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This Week's Lectionary


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#1 Burl

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Posted 28 August 2016 - 08:13 AM

The lectionary is a collection of important Bible verses. They are arranged one per Sunday in a three year rotating cycle.

Many pastors use this use this as inspiration for their sermons. This way people are exposed to a well-rounded subsample from Scripture.

For this week:

Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16

13:1 Let mutual love continue.

13:2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.

13:3 Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured.

13:4 Let marriage be held in honor by all, and let the marriage bed be kept undefiled; for God will judge fornicators and adulterers.

13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, "I will never leave you or forsake you."

13:6 So we can say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?"

13:7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.

13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

13:15 Through him, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name.

13:16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Edited by Burl, 28 August 2016 - 08:14 AM.

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If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.

Charles Darwin, Origin of Species

#2 Burl

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Posted 04 September 2016 - 07:20 AM

Luke 14:25-33


14:25 Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them,

14:26 "Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.

14:27 Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

14:28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it?

14:29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him,

14:30 saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.'

14:31 Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand?

14:32 If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace.

14:33 So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.
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If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.

Charles Darwin, Origin of Species

#3 Burl

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Posted 04 September 2016 - 11:17 AM

Note that lectionary readings are part of the Progressive Christianity home page every week. I am attempting to draw the discussion board closer to its home. Point one of the eight points is most relevant: have we even read the teachings and example of Jesus?

My questions on this weeks reading:

1) Jesus has a large number of followers, but he gives them an unattractive message. Why?

2) The phrase 'pick up the cross and follow me' is used before the crucifixion is in view, so it must have meaning unrelated to Calvary. What could it be?

3) Jesus' rhetoric is that both parables support his conclusion in Luke 14:33, but this is baffling. What is the relationship?

Edited by Burl, 04 September 2016 - 11:19 AM.

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If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.

Charles Darwin, Origin of Species

#4 Burl

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Posted 11 September 2016 - 12:14 PM

Luke 15:1-10English Standard Version (ESV)

The Parable of the Lost Sheep
15 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

3 So he told them this parable: 4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

The Parable of the Lost Coin
8 “Or what woman, having ten silver coins,[a] if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? 9 And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
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If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.

Charles Darwin, Origin of Species

#5 Burl

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Posted 25 September 2016 - 06:31 AM

1 Timothy 6:6-19


6:6 Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment;

6:7 for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it;

6:8 but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these.

6:9 But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.

6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.

6:11 But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness.

6:12 Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

6:13 In the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you

6:14 to keep the commandment without spot or blame until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ,

6:15 which he will bring about at the right time--he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords.

6:16 It is he alone who has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see; to him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.

6:17 As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.

6:18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share,

6:19 thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.
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If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.

Charles Darwin, Origin of Species

#6 Burl

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 08:51 AM

Psalm 37:1-9


37:1 Do not fret because of the wicked; do not be envious of wrongdoers,

37:2 for they will soon fade like the grass, and wither like the green herb.

37:3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security.

37:4 Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

37:5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.

37:6 He will make your vindication shine like the light, and the justice of your cause like the noonday.

37:7 Be still before the LORD, and wait patiently for him; do not fret over those who prosper in their way, over those who carry out evil devices.

37:8 Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath. Do not fret--it leads only to evil.

37:9 For the wicked shall be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land.
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If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.

Charles Darwin, Origin of Species

#7 Burl

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Posted 09 October 2016 - 12:00 PM

2 Kings 5:1-3, 7-15c


5:1 Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man and in high favor with his master, because by him the LORD had given victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from leprosy.

5:2 Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naaman's wife.

5:3 She said to her mistress, "If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy."

5:7 When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, "Am I God, to give death or life, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Just look and see how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me."

5:8 But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent a message to the king, "Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come to me, that he may learn that there is a prophet in Israel."

5:9 So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and halted at the entrance of Elisha's house.

5:10 Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, "Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean."

5:11 But Naaman became angry and went away, saying, "I thought that for me he would surely come out, and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and would wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy!

5:12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean?" He turned and went away in a rage.

5:13 But his servants approached and said to him, "Father, if the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more, when all he said to you was, 'Wash, and be clean'?"

5:14 So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean.

5:15c Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company; he came and stood before him and said, "Now I know that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel."
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If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.

Charles Darwin, Origin of Species

#8 PaulS

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Posted 11 October 2016 - 06:52 AM

Note that lectionary readings are part of the Progressive Christianity home page every week. I am attempting to draw the discussion board closer to its home. Point one of the eight points is most relevant: have we even read the teachings and example of Jesus?

