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Who was/is Jesus Christ? What is his relevance to Progressive Christians? Why do we follow him?

 

What emphasis should be placed on his death? His Resurrection?

 

Is there any meaning in the idea of the Incarnation?

 

How much of the New Testament can we trust? Did Jesus say what he's reported to have said? What about the miracles?

 

Just some starting questions... :)

 

This seems like a really basic idea, but I'm completely serious - who is Jesus?

 

(All questions are asked assuming a Progressive Christian epistemology. We all know the orthodox answers.)

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What about the miracles?

 

This might sound odd coming from a Progressive Christian, but it is plausible that at least some of the "miracles" reported in the Bible actually happened. It would take a lengthy discussion of psychosomatic medicine and psychology to demonstrate this, but the fact remains; it could have happened.

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As I recall, one of the Eight Points calls Jesus the door (or maybe it's window) through which we can get a glimpse of God. That makes him pretty relevant if theology is what we are after. As for following, see my comments elsewhere about the golden threads.

 

I think I have also addressed the notions about crucifixion and resurrection elsewhere as well, but not much has been said about incarnation. I have heard a number of progressive clergy talk about "incarnational theology," and I think what they are getting at is describing the relationship between God and humankind. If God is present in Jesus, then God is present in all of us. I remember a line from the Episcopal book of common prayer that went something like "for we are very members incorporate in the mystical body of Christ." Forgive the archaisms, but I learned that in 1949! That notion speaks to me of incarnation. Another way of coming at it came from my pastor's sermon this morning. He observed that there are many biblical passages about God for us and God with us, but only two as God acting "as" us. One is in Matt. 25 that goes something like "as you do [good works] for the least of these, you do them for me," and the other is a similar passage regarding accepting little children (I think it is also in Matthew). In other words, God is incarnate in "the least" and in "the little children." I like that idea. Oh, and there is also the Quaker statement about "that of God in thee."

 

You can always trust the Bible so long as you are willing to struggle with it, seek understanding from it, but not expect answers from it. The Bible is a living word, not a dictionary or a textbook.

 

And as far as miracles are concerned, I don't know. Partly, the miracle stories are more often there to make a point about how we follow, and not necessarily what was said to happen. But I tend toward a process approach to theology in which God acts as a lure and not as a forceful or manipulative power. In other words, sure some miracles can probably happen, but don't count on it. And I don't think they are there to prove anything about Jesus.

Just some starting questions

Edited by grampawombat
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I feel Jesus came in the flesh to transform mankind above materialism to a spiritual understanding and an experience with God. I am not into making the Bible a History book or a Science Book. I feel if it is explained with reason, the content of the stories in the Bible demonstrates the inner meaning of the universe and human life. These stories tell us who we are and how we should behave, providing us a way to self-understanding by serving the intellect’s desire to know about the beginning of creation and human life itself. The Bible proves it worth to me by providing me with knowledge and inspiration. I understand that it might not have this affect on others. Their intelligence has a vitally important part to play in answering their fundamental questions to preserve their mental and spiritual health. I support their spiritual studies and would like to learn from them also. I understand that the actions of some who call themselves Christians have turned people off to Jesus and the Bible in the same way that suicide bombers have turned people off to Islam.

 

Jesus and the Bible give me a glimpse of the spiritual life inside and help me resist the exterior influences that blind me with passion and help me access thoughts about God that are totally new, unexpected and beyond my own capacity. The effect of these inspirations is to enable my soul to approach God beyond the material realm in pure consciousness where everything is one.

 

I feel if Jesus and the Bible are given to people as an active and vital connection to a force/power/energy, spirit, or sense of the deep self then selling Bibles and Jesus in a campaign for power will cease.

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Hi All,

 

It seems to me that emphasis placed on 'teachings' rather than 'personage' is wiser and brings forth more fruit. Men like to celebrate 'days' , 'locations', 'dates', and 'personages' such as the messenger to an extent that we so often miss the true message because of our focus on content instead of meaning. Who is Jesus? Perhaps just the messenger.

 

Just a thought to consider,

Joseph

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You might should move this to the Progressive thread. Leaving it here leaves it open for conservatives to come in and give the traditional answers...

