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thormas

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Everything posted by thormas

  1. There is a tension of sorts about the Kingdom: it is 'at hand' (already happening) and it is 'not yet.' One can safely say the God's reign was established and present in Jesus (God reigned in/over the entirety of his life) but that reign is not yet accomplished, not yet present in the lives of all. It it were, it would be 'heaven.'
  2. Actually not sure I would include the reborn belief piece (that was supposed to be a statement about the early Christians). As for a 'higher state of consciousness/ state of being' - while that makes more sense to me, I have no earthly or heavenly idea what it actually means or what will be. It's called Hope: I live this life to the full, as do you, and given that I believe Life is Meaning and 'more than meets the eye' I Trust/Hope but leave the details to God and really don't fret about the 'next life.' There is no 'boxing in' as one can call themselves whatever makes them happy. However, if one calls themselves a Christian yet does not believe that God IS (even though the image of that God might have evolved) - as did Jesus, they appear to believe something completely 'other' than Jesus. I simply and respectfully see your 3rd choice (which, unless you have changed the terms, says there God IS not, life has no ultimate meaning and 'this is it) as the atheist position.
  3. I've always like the Babel story but it is a mythological story: powerful ninth less.
  4. Well, first believe that God Is, that God enables man to be human (deification) and that Life (God) once given, is not lost. Christianity, since the days of Jesus, has the piece about "getting along and being the best (understood as likeness of God/Love) but asserts that Life has meaning and our meaning is part and parcel of the One. Different strokes.
  5. Well Burl, I respect you but I simply don't see God placing a curse at Babel. Not so much individual souls but the death and resurrection seems to have reconciled the disciples and Pentecost was seen as the outreach to others. Never have read that Pentecost was the central focus. Finally, (for me) there was/is no need for a miraculous 'pouring out of Spirit' since that Spirit was always with man and God has eternally dwelt in us all.
  6. This raises an interesting point: for progressive Christians who believe, is there still a position that this world will be made new, with people reborn (resurrected) to it or does it make more sense to envision a movement to a higher consciousness, a higher state of being (whatever these terms might mean) that, of necessity transcends this life/world?
  7. Any 'modern' confusion predated the moderns. As for Pentecost, it depends how one understands it. However, given Luke's timing of Pentecost, does that mean the earliest disciples were not reconciled to God until that time?
  8. Seemingly, Jesus thought the endtime was imminent, as did the Baptist - not sure off hand about all the prophets. But it continued to the early disciples and, as you mention, Paul. Actually one biblical scholar I'm reading believes that Jesus announced the 'time' when he entered Jerusalem for the last time and this led directly to his crucifixion since it ignited the people and put the Romans and priest on edge - always worried about insurrection (pointing out that he was not crucified with two robbers but insurrectionists (correct translation). In addition, she believes that Jesus and his beliefs in the endgame actually carried through his crucifixion and his 'resurrection' was interpreted as the first fruits of the resurrection of the dead that would mark the endtime. Later Christians, realizing that time, as we know it, did not end (especially Luke) begin to deal with the delay and split the 'coming of the messiah' into two events: the life, death, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus and the '2nd coming' of this messiah who will return to establish God's Kingdom. Would have to check when this future kingdom became heaven but it doesn't seem to have been the early Christians (1st C). But there were definitely people who didn't make the grade, although even early Christianity had theologians who thought that salvation was universal and it seems some progressives today agree.
  9. thormas

    Favorite fruits and vegetables

    That's odd because the Secret Greek Gnostic writings of Veganarius indicate that veganism was the established practice of the pagans, or at least those in the know. Thus Jesu' Narrow Way would have been at home and easily accepted in the pagan world. This excludes the aristocratic Romans who were notorious for eating meat thus the persecutions of the Christians over their choice of food.
  10. thormas

    Favorite fruits and vegetables

    I could be persuaded to roast lamb
  11. thormas

    Favorite fruits and vegetables

    "I am the Steak of Life" just doesn't have the same ring as "I am the Bread of Life." As for Jewish vegans: well, who knows, Genesis is a mythological story and besides that, even if taken literally, it was 'before' the Fall, afterwards everything changed. If God's wrath comes for the meat eaters that must include his chosen people and his 'son.' As for transubstantiation, it is still the Catholic belief today: a change in substance while the accidents of bread and wine remain. A nice try based in the philosophical terms of the time but for some, today, transsignification makes greater sense. While others consider it 'merely symbolic.'
  12. It's not a topic I focus on but, if memory serves, some Jews, throughout their history, thought death was the end and others thought of Sheol, often translated as 'the grave' sometimes as 'the pit" (mass grave??) but many believed that at the end of time God would raise people from the dead for a new life to be lived in the body - so this pointed to a transformed body in the Kingdom that God established here. Also, the belief was that the 12 tribes and the 70 nations (i.e. the gentiles) would all worship the true God in his house: the Temple in Jerusalem. So no borders, the whole of humanity would recognize the God of Israel as the True God. The 12 and the 70 was the expectation so it is questionable if Jesus believed that the gentiles would not worship God and partake of his earthly Kingdom (additional 'proof' of this belief by the early Christians is found in their mission to spread the gospel to all nations).
  13. I agree with much of what you have written Joesph. I change 'flesh' to self-centeredness but becoming alive to/in the Spirit rings true. I also agree there is only Life, although that is difficult to see for many since death seems to be an (the) end, and in that Life there is (the possibility of) continuous movement/transformation into Its Fullness (whatever that means). My only reservation is "life in the flesh' for that, for me, is essential to our knowing and transformation. thanks.
  14. thormas

