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The Resurrection


McKenna
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This has probably been discussed before :) But, I figured a new thread on it wouldn't harm anyone ;)

 

Put simply - what is your interpretation of the Resurrection? Myth? Hallucination? Literal? A physical body or a non-physical, spiritual one?

 

How important is it? What implications does it have for faith?

 

:)

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What is your interpretation of the Resurrection?

 

During the day we certainly encounter problems, but we are not going to thrive by dwelling on these negatives either. Mentally or physically such self-indulgence only brings on headaches, heartaches and trouble. We only need to become stronger and overcome the obstacles at hand and direct our thoughts to happiness rather than unhappiness by looking at the whole picture. The solution is not to condemn one negative over another; each is necessary and a vital force for all the possibilities of the macrocosm to become actualized. In the absence of these opposites, the positive and negative, the universe could not hold together and would cease to exist. To go beyond these polarities is to realize Christ consciousness and the resurrection of Jesus. We must rise above the disconnected, the dissociated and become unified with the whole. We must resurrect our consciousness.

Good question I am also looking forward to the responses.

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For me, the resurrection is both spiritual and political and it matters very much in the life of my faith. A few weeks ago, I posted the following sermon I wrote in the General Resources area of this message board, but I'll repost it here to respond to the question at hand. It will be noted that Soma and I come at this rather differently.

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I don't know about you, but I'm sick and tired of the way Christianity is often presented in America these days. I'm sick of how it's become hijacked and monopolized by fundamentalist and rightwing perspectives. I'm distrubed by how it's been de-radicalized from it's original sense of socio-poltical salvation and instead, reduced to being sentimentalized and schmaltzified to the point of being only about personal salvation - "believing X,Y, and Z now in order to go to heaven later." If Jesus were in a grave, he'd be spinning in it in my opinion.

 

So... here's an alternative Easter message that I've taken the liberty to write which at least speaks to what I think are the primary intentions, passions, and purposes which Jesus had and was about. Even if you don't consider yourself a "Christian," maybe it'll speak to you too. Peace and Happy Easter! BrotherRog

 

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It's been said that this world is a tough place to live.

 

And parts of it are really tough. Places like Antarctica with it's frigid cold; the top of mountains with their thin air; desserts with their lack of water and vegetation; the oceans with their tidal waves, hurricanes, etc. - places like these are pretty inhospitable to humans.

 

But it's not just these sorts of extreme places that are hard to live in. The regular parts of the world are tough too. We learn this as children. We start learn to walk and right way what happens? We trip and fall down on the sidewalk and skin our knees and bump our heads on rocks! We bang up against things and it hurts! Ouch! : )

 

Yet, God created this world and God said it was good when S/He created the oceans and the land, and all the rocks and creatures in it and God hopes we'll love it and think it's good too!

 

But what God didn't create and what God doesn't love is the ways that we tend to run our societies. God doesn't love it that we've created a world where we live by the law of the jungle, where "might makes right," where we compete and hoard, where powers and domination systems place the overwhelming majority of humanity into abject poverty and misery.

 

The first major, massive scale, instance of this kind of human created system of power and might was the world's first territorial empire, the Roman empire. Rome conquered many nations through the means of military, political, economic, and ideological exploitation and domination.

 

They imposed a Pax Romana – a "Roman peace" – which meant that there was peace unless a nation dared to resist them – and then they'd be brutally squashed back into submission.

 

When Octavian defeated Anthony and Cleopatra, he changed his name to "Augustus" and the Roman empire took things to an even higher level than ever before. The Romans had just gone through 20 years of civil war and Augustus ended it. He brought peace – 40 years of peace! The people responded, "Thank God! Praise Augustus! He must be Divine!"

 

And then the Roman "Emperor Cult" was born which was the heart and soul of the Roman Empire. It created a unifying ideology which asserted that Caesar was God, that he was Son of God, that he was Savior, Redeemer, and Lord! And Rome expected all of it's subject nations to call him those things too.

 

Well, God had quite enough of that! So when the next Ceasar was in power, a certain Yeshua of Nazareth arrived on the scene. And this Yeshua, this Jesus, from a podunk town in a backwater province on the eastern fringe of the Roman Empire, had the gall to take on and defy that arrogant Roman ideology!

 

Some of all of this is bit like the story line in the movie The Matrix. In The Matrix, humankind has been relegated to serving as cogs in a machine that they're powerless to do anything about, as nourishment for a world run by machines. And yet there was a prophesy that a messiah would come along to liberate humanity from their oppressed state.

 

That savior came in the form of Neo, "the One", Neo Anderson (meaning "Son of Man"). And it's no accident that that's the same title that Jesus referred to Himself as being. But unlike Neo, Jesus' way wasn't about fighting back and becoming even better at wielding deadly martial arts and the ways of the world than anyone else.