 

You're probably right...I'll move it if that becomes a problem. For right now I'll leave it b/c 1) I don't know how to move threads :lol: and 2) I stated at the bottom "All questions are asked assuming a Progressive Christian epistemology. We all know the orthodox answers," so such comments would not be appropriate anyway. :)

 

This might sound odd coming from a Progressive Christian, but it is plausible that at least some of the "miracles" reported in the Bible actually happened. It would take a lengthy discussion of psychosomatic medicine and psychology to demonstrate this, but the fact remains; it could have happened.

 

I don't think that sounds odd coming from a Progressive Christian :lol: I would tend to agree with you, and possibly give even more credence to the idea of miracles than it sounds like you would. Who knows, we're a motley bunch :)

 

As I recall, one of the Eight Points calls Jesus the door (or maybe it's window) through which we can get a glimpse of God. That makes him pretty relevant if theology is what we are after. As for following, see my comments elsewhere about the golden threads.

 

Good point! :lol:

 

I think I have also addressed the notions about crucifixion and resurrection elsewhere as well, but not much has been said about incarnation. I have heard a number of progressive clergy talk about "incarnational theology," and I think what they are getting at is describing the relationship between God and humankind. If God is present in Jesus, then God is present in all of us. I remember a line from the Episcopal book of common prayer that went something like "for we are very members incorporate in the mystical body of Christ." Forgive the archaisms, but I learned that in 1949! That notion speaks to me of incarnation. Another way of coming at it came from my pastor's sermon this morning. He observed that there are many biblical passages about God for us and God with us, but only two as God acting "as" us. One is in Matt. 25 that goes something like "as you do [good works] for the least of these, you do them for me," and the other is a similar passage regarding accepting little children (I think it is also in Matthew). In other words, God is incarnate in "the least" and in "the little children." I like that idea. Oh, and there is also the Quaker statement about "that of God in thee."

 

I would agree with all of the above, but I'll focus on the bolded section. I would agree with that, yet I would also say that I believe that God was present in Jesus much more manifestly. (i.e. The Hindu concept of God present in all and yet also uniquely present in Incarnations.) Thus I have some interest in the idea of the Incarnation although I suppose I have to interpret it differently than it is traditionally understood. I do not believe that Jesus was fully God, for one thing (at least not until after the Resurrection).

 

Hi All,

 

It seems to me that emphasis placed on 'teachings' rather than 'personage' is wiser and brings forth more fruit. Men like to celebrate 'days' , 'locations', 'dates', and 'personages' such as the messenger to an extent that we so often miss the true message because of our focus on content instead of meaning. Who is Jesus? Perhaps just the messenger.

 

Just a thought to consider,

Joseph

 

I would agree to an extent. I must admit when I see/hear people praising Jesus constantly and talking on and on about him and how he'll give you what you want if you pray, etc. etc. it feels almost blasphemous to me - it feels like God is never mentioned, except in passing as the one who sent Jesus, but Jesus is really the object of worship. I mean, people can worship that way if they want of course, but it truly does seem blasphemous to me (if a Progressive Christian is allowed to speak of blasphemy :D ) because there is so much emphasis put on this person! And I would agree that following his teachings is much more important anyway. Yet at the same time I put faith in the Resurrection, and Christ for me is a living presence today (note the distinction I draw between Jesus and Christ - I know, how awfully "Borg-ian" of me - yet I seem to recall having similar thoughts before I'd read Borg, or perhaps I'm just fooling myself into thinking that, but at any rate that's where I am now). That is just my personal faith, of course, but I just wanted to hear other people's general thoughts on Jesus - whether as purely a teacher, or as also having a place in theology. Anything's valid, I just want to hear what y'all have to say, then maybe we can all debate about it (I put the thread here to keep that option open ;)). :D

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QUOTE(JosephM @ Jun 2 2008, 03:53 PM)

Hi All,

 

It seems to me that emphasis placed on 'teachings' rather than 'personage' is wiser and brings forth more fruit. Men like to celebrate 'days' , 'locations', 'dates', and 'personages' such as the messenger to an extent that we so often miss the true message because of our focus on content instead of meaning. Who is Jesus? Perhaps just the messenger.

