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thormas

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thormas last won the day on September 3

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About thormas

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  1. thormas

    Communion Experiences

    Transignification is a change in significance. Think of a woman, walking on a beach whose husband, the love of her life, is at war. Alone on a beach, she walks on wet sand, feels the spray of the ocean, the sun is visible through the clouds and it is windy. The woman wears a wedding ring, playing with it on her finger as she walks. Now, that simple wedding band is not worth very much in dollars (the couple never had a great deal of money) but it is a symbol of her love; it is a symbol of 'her love,' the man who is not physically there. Some might be dismissive and say, 'it's only a symbol: but s symbol is never an only. This is obvious if the woman misplaces the ring: she literally tears her house apart, retraces her steps, looks everywhere and is frantic because the ring, once given by the lover, is no longer 'only' a piece of inexpensive metal: it's significance has been changed, it symbolizes a new reality. However, the ring, as symbol, 'points' to and makes present what it now signifies. Presence is typically defined as proximity, that which is nearest you has the greatest presence. However, this is a 'low(est) form of presence.' Presence means influence or impact: the highest presence is that which has the greatest influence (impact) on who you are and how you live. The ring on her finger 'points to' or is a symbol of he who is not proximate (physically there) but he has a greater (the greatest) influence on the her life than the sand she walks on or the ocean spray, the sun and the wind she feels or even the clothes she wears. The man is present, symbolically and really present. Interestingly, if the ring were lost on a beach and some old guy with his metal detector found it - it would merely signify some small monetary value. It is the woman whose action transignifies or changes the significance of the ring. In the eucharist, ordinary bread and wine, brought to the altar, is the 'work of human hands' and signifies nourishment. In the mass, that meaning is changed; there is a change in their significance. Bread and wine as symbols now point to not ordinary nourishment but the 'Bread of Life" that nourishes human life. He who is not proximate (there) is symbolically and really present. More than the pew we sit on, the clothes we wear, the church that house us - that which has the greatest influence on our life is Jesus: he is the 'real presence' and the real influence on who we are and how e live. The participants are the equivalent of the woman in our example; they are the ones (if they are paying attention) who acknowledge the change in significance of the bread and wine and who consent to it influencing their lives (just as the woman has given her consent). This is symbolical and 'real presence.' One note: I always like it better when the bread was not a weird little wafer but a real piece of bread (always felt the symbol spoke more clearly then). Hope that gives you some food for thought to see if it makes any sense for you - although I did it rather quickly.
  2. thormas

    Communion Experiences

    No idea, I'll let warnik take that one. But I do love the image.
  3. thormas

    Communion Experiences

    I like Burl's idea of the private talk with the priest. I get what transubstantiation was trying to get at but also recognize that the concept of substance and accidents is outdated. Decades ago, A Catholic priest, named Schillebeeckx, coined and explained a 'modern' take of the eucharist/communion: transignification. Basically it acknowledge both symbolic and real presence. Not a very difficult concept as we transsignify many things in our daily life. Interestingly, I learned this in a Catholic seminary/grad school, where the professor was a brilliant PhD; years later, if I remember correctly, the Catholic hierarchy had problems with this take. Still makes sense to me and many who studied it. Different Christian expressions but if you ever want to know more, let me know.
  4. thormas

    Some thoughts on Pluralism

    and there we have it :+} Well Done!!
  5. thormas

    Some thoughts on Pluralism

    Never said I was, still working on it and thanks for the well wishes. Actually there was no leap in or presence of assumptions or bias; I was just restating your parameters and indicating how these demands can blind one to something obvious in life (even when someone else is making a good faith effort to present something that you asked about to begin with). Regarding the so-called insults, I took a cue from Jesus and was making a point by 'acting out a parable." The point of a parable, told or acted, is to give one pause so they can re-look (look again, look anew) and reconsider before they miss out? Furthermore, you can look back at your demeaning/insulting comments: don't throw rocks if you live in a glass house.
  6. thormas