 

Instead, the way that Jesus taught was that of out-right defiance and rejection of any powers that be, any powers or principalities that dare to usurp God's power in God's world!

 

Those false powers were the ones who really had the gall! -the gall to create systems which put all of the property and farms into the hands of a few and oppressed the masses by turning them into tenant farmers or share croppers who ended up beholden to debt collectors; the gall to create a system where women had no voice or legal standing but were instead treated as the property of men; the gall to create a system where humans enslaved other humans; the gall to justify oppressing and exploiting the poor, and force young people to fight in wars of expansion; the gall to say worldly leaders and worldly powers are gods instead of God Him/Herself!

 

But Jesus' way was a nonviolent way. He didn't use the world's ways against the world, He simply said that the worldly powers are impotent - they have no power, that the real power is with God and in the Kingdom of God!

 

And then Jesus demonstrated that power by reaching out to the people who society had rejected; and He invited people to repent and to change their way of thinking and living so that they could break free from ways which collaborated with the empire so that they could start living freely and abundantly in deep community and communion with one another – sharing all that they have and turning away from the domination system which sought to oppress them!

 

And then He went into the belly of the beast - right into the Temple in Jerusalem which had been collaborating with Roman dominance and said NO! He condemned the corrupted Temple system which had been blessing the unjust status quo and cooperating with the Roman Empire. He knocked over the tables in the courtyard and boldly confronted the powers and exposed them as frauds. He took back that house for God's purposes - not Rome's!

 

And then…, the "empire struck back"... The domination system conspired against Him and they meted out the worst they could do - they had Him arrested, beaten, and executed. One thing the powers that be can't tolerate is being rejected and so they rejected Him! They killed Him. As they say in Communist China, "the nail that rises up gets hammered back down." Take that! End of story... And with that, Jesus' disciples (at least the men) hid away in fear.

 

But then, something extraordinary happened. God said, "Uh, No. That isn't the end of the story!" And though He was indeed good and dead, God amazingly and graciously resurrected Jesus - back to life! Jesus of Nazareth who had been delivered up by the chief priests and executed by Romans under Pontius Pilate, was alive again!

 

The guards who'd been posted at the tomb ran to tell the chief priests what had happened. Their lives were at stake for failing to prevent the tomb from being opened. To break the Roman seal that had been placed at the entrance to the tomb was against the emperor's law and punishable by death. So Jesus' resurrection was an act of civil disobedience. God was breaking Roman law! : )

 

And then Jesus showed Himself (in a way that I can't fully explain) to those disciples of His who had run away in fear and when they saw Him and recognized the nail marks on His hands, they came out of hiding! Until they saw Jesus, they viewed the world the way others did. The central reality of their lives had been the power of the system and their own powerlessness in it.

 

But when they saw Him risen and alive, they unlocked the doors, came out, and began turning the world upside down! At last, they were finally converted! They knew another reality that was bolder, truer, and stronger than the powers that had been paralyzing them with fear. Jesus had risen! And Jesus was Lord – not Caesar!

 

They saw that all that their rabbi had been teaching them about the Kingdom of God and how it's ways are better than the world's ways is true! And that no matter what, even if the worldly powers dish-out the worst they can, even if they end up getting killed too, that even death has lost its sting! Even death can't stop the truth of God in God's world!

 

They took to the streets and started preaching the Gospel of the Grace and Good News of the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus the Christ!

 

Yes, the Empire tried hard to stifle their efforts – and thousands of Christians ended up on crosses or being eaten by lions or killed by gladiators in Roman coliseums. But the more they were persecuted, the more their movement spread. And it spread like wildfire! Until, eventually, Christianity became the official religion of the Roman empire, and the empire itself was dissolved!

 

Today, the living resurrected Jesus stands before us. He knows us and He knows our fears. We're afraid of economic hardship, we're afraid of debt, we're afraid of diminishing resources and environ-mental destruction. We're afraid of racial tensions and the growing gulf between the rich and the poor. We're afraid of the hurt between men and women, between people of different nations, and we're afraid of a drift toward endless war. We fear for ourselves and our loved ones.

 

Like those first disciples, we're afraid of the power of the systems of the world with their armies, their courts, their prisons, their threats. Like them, we fear our own powerlessness, weakness, and sense of inadequacy. We're insecure, frightened by our emotions, and wary of trusting one another. We feel both the guilt of our sin and the vulnerability of our broken places. Above all, we fear pain, suffering and death.

 

We too are hiding behind locked doors and are afraid to come out. Jesus knows our fear and wants us to know His resurrection. He says, "Go, tell my disciples that I have risen and that I'm going before them!" He tells us not to doubt but to believe!

