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PaulS

Evolution and Original Sin

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10 hours ago, thormas said:

I regard sin as self-centeredness or selfishness which differs, in kind, from love of others and also from (healthy) love of self. The 'destruction' that results from real selfishness seems evident across history, is universal,  easily recognizable and considered toxic.Sin or selfishness presupposes self-consciousness and choice (self over, even to the detriment of others).

What can be more selfish than a new lion king killing any cubs that have blood to the old king, purely to protect his self interest as the new leader of the pack?  I'm not convinced this 'animal instinct' is any different to mans' instincts which you might call sin.

We may have a higher degree of intelligence which offers us more choices, but maybe that's where we start seeing consciousness as somehow affecting 'sin' rather than it simply being regarded as animal instincts.  After all, we are simply animals too.  I'm not convinced you can replace animal instincts with sin simply due to consciousness and higher levels of intelligence.  Certainly both of those can impact on our instincts, but they remain base instincts and not 'sin' I think.

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6 hours ago, JosephM said:

Anyone or thing whether person, animal, or what one might consider a lower form of life that measures or judges others of their kind with condemnation in my view needs saving from the guilt and condemnation it reeks on themself. Do forms of life other than man have such a problem? I don't know. but i suspect not. ?

Just my 2cents,

Joseph

Try being a lazy lion and not participating in the pack hunt and see how far that gets you (documentaries often report lions in a pack that don't pull their weight or are bad mothers etc)  Are the other lions being judgemental or do we just call it animal instincts that causes them to exclude the one who doesn't fit their societal norms?

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40 minutes ago, PaulS said:

What can be more selfish than a new lion king killing any cubs that have blood to the old king, purely to protect his self interest as the new leader of the pack?  I'm not convinced this 'animal instinct' is any different to mans' instincts which you might call sin.

We may have a higher degree of intelligence which offers us more choices, but maybe that's where we start seeing consciousness as somehow affecting 'sin' rather than it simply being regarded as animal instincts.  After all, we are simply animals too.  I'm not convinced you can replace animal instincts with sin simply due to consciousness and higher levels of intelligence.  Certainly both of those can impact on our instincts, but they remain base instincts and not 'sin' I think.

That is not selfish, that is animal instinct. No one imagines that the lion has a smoke and a black coffee, ponders his options like an English King of old, makes a decision, lays out the tactics and puts them into action to accomplish what the lion does........instinctively. There is a difference in kind between this act of an animal and the killing of a baby by an adult human. I would suggest this is just about universally accepted, however you, unlike the lion, are free to choose to believe the opposite. Further, a bunch of lion seeing the new king kill the cubs is radically different that a bunch of human seeing an adult male attacking not only one kid but all the kids in a particular family.

The very use of the word choices makes the case for self-consciousness. Interesting though to ponder whether intelligence begets self-consciousness or self-consciousness begets intelligence. Regardless, you have tied intelligence to self-consciousness to the the dawn of sin. We are animals but with the intelligence and (self) consciousness - we are more.

I'm not replacing instinct with sin, rather I'm saying there are two different realities or ways of being in the world: animals have their instincts, while man has intelligence and self-consciousness that moves him beyond the rule of instincts and the reality of the (pure) animal. 

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8 hours ago, JosephM said:

Anyone or thing whether person, animal, or what one might consider a lower form of life that measures or judges others of their kind with condemnation in my view needs saving from the guilt and condemnation it reeks on themself. Do forms of life other than man have such a problem? I don't know. but i suspect not. 

Well, this assume a thing or an animal can make a judgment which actually goes to the heart of the discussion. If an animal or a thing acts on instinct, there is no judgment of the other, no condemnation of the other, no choice and no need for salvation.

As for man, the 'biblical' judgment that I have been talking about is neither measurement (as in one doesn't measure up to a standard) nor condemnation, both of which suggest a disregard for or a dismissal of the other. In measuring/condemning 'judgment' there is no compassionate concern for the other man or woman. Such 'judgment' is for one's self without regard for the other. 

Loving or true judgment, on display in the NT, is for (on behalf of) the other: it attempts to make the other aware of an opportunity (that had been missed), a road not taken and the danger inherent (for themselves) if they ignore the opportunity that has been presented. 

Edited by thormas

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1 hour ago, PaulS said:

Try being a lazy lion and not participating in the pack hunt and see how far that gets you (documentaries often report lions in a pack that don't pull their weight or are bad mothers etc)  Are the other lions being judgemental or do we just call it animal instincts that causes them to exclude the one who doesn't fit their societal norms?

Male lions are lazy, the females do all the work.

 

Edited by thormas

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1 hour ago, thormas said:

Male lions are lazy, the females do all the work.

 

See - another 'sin' shared between us and the animal kingdom! :)

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The lion has no ability to imagine a world other than the way it is, whereas human beings do have that ability.   That is one basis for our sense of sin (the other is based on creating symbolic categories of purity and impurity, something that is part of Judaism, but not necessarily Christianity).  We have the feeling that some things about the world  aren't the way things should be.   An "is" doesn't make for an "ought".