 

Just a thought to consider,

Joseph

EndQuote (JosephM)

 

I would agree to an extent. I must admit when I see/hear people praising Jesus constantly and talking on and on about him and how he'll give you what you want if you pray, etc. etc. it feels almost blasphemous to me - it feels like God is never mentioned, except in passing as the one who sent Jesus, but Jesus is really the object of worship. I mean, people can worship that way if they want of course, but it truly does seem blasphemous to me (if a Progressive Christian is allowed to speak of blasphemy ) because there is so much emphasis put on this person! And I would agree that following his teachings is much more important anyway. Yet at the same time I put faith in the Resurrection, and Christ for me is a living presence today (note the distinction I draw between Jesus and Christ - I know, how awfully "Borg-ian" of me - yet I seem to recall having similar thoughts before I'd read Borg, or perhaps I'm just fooling myself into thinking that, but at any rate that's where I am now). That is just my personal faith, of course, but I just wanted to hear other people's general thoughts on Jesus - whether as purely a teacher, or as also having a place in theology. Anything's valid, I just want to hear what y'all have to say, then maybe we can all debate about it (I put the thread here to keep that option open ).

 

The statement I made was of a general nature and could be applied to the personage of Jesus though it was meant to be applicable to all great teachers. It seems to me we have to ask ourselves what is really important? Was it the place Jerusalem? Was it the date he was born or died? Was it who he was or the manner in which he died? Or was it his teachings (words of truth) that endure forever that were important? Personally, it seems to me and I have an inclination to believe that it is the latter that is most important.

 

Do we follow a man, an identity or do we follow truth which is hid in Christ ( the annointing of God through the idea of contact—Strong's Greek Dictionary) ?

 

Joseph

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Sorry, To stick with your original question

 

 

Who was/is Jesus Christ? What is his relevance to Progressive Christians? Why do we follow him?

 

Perhaps we follow his teachings rather than Jesus. As you know, his name was Jesus of Nazareth and Christ was a title given him though most of us seem to being using it as his name.

 

What emphasis should be placed on his death? His Resurrection?
These seem to me to take emphasis off of his original teachings.

 

Is there any meaning in the idea of the Incarnation?

 

How much of the New Testament can we trust? Did Jesus say what he's reported to have said? What about the miracles?

 

Just some starting questions... :)

 

No thoughts on first question.

 

It seems to me we can only trust those writings that are personally confirmed to us by the same spirit that inspired Jesus. (the Father)

 

Joseph

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I don't think that sounds odd coming from a Progressive Christian :lol: I would tend to agree with you, and possibly give even more credence to the idea of miracles than it sounds like you would. Who knows, we're a motley bunch

 

I usually approach the subject of miracles with some caution so as not to step on people's beliefs. There are many aspects of what Jesus said and did that, from a psychological perspective, are of great interest to me. There is little doubt in my mind that Jesus had a profound understanding of the physiological and psychological effects of a harsh hierarchical system on what was then a marginalized majority. Even today, we still do not know (or fail to recognize) the full extent of marginalization viewed from a mind-body perspective. Social justice is more than a concept, in my mind. It is more than equal rights as normally seen, unless the concept includes freedom from socially induced fear and other psychologically negative factors. Freedom from these factors is indeed experienced by many of the marginalized as "a miracle".

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Social justice is more than a concept, in my mind. It is more than equal rights as normally seen, unless the concept includes freedom from socially induced fear and other psychologically negative factors. Freedom from these factors is indeed experienced by many of the marginalized as "a miracle".

 

Minsocal - what a great statement. Indeed very often that 'miracle' might be nothing more than recognising how we are manipulated by society - and not always for the better.

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Minsocal - what a great statement. Indeed very often that 'miracle' might be nothing more than recognising how we are manipulated by society - and not always for the better.

 

 

How many people have suffered an injustice for the lies of superiors? How many more will have to suffer?

 

I know of a case dismissed from Federal Court where the woman was forced to leave and take a seperation agreement for two reasons. She was on Risperdol and contracted Tardivdiskenisia (SP?) A condition of muscle twiching as a result of not properly being prescribed medication that she didn't even need! The doctor prescribed the medication off label because he could make money from pushing the drug and get a new computer program. Secondly and more seriously not only did this woman do her job and the job for others she was trying to help the company truthfully communicate with their consumers, they TEVA Pharmacueticals claimed that they had no wheat gluton in their products, (that was the lie) It became known that one of their children's medications contained Wheat Gluton. Teva Pharmacueticals knew that the Cherry flavoring contained Wheat Gluton and was recieving around 10 phone calls per day from consumers asking if their products contained Wheat Gluton and they claimed and stood by their statement that their products did not contain Wheat Gluton.