 

Jesus lived and died to liberate us from our sins, our doubts, our fears, and the addictions we use to medicate and numb ourselves. God raised Him from the grave to show us His victory over them and to set us free from their power. And now, Jesus calls us to boldly pick up our crosses and follow Him! Yeah, that's right! He wants us to follow Him into harm's way! But He wants us to do so knowing that no matter what, God'll make things right in the end!

 

So, what about you and me today? Do we still doubt that Jesus' way of love, that His "way of the cross" makes much sense in this modern, competitive, dog eat dog world? Do we think that that kind of "suffering servanthood" can make a difference or transform our world of new empires and huge and powerful systems and institutions?

 

Well, those early disciples felt overwhelmed by the powers and forces that ruled their day, but they were converted! They had become people of the resurrection! They began living lives filled with the fruits of conversion. Friends, we too can know the power of Christ's resurrection!

 

Like those first disciples, we need to come out of hiding and see the risen Lord! Seeing is believing, and believing is knowing that we must turn and follow Jesus. The resurrection exposes bogus powers and restores us to right community and to who we really are! I'm not "Roger: a slave to the system!" I'm Roger – free in Christ! Liberated to advocate for justice and to serve God's people and meet their needs - and nothing's gonna stop me! And the same is true for you!

 

Every time we act upon Jesus' lordship, every time we follow His teachings, we're demonstrating His victory! Every time we refuse to be controlled by a political or economic system; every time we deny the absolute authority of the state; every time we claim Christ's freedom over our fear; tear down the walls of race, class, and sex; love our enemies; stand with the poor; forgive those who've wronged us, or resist the violence of the nations by acting for peace, we're demonstrating the victory of Christ in the world!

 

His victory is present wherever it is claimed and acted upon. Friends, let's dedicate the rest of our lives to claiming and acting upon this victory! Jesus Christ is risen today! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen!

 

 

A message inspired by the resurrection stories in Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John, , The Powers that Be by Walter Wink, and The Last Week by Marcus Borg & John Dominic Crossan. A few paragraphs are adapted from the last chapter of Jim Wallis' The Call to Conversion.

Copyright 2007

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Hey guys! Thanks for the responses so far :)

 

Soma - I'm not sure I understand exactly what you're saying...could you explain a little further? Do you look at Jesus' resurrection as a "resurrection of consciousness," or is that just what we have to do in order to follow him?

 

BrotherRog - Thanks for the sermon! I'd read it before but I enjoyed reading it again :) So you take a literal view of the resurrection?

 

I'd love to hear other responses as well!

 

The Resurrection is something that both intrigues and baffles me. I don't know if I can honestly give my own reply to this thread as I have yet to figure out exactly how I view it. I suppose, though, that when it comes down to it, I don't believe Jesus was physically resurrected, but rather had as Paul says a "spirit body" (which I don't see as physical). I believe he must have appeared to his disciples, because some dramatic event caused them to fear no longer. And I believe that his Resurrection caused an outpouring of grace, a grace that we can experience through Christ (though not exclusively through him - I do not deny other religions and their paths).

 

Anyway, what do others think? :lol:

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McKenna, You are right I see Jesus as the man and Christ as the consciousness. I feel Jesus resurrected from the physical to become one with the Father (God's pure consciousness). Yes, I see Jesus as the perfect model to follow because he ressurrected. He came to us in the physical to lead us by example and love to the spiritual. We think we are the body/mind complex, but following Christ we realize we are a consciousness with a body and mind. Christ consciousness is the perfect link or tangenital point with the pure consciousness of God the Father.

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The Resurrection is something that both intrigues and baffles me.

 

Yeah, me too, and I was there. I'd say to you, McKenna, that in fact I had two Resurrections. The first Resurrection took place slowly, over many years, as I worked with my angelic guides to master all that it means to be a Christ. This was a process not unlike the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly. I began my search with a mind full of anger and even hatred. Slowly, I came to understand these emotions were not acceptable as far as God and my angelic friends were concerned. They taught me, through sometimes awkward and painful experiences, that all souls are created equal in God's eyes, but that few human beings choose to live their mastery. I came to understand there is no Judgment Day in God's Creation, nor a hell. I learned instead that men's evil comes from their broken human brains (though I could not have explained the biochemistry of psychopathy at the time). I learned to view each being I met as an angel first and foremost. It's very easy to find peace in a tortorous world when you truly believe in each being's true angelic self. It's very easy to forgive each one. It's also very easy to believe that each one needs to hear the Truth.

 

Second came my almost-physical Resurrection. I did enter into a deep, coma-like state that lasted for a little over 2 days, and I did get up from the tomb and walk out. But I did not cross over to the Other Side during this 2-day period -- I did not physically die. I should have, but I didn't. Therein lay the miracle and the mystery.