 

However, just because we can imagine a world doesn't mean we can actually live in that world.   History is littered with totalitarian, utopian movements based on nothing more than human idealism.   Leaving this world of idealism to religion, narrowly constructed, makes a great deal of sense, since this state of affairs can seemingly only be completely realized in the world to come by divinity, and not by human beings.

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11 hours ago, thormas said:

Really - Imperial Consensus?

Will I checked his blog, put in 'imperial consensus' and really got nothing. It seems so important to you, I assumed it was a major thing. The only reference I found was to what seems to be the traditional understanding of Christianity, so I assume traditional theism.

However, what I was presenting was not traditional theism, I simply linked creation and salvation which is biblical through to progressive and panentheistic and thus more nuanced than what must be considered imperial by the Lutherans???

Whether or not its "traditional theism", it's still very much focused upon the same concerns of the Greco-Roman consensus.

Note what David has to say about the characteristics of that Greco-Roman consensus.  Note particularly what I have bolded:

 

"1. Christian belief is essentially about gaining true knowledge about God (and Jesus tends to become first and foremost a communicator or mediator of this knowledge)

2. Scripture is understood as itself the fundamental revelation of God – a kind of sacred text – and Christianity is consequently understood as a huge exercise in exegesis of this divine text

3. salvation is conceived as a gradual transformation and training of the human soul/person, and usually as a kind of cooperative effort between humans and God

4. the world is the natural and necessary object of Christians’ transformative work– i.e. the world/state/family is to be transformed into a foretaste of the kingdom to come, and the kingdom is, as much as possible, to be realized now

5. as a result of the last two points, Christianity is overwhelmingly conceived as an exercise in moral/ethical improvement: it provides the commandments, techniques and imperatives for a holy “way of life”, for the individual, the family, society, the state, the world

6. the church, as the instrument and vessel of this divine transformation, legitimately exercises a significant, even coercive, authority, power, and control in the social and cultural realms, and (therefore) maintains a concrete, unified, institutional presence" 

 

You've just substituted Whitehead for Aristotle, but you haven't really challenged the assumptions underlying the imperial consensus (or as Dave calls it, the imperial synthesis) in the first place.  You're merely arguing that Whitehead makes more sense of God than Aristotle.  But you're just sexing up the old consensus, a bit of window dressing in the end.

 

David goes on to actually challenge the basis for the imperial consensus in the first place:

 

http://www.underthesunblog.com/main/three-pillars-of-the-old-order/

 

You should probably focus on part 2 and 3, however, since I doubt you have a high view of the Scriptures:

 

http://www.underthesunblog.com/david-corner/the-problem-with-deification-essay/

http://www.underthesunblog.com/david-corner/kicking-the-gnostic-habit-the-problem-of-faith-as-knowledge-essay/

Edited by FireDragon76

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1 hour ago, FireDragon76 said:

The lion has no ability to imagine a world other than the way it is, whereas human beings do have that ability.

I can understand why you say that but really, do any of us know what goes on in a lion's head?  I say not.

1 hour ago, FireDragon76 said:

However, just because we can imagine a world doesn't mean we can actually live in that world.   History is littered with totalitarian, utopian movements based on nothing more than human idealism.   Leaving this world of idealism to religion, narrowly constructed, makes a great deal of sense, since this state of affairs can seemingly only be completely realized in the world to come by divinity, and not by human beings.

My p[problem wit that is that I don't think there's any knight in shining amour (i.e. divinity) waiting in the wings to set things right.  We either take action ourselves or nothing changes.

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6 hours ago, PaulS said:

I can understand why you say that but really, do any of us know what goes on in a lion's head?  I say not.

Actually, it appears that most are extremely comfortable with recognizing that animals, ruled by instinct, are distinct from human being, who, as you say are animals, but also recognized as more than animals.

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9 hours ago, FireDragon76 said:

"1. Christian belief is essentially about gaining true knowledge about God (and Jesus tends to become first and foremost a communicator or mediator of this knowledge)

2. Scripture is understood as itself the fundamental revelation of God – a kind of sacred text – and Christianity is consequently understood as a huge exercise in exegesis of this divine text

3. salvation is conceived as a gradual transformation and training of the human soul/person, and usually as a kind of cooperative effort between humans and God

4. the world is the natural and necessary object of Christians’ transformative work– i.e. the world/state/family is to be transformed into a foretaste of the kingdom to come, and the kingdom is, as much as possible, to be realized now

5. as a result of the last two points, Christianity is overwhelmingly conceived as an exercise in moral/ethical improvement: it provides the commandments, techniques and imperatives for a holy “way of life”, for the individual, the family, society, the state, the world

6. the church, as the instrument and vessel of this divine transformation, legitimately exercises a significant, even coercive, authority, power, and control in the social and cultural realms, and (therefore) maintains a concrete, unified, institutional presence" 

You've just substituted Whitehead for Aristotle, but you haven't really challenged the assumptions underlying the imperial consensus (or as Dave calls it, the imperial synthesis) in the first place.  You're merely arguing that Whitehead makes more sense of God than Aristotle.  But you're just sexing up the old consensus, a bit of window dressing in the end.