    Introduction

    Welcome Lucian, I know the Easter expression differes from the Western in ways - that could provide some interesting discussions.
  15. Lucian, I don't have a favorite as I believe all have to be read using the insights of biblical scholars for the greatest appreciation. However, I like Paul's letters for their proximity to the historical Jesus, I like Mark for his simplicity and I like Matthew for his presentation of Jesus as the new Moses. Revelations holds no real meaning for me and Acts strays far from Paul's own accounts even though he is one whose acts are discussed. I do like John's gospel but recognize this Jesus is more divine being rather than flesh and blood human being.
  16. Welcome Lucian. I don't typically this in terms of theological streams, more so, I think in terms of authors/theologians. I am drawn to those authors who accept a 21st C worldview and who, finding value in Christianity, attempt to retell the Christian Story to a present day audience. I think theologians like John Hick and John Macquarie are essential, along with Gregory Baum, Gabriel Moran, Roger Haight and a number of biblical scholars. I also like a philosopher from the eastern faith expression: David Bentley Hart. However, if you ever want to discuss a particular stream, could be interesting.
  17. Fair enough. Although some would definitely disagree that the idea of the Kingdom being established in this life would be considered 'afterlife.' Although it is a transformation, it was definitely about this world, not the next - as traditionally understood (heaven). However, I take your point. Again, I take you point but most or many modern or progressive Christians would not lead with "everything will be okay." In addition, many believers are not thrilled by death. My point was not that it gives hope but that one hopes in God and carries on. Agree it is not the focus but it also isn't a carrot, especially for progressives. A carrot, like the cartoon of old, is suspended in front of someone and is 'the' motivation for action. Not so in more progressive expressions of Christianity. I also don't see it as a promotion but a consequence of what belief in God signifies and many religious people don't see death as 'beneficial' - merely a given. Of course, I guess the atheist in pain of death or old, failing age, can look forward to death and see it as beneficial; so too, the religious person, not wanting it, could also in the same circumstances, see it as beneficial (a release from pain). The religious person can say, "live a good life for you and others and the benefit of humanity because all of it is valuable, meaningful and when you die, the hope is 'it' continues; it all meant (means) something. Both positions are simply belief statements.
  18. It is and has been the case for many, especially Christians, that the focus was on 'life after death.' However neither Judaism or Christianity, in its beginning, shared this focus or belief. For the Jews of the second Temple and early Christians the belief/focus was the establishment of God's Kingdom, by God, in this world (not the next or another). However, even with this focus in later Christian history, as a child of the 50s and 60s, although there was a good deal of talk about the next life, for many of us the focus was always the 'here and now' and we hoped and trusted God for the rest (or the next). With the advent of progressive Christianity, it seems, many are "starting to move toward believing that there is no life after death (as traditionally understood) and what we do in the here and now is all that matters" because that is all we have responsibility for and the capacity to address and make better. The difference with others in western society is that where others believe this existence is mere happenstance for which we can find some fleeting meaning, the (progressive) Christian believes this life participates in something more, of which (for lack of a better way to phrase it) the human is part and in which the human finds and lives abundant life - the ultimate details of which are left to God. I, speaking as a progressive Christian, don't tie this to fear of no longer existing or not wanting this existence to end. It seems obvious that this existence will end (that was always the case) and no one has any 'earthy' idea what 'continued existence' looks like or consists of - as evidenced in our long ago discussions of all becoming One. I doubt progressive Christians think of this as a carrot; it is simply a 'consequence' of what such a person believes about God/Life. The original insight of Christianity was 'this life, this world' transformed and, thus abundant life (which once part of remained, so to speak, abundant).
  19. Enjoy the Day! Merry Christmas to all
  20. 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.
  21. thormas

    Communion Experiences

    No idea, I'll let warnik take that one. But I do love the image.
  22. 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.
  23. thormas

    Some thoughts on Pluralism

    and there we have it :+} Well Done!!
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
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