My questions on this weeks reading:

1) Jesus has a large number of followers, but he gives them an unattractive message. Why?

2) The phrase 'pick up the cross and follow me' is used before the crucifixion is in view, so it must have meaning unrelated to Calvary. What could it be?

3) Jesus' rhetoric is that both parables support his conclusion in Luke 14:33, but this is baffling. What is the relationship?

 

I have probably read Jesus' teachings a few times over in my day but to be honest, I now ponder 'his' words more from a point of view of "Did he really say this" rather than automatically believing he did and only considering such words from that angle.  For me personally, the things that I do think Jesus likely said make sense to me, as opposed to the words that I don't think he uttered but were created by others either when first written or in later accounts/translations through the first couple of hundred years of their existence.  These words usually make sense to me when I study or consider why these others may have written them, but they don't make any sense as being from Jesus himself.

 

The verses you quote, Luke 14:25-33 fall into the category of the latter, in my opinion.  Let me explain.

 

The author of Luke (who is also the author of Acts) is recognized as having a particular style and message - this 'Luke' was writing for a gentile audience (not a Jewish one) and was aligned with Paul, so it follows a more Pauline-message than the type of Jesus message promoted by Mark or Mathew *(who promoted a Jesus aligned with Judaism).

 

To me Luke (and I don't know if that is the author's actual name) is providing this unpopular message as a means of support and encouragement to early Christians of his day who were most likely subject to persecution by the Roman Empire.  Christian persecution by Rome ramped up  around Nero's time (64CE) and lasted until after 300CE.  With Luke being written in the latter decades of the 1st century it is quite likely that this was a message of support to followers in his day.  He is encouraging them in their time of persecution by telling them that Jesus said this would happen - "Don't turn away from following Jesus because this is what he said in his day to people back in the 30's.  They were also told that others wouldn't like them and that they'd have to choose between their family and following their convictions towards Jesus".

 

So for me it follows perfectly that Luke would put the words of "carrying the cross" into Jesus mouth because by then everyone knew that Jesus had been crucified.  What more affirmation could a Jesus-follower in the late 80s/90s have than to know that 50 or 60 years prior, and well-prior to his own death, Jesus was telling people to "carry the cross", just like he was soon to be killed on one.

 

Concerning your last point of the parables, in my context above they read as 100% commitment needing to be made by the followers.  "If you are going to follow Jesus (as most of you are already) then know that the cost will be great and that you should 'go all the way'.  What sort of person starts the journey and then doesn't finish it?"  Simple - a person who never plans or thinks ahead to where the journey may lead -  "Of course you people are not such bad planners - you knew that the cost to follow Jesus was going to be all the way, so now whilst you're facing a tough time remember why you started in the first place, and persist.  Don't be like those twits who don't plan ahead and quit after they started"

 

It all works for me anyway.

 

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


#9 Burl

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 02:52 PM

Your guess is indeed a possibility. The original NT does not contains any punctuation. No quotation marks; not even a period. Quotes are for readability, as there was nobody writing down exactly what Christ said in vivo.

The author of Luke is relating Luke's recollections. The section overall describes a series of reversals and inversions in the present and future. This section is unique to Luke, and several scholars have questioned the authenticity of this section.
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If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.

Charles Darwin, Origin of Species

#10 PaulS

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 07:31 PM

Just out of interest Burl, what do you consider the 'original' NT?  Do you look at a particular version that you consider original, or do you use the term more loosely to capture the earliest copies we have access to (which I understand are hundreds of years younger than Jesus). 


Edited by PaulS, 12 October 2016 - 07:35 PM.

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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


#11 Burl

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 09:55 PM

Just out of interest Burl, what do you consider the 'original' NT?  Do you look at a particular version that you consider original, or do you use the term more loosely to capture the earliest copies we have access to (which I understand are hundreds of years younger than Jesus).

No one has found original autographs. The Nestle-Aland is the version I use, primarily because the tagging is very good and my Greek is very poor. Orthodox prefer the Textus Receptus.

In English bible I use different translations for different purposes. I like the ESV in general and grudgingly overlook the occasional Calvinist bias.

Everything we have in NT was written in the Koine Greek language where the entire book is just one long, uninterrupted string of letters without even spaces between the words. Undoubtedly the autographs were as well, which is what I meant by my post.

Edited by Burl, 12 October 2016 - 09:59 PM.

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If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.