1.Even for Jesus, it was all about God. Jesus didn't focus on himself, he pointed to the Father, his coming Kingdom, the two great commandments and on and on. Jesus, though, is the communicator,is he not? He is the Word spoken/communicated to humanity.

2.As to Scripture, in the period under discussion, weren't there theologians, including Greek Fathers, who knew not to take the Bible or all of it, literally? Then we can go to Augustine (Roman) who takes Genesis literally, as the fundamental revelation from God and, I guess without exegesis (were there two different stories and which came firs?) and we get..........original sin which the Lutherans (and others) accept as....... literal truth.

3.Well here it gets complicated especially if we agree with the Lutheran position that God loves all but choses who is to be saved: does that mean he choses that all will not be saved? And if that is so, where is his Love, where is human freedom..........and where is the once and done salvation from the death and resurrection of Jesus?  But leaving this aside, are you saying it is not  a gradual transformation? Even if 'all are saved' doesn't it still suggest, if we are to believe that God created us in freedom (as seemingly displayed in the 'story' of Adam & Eve, Cain & Abel and on and on), that we have to accept the salvation and live the Way of Jesus, the Way of God? Or do you allow for a situation where a murderer or Hitler, can spend his life doing what they do, have a smoke and a whiskey, waiting for the 'Day' but having no need for metanoia because they are or might have been chosen to be saved. Plus, don't human beings grow, at least in part, by training themselves or forming what we call habits that are either virtuous .....or not. And isn't the one who 'takes up' the salvation presented by Jesus, the one who is virtuous, has formed habits, 'trained' themselves and continually, by embodying love (God), are transformed into a new man, a new woman, a child of God? How can there not be what you call 'cooperation' with God if man is free?

4.Isn't the world, as you call it, where God already is, eternally immanent in his creation - or, to reverse it, with Paul, don't we and the world have our being in God? Isn't the world, the 'place' where Jesus came for man and woman? Isn't it to be done on earth as it is in heaven? Further, it isn't a mere foretaste, because the Kingdom has begun (a seed perhaps but it has begun). The Kingdom doesn't lie ahead, it has begun and we are called to live it - which, of necessity, changes the world, i.e transformation. Salvation is deliverance, if one is delivered or healed that is a transformation or a change from what was prior to the salvation/deliverance.

5.Is the follower of the Christ not to be ethical in the place where they find themselves, the world? Does not Jesus teach us to live the 2 great commandments, does he not tell his parables so we can see ourselves, hear the call and challenge of Life and live that life, is this not an ethic that we are called, taught to live? If Lutherans have a problem with the commandments, look no further than Jesus and the prophets of God. As for technique, isn't that simply how we carry out the living of the great commandments? And, isn't the living the 2 great commandments an imperative, i.e. crucial/important to Jesus in his life and therefore, the life of one who follows him?

6. I grant you that the idea of Church, based on the Roman state, did go astray. However, church, understood as the communities of those who follow Jesus, is indeed the (well I would not use vessel or instrument because that suggests things not human beings) Body (of Christ) that is called to do what Jesus did and as he said, "whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." So, now it rests on us, the 'new' Body - or embodiment -  of God

Actually, I haven't substituted anything and I have used your language in my responses. However, my challenge to my faith seems much more far reaching that the Lutherans (at least as presented here) who seem to still be ruled by their namesake.  Perhaps I am wrong but that's how I have understood your presentation.

Well, a quick look at Dave and he appears off on two things:

1.Salvation is gratis, a gift but as we all know a gift is to be accepted (or not) and used (or not). If you give someone a beautiful Christmas sweater with reindeer and little squirrels and perhaps a cardinal on it and of course it is covered in gold glitter, and they accept it then go home and throw it in the bottom of the closet, have they really, I mean really, accepted it? Well, sure on one hand they 'took' it, but actually they haven't: to accept a gift is to use it as it is intended. For example, if someone give you a lollipop and you accept it, the only was to truly accept and use it ........is to suck it. So, Dave, on first read, seems to think if we say gratis, that's it but he forgets who he is dealing with: human beings - who have to use or not use the gift. It is not a condition, it is the reality of any gift. Then, of course, we have to explore what Dave means by faith and trust.

Dave's next issue is his take on God: if one, including a Greek Father or two, speaks in terms of deification it is not an either/or, whether God loves us 'as we are'  or only 'as we  are becoming more divine.' It is not either/or, it is both/and. As an example: a good parent loves her child both as she finds her and as she is becoming and growing into her best self (and even when she is not growing but having difficulty in life); the Mother does not bestow love in one case and not the other, rather, the Mother is constant love, she is the one who meets the child 'as she is' and it is her presence, love and encouragement that empowers the child to become her 'best self.'  So too, God does not love us only as we are or only as we are becoming: this is too static a view of God and a limited view of love that not recognize its inherent power. It is Love (i.e. God), ever-present, that comes to us, is given to us  'as we are, wherever we are' and it is this self-same Love that empowers us to respond to Life (i.e. God) and grow to maturity as the likeness, true sons and daughters, of the Father. Love does not chose moments or conditions in which it finds us, Love is always, eternally grace and it is always ours - in all and every 'moment' of our being.