 

Here we have a person dismissed from employment forced to sign a waiver of her rights to Family Medical Leave to recover from the effects of the drug and terminated because she tried to assist in her duties of correcting the lie told by the corporation.

 

Don't you want to know the name of the Judge that dismissed the case?

 

We need more Judges that rule in favor of employers that violate the laws of the land. Or do we need justice for the poor people and the victims of the lies?

 

Imagine the class action lawsuit if people were and did get sick and the company had lied to all of their consumers that questioned the true facts?

 

There ought to be a law!

 

There ought to be a law to protect the meek or meak, the victims the children and the poor, there ought to be a law against malpractice and we need to stop the lies told from the pulpit.

 

We need to set the record straight!

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Or was it his teachings (words of truth) that endure forever that were important? Personally, it seems to me and I have an inclination to believe that it is the latter that is most important.

 

Joseph

 

I agree. It is the teachings which matter most. I don't think any of the rest would be remembered (historical or not) if it were not for the significance of the teachings.

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This seems like a really basic idea, but I'm completely serious - who is Jesus?

(All questions are asked assuming a Progressive Christian epistemology. We all know the orthodox answers.)

Jesus really doesn't matter. His teachings are the only thing that matter, and then only whatever we decide them to be. It seems this is our progressive answer, McKenna.

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Jesus really doesn't matter. His teachings are the only thing that matter, and then only whatever we decide them to be. It seems this is our progressive answer, McKenna.

 

 

Dear Texas Lynn,

Since you have revealed this to us as the truth, you have likewise declared to us that you have the truth with which to reveal. Therefore, as they say, we cannot trust you. (I really have no reason to mistrust you. It's just a statement that seems clever but is a logical inconsistency. ie; There are no absolutes.)

 

Dear Wayseer,

In deference to your comment, and assuming you believe in God, the only thing we can impose upon God is... nothing. Which is an inconsistancy alluded to in McKenna's post as a 'musing'.

 

Now that Davidk has sufficiently revealed that he can not fathom a progression to his or any religion, and insits that the same ole' is good for everyone then I assume that he will follow his fundamental view to his death.

 

Suicide is not painless emotional harm hurts as much or sometimes more than physical harm and produces physical harm. Yet Davidk refuses to see the harm that the Christian religion causes as they call good bad and bad good.

 

For what am I?

 

Who has the power To see the progression

To be creative To structure

To reveal To stand

Truth By GOD

 

I asked Davidk to show us the face of his GOD,

I asked to see the face of the Devil or Satan,

 

Davidk revealed that Progressive Christians have nothing, in fact Davidk has revealed nothing except that a sinner should die. Should I folllow the beliefs of Davidk all sinners should die and that would violate my pure and holy nature, Davidk proves that he knows me not!

 

Davidk has missed the Mark and has refused to appropriately explain the errors that exist.

 

The Elite are not the Children of GOD who have secured GOD's blessing and not all of the poor are cursed by GOD. We could end poverty and this has not yet been addressed and why it is important.

 

How can we end poverty?

 

How can we hold others accountable?

 

What are the tools used to make sure that the truth is being told?

 

We do have the power to cure and heal a lot of the problems in our society, if only?

 

The focus should be on the teachings, those teachings that help others and lead to life for all and reflect perfect justice.

 

The government shall be upon their heads, because the leadership is in charge of having the responsibility to make sure that an injustice is not taking root. An injustice built upon lies.

 

The Church is a source of a curse,

 

The word of GOD is in the Bible but the Bible is not the complete inerrant word and work of GOD!

 

The Word of GOD exists, as we exist, we know!

 

Follow the tRuth and be set free,

 

Know Love,

 

Know?

 

 

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Dear Gary,

This message board has allowed several to express their answer to McKenna's question, "Who is Jesus?". I have merely stated what is the collective opinion of their posts (4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 17). Grampa did give a qualified opinion based on his 'golden threads'. But it still left Jesus as nothing unique.

If you have any issues with their positions, you'll simply need to address them.

 

 

The second quote is out of context and is quite irrelevant to this page.

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Jesus really doesn't matter. His teachings are the only thing that matter, and then only whatever we decide them to be. It seems this is our progressive answer, McKenna.

 

Hello David,

 

I do not speak for all. It seems to me your collective opinion inaccurately portrays at least what I wrote as you use the words "Jesus really doesn't matter". Saying that ones teaching is more important than ones personage doesn't say the personage really doesn't matter it just says what it says that the teaching are 'more important" than the personage.

