped by people who live fearlessly, so that makes me think inspiring example is the best way. It comes quite naturally from people who have the energy we talking about. I have found myself being inspired by people who look at life (either generally, or some part of it) with trust, joy, curiosity and creative energy. Most of the times, those people are very much unaware of the fact they have inspired me by just being the way they are.
 
Realist note: I don't personally seek to free my life from fear completely. I think that would be naive and dangerous, fear is after all healthy, protective instinct. But I'm willing to explore the spiritual side of fear-trust-naivety dilemma more and I'm open for further revelations and ideas about it.
 
 
4. What privilege are you willing to recognize and renounce for the betterment of all?
 
- We shall find out when the time of such choices come.
 
 
5. What do we mean by evil today? In what ways do you think you can resist evil in our world, in your life? 
 
- Evil is a pretty strong word, along with evil, there are things which are imperfect, corrupted, or harmful, without them being outright evil.
 
As for essence of evil, I personally believe that malevolent spirits exist, and they can affect and influence us. But, because I am aware of the reputation such beliefs have, I want to also say that for me, believing in the spiritual world doesn't mean I rely entirely on hocus pocus solutions to complex problems. For me, such beliefs are about recognizing the spiritual side of the world, good and evil, as part of my every day life.
 
Resisting evil In the world? I don't really have much power over the big picture of things, so I try not to care too much about the world.
 
Resisting evil in my own life? I think most important part of the inner battle for my soul between good and evil is my private life of prayer and contemplation.

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#2 PaulS

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Posted 30 March 2016 - 08:00 PM

1.  I don't think there is any 'deal'.  Jesus seems to have a few good things to say concerning how to live a rewarding life and if we take those ideas and use them then maybe we will feel somewhat fulfilled.  But I don't think everything Jesus says should be taken as Gospel (pun intended) and readers need to consider for themselves the applicability of Jesus' words (or the words attributed to Jesus anyway).

 

2.  I try to love all but draw the line at sacrificing myself, my family, or other innocents in the name of 'love' (e.g. turning the other cheek when in fact self-defence is required, etc).  

 

3,  I think we can 'face our fears' and once we do so we can take some strength from that.  Even passionate, fundamental Christians fear, then they pass their fear over to 'Jesus'.  Jesus is the tool they use to calm themselves - others may use meditation, contemplation, other religions, etc.

 

4.  I think this has to be a personal choice.  Some people might feel they need to give up all and live in poverty, others may feel happy with tithing 10% of their salary.  Me - I do what I can and feel comfortable with my balance most of the time.

 

5.  I agree - evil is a pretty strong word and I often think we're too hard on ourselves considering we have so rapidly evolved in recent millenniums.  I maybe quote this too often but I think these words sum up for me how we can 'resist' evil -

"my choice is what I choose to do

and if I'm causing no harm
it shouldn't bother you
your choice is who you choose to be
and if your causin' no harm
then you're alright with me"

(Ben Harper - Burn One Down lyrics).


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Because they know the name of what I am looking for, they think they know what I am looking for! ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin


#3 Jack of Spades

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Posted 31 March 2016 - 05:02 AM

1.  I don't think there is any 'deal'.  Jesus seems to have a few good things to say concerning how to live a rewarding life and if we take those ideas and use them then maybe we will feel somewhat fulfilled.  But I don't think everything Jesus says should be taken as Gospel (pun intended) and readers need to consider for themselves the applicability of Jesus' words (or the words attributed to Jesus anyway).

 

To me it sounds like you don't consider Jesuses teachings in any way as authorative? Did I get it right? I would be interested to hear more about your thoughts on the topic! 

 

 

 

3,  I think we can 'face our fears' and once we do so we can take some strength from that.  Even passionate, fundamental Christians fear, then they pass their fear over to 'Jesus'.  Jesus is the tool they use to calm themselves - others may use meditation, contemplation, other religions, etc.

 
 
Talking about projecting fears to Jesus, I find it very important to recognize that while we might actually experience the real God, our experience of God is always partly a projection of our own mind. Like f.e., we can mirror our fear of being abandoned to a belief of God having abandoned us, or threatening to abandon us.
 
For me, recognizing this "man creating their own God" - factor is not at all an argument against theism itself. Likewise we do the same kind of emotional projecting in all of our human relationships, and even if there is projecting, those relationships still happen with real human beings.
 