 

One note, let's not get testy about whether or not one has a high view of scripture especially since it remains a bit unclear whether you take it as the revealed word or allow for some exegesis.

Also, I have never thought in terms of 'sexing up religion' ...............?

 

Edited by thormas

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33 minutes ago, thormas said:

1.Even for Jesus, it was all about God. Jesus didn't focus on himself, he pointed to the Father, his coming Kingdom, the two great commandments and on and on. Jesus, though, is the communicator,is he not? He is the Word spoken/communicated to humanity.

2.As to Scripture, in the period under discussion, weren't there theologians, including Greek Fathers, who knew not to take the Bible or all of it, literally? Then we can go to Augustine (Roman) who takes Genesis literally, as the fundamental revelation from God and, I guess without exegesis (were there two different stories and which came firs?) and we get..........original sin which the Lutherans (and others) accept as....... literal truth.

3.Well here it gets complicated especially if we agree with the Lutheran position that God loves all but choses who is to be saved: does that mean he choses that all will not be saved? And if that is so, where is his Love, where is human freedom..........and where is the once and done salvation from the death and resurrection of Jesus?  But leaving this aside, are you saying it is not  a gradual transformation? Even if 'all are saved' doesn't it still suggest, if we are to believe that God created us in freedom (as seemingly displayed in the 'story' of Adam & Eve, Cain & Abel and on and on), that we have to accept the salvation and live the Way of Jesus, the Way of God? Or do you allow for a situation where a murderer or Hitler, can spend his life doing what they do, have a smoke and a whiskey, waiting for the 'Day' but having no need for metanoia because they are or might have been chosen to be saved. Plus, don't human beings grow, at least in part, by training themselves or forming what we call habits that are either virtuous .....or not. And isn't the one who 'takes up' the salvation presented by Jesus, the one who is virtuous, has formed habits, 'trained' themselves and continually, by embodying love (God), are transformed into a new man, a new woman, a child of God? How can there not be what you call 'cooperation' with God if man is free?

4.Isn't the world, as you call it, where God already is, eternally immanent in his creation - or, to reverse it, with Paul, don't we and the world have our being in God? Isn't the world, the 'place' where Jesus came for man and woman? Isn't it to be done on earth as it is in heaven? Further, it isn't a mere foretaste, because the Kingdom has begun (a seed perhaps but it has begun). The Kingdom doesn't lie ahead, it has begun and we are called to live it - which, of necessity, changes the world, i.e transformation. Salvation is deliverance, if one is delivered or healed that is a transformation or a change from what was prior to the salvation/deliverance.

5.Is the follower of the Christ not to be ethical in the place where they find themselves, the world? Does not Jesus teach us to live the 2 great commandments, does he not tell his parables so we can see ourselves, hear the call and challenge of Life and live that life, is this not an ethic that we are called, taught to live? If Lutherans have a problem with the commandments, look no further than Jesus and the prophets of God. As for technique, isn't that simply how we carry out the living of the great commandments? And, isn't the living the 2 great commandments an imperative, i.e. crucial/important to Jesus in his life and therefore, the life of one who follows him?

6. I grant you that the idea of Church, based on the Roman state, did go astray. However, church, understood as the communities of those who follow Jesus, is indeed the (well I would not use vessel or instrument because that suggests things not human beings) Body (of Christ) that is called to do what Jesus did and as he said, "whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." So, now it rests on us, the 'new' Body - or embodiment -  of God

Actually, I haven't substituted anything and I have used your language in my responses. However, my challenge to my faith seems much more far reaching that the Lutherans (at least as presented here) who seem to still be ruled by their namesake.  Perhaps I am wrong but that's how I have understood your presentation.

Well, a quick look at Dave and he appears off on two things:

1.Salvation is gratis, a gift but as we all know a gift is to be accepted (or not) and used (or not). If you give someone a beautiful Christmas sweater with reindeer and little squirrels and perhaps a cardinal on it and of course it is covered in gold glitter, and they accept it then go home and throw it in the bottom of the closet, have they really, I mean really, accepted it? Well, sure on one hand they 'took' it, but actually they haven't: to accept a gift is to use it as it is intended. For example, if someone give you a lollipop and you accept it, the only was to truly accept and use it ........is to suck it. So, Dave, on first read, seems to think if we say gratis, that's it but he forgets who he is dealing with: human beings - who have to use or not use the gift. It is not a condition, it is the reality of any gift. Then, of course, we have to explore what Dave means by faith and trust.

Dave's next issue is his take on God: if one, including a Greek Father or two, speaks in terms of deification it is not an either/or, whether God loves us 'as we are'  or only 'as we  are becoming more divine.' It is not either/or, it is both/and. As an example: a good parent loves her child both as she finds her and as she is becoming and growing into her best self (and even when she is not growing but having difficulty in life); the Mother does not bestow love in one case and not the other, rather, the Mother is constant love, she is the one who meets the child 'as she is' and it is her presence, love and encouragement that empowers the child to become her 'best self.'  So too, God does not love us only as we are or only as we are becoming: this is too static a view of God and a limited view of love that not recognize its inherent power. It is Love (i.e. God), ever-present, that comes to us, is given to us  'as we are, wherever we are' and it is this self-same Love that empowers us to respond to Life (i.e. God) and grow to maturity as the likeness, true sons and daughters, of the Father. Love does not chose moments or conditions in which it finds us, Love is always, eternally grace and it is always ours - in all and every 'moment' of our being.