 

To what do I attribute my miraculous Resurrection? Ah . . . now that would be the wondrous part. That would be the part where God's healing angels came to me, wrapped me in tender, gossamer love, and used quantum energy particles to knit together the torn fibres of my physical body. (Yeah, they used science to heal me.) But what did I know of quantum science? All I knew was that I'd somehow survived a certain death, and that God the Mother, God the Father, and God's healing angels were responsible for that.

 

So first I was born again into the true heritage of all angels -- the heritage of a loving community of the Mind, where all angels choose to be fully responsible for all their thoughts and feelings, and, as a result, never harm anyone. Then I was born again into the miracle of the Body Divine, and all it entails for healing mysteries in this beautiful and glorious creation.

 

Amen, and thank you to our blessed Mother and Father.

Love Jesus

May 18, 2007

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Well, I'm not a gnostic so I'm gonna exercise my right to agree to disagree on several of those counts. Yeshua/Jesus was fully human and He was fully executed, He fully died and He fully lives today. And, IMO, this is indeed Good News.

 

That said, I'm not one who feels that God "needed" Jesus to be killed, but it was the inevitable consequence for His radical actions. Instead, I'm inspired by how God vindicated Jesus' death and put the worldly powers back in their place and reminded the world that God is still God and that we can live in God's kingdom ways instead of in worldly ways - as, even if we end up getting killed in the process, not even that can separate us from God and God's love. The worst the world can dish-out isn't enough to quash God's will and our ability to align with it - boldly!

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Transendence to Christ consciousness dissolves solid facts and the negative feelings associated with them like the radiance of the sun shinning upon an iceberg soon dissolves it. The iceberg once again becomes one with the ocean, and the radiance of God the Father's pure consciousness again envelops the unit consciousness. This unity with everything is constructive, life giving and harmonious. Therefore, the spiritual experience with Jesus Christ is what is important, not whether he married, had children or was layed to rest in some country, which some argue. May we all have a personal experience with our lord so he can give us what we need.

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Well, I'm not a gnostic so I'm gonna exercise my right to agree to disagree on several of those counts. Yeshua/Jesus was fully human and He was fully executed, He fully died and He fully lives today. And, IMO, this is indeed Good News.

 

Fair enough, BrotherRog. But I guess I must be using the word "gnostic" differently from you. In my research, I've learned that the belief systems of Gnosticism are much older than Christianity, and that although the Gnostics espoused a devotion to knowledge, they also had a strongly dualistic attitude towards body and spirit, where the body (being physical matter) was considered intrinsically evil, and the soul (being spirit) was considered good. The soul was believed to be imprisoned in the evil physical body as a result of a cosmic fall.

 

Gnostics incorporated a variety of mystical and magical rituals into their teachings, but this was not unique to Gnosticism. Jews at the time Jesus lived already had a rich heritage of mysticism, and what many today might call a form of Gnosticism. The Essene authors of the War Scroll found at Qumran talk about the Sons of Light who will battle the Sons of Darkness in a great battle of annihilation. (Of course, I always want to know where the Daughters are.) Texts that deal with demons and exorcism have also been found at Qumran. So these ideas about good and evil are deeply entrenched in many (and maybe most) cultures. However, in the religion we now call Gnosticism, the battle between good and evil is central to the teachings, and if you try to sweep that under the carpet and say, "Oh, the Gnostics believed in knowledge and wisdom and miracles," and you fail to mention the fear that underlay their search for knowledge (the fear that their souls would be trapped in their "evil" bodies), then you're not being honest about what Gnosticism means.

 

Gnostics don't have a lock on knowledge. They don't have a lock on mysticism. So I think it's a term to use sparingly, perhaps in the context of identifiable facts, dates, texts, and historical persons. Otherwise, things get too confusing for readers.

 

Using the above definition of Gnosticism (which is the best definition I can come up with today), I am not a Gnostic, either. Nothing sets my teeth on edge like talk of demonic, evil, satanic forces. In the universe I belong to, there is no battle between good and evil. There is only good. For those of us in human form, there is good, and there is refusal-to-choose-good. Refusal-to-choose-good is not intrinisically evil. It's just plain stupid.