Charles Darwin, Origin of Species

#12 PaulS

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 11:31 PM

I apologize if I'm sounding pedantic as I don't mean to be, it's just that I find communication around the bible and Christianity can mean different things, so I try to be precise as possible when discussing.  Such as the word 'original' not actually meaning original but rather what some might 'think' or 'consider' as 'true to the original', for whatever reason.  As you might be able to tell, I have difficulty saying anything in the NT is certainly original as we simply do not have an original version.  We rely on assumption - reasonable or otherwise.

 

Also, you say that everything we have in the NT was written in the Kone Greek language.  It certainly is/was at some point, but what before that?  For example, is it possible that certain NT books were actually first written in Aramaic and later translated (correctly or otherwise) into Kone Greek?  I'm interested in how you can say that the originals were undoubtedly written in Kone Greek when we don't have the originals.  I'm thinking this is actually an assumption (reasonable or otherwise).


Edited by PaulS, 12 October 2016 - 11:33 PM.

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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


#13 Burl

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 10:22 AM

The NT does contain some Aramaic phrases. I guess it is possible some of the NT was originally Aramaic, but it seems unlikely the apostles hired scribes to write in a localized dialect when the universal language of Greek was so common.

Rome even hired rabbis to translate the Hebrew Bible into Greek decades earlier. The literary trend had established Greek as a standard long before Jesus.

It is more likely the Greek was translated back to Aramaic.

If you want to noodle over non-existent Aramaic autographs, you still have all of the issues surrounding the Greek plus many more including an increasing irrelevancy to the present. Even the Aramaic targums were based on the Greek text.

I think Aramaic is best left to ancient language doctoral candidates in search of dissertation material. I don't think it is going to be of much benefit to contemporary people without deep scholastic analysis.

Edited by Burl, 13 October 2016 - 10:26 AM.

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If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.

Charles Darwin, Origin of Species

#14 PaulS

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 11:58 AM

I think the above are all assumptions which can be made but not relied upon as fact. For instance, there are real examples of Jewish writings dated between 150BCE and 70CE that are actually written in Aramaic and not Greek - the Dead Sea Scrolls (and also written in Hebrew). This would demonstrate that there were people in Jesus' day (and leading up to it) that werent following this alleged literary trend of only using Greek writing.

As to the value of any such non-existent writings, well the value could be immense or insignificant, depending on what they revealed. But alas, the best we have are copies that are hundreds of years old, so who knows what variations may exist between the original writings and the copies.

My point simply being that we don't know what we don't know, and to state something as fact in the meantime doesn't help. Of course you are free to believe what you want, I just personally like people to know that there are no original NT writings available currently, that we don't know what language original NT books/letters were written in (or for that matter what actually are the orginal books of the NT), nor do we know what those books/letters which were eventually chosen to form the NT precisely said.

Edited by PaulS, 13 October 2016 - 12:04 PM.

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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


#15 Burl

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 02:47 PM

The NT, as we have it, is the best available data. Even in English bible.

This is not theory. We cannot procrastinate demanding an unassailable truth. We need to make a command decision - immediately! - based on the most reliable data available to us. The teachings of Jesus, which is indeed the New Testament, should guide every moment of every day.

We are like Captain Kirk and we need to make a decision. Now. We cannot waffle, or be indecisive, or waste time smooching strange alien women. Every moment counts. The moving finger writes . . .

We follow Jesus, and the Bible is the only reliable data. Not doctrine; data. Old and incomplete, but good enough to form saints and science, art and western civilization. Mendel, Newton, Descartes, Carravagio, Michelangelo, St. Francis - the NT is has an excellent track record.
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If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.

Charles Darwin, Origin of Species

#16 PaulS

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 05:06 PM

I don't see any such requirement to make a 'command decision' immediately myself Burl, but each to their own. And I definitely don't think we have any right to pressure or encourage another to accept something as a fact when it is not verifiable as one.

For me personally, I don't think anyone needs to use the alleged teachings of Jesus every moment of every day. In fact often, I don't even think there is a teaching ofJesus that applies to much of life. I think these moments often come down to personal interpretation and extensions of the teachings found in our versions of the NT.

Largely I do follow Jesus' teachings, but I do so knowing that quite possibly they aren't Jesus' teachings. For me personally, it mainly doesn't matter if Jesus taught these things or not. But I will not insist another make any such decision, and certainly not based on unverifiable data. I acknowledge that we have no way of verifying this data often, other than personal experience and interpretation, but largely I'm good with that if it harms no other.

I don't know what 'track record' you hold the NT up against when you mention those people, but again it comes down to a personal view. Again, largely that view doesn't matter in my opinion, unless it harms another.

Edited by PaulS, 13 October 2016 - 05:11 PM.