 

One note, let's not get testy about whether or not one has a high view of scripture especially since it remains a bit unclear whether you take it as the revealed word or allow for some exegesis.

 

We believe there are honestly some things as human beings we cannot fully understand about God and salvation, and how God's election relates to human reprobation is one of them.   On this point we are neither Arminian nor Calvinist.

Your analogy of the sweater is a bit off.  Nobody would say that somebody who takes a sweater and puts it in a closet doesn't in fact have the sweater as a gift.  Furthermore, the obligation to wear a sweater as a gift is a matter of custom or dignity, not law.  A gracious giver no more demands that a gift be used in the way that they see fit than God requires we live up to the Law.   The freedom of a Christian to respond to grace is something we have as a distinctive.  Generally Lutherans are not known for being "fruit pickers".    Jesus' grace is a safe space just to be a human being, free of spiritual baggage imposed by more Law-centered religion.  God's love, unlike human love, is free from any self-interest or manipulation.    That's why the danger of humans manipulating God's Word is so real, and why the distinction between Law and Gospel is so critical in our tradition.

 

Generally we view Law, including Jesus ethical teachings, as aspirational ideals rather than strict obligations.  We don't deny their importance but we bracket them within an understanding of God's grace and forgiveness as unconditional.  Christian freedom is freedom from the condemnation of the Law, but it is also freedom to love our neighbor.  This freedom does not require any specific response on our part but it is open to response as we are called by God.  Therefore, we have a very weak understanding of the role of the Law as a guide for Christian living, it is not something we emphasize a great deal, because we believe it ultimately threatens the integrity of the Gospel if it is over-emphasized.

Edited by FireDragon76

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1 hour ago, FireDragon76 said:

We believe there are honestly some things as human beings we cannot fully understand about God and salvation, and how God's election relates to human reprobation is one of them.   On this point we are neither Arminian nor Calvinist.

Your analogy of the sweater is a bit off.  Nobody would say that somebody who takes a sweater and puts it in a closet doesn't in fact have the sweater as a gift.  Furthermore, the obligation to wear a sweater as a gift is a matter of custom or dignity, not law.  A gracious giver no more demands that a gift be used in the way that they see fit than God requires we live up to the Law.   The freedom of a Christian to respond to grace is something we have as a distinctive.  Generally Lutherans are not known for being "fruit pickers".    Jesus' grace is a safe space just to be a human being, free of spiritual baggage imposed by more Law-centered religion.  God's love, unlike human love, is free from any self-interest or manipulation.    That's why the danger of humans manipulating God's Word is so real, and why the distinction between Law and Gospel is so critical in our tradition.

Generally we view Law, including Jesus ethical teachings, as aspirational ideals rather than strict obligations.  We don't deny their importance but we bracket them within an understanding of God's grace and forgiveness as unconditional.  Christian freedom is freedom from the condemnation of the Law, but it is also freedom to love our neighbor.  This freedom does not require any specific response on our part but it is open to response as we are called by God.  Therefore, we have a very weak understanding of the role of the Law as a guide for Christian living, it is not something we emphasize a great deal, because we believe it ultimately threatens the integrity of the Gospel if it is over-emphasized.

Yet we are obliged to try, especially in this age, to present the Christian Story so it speak again, to contemporary people, and can be Good New. If not.................

Actually, the idea of re-gifting such sweater gifts makes the point: it is not a gift of great worth or actually any worth at all as it is easily forgotten and, when remembered, given away because it is irrelevant. Think, instead of a gift, that is received and treated as having worth, even great worth. It is truly accepted and it is 'used.' The analogy makes the point: the gift or grace of God, if accepted, is to be used or in our case, embodied/incarnated so it is lived in and through us; revelation is the self-revealing, the self-giving of God and, as in any love, it is meant to be be lived, to become one, in/with the beloved; it is meant to be accepted, to be used. BTW, no-one but you is talking about law (although it seems to be an attempt to define and dismiss another's opinion), I am merely talking about the reality of a gift that is given, accepted (and used). 

You are right, the gracious giver makes no demands but the reality persists: a gift of great worth, a truly meaningful gift (as I assume God's is) used if accepted. Try going to someone's house for dinner and not eating (i.e. using) the gift of food that has been given to you out of their generosity. But as with law, you miss the point with your use of the word requirement: we are not talking about etiquette, legal obligations or requirement, we are talking about the simple act of giving and receiving. Further the equivalent is not 'living up to the Law, it is 'obeying' the law of God, as did Jesus. However, properly understood, to obey is to make important to you what is important to another: so for the one who receives, truly receives the Law of God, it becomes important to them (as it is to God, for it is none other than love), which means, not that they 'live up to it' but  that they live it (again incarnate love). 