 

As for the matter of miracles . . . well, good ahead and call me a bona fide believer. But I don't think miracles have anything to do with magical rituals or bizarre battles between angelic forces of light and darkness. I think miracles are about, well, science -- high energy science that we can't see or hear with our physical senses. But these days there are lots of energy waves we can't see or hear with our physical senses -- like the waves coming into your cell phones, maybe? These energy waves do cool and quantifiable things in our everyday lives. So what, I ask you, is the big deal, anyway? What's so hard to grasp about the idea that angels, as high energy quantum beings, might be able to use said high energy quantum wave/particle/whatever theory to shift a few molecules around in the 3-D world? Even if you reject the idea of angels, surely you believe in God? Don't you think maybe God knows how to tweak the laws of physics? Just because we, as humans, can't do it, doesn't mean God can't. I mean, come on -- forty years ago, the phasers and communicators of Star Trek were pure science fiction. People guffawed (though secretly everybody wanted one of those cool flip-phone-thingeys). Now we have telecommunication companies tripping over themselves (and us) to hawk their wireless wares. And the phasers . . . well, let's not go there. So get a life, religious people. God is out there, and God is science, and, as Jesus says, God is science is love. So we may as well get used to the idea, and learn how to work with God instead of pretending that science isn't "real" to God or to our very own souls.

 

Not to put too fine a point on it, but there's no law in physics that says God can't shift matter from one place to another. The only obstacle is the huge bolus of energy that must be supplied to meet the threshold energy of this particular energy conversion process. But, you know, God has lots of extra energy. That threshold energy is a piece of cake when you're as old and wise as God the Mother and God the Father.

 

So if your car keys suddenly go missing, it's possible (scientifically speaking, that is) that God decided to move them.

 

Yup. God can move your car keys. No sweat.

 

As for the "why" -- why would God choose to move your car keys? Ahh . . . well, the answer to that question would be that God has a message for you.

 

Isn't life in a non-Newtonian universe exciting?

 

Love Jen

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Hi there, BrotherRog, I'm still chewing away on what you said. And I'm wondering if I left the impression that I think the human brain is evil in a Gnostic kind of way (or that Jesus has said as such to me). To be as clear as possible, I'll say for the record that I do not believe the human brain and the human body are in any way evil. The human brain can become severely dysfunctional, but this is a mental health issue that requires medical treatment. Dysfunctional human brains can and do produce dangerous, deviant thinking. We all know this. It's a scientific reality. But that doesn't mean the brain itself is intrinsically evil. On the contrary, we must show great compassion to those who suffer from severe mental illness and psychopathy, even while we keep a close eye on their actions to prevent them from causing further harm to themselves and others.

 

The soul, of course, is the soul, and it leaves the physical body at the time of physical death and unfolds itself back into the higher dimensional space of God's implicate order.

 

I apologize if, when I use words to describe the body and the soul and their interconnection, that I make it sound as if I believe in a dualistic reality. I don't. But it's awfully hard to explain the integration of body and soul that's possible for human beings (what Jesus calls "living in the Christ Zone") without using terms that seem so very separate from each other. I'll keep trying, as know you'll keep trying, too.

 

Love Jen

Edited by canajan, eh?
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However, in the religion we now call Gnosticism, the battle between good and evil is central to the teachings, and if you try to sweep that under the carpet and say, "Oh, the Gnostics believed in knowledge and wisdom and miracles," and you fail to mention the fear that underlay their search for knowledge (the fear that their souls would be trapped in their "evil" bodies), then you're not being honest about what Gnosticism means.

 

Hi Jen, I see things a little bit differently......and so do many other modern Gnostics. I view this world to be more absurd (in an existential manner) than evil. I also take the myths to be metaphorical for the "inner work" th

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However, in the religion we now call Gnosticism, the battle between good and evil is central to the teachings, and if you try to sweep that under the carpet and say, "Oh, the Gnostics believed in knowledge and wisdom and miracles," and you fail to mention the fear that underlay their search for knowledge (the fear that their souls would be trapped in their "evil" bodies), then you're not being honest about what Gnosticism means.

 

Hi Jen, I see things a little bit differently......and so do many other modern Gnostics. I view this world to be more absurd (in an existential manner) than evil. I also take the myths to be metaphorical for the "inner work" that we need to complete......Jung-like work. The Valentinians never viewed things as negatively as you describe. Gnosticism has also evolved, just like progressive Christianity, into something far less literal.

Edited by Gnosteric
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McKenna, You are right I see Jesus as the man and Christ as the consciousness. I feel Jesus resurrected from the physical to become one with the Father (God's pure consciousness). Yes, I see Jesus as the perfect model to follow because he ressurrected. He came to us in the physical to lead us by example and love to the spiritual. We think we are the body/mind complex, but following Christ we realize we are a consciousness with a body and mind. Christ consciousness is the perfect link or tangenital point with the pure consciousness of God the Father.

 

Cool :) I think I get it. Do you base your beliefs off of Scripture, or was this revealed to you, or does it just make sense to you?

 

Just curious :)

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Second came my almost-physical Resurrection. I did enter into a deep, coma-like state that lasted for a little over 2 days, and I did get up from the tomb and walk out. But I did not cross over to the Other Side during this 2-day period -- I did not physically die. I should have, but I didn't. Therein lay the miracle and the mystery.