    Some thoughts on Pluralism

    How does one turn on anything - from exercise, to starting a business, to running for public office, to love (i.e. compassionate concern for another)? They decide and they begin. There is no secret code, Rom. Don't you know this already about life? And, love is part of life. I too love certain people and not others but the love that is talked about in Christianity is a bit different (there is something shared and also something different in these 'kinds' of love): Christian love is compassion for another, showing and acting out of concern because they are a human being and a child of God.This is one of the two great commandments. To have such compassion (generally speaking) is a choice. So, if someone thinks this is the way we should act, they just start; they decide and begin. A game, so we agree that you're not a serious participant and whether you agree or disagree on a particular issue, you don't (really) engage. You just ask your questions, never contribute, ask others to summarize and restate things........and the trolling (a rather apt description someone else coined for you) continues. But this is known about you, and a number of people just ignore you or call you on it. Hey, how far along are you with the book you stated you would read and get back to us on? Rom, I remember you asked about how to turn love on in a recent post but could you give me all the other times where you, specifically and explicitly, asked this and my response? You know. just so I can review. Perhaps you can time it with the reporting on the book. Since I rarely take you seriously - although I have on a number of occasions responded in the hope you were serious (a choice to care) - and rather than answer yet again a question that was answered and explained at length, just re-read everything :+} A myth based on persons one of whom was called Jesus? That's the gist of Ehrman? Can you give us the specific passages (chapter, page and lines) from Ehrman? You know, just to check and let us know who the other guys are that the myth is based on. Start with a long version, then follow up with a nice summary. Rom, you list things you don't believe; you can do better than that. Like what was added, by whom, when, was it based on anything, was it actually made up, could that still be a valid early Christian 'memory' of Jesus? Are you a Jesus seminar guy or do you side with those scholars who have raised concerns about the methods and results of the Seminar? What are your sources when you try to determine this stuff? Finally, I don't deduce anything, especially from the stuff you mention. However, I do accept the Christian take on Jesus and value the theological insights, on that, through the ages.
  7. thormas

    Some thoughts on Pluralism

    If you are allowing that the fig tree might not have actually occurred then it is not a valid action of anybody......because it didn't happen; it wasn't an action. Actually I look beyond just two scholars who might differ. But on many issues, there is a preponderance of evidence (i.e. agreement) and even you are saying that scholarly research is sometimes not opinion. Also, it becomes rather obvious when one has a position and then looks for 'evidence' in the bible to bolster the position they began with. What is a bit scary is that you reduce all to opinion, state we just can't know, make assumptions and continually make statements on those assumptions (fig trees, temple, cleansing, bad bits) without even bothering with an expert opinion or two or three or four. Trust but verify so I look to scholars and see who they read, who they mention. I did this with Ehrman who referred to about 6 other scholars, got books on all and read.
  8. thormas

    Some thoughts on Pluralism

    It was explained and the 'detail' is given in responses to both you and Rom and, let us not forget, presented in Jesus. Your, so called 'complete version of love' (your language?) is simple and presented in the Good Samaritan and the story of the woman about to be stoned. It's all actually very simple, thus my example of one as a Father for both you and Rom. Yet even putting it in those terms is unsatisfactory and can't get to you through the wall of evidence, measurement, detail and proof that you have built and behind which you sit. I can see you in the Samaritan parable: "do I slow my walk, how slow?, do I say something, what do I say?, do I tell the guy I'll call for help, when will I call and whom?, what approach, what action, demonstrates love and compassionate for this guy? Meanwhile, the guy bleed out. Well done, you are the poster boy for the guy who pays no attention to the plank in his eye but bitches about the speck in another's eye. Except here, you complain about details, substantiation, opinion, subjective, states and point to reach and can't even sit back and see what love looks likes in the human father. Rather you demand, "detail', complete versions, demonstrations, measurement." People 'instinctively' know and respond to love. The Mother gives it daily to her child, the child is drawn to it when the grandfather visits, we see it when it is on display in the life of strangers, kids who are bullied cry themselves to sleep longing for it, it is rarely talked about by some male friends but it is lived by them throughout their lives together. There is no real disagreement, we 'know' what constitutes love, we know what love is. The challenge is to love the other as you love your own (and yourself). If you need details on that, not sure who can help you. And,in Christianity, among some eastern Church Fathers, taking up this challenge to love and actually doing it is the deification of man. While in the western expression, it has been called by some the humanization of man: becoming human, being the very 'likeness' of God: by..............loving. Remove the plank and see what you already know. Yet it is 'described' in Jesus and I too described it. Wow, you really need to read more. Christianity is ripe with paradox: transcendent and immanent; god and man; lose yourself to find yourself and on and on. Life too is ripe with paradox. You are on the either/or button, while the world is both/and. Just wow! But the word is being used as care, compassion, concern for another. it is simple. As for Jesus' love - the plank is blinding you to what is right there in the NT and in life. So, what are the details? What are the standards in the love of a Father for his child? Do tell but keep it basic?
  9. thormas