A distinctive? God's grace is not a safe space it is Life, it is God. Manipulation, seriously? There is no manipulation in the giving of any gift if it is truly given in love. All I have said about love, gift, God, Jesus has no implication of manipulation or self-interest: I am not talking about the Giver, I'm talking about the one who receives the gift which goes to the points we discussed above. Nobody is manipulating God's Word: if it is the word of Life, it is to be lived (used). Further, look how many have moved on from Christianity - not because the Word of God was manipulated but because it was not understood - especially for a 21st C people. Properly understood, there is no distinction between the Law of Love and the Gospel of Love - except by those among us who miss that it is the same Father revealed in both.

So the commandment to love your neighbor and to love God "does not require any specific response?" But there can be a response if called by God but if not called, no response is necessary? Well, this will be a surprise to Jesus given his announcement: "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand. " He was calling for a response, (metanoia) specifically because of the presence of God. 

Faith vs works: Revelation is the self-revealing, the self-giving of God to us; Faith is the response, the giving of ourself to God; it is relationship. In any relationship, where human beings are involved, relating means doing, responding; it means being for the other. So too our relationship with God: to be for God, is to be for Love; it is to be for his children - your neighbor and the stranger.  Love, is a response, an action, a way of being in the world.

It is not that we have to respond to love, it is that because we are love (Grace), we respond!

 

 

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16 minutes ago, thormas said:

Yet we are obliged to try, especially in this age, to present the Christian Story so it speak again, to contemporary people, and can be Good New. If not.................

Actually, the idea of re-gifting such sweater gifts makes the point: it is not a gift of great worth or actually any worth at all as it is easily forgotten and, when remembered, given away because it is irrelevant. Think, instead of a gift, that is received and treated as having worth, even great worth. It is truly accepted and it is 'used.' The analogy makes the point: the gift or grace of God, if accepted, is to be used or in our case, embodied/incarnated so it is lived in and through us; revelation is the self-revealing, the self-giving of God and, as in any love, it is meant to be be lived, to become one, in/with the beloved; it is meant to be accepted, to be used. BTW, no-one but you is talking about law (although it seems to be an attempt to define and dismiss another's opinion), I am merely talking about the reality of a gift that is given, accepted (and used). 

You are right, the gracious giver makes no demands but the reality persists: a gift of great worth, a truly meaningful gift (as I assume God's is) used if accepted. Try going to someone's house for dinner and not eating (i.e. using) the gift of food that has been given to you out of their generosity. But as with law, you miss the point with your use of the word requirement: we are not talking about etiquette, legal obligations or requirement, we are talking about the simple act of giving and receiving. Further the equivalent is not 'living up to the Law, it is 'obeying' the law of God, as did Jesus. However, properly understood, to obey is to make important to you what is important to another: so for the one who receives, truly receives the Law of God, it becomes important to them (as it is to God, for it is none other than love), which means, not that they 'live up to it' but  that they live it (again incarnate love). 

A distinctive? God's grace is not a safe space it is Life, it is God. Manipulation, seriously? There is no manipulation in the giving of any gift if it is truly given in love. All I have said about love, gift, God, Jesus has no implication of manipulation or self-interest: I am not talking about the Giver, I'm talking about the one who receives the gift which goes to the points we discussed above. Nobody is manipulating God's Word: if it is the word of Life, it is to be lived (used). Further, look how many have moved on from Christianity - not because the Word of God was manipulated but because it was not understood - especially for a 21st C people. Properly understood, there is no distinction between the Law of Love and the Gospel of Love - except by those among us who miss that it is the same Father revealed in both.

So the commandment to love your neighbor and to love God "does not require any specific response?" But there can be a response if called by God but if not called, no response is necessary? Well, this will be a surprise to Jesus given his announcement: "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand. " He was calling for a response, (metanoia) specifically because of the presence of God. 

Faith vs works: Revelation is the self-revealing, the self-giving of God to us; Faith is the response, the giving of ourself to God; it is relationship. In any relationship, where human beings are involved, relating means doing, responding; it means being for the other. So too our relationship with God: to be for God, is to be for Love; it is to be for his children - your neighbor and the stranger.  Love, is a response, an action, a way of being in the world.

It is not that we have to respond to love, it is that because we are love (Grace), we respond!

 

 

I think this is an area where Lutherans and liberal Episcopalians must disagree.  We don't view the Church as a club of  the enlightened, bound by a romantic appreciation of the past, that must ingratiate itself to social elites and their tastes.   We've more interested in how we communicate the Gospel to the marginalized than the privileged.

 

Msot of what you have written falls under Luther's condemnation of fides formata or "formed faith", the Catholic dictum of faith formed in love.  We believe in faith formed by Christ, rather, since love without embodiment is just a slogan that those with power will use towards their own ends. 

Edited by FireDragon76

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"The Gift" is not a sweater.  It was the reestablishment of Abraham's Order of Melchizedek and the removal of the interpersonal confusions implemented at Babel, as evidenced by the intuitive understandings, wind and tongues of fire at Pentecost. 

The Gift is the restored ability of humans to connect directly with God and with each other.  This is something Christ did at his session, not something he taught.  Many ignore it or approach it through more circuitous means, but the Gift remains for everyone.