 

Hey Jen,

 

So you believe that Jesus didn't actually die and so didn't actually undergo a Resurrection?

 

How do you view the Ascension?

 

Wow, it's really interesting to see the diversity of beliefs here! :)

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Well, I'm not a gnostic so I'm gonna exercise my right to agree to disagree on several of those counts. Yeshua/Jesus was fully human and He was fully executed, He fully died and He fully lives today. And, IMO, this is indeed Good News.

 

That said, I'm not one who feels that God "needed" Jesus to be killed, but it was the inevitable consequence for His radical actions. Instead, I'm inspired by how God vindicated Jesus' death and put the worldly powers back in their place and reminded the world that God is still God and that we can live in God's kingdom ways instead of in worldly ways - as, even if we end up getting killed in the process, not even that can separate us from God and God's love. The worst the world can dish-out isn't enough to quash God's will and our ability to align with it - boldly!

 

Amen, brother! :)

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McKenna, I read and study many scriptures because they are a map to the spiritual experience where truth is revealed in private prayer. God would not leave a seeker of the truth without truth because it is God that impels the seeking and cares for our every need. God impels seeking through love, scripture, service, prayer and contemplation. When I see everything as God, I fall in love with everything and I am not afraid to learn, grow and change with everything.

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I come from the view point that without understanding how the original audience(s) understood the story we can't possibly understand the significance.

 

A book to read and ponder is: One Jesus, Many Christs by Riley (can't remember his first name, Gregory, maybe).

 

Jesus' story is written in the style of the heroes of Ancient Greece. These stories would have been very familiar and important to the ancient people. They could better understand who Jesus was and who they were to see him as because of his story being written that way. Jesus was not the only "hero" to be "born of a Virgin" or to be resurrected from the dead.

 

This is how I see the story: Jesus comes, changes things for many. The Roman powers are terrified of Jesus, fearing he may start a revolution. They kill Jesus. Jesus' followers are in shock because they also think Jesus is going to turn the world on its head. As the story gets told and retold Jesus becomes a hero complete with Virgin Birth and Resurrection. Truly, a resurrection is irrelevant. The Good News (ie Gospel) is not that Jesus conquered death (keep in mind there is not an afterlife in the sense we think of it today). The Good News is that the last shall be first, the poor and disenfranchised will enter the Kingdom of God/Heaven (not the wealthy and priviledged). The truly Good News is that women and men who are blind, paralyzed, sick, weak are the ones who God cares for. They are the ones who are "blessed." The message is skewed by the early church and the placing of Jesus' story into a hero story. It is Greek culture (with Paul's hellenized world view) which needs a resurrection and misses the point.

 

The changes made by Jesus were made prior to his death, not after.

 

The only reason we even think about resurrection today is because people are so stuck on tradition. I have no use for a literal or a figurative resurrection but many are unwilling to give it up. Even in my progressive church they talk about a spiritual resurrection. I see Easter as irrelevant except perhaps to honor those who have died for others like Jesus, Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and those who have lived for others like Coretta Scott King and other modern heroes.

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McKenna, I read and study many scriptures because they are a map to the spiritual experience where truth is revealed in private prayer. God would not leave a seeker of the truth without truth because it is God that impels the seeking and cares for our every need. God impels seeking through love, scripture, service, prayer and contemplation. When I see everything as God, I fall in love with everything and I am not afraid to learn, grow and change with everything.

 

That was very beautiful, soma, and something I can relate to. Thank you so much :)

 

I would almost like to start a thread on the ideas you presented here just so we could discuss them further, but I'm not sure what I'd title it or how I'd start it. I just love these ideas!

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I come from the view point that without understanding how the original audience(s) understood the story we can't possibly understand the significance.

 

A book to read and ponder is: One Jesus, Many Christs by Riley (can't remember his first name, Gregory, maybe).

 

Jesus' story is written in the style of the heroes of Ancient Greece. These stories would have been very familiar and important to the ancient people. They could better understand who Jesus was and who they were to see him as because of his story being written that way. Jesus was not the only "hero" to be "born of a Virgin" or to be resurrected from the dead.

 

This is how I see the story: Jesus comes, changes things for many. The Roman powers are terrified of Jesus, fearing he may start a revolution. They kill Jesus. Jesus' followers are in shock because they also think Jesus is going to turn the world on its head. As the story gets told and retold Jesus becomes a hero complete with Virgin Birth and Resurrection. Truly, a resurrection is irrelevant. The Good News (ie Gospel) is not that Jesus conquered death (keep in mind there is not an afterlife in the sense we think of it today). The Good News is that the last shall be first, the poor and disenfranchised will enter the Kingdom of God/Heaven (not the wealthy and priviledged). The truly Good News is that women and men who are blind, paralyzed, sick, weak are the ones who God cares for. They are the ones who are "blessed." The message is skewed by the early church and the placing of Jesus' story into a hero story. It is Greek culture (with Paul's hellenized world view) which needs a resurrection and misses the point.