    Some thoughts on Pluralism

    My point has been made. My point it made. I am always careful and if one reads enough, and double checks scholar against scholar, likely scholarly interpretations carry much more weight than than mere "opinion." The fig is an obvious one where there is no 'evidence' of any critical reading and judgement. Actually when you first mentioned it, I was curious as it is a bit of an oddity and I researched it. Prior to that I had an opinion but had never taken the time to truly consider it. That work shed substantial light on that little story and called into question your opinion and the argument based on it. I even shared that with you to no avail. How odd it that? No, there is opinion and there is scholarly work based on a lifetime of research, learning ancient languages, etc. by professionals. So all opinion is not equal as you suggest. But it is a convenient dodge. Not looking for 100% only a preponderance of 'evidence.' Who's looking for undeniable evidence: simply read something on the fig tree and see what some critical biblical scholars say and whether that changes anything for you. If the story is a parable brought to life by a gospel writer, it is not one of your 'bad bits' if the story was the purposeful acting out of a parable by Jesus for his followers it was not one of your 'bad bits.' So too the temple: did it take place, when and where, was it acting out a parable, was it small, symbolic action done for his followers, was it as eventful as the synoptics suggest - leading to his death after threatening the temple and, therefore, the priests (after all in John it takes place at the beginning of his ministry and there were no repercussions). And it has been substantiated that Jesus followed the law, revered the temple and.....even sacrificed there - so he and/or his followers would had to go to the money changers and seller. So he cleanses it and then they exchange, buy and worship there?? And the 'fools' is an easy one. Yet to question these is inconvenient for your argument. Now things are being questioned and doubted and researched because we, for example, have the Dead Sea Scrolls, which generations for thousands of years did not. All generation are not equal and we have substantial advantages, you must know this. You use the tradition and inclusion and100% and all is just opinion and are comforted by the bad bits because they support your view. To research is to risk everything, so.............. do you.....really? It is a shame but you can't get past your demand, or your need, to substantiate everything and yeah, they are lacking, if not completely then 'substantially.' BTW, I accept that jesus was fully human in the 'usual way' also.
  10. thormas

    Some thoughts on Pluralism

    Are there day when, if you are a father, you truly, fully love your kids? If so, on one hand you did 'reach the target' but, on the other hand, tomorrow is a new day and the challenge is to do it again: to again truly, fully be father, which is to be love for them. You can know it, you know you were 'that thing.' But tomorrow, you won't know it till you do it again and the next day and again. It is partial but it is also, in some real way, complete, full. Paradox my friend, life is full of them.It is not either/or; it is both/and. So too, being truly human - but it is not merely a 'state' it is be-ing human: you are (fully) human because you are fully doing human. At a particular moment, on a particular day - you are truly human. Then tomorrow comes. It is achieving and it is achieved but when tomorrow begins, we begin anew therefore it is always a present action: achieving. Back to you as a father: if you are truly, fully a father today, then tomorrow, then again and again and again - that is stringing the moments. And the more you string, the more you will be that father; it becomes your way of being. Again, the paradox: you are whole in each moment (day) and all your moments are whole, you have met it - but tomorrow always comes. Isn't this the reality of love? Love is not a state, not a point, it is a way to be. Isn't love, isn't being a father who is love, self evident? Isn't it continually demonstrated? Isn't it clear It is to those who are loved. How would we measure such love, the love that makes a true father? Is it something to be measured or is it known in full because it is lived, it is experienced by those to whom it is given. Isn't love, simply love? Slight, insignificant differences are one thing but is it ever more than that, is it even that when we come down to it? Back to the father: what has to be verified as if one can examine it externally; love is verified, love is true and known when it is experienced and 'gives life.' Isn't that what the father, the mother does daily when they love? What specifications would love produce, yet don't we know what it truly and fully consists of? What are the 'details' in the example of you, the father, loving your kids? There are broad statements about the father being love and therefore being fully, truly a father - what are the standards that would be articulated to indeed consider what has been said of the father? If we answer that, we have an answer for God and Jesus. Can you do this? Does it really matter?
  11. thormas