I think it's essential part of spiritual life to learn to see the difference between the two, the image of God which is created by tricks of my mind and the actual communication with God. Not saying it's in any ways easy to tell them apart, but I find this to be important thing to be aware of.

 

 

5.  I agree - evil is a pretty strong word and I often think we're too hard on ourselves considering we have so rapidly evolved in recent millenniums.

 

 

In a way I agree, the world looks to me more hopeful in many ways than it has done in centuries. I think first world countries today are historically speaking so good places to live in for average man, that it's unheard of in any other previous era. 
 
But on the other hand, I do realize that there are extreme risks looming in the horizon in todays world, which might very well end up undoing all the progress we have done. Like f.e. the somewhat realistic possibility of humanity completely destroying itself. Either by polluting the planet to a point of it becoming uninhabitable or by use of nuclear- or bioweapons. So, the peace and prosperity enjoyed by the first world people today might be a lasting new era, or it might turn out to be just a sweet daydream with a rude awakening awaiting.
 
I think the summary of technological progress of humanity is that we have raised the stakes to a whole new level. If it goes well, we will have much more prosperity and possibilites (thinking of medical science) than we would have ever had without the said progress. But if it goes wrong, the disaster is going to be so massive that the bishops who told Galileo and other pioneers of science to shut up, will turn in their graves and shout "See, I told you so, it's of devil!"

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#4 PaulS

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Posted 31 March 2016 - 05:54 AM

Hi Jack of Spades,

 

Yes, I don't consider the teachings attributed to Jesus as 'authoritative' as in 'from' God.  I think a lot of what is attributed to Jesus seems like solid ideals and a 'way' to God that maybe Jesus found meaningful, but I think we all need to find our own way.  For some, taking the words of Jesus as God speaking works for them - it just doesn't for me.  

 

I'd add to this that I think Jesus was talking to Jews of his time and not to people in western countries in the two thousands.  That's why Jesus offers no insight into homosexuality, gay marriage, abortion, how to solve world hunger, how to manage the multiple views and opinions in a democracy, etc.  None of this was on Jesus' radar and so we have no 'authoritative' words from him about such matters.

 

Cheers

Paul


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Because they know the name of what I am looking for, they think they know what I am looking for! ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin


#5 Jack of Spades

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Posted 31 March 2016 - 02:31 PM

Hi Jack of Spades,

 

Yes, I don't consider the teachings attributed to Jesus as 'authoritative' as in 'from' God.  I think a lot of what is attributed to Jesus seems like solid ideals and a 'way' to God that maybe Jesus found meaningful, but I think we all need to find our own way.  For some, taking the words of Jesus as God speaking works for them - it just doesn't for me.  

 

I'd add to this that I think Jesus was talking to Jews of his time and not to people in western countries in the two thousands.  That's why Jesus offers no insight into homosexuality, gay marriage, abortion, how to solve world hunger, how to manage the multiple views and opinions in a democracy, etc.  None of this was on Jesus' radar and so we have no 'authoritative' words from him about such matters.

 

Okay, thank you for clarification.

 

I'm personally exploring alternative views on the authority of the Bible. I don't want to go to either extreme, fundamentalist or entirely secular view, but I find anything that's in-between those two to be interesting.

 

My religious beliefs are a bit unclear atm so it's difficult to make very clear statements about them. If I tried to describe my view on the Bible now, it would be that I see it as a source of inspiration for my spirituality. Either one source among others, or maybe as a special source of inspiration, but that's about as far as I'm willing to.


Edited by Jack of Spades, 31 March 2016 - 02:32 PM.

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#6 PaulS

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Posted 31 March 2016 - 06:12 PM

I'm personally exploring alternative views on the authority of the Bible.

 

Enjoy the exploration, JoS.  I too find in interesting now that I am not burdened with the 'fear of God' that was drummed into me during child and early adulthood.  I think I have a much better understanding of the bible and proper biblical scholarship these days, which has helped me revisit Christianity as a worthwhile tool in life.  Like you, I take inspiration from the bible but often that depends on my interpretation and how I apply it to my modern world.

 

Cheers

Paul


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Because they know the name of what I am looking for, they think they know what I am looking for! ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin





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