 

The changes made by Jesus were made prior to his death, not after.

 

The only reason we even think about resurrection today is because people are so stuck on tradition. I have no use for a literal or a figurative resurrection but many are unwilling to give it up. Even in my progressive church they talk about a spiritual resurrection. I see Easter as irrelevant except perhaps to honor those who have died for others like Jesus, Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and those who have lived for others like Coretta Scott King and other modern heroes.

 

That's a position that makes a lot of sense and I think as PCs we certainly can't dismiss it as a possibility :)

 

I really like your version of the Good News. It seems to me that that is better news than anything Paul has to say. Except maybe when Paul says things similar to it (like 'the greatest of these [virtues] is love'). :)

 

Thanks for the book recommendation and thanks for adding yet another perspective!

 

I'm loving this :)

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I love this thread too because we are trying to put into words what is beyond words. I think the scriptures with their symbols, parables and stories are doing the same. The Greek Gods, The Hindu Gods, The Christian God and the stories are also symbols pointing to the different expressions of the One God that is everywhere. Their purpose is to send the mind inward to the mystical fire or light that grows our thoughts within our soul. When a fire burns its light is seen for a vast distance, but people too far away can't see it or feel its heat. This is also true for those who are too far from the soul; it is hard to describe the grace or bliss of this experience to them because it is beyond their intellect and mind. The splendors can't be described in mere words; it has to be felt by each individual who directs his mind to the soul. Therefore, this experience is not shouted out loud for others to hear, one has to enter inside oneself alone and find the secret place without pretentiousness to return to the soul and find the unity in all. The stories help us to focus and are maps to the spiritual experience that brings us closer to God.

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I love this thread too because we are trying to put into words what is beyond words. I think the scriptures with their symbols, parables and stories are doing the same. The Greek Gods, The Hindu Gods, The Christian God and the stories are also symbols pointing to the different expressions of the One God that is everywhere. Their purpose is to send the mind inward to the mystical fire or light that grows our thoughts within our soul. When a fire burns its light is seen for a vast distance, but people too far away can't see it or feel its heat. This is also true for those who are too far from the soul; it is hard to describe the grace or bliss of this experience to them because it is beyond their intellect and mind. The splendors can't be described in mere words; it has to be felt by each individual who directs his mind to the soul. Therefore, this experience is not shouted out loud for others to hear, one has to enter inside oneself alone and find the secret place without pretentiousness to return to the soul and find the unity in all. The stories help us to focus and are maps to the spiritual experience that brings us closer to God.

 

Beautifully written, soma. I wholeheartedly agree.

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  • 3 months later...

I'd like to get this conversation going again, because the issue of the Resurrection is something that is very central to many Christians' faiths and it's something I personally have struggled a lot to understand.

 

I'm reading the book the Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions by Marcus Borg and N. T. Wright. I just read the section on the Resurrection a few days ago, and I could see both perspectives, but both also seem to have issues.

 

Here's the problem: It seems clear to me that something must have happened. But was it Jesus physically returning from the dead or something else?

 

N. T. Wright basically argued that:

-The word "resurrection" in that context always implied something physical.

-Other then-common words could have been used to mean Jesus had a non-physical body, such as "angel" or "ghost."

-Experiences of Jesus as a concrete reality stopped with Paul; they wouldn't have stopped if he was just a vision or something.

-In the passage where Paul contrasts Jesus before and Jesus after the Resurrection, the words do NOT mean "physical body" vs. "spiritual body," but rather a "soulish body" vs. a "spiritual body."

-The discrepancies in the Gospels about Easter morning and the tomb imply that the "witnesses have not been in collusion."

-Paul does not mention the tomb because it's implied when he attests that Jesus was "buried" and "raised."

-"Once you allow that something remarkable happened to his body that morning, all the other data fall into place with astonishing ease."

 

My problems with this argument:

-I'm a rather skeptical person in general, so I would have a hard time imagining this. If I try to picture it in my mind...it just seems ridiculous. When did the body change? What would it have looked like while it was transforming? Did Jesus just sort of wake up afterward and say, "Well that was weird..."?

-I'm not sure I accept his dismissal of the discrepancies between the Gospels.

-Why didn't people always recognize him? How did he pass through walls? (Assuming those stories are literally true, which I don't think they necessarily have to be.)

-I don't know if it makes historical sense to assume he was buried in a tomb at all, since the vast, vast majority of crucifix victims weren't.

-While the term "resurrection" at that time period did seem to imply a physical occurrence, it also implied (as he himself points out) a general resurrection of all people. So aren't these early Christians redefining the term anyway by saying a singular person has been resurrected?