    Some thoughts on Pluralism

    Probably not, I would say refer to the latest response to Rom but, I fear, neither of you will understand that either. There are no measurements, no evidence, no substantiation - only a reflection on simple human experience. But even that might be too much to ask - being outside of your 'discussion' parameters. There is no disclaimer, only a statement of what belief actually means. Demanding substantiation on a particular belief about God is not possible; one cannot substantiate that God is love or that God is not love. On this I think you agree. However, one can substantiate what is in a biblical text and provide credible scholarly works to present the most likely interpretation or one can substantiate a position/belief by providing the work of respected, credible scholars who hold the same or equivalent positions. I have done both; you have been unable to do either and Rom, given past and present experience, has no interest. It's hard to discuss with someone who won't do the work. Instead we get fig trees, temple cleansings, bad bits and 'fools' with no effort to look critically at these writings but only to repeat them - ignoring credible scholarship - in an effort to 'substantiate' a position. A position which is undercut by real research and critical questioning. A shame, we might have been able to find common ground but your position and effort were "lacking completely" and then some.
  12. thormas

    Some thoughts on Pluralism

    Not the whole world, just the part you touch. One is not parent to the whole world, one is parent (fully, truly, and, if very lucky, with a spouse who is the same) to a single child or several children and that is the whole world - and it is expansive. If there is a mechanism by which we can love or become caring for our friends, partner and our kid(s); if these are mere 'arm waving' then and only then you might have a point. But I doubt it. You know how to 'get there' with them.............it is simply love, caring for, caring about, being love to them. This, my friend, is the world and what I have been saying. You had it all the time!
  13. thormas

    Some thoughts on Pluralism

    Actually the question was raised was it possible for most of us to become 'fully or truly human' in this (one) lifetime and I mentioned that theologians have different theories on this. The belief is that Jesus was truly human in this lifetime and that the life of 'being Love' continues in God (the how, where, what does it look like. etc. no one has any idea). You seem to be having problems with the word fully, so let's move to another word I have used to capture this: truly human. Any of us can be truly human in this life. However, and I did mention this previously, it is an achieving in the moment or moments, a failing and achieving yet again. This captures the idea that being truly human is an ongoing process: complete or full in the moment(s) but not always in all our moments. So, I know you like measurements and evidence and the normal use of words but in religious belief as in some philosophies, words are stretched or taken out of the 'normal usage. So being truly human is indeed a becoming, a process, an achieving, an actualization and the point is to try to 'string those moments together into a whole. Now back to the word full; to be fully human means, in these moments, to be 'fully' the likeness of or the embodiment of love; there is a completeness because one is fully love and there is no selfishness. There is no there to get to; there is only fully being love in the moment, and then there is the next moment and the one after that. So it can be said that one is fully human but they must continue to do love in order to be fully, truly, human. Now what happens after this one lifetime if we are still on the way? Does it, in some way, continue until, as we said many posts age, all is One, until all is fully, truly, completely Love? I vote yes. So there is a completeness and a becoming; there is a completion and a continuing actualization. So we all can be but it is never ending (I knew you'd like that one).
  14. thormas

    Some thoughts on Pluralism

    The so called bad bits are not ignored, actually I'm the one who addressed them. Actually, the view 2500 years ago is not as different as you like to suggest to the time of Jesus and through to today however, as mentioned, there is a continuing evolution in both religious thought and human consciousness. Sure there are differences but the Jews and the Christians say that the God of Abraham, Moses, the Prophets, David, Solomon, the Baptizer, Jesus and continuing to today is the same, true God. And where have I said they're wrong? There is a core belief that is consistent (the same/similar view) and much of the cultural, societal, tribal context had fallen away, by your calendar, less than 500 years later. No one is saying there is no cultural context but you take that to mean that all is mere opinion producing radically different views, images and beliefs. Whereas the reality is that there is an understanding, a belief that remains through to this day. Christians have millions of different images of God? Can you name the first 100,000? And are you talking crop circles now?
  15. thormas

    Some thoughts on Pluralism

    Well, not mythical and I refer you to Bart Ehrman on the question of the existence of Jesus. That settled, the how was answered.
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