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2 hours ago, FireDragon76 said:

I think this is an area where Lutherans and liberal Episcopalians must disagree.  We don't view the Church as a club of  the enlightened, bound by a romantic appreciation of the past, that must ingratiate itself to social elites and their tastes.   We've more interested in how we communicate the Gospel to the marginalized than the privileged.

Msot of what you have written falls under Luther's condemnation of fides formata or "formed faith", the Catholic dictum of faith formed in love.  We believe in faith formed by Christ, rather, since love without embodiment is just a slogan that those with power will use towards their own ends. 

How did we get to the attack on liberal Episcopalians?   

Fides formata, faith formed in love: so, we have the self-revelation of God (who is Love), Jesus' response of love, even unto death, then  we have communities formed by those who accept the Christ as the Word and the Messiah of Love (God): thus we are formed in Love (i.e. in God, in Christ). Thus fides formata: faith formed in love.                                                                        The Catholics just said, "you're welcome!" :+}

You choose not to or are unable to respond in detail, other than quoting poor Dave and now Luther. Oddly, you seem to run scared of love, fearing it will be misused, but such 'love' is not God and does not form anything. I have never mentioned or even give passing notice to such pseudo-love which is merely selfishness; it is a will to power, it is not love and it is only the Love that is God that creates, saves and forms us to his likeness.

 

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1 hour ago, Burl said:

"The Gift" is not a sweater.  It was the reestablishment of Abraham's Order of Melchizedek and the removal of the interpersonal confusions implemented at Babel, as evidenced by the intuitive understandings, wind and tongues of fire at Pentecost. 

The Gift is the restored ability of humans to connect directly with God and with each other.  This is something Christ did at his session, not something he taught.  Many ignore it or approach it through more circuitous means, but the Gift remains for everyone.

Well it is only a little story.......

It is something Christ did and taught. The Gift is for all but, unlike the ugly Christmas sweater discarded in the back of the closet, it is to be used - it is to be lived.

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17 minutes ago, thormas said:

Well it is only a little story.......

It is something Christ did and taught. The Gift is for all but, unlike the ugly Christmas sweater discarded in the back of the closet, it is to be used - it is to be lived.

Jesus taught things to his disciples, who then were sent out to teach the good news to the four corners of the earth.  By Pentecost, the person who was killed and resurrected has surpassed this plane and was seated at the right hand of the Father.

Yes, he taught that he was the way and the life, and that no one could approach the Father except through him.  He taught that he must die and suffer or the comforter could not be sent.

Those teachings must be interpreted through his actions.  Teaching is no longer for Pharisee disciples but for the entire world.  The teaching was explaining about the changes which were then in the future, but are now in the past.

Jesus life, death, resurrection and session completely changed all humans relationship with God.  God had now experienced fear, temptation, a physical being and senstions - things he knew about but knowledge and experience are two different things.

One cannot logically abstract what Jesus taught the disciples except through the lens of his passion and beyond.  If your Jesus was concerned with sweaters you would know all about wool and knitting but refuse to put the sweater on and warm up.

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1 hour ago, thormas said:

How did we get to the attack on liberal Episcopalians?   

Fides formata, faith formed in love: so, we have the self-revelation of God (who is Love), Jesus' response of love, even unto death, then  we have communities formed by those who accept the Christ as the Word and the Messiah of Love (God): thus we are formed in Love (i.e. in God, in Christ). Thus fides formata: faith formed in love.                                                                        The Catholics just said, "you're welcome!" :+}

You choose not to or are unable to respond in detail, other than quoting poor Dave and now Luther. Oddly, you seem to run scared of love, fearing it will be misused, but such 'love' is not God and does not form anything. I have never mentioned or even give passing notice to such pseudo-love which is merely selfishness; it is a will to power, it is not love and it is only the Love that is God that creates, saves and forms us to his likeness.

 

I was in a church that told me that God was loving but their behavior bordered on spiritual abuse.  They preached a great deal of what we Lutherans would call "cheap law".   I spent years of my life in a religion based on theosis and platitudes about love.  So I think I am speaking from some experience.   It is something that made me give up on being a Christian for some time.

 

The problem of authoritarianism is a problem in North America among Christians, far more than peoples hangups with traditional theism.  According to a Barna survey, the leading reason young people say for not being involved in the Church is because Christians are bigoted or hypocritical.  That directly ties into what I have been talking about, because that kind of attitude came out of that imperial, constantinian religious synthesis. 

 

Edited by FireDragon76

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40 minutes ago, FireDragon76 said:

I was in a church that told me that God was loving but their behavior bordered on spiritual abuse.  They preached a great deal of what we Lutherans would call "cheap law".   I spent years of my life in a religion based on theosis and platitudes about love.  So I think I am speaking from some experience.   It is something that made me give up on being a Christian for some time.

The problem of authoritarianism is a problem in North America among Christians, far more than peoples hangups with traditional theism.  According to a Barna survey, the leading reason young people say for not being involved in the Church is because Christians are bigoted or hypocritical.  That directly ties into what I have been talking about, because that kind of attitude came out of that imperial, constantinian religious synthesis. 

So, one particular church community failed to live its faith - okay I get that. However, I have no idea what cheap law means. 