-My biggest problem: What happened to his body afterward? The idea of the Ascension only really seems to make sense in the old 3-tier universe plan. With our current knowledge of outer space, it seems a tad ridiculous. He just sort of lifted into the air and took off out into the solar system? Where did he go? Or did his body evaporate? But wouldn't that defeat the purpose of it being resurrected in the first place?

 

Marcus Borg's basic argument was:

-It's really irrelevant in the long run whether or not Jesus was physically resurrected. The truth of Easter lies in its metaphorical meanings and implications, anyway.

-It seems kind of weird to think people could have videotaped these events. Rather, they sound like personal experiences of those involved. (See below about apparitions.)

-"Resurrection in a first-century Jewish and Christian context is a very different notion [from that of resuscitation.] Put compactly and somewhat abstractly, resurrection does not mean resumption of previous existence but entry into a new kind of existence...There is a sense in which it is...beyond the categories of space and time; the resurrected Christ can appear anywhere and presumably can appear in more than one place at the same time...To be sure, resurrection could involve something happening to a corpse, namely the transformation of a corpse; but it need not."

-The fact that Paul does not explicitly mention an empty tomb "may or may not be significant." The fact that he uses the term "buried" could just be a way of saying that Jesus really was dead.

-Paul uses the verb "appeared" four times in 1 Corinthians 15.3-8. This verb is often linked to apparitions, which tend to be paranormal experiences which are not necessarily experienced by all of those present. This is further supported by the fact that Paul's experience of the risen Christ was a vision that the people he was traveling with did not see.

-Paul does make a distinction between the 2 "bodies" - such as the seed/plant analogy. And yes, the two terms that Paul uses aren't specifically "physical body" vs. "spiritual body," but what he does say about the former (best translated "a body animated by a spirit") makes it sound like he's talking about a physical body: it's "flesh and blood," "perishable," "of the earth," "of dust," etc. On the other hand, the other body, the spiritual one, isn't.

-Many of the resurrection stories bear the marks of metaphorical narrative rather than a report of a literal event. The example he uses is the Emmaus Road story.

-People still experience Jesus today, including in dramatic ways such as "visions and mystical experiences." (His point is, I assume, that the experiences did not, in fact, stop with Paul.)

 

My problems with this argument:

-The use of the term "resurrection." I'm not convinced he fully placed it within its appropriate context. It seems to have meant a physical happening and I don't think he properly addresses that. This is my biggest problem with the non-physical interpretations.

-The fact that all of the Gospels had an empty tomb story, despite the discrepancies. That seems to imply an early tradition. (An early tradition of the tomb, I mean - obviously the tradition of the Resurrection is very early.)

-The fact that Paul uses the term "body" at all in describing Jesus' new state.

-The Gospels' use of stories that imply a physical body, such as Jesus eating or Thomas touching Jesus' wounds.

 

 

 

Okay, I'm sorry that was so long! I tried to come up with as many arguments as I could against each side, but this took me a while to write so my brain was somewhat confused by the end.

 

At any rate, I'd really like to have a discussion about this. It's clear which side I lean towards, but I want to hear others' opinions on any and all of the above points (from me or from Wright or Borg), as well as any other points you think ought to be included (I can add them to the lists, but I'll do it in italics in order to keep the original lists intact).

 

Thank you all so much in advance! I look forward to a good discussion *crosses fingers* :lol:

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(snipped for brevity)

At any rate, I'd really like to have a discussion about this. It's clear which side I lean towards, but I want to hear others' opinions on any and all of the above points (from me or from Wright or Borg), as well as any other points you think ought to be included (I can add them to the lists, but I'll do it in italics in order to keep the original lists intact).

 

Thank you all so much in advance! I look forward to a good discussion *crosses fingers* :lol:

 

In my view, it is not of great important either way. If one rests ones faith on something that can be proven false then ones faith will fall if it is proven so. However, if ones faith rests in that which has been personally revealed, it cannot be touched by the logic or arguments of men which gender doubt. Just a view to consider.

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I believe Jesus told me to love God and love my neighbor.

 

The crucifixion/resurrection is irrelevant to me 100%. I could not care less what exactly happened, it cannot be proven and it is not relevant so I worry not about it. The whole thing is highly suspect in my opinion and has fraud written on the face of it.

 

The bible records it but beyond that (and the bible is a shakey witness of the ressurection if I say so myself) no one else records it to the best of my knowledge. I know Josephus mentions it (Antiquities of the Jews) BUT that is a highly suspected fraud and as such I don't put much stock in it.

 

I look at the life of Jesus NOT the death, I look to the religion OF Jesus rather than the one ABOUT Jesus.

 

Just my opinion - I could be wrong...

Edited by DHatcherE
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