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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


#17 BillM

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Posted 14 October 2016 - 09:12 AM

It's my opinion also that the scriptures, while valuable, were not intended to guide us in every moment of every day. Jesus is reported to have said that it is the spirit that will lead us into all truth. And this spirit blows where it will. We don't know where it comes from, we don't know where it will go. It is this spirit that gives life. Can this spirit use the scriptures? Certainly. But I also believe that this self-same spirit uses the sciences, the arts, music, movies, technology, and our everyday life experiences to lead us into truth (which I interpret as Reality). We "walk in the spirit", not "in the scriptures." 

 

My opinion in this matter does not diminish Jesus or his teachings for me. But if they carry any authority for me, it is not because it is Jesus who said them, but because they have historically proved themselves to be true. So I don't demand any kind of infallible and inerrant text. I do think that Jesus did and said many of the kinds of things the New Testament records, but I also know that he was himself a product of his time/religion and the Church tampered with the scriptures over the centuries. So I consider the scripture's truth to be mythical rather than literal.


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#18 Burl

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Posted 14 October 2016 - 10:34 AM

We need to balance Scripture, experience, tradition, and reason.

We are not isolated intelligences responsible only to ourselves. The human race - past, present and future - are responsible for repairing this broken world together. It is a group project, and Jesus is the crux where the human and the divine intersect.

Edited by Burl, 14 October 2016 - 10:35 AM.

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If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.

Charles Darwin, Origin of Species

#19 PaulS

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Posted 14 October 2016 - 07:22 PM

We need to balance Scripture, experience, tradition, and reason.

We are not isolated intelligences responsible only to ourselves. The human race - past, present and future - are responsible for repairing this broken world together. It is a group project, and Jesus is the crux where the human and the divine intersect.

 

Balance is most definitely required.  Words written by a desert tribe 2500 years ago are best appreciated and understood in context of who they were written for and the times they were written during.  This is impossible to do if people believe such writings are the final 'word of God' and cannot be questioned or even disregarded in modern times.  Unveiling the truth about the Holy Bible, unwrapping all the hypebole and 'fact' that has been stated about "God's Word", and honestly discussing what we don't know about it, better places us for understanding, interpretation, and honest discussion.

 

As a Progressive Christian, I can't say that Jesus is 'the' crux but I'm not going to try and convince you otherwise here.  The Jesus story does offer much good to us, as do many other writings, both secular and religious, but I do not think Jesus is the be all and end all in isolation.

 

Whilst I don't think the world is anywhere near broken (I actually think it is a wonderful and amazing place and that the human species is incredible), there are many things we have to continue to learn and practice in an ever changing world if we would like to see the earth and our species continue.  I think one very big thing that would help is if fundamental Christianity turned from blind allegiance and embraced evidence and fact.


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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


#20 BillM

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Posted 15 October 2016 - 07:29 AM

Not to derail this thread further (for many people are blessed by Lectionary readings and study), but I think you make a great point, Paul, about the state of the world and Christianity's role in helping our world. For far too long, IMO, Christianity has embedded itself in the sin/savior myth that posits that the world is broken, in sin, and that the only remedy is for God and/or Jesus to save it through either forgiveness or destruction (in order to create another world). This myth teaches that we can do little to nothing to help our current state except to plead to God to come rescue us. The result of this, in much of Christianity, is escapism and waiting for Jesus to return at any moment with God's divine clean-up plan. Granted, it is an appealing myth. But I don't find it to line up very well with most of Jesus' teachings. I don't see anywhere in Jesus' teachings where he says that we are born in sin. And while some of his statements seem to imply that he would return shortly, he also stressed that his followers should be about the business of feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, helping the poor, working for justice, visiting prisoners, etc. I haven't been able to thoroughly plumb all of his teachings about it, but Jesus seems to say that the kingdom is already here, already in the human heart. I don't see this so much as a remedy to some "sin problem" but as a seed to the growth and maturation of humanity that could heal the places in ourselves and in our world that need healing. Yes, the world is a wonderful and amazing place and we are an incredible species. But we are still immature and have a ways to go before we are fully human. And I think, in my own Christology, that Jesus, in some sense, shows us what it is like to be fully human. He was ahead of his time. The Gentile church didn't know what to do with that, so they declared him to be divine. In doing so, he lost his humanity. And I think that changed his role from example to savior, and I think a great deal was lost in this demotion. This is why, for me, Jesus is not a way to get to heaven. Rather, he shows me how genuine relationships grounded in compassion can change the world, not from sinners to saint, but from strangers to friends. 


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