I think a real understanding of theosis is on target and it does not deal in mere platitudes, but Love. I get the disappointment and the disgust but it is still the baby and the bathwater scenario. I also speak from experience. 

Abrupt change but okay, however I think authoritarianism, combined with traditional theism (again, unless properly understood and thereafter expressed in the words and images of real, contemporary people) is a dual problem. If some Christians are seen as bigoted, in part it is because they never really understood what it was about - so never lived it's truth.

However, you really have to define your terms, like " imperial, constantinian religious synthesis."  This is so loaded, you need to explain it yourself to give others a real feel for what, exactly, you mean. 

 

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1 hour ago, Burl said:

Jesus taught things to his disciples, who then were sent out to teach the good news to the four corners of the earth.  By Pentecost, the person who was killed and resurrected has surpassed this plane and was seated at the right hand of the Father.

Yes, he taught that he was the way and the life, and that no one could approach the Father except through him.  He taught that he must die and suffer or the comforter could not be sent.

Those teachings must be interpreted through his actions.  Teaching is no longer for Pharisee disciples but for the entire world.  The teaching was explaining about the changes which were then in the future, but are now in the past.

Jesus life, death, resurrection and session completely changed all humans relationship with God.  God had now experienced fear, temptation, a physical being and senstions - things he knew about but knowledge and experience are two different things.

One cannot logically abstract what Jesus taught the disciples except through the lens of his passion and beyond.  If your Jesus was concerned with sweaters you would know all about wool and knitting but refuse to put the sweater on and warm up.

Well, Burl you seemingly accept things more literally(?) and/or accept traditional understanding more than I do. I would question some of what you have written and distinguish between the historical Jesus and the gospel pictures of him and also recognize that Jesus taught more than the disciples. 

As for the change in the relationship with God for all, I agree in principle but it must be understood in order to be taken up and make a real difference in the individual and then, it must be lived. And, I wouldn't say God experienced these things but that is for another time.

You do know the sweater was a joke and that Jesus wouldn't have worn a Christmas sweater, right?

 

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22 hours ago, PaulS said:

Try being a lazy lion and not participating in the pack hunt and see how far that gets you (documentaries often report lions in a pack that don't pull their weight or are bad mothers etc)  Are the other lions being judgemental or do we just call it animal instincts that causes them to exclude the one who doesn't fit their societal norms?

Paul, the reason i suspect other forms of life do not have that problem, at least the ones i am familiar with is it is exclusive in my experience to those forms of intelligent life that have taken on the illusion of self.  One who has separated himself from ego or in the case of lower life forms not developed one is  free from guilt which is a result of sin which is not a particular act but rather  the result of making internal laws that puts oneself under them by ones constant measuring and judging of others. (Eating from the tree of good and evil) I don't believe animals look at things as good and evil.

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1 hour ago, thormas said:

Well, Burl you seemingly accept things more literally(?) and/or accept traditional understanding more than I do. I would question some of what you have written and distinguish between the historical Jesus and the gospel pictures of him and also recognize that Jesus taught more than the disciples. 

As for the change in the relationship with God for all, I agree in principle but it must be understood in order to be taken up and make a real difference in the individual and then, it must be lived. And, I wouldn't say God experienced these things but that is for another time.

You do know the sweater was a joke and that Jesus wouldn't have worn a Christmas sweater, right?

 

He woulda worn the sweater if his momma gave it to him.

Regardless of personal opinions, the reader must retain the author's entire context, and the biblical context in general.  One cannot simply ignore what the author writes about the post-crucifixion period because he finds it implausible.  When the author speaks of Jesus explaining the upcomng events one is not free to interpret those comments without full consideration of how the author intended them to fit together with his description of what happens later in his narrative.

Matthew is clearest.  Jesus never spoke to the general population except in parables, and did so so that they would NOT understand.  He later gathered the disciples and taught them the true meaning in secret. Then the disciples taught the people and each disciple selected a dozen disciples of their own to form the 72.  The 72 were sent out to the community.  It was a well organized church.

Edited by Burl

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1 hour ago, JosephM said:

Paul, the reason i suspect other forms of life do not have that problem, at least the ones i am familiar with is it is exclusive in my experience to those forms of intelligent life that have taken on the illusion of self.  One who has separated himself from ego or in the case of lower life forms not developed one is  free from guilt which is a result of sin which is not a particular act but rather  the result of making internal laws that puts oneself under them by ones constant measuring and judging of others. (Eating from the tree of good and evil) I don't believe animals look at things as good and evil.

I don't disagree with you.  I'm just saying that it appears to me this 'sin' is a continuation of our animal instincts.  So whereas animals have certain instincts, we have further involved into a more intelligent species yet still have those hallmark animal instincts, but because of our higher intelligence and sophistication we have elaborated on these instincts and made them into more.

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12 hours ago, thormas said:

Actually, it appears that most are extremely comfortable with recognizing that animals, ruled by instinct, are distinct from human being, who, as you say are animals, but also recognized as more than animals.

Actually most recognise us as animals but just at the higher end of the spectrum concerning intelligence.  I don't think we are more than animals but rather the top of the line of animal species in many ways.

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