 

Secondly, you say of the teachings that ' only whatever we decide them to be" While it is true that each of us places different, none or greater emphasis on certain teachings, it only speaks of where each individual is at on his journey and what the spirit has personally revealed as true. It seems to me 'good' not to try and put people in a box and define progressive Christians as you do as no two may agree on all things at his/her stage of developement/transformation. Transformation to the new creature in Christ is a daily process rather than than destination until one has arrived. Therefor I say it is 'best' not to box one in on the way. I die daily.

 

Just some thoughts for you to consider,

Love Joseph

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Dear Gary,

This message board has allowed several to express their answer to McKenna's question, "Who is Jesus?". I have merely stated what is the collective opinion of their posts (4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 17). Grampa did give a qualified opinion based on his 'golden threads'. But it still left Jesus as nothing unique.

If you have any issues with their positions, you'll simply need to address them.

The second quote is out of context and is quite irrelevant to this page.

 

 

Dear Davidk,

 

Love in Christ, the Light, Jesus to you and for all,

 

Instead of stating what you percieve as the collective opinion, please state what is your issue that you agree with or disagree with so that we can have a conversation, learn and know.

 

I have not seen that I or JosephM or Grampa are wrong, I have seen a lot of pontification that goes nowhere. We do not want to go nowhere, we want to go somewhere, we seek Love.

 

Jesus taught us to Love, to love our neighbor and that includes even you. We also know that we can not love those that abuse us, remember my personal situation with my toxic relationship with the one I wed? Her betrayal was not a demonstration of love, her continued attack was not a demonstration of love.

 

What is Love?

Where is Love?

 

Have you shown Love?

 

I wish you Love,

 

I know the Love and Peace of GOD, my life at this time doesn't reflect that knowledge, I did not deserve to be treated and abused in the manner that many (strangers, friends and family) have collectively attacked me.

 

Please do show us you're GOD...

 

Be progressive :)

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I think you have to ask a moderator to move it. I already see where your great topic starter threads (I think 5 of them) have been side tracked. I have barely posted on them for that reason.

 

Ack. I guess I'm bad at this whole deciding-where-to-put-a-thread thing. :lol: Please post anyway though! :) I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts, even if the threads do eventually get way off topic.

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Sorry, To stick with your original question

Perhaps we follow his teachings rather than Jesus. As you know, his name was Jesus of Nazareth and Christ was a title given him though most of us seem to being using it as his name.

 

These seem to me to take emphasis off of his original teachings.

No thoughts on first question.

 

It seems to me we can only trust those writings that are personally confirmed to us by the same spirit that inspired Jesus. (the Father)

 

Joseph

 

That certainly is a Progressive Christian perspective! Thanks for sharing! :)

 

I usually approach the subject of miracles with some caution so as not to step on people's beliefs. There are many aspects of what Jesus said and did that, from a psychological perspective, are of great interest to me. There is little doubt in my mind that Jesus had a profound understanding of the physiological and psychological effects of a harsh hierarchical system on what was then a marginalized majority. Even today, we still do not know (or fail to recognize) the full extent of marginalization viewed from a mind-body perspective. Social justice is more than a concept, in my mind. It is more than equal rights as normally seen, unless the concept includes freedom from socially induced fear and other psychologically negative factors. Freedom from these factors is indeed experienced by many of the marginalized as "a miracle".

 

Fascinating thoughts, minsocal. I think you may be right. To respond to your last sentence in particular - it seems to me that many of the original Christians felt freed by Jesus for one reason or another; to take a more progressive POV, I suppose it would be that his teachings broke down traditional social barriers and allowed them to experience God's Grace, which they had not felt worthy of before because of the standard teachings of the time - and that, I think, would certainly be experienced as a miracle.

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I agree. It is the teachings which matter most. I don't think any of the rest would be remembered (historical or not) if it were not for the significance of the teachings.

 

I think I may have to disagree with that (tentatively, since you have a Masters in New Testament Theology and all I've done is read a couple of books by some scholars). Most of what he taught was already said in the Old Testament, wasn't it? I think it's more likely that none of it would be remembered if it hadn't been for Paul...and he barely focused on Jesus' teachings. I just think there's more to the story than that Jesus said some profound things and people remembered them forever. Not that I'm dismissing his teachings; they are very, very important to me as well.

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